Monday, May 7, 2012



Poll in Sunday's Milenio: EPN 47% JVM 27% AMLO 24%

Comment: Bridges for sale, with or without hanging decorations.

Candidate in vote July 1 says party has adapted well
Mexico's PRI, ahead in poll, says it's done with old, corrupt ways
Mcclatchy Newspapers
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 12:00 am |

MEXICO CITY - The Institutional Revolutionary Party, known by its
Spanish initials as the PRI, ruled Mexico for 71 consecutive years
before it lost the presidency 12 years ago.
Now, with its candidate the front-runner in the July 1 election
campaign, it's trying to recast itself as no longer the corrupt,
opaque and repressive machine that gripped Mexico for much of the
20th century in one-party rule.
Competitors deride the idea of a "new PRI," saying the party's old
practices will reappear if its candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, wins
and takes office Dec. 1.
Peña Nieto, a telegenic politician with a 100-watt smile, bristles,
however, at suggestions that the PRI hasn't adapted.
"These kinds of designations come without any basis from our
adversaries," he told foreign reporters last week. "Today,
fortunately, we have a more solid, strengthened democratic system."
Since it lost power in 2000, he said, the PRI "has assimilated the
political conditions of Mexico today."
Even bitter former opponents of the PRI agree with Peña Nieto that
Mexico's politics have changed, impeding any significant lurch backward.
Former President Vicente Fox, who in 2000 became the first opposition
leader to take power in modern times, said the PRI had governed for
decades "without democracy, without transparency and without
"Today, we have a different Mexico," Fox said. "We have a legislative
branch and a judiciary that each day give us examples of independent
postures and rulings. So against that (old) PRI is this new
democratic reality of Mexico. It gives me confidence. It gives me
peace of mind."
A poll that the survey firm Consulta Mitofsky released Wednesday gave
Peña Nieto 38 percent support, followed by 22 percent for Josefina
Vazquez Mota of the ruling National Action Party and 18 percent for
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of a leftist coalition. A fourth
candidate, Gabriel Quadri, pulls in less than 1 percent. In Mexico,
whoever receives the most votes wins; there is no runoff.
More than a fifth of the electorate remains undecided, however, a
symptom of a curiously lackluster campaign, despite the rampant
violence that's taken more than 50,000 lives in the past six years
and a host of other problems, including chronic unemployment, poverty
and inequality.
Handlers have packaged Peña Nieto carefully, offering videos of him
with his glamorous soap-opera-star second wife in hopes of overcoming
a few "deer in the headlights" gaffes that he made in media
appearances last fall.
"They've been extremely careful of allowing him to be examined by
journalists," said Dag Mossige, an expert on modern Mexican politics
at Davidson College in North Carolina.
"He has the appearance of giving very canned answers."

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