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Mexico's next president faces uphill fight

July 3, 2012 • World News


Surrounded by unidentified members of his coalition, Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), second from left, speaks during a press conference at a hotel in Mexico City, Monday, July 2, 2012. After official results showed Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) winning 38 per cent of the vote with more than 92 per cent of the votes counted, Lopez Obrador has not conceded Sunday’s elections, telling his supporters Monday evening that, “We can’t accept a fraudulent result,” a reference to his allegations that Pena Nieto exceeded campaign spending limits, bought votes in some states and benefited from favorable coverage in Mexico’s semi-monopolized television industry.(AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The apparent victor of Mexico’s presidential race, Enrique Pena Nieto, struggled Monday with the sticky bonds of his party’s notorious past, the limitation of his election mandate and an opponent who refused to concede defeat.

His long-ruling and now-returned Institutional Revolutionary Party, the PRI, won only about 38 percent of the vote and is unlikely to get a majority in Congress. In fact, it may lose seats.

He faces an old guard in the PRI that still exercises considerable power, a war with fierce drug cartels and a still sluggish economy. His closest rival, leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who polled a higher-than-expected vote of about 32 percent, refused to accept the loss, and many of his militant followers were suspicious of the results.

President Barack Obama called Pena Nieto on Monday to congratulate him. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City said Obama told him the United States “looks forward to advancing common goals, including promoting democracy, economic prosperity, and security in the region and around the globe, in the coming years.”

Pena Nieto’s account of the talk suggested his party has left behind the touchy nationalism of the past. He expressed interest in cooperation in security, commerce and infrastructure, but didn’t bring up the traditional Mexican issue of U.S. immigration reform to help the 12 million Mexicans who live in the United States.

Pena Nieto said he wanted “a relationship that will allow the Login to read more

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