Party That Ruled Mexico for 70 Years Returns to Power

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Enrique Peña Nieto appears to have won Mexico's presidential election on Sunday, though his closest challenger refused to concede the race despite a sizable deficit at the polls. Peña Nieto won 38 percent of the vote in a divided field and was seven percentage points ahead of Andres Obrador after the initial count. However, Obrador said he would wait until the a more official tally was in before giving in saying, "We have information that indicates something different from what they're saying officially."

Peña Nieto is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which won every presidential election from 1929 to 1994, often by wildly inflated totals. The PRI became known for corruption and voter fraud, but was tough on crime and oversaw several decades of impressive economic growth following World War II. It was finally knocked out of power by the more conservative National Action Party [PAN] in 2000, but a faltering economy and the brutal war among rival drug cartels have led voters back to PRI, amid promises that the party has cleaned up its act. Peña Nieto said in his victory speech that, "We're a new generation. There is no return to the past."

As one voter put it to Reuters: "Nothing has improved since the PAN got in. The PRI understands how things work here. And it knows how to manage the drug gangs." Now the votes will cross their fingers and wait to see if that's still true.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.