Mass Mexico City protest against Pena Nieto win

Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through Mexico City against the presidential election win of Enrique Pena Nieto, accusing him and his party of widespread vote-buying.

The marchers claim Pena Nieto, from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), "bought" his way to victory by handing out gift cards and securing paid favorable media coverage from the country's two main TV networks.

"Get out Pena, Mexico without the PRI!" the protesters chanted as the massive crowd made its way down the Paseo de la Reforma -- a main thoroughfare in the capital -- to the Zocalo, the city's giant downtown square.

Mexico's independent election authority on Friday ratified Pena Nieto's victory in the July 1 vote, saying he bested his nearest opponent, leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, by nearly seven percentage points.

But many in this country of 112 million have refused to accept Pena Nieto's victory, which marks the return to power of the PRI, the party that ruled Mexico for seven decades until 2000, amid accusations of rigged elections and repression.

"We would look really bad if Pena Nieto would take office and we did nothing," said Mara Soto, a 21 year-old student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

Lopez Obrador, from the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), also came in second in the 2006 presidential election, that time by the slimmest of margins -- less than one percentage point.

He led protests that virtually paralyzed Mexico City for more than a month, claiming fraud in the contest in which outgoing President Felipe Calderon was elected.

Lopez Obrador however has said he was not behind Saturday's march, which participants said was organized online via Facebook, Twitter and activist blogs. Students of the #YoSoy133 protest movement also said they did not organize the demonstration.

Pena Nieto, 45, is set to take office in December. He inherits a country engaged in a brutal drug war and an economy struggling to create jobs. Nearly half of all Mexicans are poor, according to government figures.

Most of the marchers on Saturday appeared to be in their 20s, but families with young children and plenty of middle-aged protesters also attended.

"I'm not young, but I'm with you!" cried out Noe Santillan Ortiz, 50, who addressed the crowd from the base of the Angel of Independence monument, where the march began.

He then screamed himself hoarse leading expletive-laden anti-PRI chants. The crowd followed and roared with approval.

Much of the anger was directed at Televisa, the largest media conglomerate in the Spanish-speaking world, and the smaller TV Azteca.

According to a March survey by Defoe consultants, 90 percent of Mexicans get their news from TV -- which, outside of cable TV, the two networks dominate.

Pena Nieto's wife, Angelica Rivera, was a Televisa soap opera diva and star of telenovelas that include the 2007 hit "Distilling Love."

Critics point to documents leaked to local and foreign media alleging that Pena Nieto paid Televisa for years of glowing coverage. Both Pena Nieto and Televisa deny the charges.

Plenty of anger was also directed at Soriana, Mexico's giant supermarket chain.

Pena Nieto "took advantage of the need of poor people to buy votes," said Gabriel Mendoza, a 54 year-old carpenter, pointing to a yellow Soriana gift card allegedly handed out by the PRI. The card had the logo of a pro-PRI union.

Immediately after the vote, Soriana supermarkets were swamped with people armed with yellow gift cards they said came from the PRI, fearful that the cards would be canceled after the election.

The PRI insists it ran a clean election, and Soriana said the cards with union logos are part of a special buyer's program. At least one PRI governor said the cards were part of a state program to help school children.

On Saturday Lopez Obrador -- who said he will contest the results legally and peacefully -- urged authorities to investigate the vote buying charges, and called on Calderon's conservative National Action Party (PAN) to join efforts to prove that the PRI broke campaign spending limits.

Octavio Aguilar, a senior campaign official for failed PAN presidential candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota, told AFP Friday that he estimates that the PRI spent up to $500 million on the campaign, far beyond the legal limit of $30 million.

"This isn't going to stay like this," threatened Humberto Sanchez, 19. "There will be more marches."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Filipino, Vietnamese troops play games on Spratly island

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Filipino and Vietnamese troops played football and tug-of-war Wednesday to foster camaraderie at a Philippine-held island in the South China Sea, where territorial rifts have escalated following China's island-building activities. …

  • Philippine, Vietnamese troops play soccer and sing on disputed island

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - Vietnamese and Philippine troops played soccer and sang karaoke on a South China Sea island on Wednesday in a sign of the growing security ties between the two Southeast Asian nations most at odds with Beijing over the contested waterway. Cooperation has blossomed between Hanoi and Manila since they shelved decades of enmity over their competing claims in the Spratly archipelago to try to counter China, whose creation of artificial islands in the region …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Fall on renewed U.S. rate hike concerns

    BANGKOK, May 27 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets tumbled on Wednesday as investors resumed selling on expectations of an interest rate hike in the U.S. sooner rather than later, derailing Philippine ... …

  • Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute
    Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute

    As US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Regan began its journey to Asian waters amid China’s power flexing in the region, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin would try to hear directly from his US counterpart how far America is willing to go to aid its long-time ally against China’s threatening moves in disputed waters. Gazmin flew to Hawaii last Monday to attend ceremonies for the turnover of leadership of the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) from Admiral Samuel Locklear to Admiral Harry …

  • Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level
    Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level

    The water level of Angat Dam in Bulacan yesterday fell below the 180-meter critical level for irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. PAGASA said the dam’s water level further dropped to 179.98 meters as of 6 a.m. yesterday from 180.2 meters on Monday. The priority is the domestic consumption in Metro Manila, according to PAGASA. …

  • PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid
    PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid

    The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) reported yesterday that an estimated P3-billion charity fund has been allocated by Congress to the agency to provide medical assistance to indigent patients and also give funds to other government offices including the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Crop Insurance Program. …

  • Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila
    Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila

    In this photo by Bullit Marquez, a demolition crew begins to tear down a squatters' community at suburban Caloocan city, north of Manila, Philippines. Population growth and the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas have driven millions of Filipinos into the squatters' colonies that dot the sprawling metropolitan area in and around Manila. Most of the land they occupy is privately owned, and clearing the dwellings often results in violence. The landowner had offered about $1,344 in …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Mostly down; Thai shares near 2-week low

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most sharemarkets in Southeast Asia fell on Tuesday with the Thai index ending at a near two-week low and the Philippines touching a near four-week low after trade data while ... …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options