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Supporters cheer PRI presidential candidate Enrique Pena Nieto at his victory speech on July 1, 2012 in Mexico City, Mexico.
Mexican voters went to the polls Sunday, and early results show that Enrique Pena Nieto claimed victory. His party, the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), ruled Mexico for most of the 20th century, but was replaced by the conservative PAN (National Action Party) in 2000. The PAN government saw an advance in democracy, but that was eclipsed by increasing violence from the many drug cartels omnipresent in Mexican cities.
The PRI, which has long been associated with corruption (the party has been known to pay citizens to vote), typically was able to work out a deal with the cartels that didn’t infringe on their drug trafficking, but resulted in significantly less violence and safer streets for regular Mexicans. Now, Pena Nieto is promising that the PRI has reformed its old ways, and that the drug cartels will be dealt with without any backroom deals.
With the attitude and fresh face of a newcomer, how will Pena Nieto fare during his first term? What does the White House think of the outcome, and the PRI’s return to power? How will the two governments collaborate on key issues of drug cartels, immigrations and border violence?
Sam Quinones, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and author of “True Tales from Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino and the Bronx” (University of New Mexico Press)
Andrew Selee, VP and director of the Mexico Institute at Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars. IN