Thousands upon thousands of protesters gathered together on Saturday in Mexico City to denounce the recent presidential victory of Enrique Peña Nieto. The president-elect is part of the PRI, or Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ran Mexico for almost the entirety of the twentieth century.
The Examiner’s Beatriz Schiava provides perhaps the most succinct explanation as to why so many Mexicans are upset at the recent PRI victory:
The PRI, the “official” party that controlled the country for more than seven decades while submerging the country into corruption, huge inefficient and corrupt government bureaucracy, criminality and poverty is back to power. This presidential campaign is perhaps one of the dirtiest campaigns Mexico has ever seen, and there have been many, perpetrated by the PRI.
Protesters were indeed marching against Peña Nieto in the light of recent allegations over the last three months that he bought off local media to slant coverage in his favor and that he bought votes from citizens with gift cards and presents of groceries. Many people also fear that their vote was tampered with after they submitted their ballot. Marchers held signs aloft that read, “Not another fraud!” the BBC notes.
A student protest movement has been boiling for the last couple of months. The movement, entitled “Yo Soy 132″, began in early June as unrest began to unfold during Peña Nieto’s campaign trail. Students demanded that their voices be heard after Peña Nieto brushed off opposition from students at a speech he gave at a university. Here’s a video from “Yo Soy 132″ that gives an idea of the strength, vibrancy and passion this movement has culled.
Protests in Mexico City have been a regular occurrence leading up to the July 1st elections, which put Peña Nieto at the top of the polls. A recount was instituted last week in the wake of worries over “irregularities” in the polling stations. Peña Nieto remained in the lead, sealing his victory in place by the end of the week.
The runner-up Andres Manuel López Obrador plans to file a formal legal challenge against Peña Nieto in the coming months accusing the PRI of fraud and buying off media and votes, the Guardian reports. The student movement, López Obrador and even many residents who are not leftists remain aggravated and wary of the hidden agendas of the PRI, demanding transparency in government processes and a rigorous investigation into the latest election.
The PRI and Peña Nieto have maintained complete innocence in the face of every accusation of injustice. Many local newspapers have insisted that there is clear documentation that the president-elect and the PRI bought votes throughout the country. Peña Nieto does not take responsibility for party corruption stating to the New York Times, “I can’t single out my party. In all parties there are regrettable cases that have tarnished the institutions represented by certain actors.”
The victorious and staunch PRI candidate plans to “strengthen the state” through the creation of such agencies as the National Anticorruption Commission. He also states that he wants to increase police presence in rural areas as a means to achieving a “complete rule of law” the New York Times reports.
Sunday’s protest in Mexico City looked to be compiled of a variety of oppositional forces, including supporters of López Obrador, the student movement and concerned citizens. Will protests such as Sunday’s be possible for those who oppose the PRI once it regains power in Mexico?
Photo Credit: Tbhotch