Inside Story Americas
Mexico: The PRI's 'second chance'
The party that ruled Mexico with an iron fist returns to power but will it steer the country towards security?
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2012 10:49

It was not the resounding victory that polls had predicted but preliminary results show Enrique Pena Nieto, the candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), has won Mexico's presidential election.

"The number one priority now is to reduce the level of violence in the country and we know that we have to change the approach ... we need judicial reform, we need more transparency, we need rule of law and we also need very specific programmes of social development."

- Manuel Camacho Solis, Mexico's former secretary of foreign affairs

Pena Nieto promised his term would be "modern, democratic and transparent," as opposed to the autocratic style that defined his party's rule for more than 70 years.

"Today Mexicans have chosen a new transformation. Mexicans have given our party a second chance. We will honour it with results, with a new way of governing, according to the demands of a 21st century Mexico,"  Pena Nieto said.

"The fight against crime will continue with a new strategy to reduce violence and to protect the lives of Mexicans before anything else," he added.

The PRI's victory was also a rejection of the current President Filipe Calderon's policies. He will leave behind a stagnating economy and a war against drug cartels that is raging out of control.

"The degree to which he [Pena Nieto] is able to build consensuses, to build alliances and to enact important reforms across a series of domains is what will tell us whether this is a new generation of the PRI or not."

- Eric Hershberg, the director of the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University

At least 50,000 people have been killed since Calderon launched his military campaign against the drug cartels in 2006.

Pena Nieto's challenge will also be to convince the more than two-thirds of Mexicans that did not vote for him that he will bring the change they need.

Will Mexicans be better off with Pena Nieto in power?

To discuss this, Inside Story Americas, with presenter Anand Naidoo, is joined by guests: Eric Hershberg, the director of the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University; Manuel Camacho Solis, Mexico's former Secretary of Foreign Affairs and also the former mayor of Mexico City; and Manuel Soarez, the former chief of staff for the governor of the Bank of Mexico.

"What is being asked here is not if the Mexican state has to fight or not fight crime, the issue is how we fight crime. We think today that the strategy is tremendously violent, unecessarily in some cases and that some of the main crimes that hurt people the most, that hurt citizens like kidnapping, robbery, murder, are not being properly prosecuted. So we are fighting or actually concentrating all of the resources or most of the resources of the government and the state to fight organised crime in terms of drug-trafficking, other crimes are being left aside or not being fought correctly. And that's what's going to change ... the strategy.

Arnulfo Valdivia Machucha, a campaign coordinator for the Pena Nieto campaign



  • Pena Nieto (PRI) wins the election according to preliminary results
  • The PRI was created after the turmoil of the Mexican revolution
  • The PRI governed Mexico for 71 years before losing power in 2000
  • Enrique Pena Nieto has vowed not to return to the past
  • Early results show Pena Nieto winning with 37.5 per cent of the vote
  • Winner Enrique Pena Nieto says "today democracy won"
  • Pena Nieto vows to craft a "modern and responsible" presidency
  • Felipe Calderon congratulated Pena Nieto on his triumph
  • Calderon promised to work with Pena Nieto during his transition
  • Early results show Lopez Obrador came in second with 32.2 per cent
  • PRI unlikely to win an absolute majority in senate or lower house
  • Pena Nieto has thanked voters for giving his PRI party another chance


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