Sunday 24 September 2017

Mexico's president-elect vows 'no return to past'

Raf Sanchez in Washington

Mexico's president-elect yesterday vowed there would be "no return to the past" as his party regained control of the country it once ruled for 71 continuous years.

Enrique Pena Nieto said that his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had changed and would never revert to the patronage and repression that earned it the nickname "the perfect dictatorship".

"We are a new generation," the 45 year-old told a cheering crowd as government exit polls projected him to win 38pc of the vote.

While the election's final results will not be available for several days, Mr Pena Nieto claimed victory as surveys showed the Centrist ahead of his closest rival, the Left's Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, by around seven points.

Mr Lopez Obrador yesterday refused to concede the election, saying: "The last word has not been spoken yet.". Analysts said it was unlikely he would repeat the mass protests he led in 2006 after losing the presidential race by less than 1pc.

The governing National Action Party's candidate came a distant third and President Felipe Calderon immediately congratulated Mr Pena Nieto on his victory.

Mr Pena Nieto, a telegenic lawyer who is married to one of the country's most popular soap opera actresses, led a remarkable turnaround for the once reviled party, taking back the presidency and probably seizing control of Congress in a single election.

Formed in the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution, the PRI governed from 1929 until 2000, when it was finally cast out by an electorate exhausted from decades of corruption, backroom deals and even violence.

But Mexicans returned to the party in the face of faltering economic growth and a bloody drug war that has cost more 50,000 lives in the past six years. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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