GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Enrique Peña Nieto, the presidential candidate of Mexico’s former governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was claiming victory Sunday 1 July, following the release of early election results.
In an initial partial result disclosed shortly before midnight, Peña Nieto had taken 38 percent of the vote, leading by six points over his closest competitor, the leftist former Mexico City mayor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. The incumbent National Action Party’s (PAN) candidate, Josefina Vazquez Mota, Mexico’s first female presidential candidate, was in third place in the polls.
The PRI had lead the country for 71 years until being ousted in 2000 by PAN, which then advanced democratic rule in Mexico. Increasing violence linked to drug gangs and a sluggish economy has since eroded PAN’s popularity.
Outgoing president Felipe Calderon congratulated Peña Nieto, while Lopez Obrador refuses to concede until the full vote was counted.
In a speech Sunday night in which he proclaimed himself president, Peña Nieto declared, “There is no going back to the past. My government is looking to the future”.