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Tribunal certifies Peña Nieto as president-elect

September 3, 2012

Two months on from the July 1 election, Mexico’s Federal Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF) finally confirmed Enrique Peña Nieto as president-elect last Friday.

“Mexico will have a modern, responsible presidency, open to criticism, willing to listen and take into account all Mexicans,” Peña Nieto promised upon being named the legitimate winner.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate will take up office on December 1, having triumphed by a margin of 3.3 million votes.

The seven judges that comprise the TEPJF said his opponent Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had failed to prove allegations that vote-buying affected the outcome of the election.

In a statement on Friday, the PRI said the ruling “has ended the contentious and combative phase of the federal electoral process and has fully demonstrated the legitimacy of Enrique Peña Nieto’s victory at the ballot box.”

Lopez Obrador refused to recognize the tribunal’s decision and called for his supporters to protest peacefully in Mexico City’s Zocalo on September 9.

“Civil disobedience is an honorable duty when it is aimed against thieves who steal the hope and happiness of the people,” he said. “I call on all supporters of democracy to gather at the Zocalo.”

In Guadalajara, around 100 members of the #YoSoy132 student movement marched to the TEPJF’s regional offices on Avenida Morelos to protest the tribunal’s decision. They, like Lopez Obrador, accused the TEPJF of undermining democracy by rejecting evidence of vote-buying and other violations of electoral law by the PRI.

The magistrates said their was no proof that the many alleged campaign gifts submitted as evidence had actually come from the PRI, nor that they would have significantly altered the outcome of the election. However, the TEPJF failed to conduct its own investigation into the allegations against the PRI; instead it simply examined the evidence presented by Lopez Obrador and declared it insufficient.

Lopez Obrador led lengthy and disruptive demonstrations in the capital after narrowly losing the 2006 election to Felipe Calderon, but having lost by a much greater margin this time around it seems unlikely that he will lead such sustained protests.

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