The ballots are finally in and the next Mexican president has been decided. The winner is the PRI party’s Enrique Pena Nieto. His opponents, however, are less than happy with the decision and some are even working hard to ensure that Nieto never takes office.
Nieto is being accused of buying votes by giving gifts to voters before the ballots were cast. His party was handing out pre-paid grocery cards to people and reminding them to vote for Nieto when the time came. There are also accusations of the PRI giving gifts of cash and other valuable items, as well as claims that the television stations were all fixed to give Nieto a positive spin. Andres Obrador is the main opponent crying foul. Of course, this isn’t the first time that Obrador has contested election results following his defeat, the last being in 2006.
The vote-buying scheme may not be all that it seems, however. Many who received the cards were quite upset with Nieto, saying that they were told there was much more on them then there actually turned out to be. More people appeared to be outraged than pleased with the gift.
And of course, what election would be complete without its touch of irony. Nieto, who is now being accused of giving people grocery gift-cards bribes, had previously accused another opponent of trying to buy votes by handing out free groceries. Apparently, groceries are the way to go if you want to manipulate elections in Mexico.
The whole stink has led to a recount, but Nieto looks to be passing the scrutiny with flying colors so far. The accusations of vote-buying seem valid, but the margin by which he defeated his opponents suggests that Nieto would have had little problem winning regardless.
Nieto, like all the others involved in the elections, was running on a platform of removing corruption and drug money from the government and Mexico in general. We shall see if this new addition to the Mexican elite will live up to those promises. The alternative is a country that remains as a hotbed of violence, drugs and government inefficiency.