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Mexican president signs deal with opposition

Enrique Pena Nieto and political opponents sign agreement to increase economic growth, employment and competitiveness.
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2012 09:07
Pena Nieto, centre, and opposition leaders signed the Pact for Mexico aiming to boost competitiveness [EPA]

Enrique Pena Nieto, Mexico's newly inaugurated president, and opposition leaders have signed an agreement to increase economic growth, employment and competitiveness.

The leaders of the conservative National Action Party and the leftist Democratic Revolution Party joined Pena Nieto in signing the Pact for Mexico on Sunday.

It includes measures Pena Nieto announced during his inauguration, including education reform, pensions for people 65 and older, and concessions for two new national television stations.

The 46-year-old Pena Nieto, who took office on Saturday, called the pact "historic".

"The country must be transformed without delay," he said.

Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party ruled Mexico for 71 years before being voted out 12 years ago.

Pena Nieto has presented himself as the new face of the PRI, which ruled before with handouts, graft and rigged elections, promising clean government.

However, some opponents say the party's ways have not changed and accuse it of using overspending and vote buying to win the latest election.

At times violent protests marred his inauguration, with protesters throwing stones, bottle rockets and firecrackers at police who responded with tear gas.

'Barbaric acts'

Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico City mayor, said eight people were injured, one gravely, and 92 detained during inauguration violence. He blamed anarchist groups for vandalism and other "barbaric acts".

Vandals smashed windows of stores, banks and a hotel and made bonfires of furniture dragged into the streets.

One bank office in the business district where all the windows were broken had the words "Welcome Pena" painted across the facade in green.

Pena Nieto said he would emphasise security for Mexicans and their families, and would work to ensure that roads and cities were again "peaceful areas where Mexicans can travel safely without fear of loss of their liberty or life".

The party's reputation was marred by corruption, authoritarianism and frequent allegations of vote-rigging during its rule that ended in 2000.

Despite losing the presidency, the party held on to most of the country's 32 governorships.

Those statehouses served as a launching pad to reclaim the presidency when Nieto won the election earlier this year, defeating Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, his leftist rival.

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