With 98.95% of the votes counted according to preliminary (however official) information divulged by the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE in Spanish), Mr. Enrique Peña Nieto received 38.15% of the votes. Mr. Andrés M. López is runner-up having received 31.64% of the votes.
This means the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico for over seven decades (until 2000) will now return to the power, amidst the grim atmosphere generated by the (failed) so called war on drug cartels launched by current president Mr. Felipe Calderón from the National Action Party (PAN), which by the way obtained less than 26% of the votes in what has been deemed as a “disastrous defeat”.
Mexicans have given our party a second chance (…) We will honour it with results and with a new form of governing that responds to the demands of Mexico in the 21st century: Enrique Peña.
79.4 million Mexicans were expected to vote in this election, but just 63% effectively cast their vote according to the IFE.
All presidential candidates have accepted the preliminary results, except for López from the Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD) who argued he will wait for definitive results, however his followers have not hidden their anger and have already gone out to the streets to march and perform demonstrations of disapproval to the presumed President-elect Peña. Some of these protesters have already begun to vandalise public property as shown in the picture below.
Left-wing analyst, Prof. John M. Ackerman has dubbed the result of last weekend’s election as “The Return of the Mexican Dinosaur”, and he states widespread frustration with 12 years of uneven political progress and stunted economic growth under the right-wing PAN has driven part of the Mexican electorate to desperately call the old-guard PRI back to power. Meanwhile, in a repeat of the country’s last presidential race in 2006, the left-wing PRD has once again finished a close second.
On the other hand, Prof. Jorge Castañeda (New York University) believes behind these mixed results may lie a promising future for Mexico and its people and assures those who fear a PRI restoration can rest assured: The new president will be constrained by Mexico’s recently acquired checks and balances.
There may be rough weeks ahead for Mexicans as Mr. López’s supporters (and the youngsters who march under the name “I am 132”) refuse to accept the official results and the candidate himself has not admitted defeat. Although there is so much work to do in key issues, many may focus on the protest and could spark a post-electoral conflict which would damage the country even more.
July 3rd, 2012.