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In Mexico, Voters Hope for More Security, Economic Rewards

The Institutional Revolutionary Party of Enrique Pena Nieto (shown here with his wife Angelica Rivera Hurtado) led Mexico for 71 years before the conservative National Action Party took over 12 years ago.

Updated 5 a.m. ET July 2 | Voters elected Enrique Pena Nieto the next president of Mexico on Sunday, according to preliminary results, returning to power the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which had ruled the country for seven decades. But he spoke of moving forward in his victory address: “We’re a new generation. There is no return to the past,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

Original Story:

On Sunday, Mexicans cast their votes for president with many expressing hopes that a new leader will be able to control drug-related violence in the country and help more areas reap the rewards of a stabilizing economy.

NewsHour senior correspondent Margaret Warner spent the day reporting from polling sites in and around the capital Mexico City, where some voters voiced discontent with the ruling party’s approach to the drug war.

Dispatch: Why Mexico’s Ruling Party Seems Headed for Defeat

“I did pick up a lot of disaffection with the PAN (ruling party, Partido Accion Nacional) both because of security — that is, the drug-related violence that’s really raging through the country — and also just a sense that the economy, while fairly stable at least has not taken off as many people here in Mexico City think it should,” she said from a polling station in the middle-income neighborhood of Condesa in Mexico City.

View her full report:

Current President Felipe Calderon launched a military-led offensive against Mexico’s criminal cartels when he entered office six years ago, and since then an estimated 50,000 people have died in the fighting — leading some to call for a different strategy.

Watch a NewsHour report from Wednesday on the toll the drug war is taking on many of Mexico’s citizens:

Friday’s NewsHour highlighted criminal cartel violence in the border city of Cuidad Juarez, as told through the lens of long-time resident and photographer Julian Cardona:

Voter opinion polls conducted ahead of Sunday’s election showed the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s candidate Enrique Pena Nieto leading the other top two presidential contenders: the left-leaning Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Partido de la Revolucion Democratica, and ruling party candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota. (Read about Pena Nieto’s stances on the drug war and cooperation with the United States.)

Backers of Lopez Obrador told Warner at the polling station Sunday that they had “strong doubts” this election would be devoid of the fraud alleged in the last election in 2006, when their candidate narrowly lost to Calderon.

To try to prevent fraud, Mexico’s election commission has put certain identification checks in place, including issuing each voter a national ID card, which must be matched against a registry that displays a picture of the voter.

Election worker checks a voter ID at a polling site in Mexico City. Photo by Morgan Till/NewsHour.

But even before there’s any evidence of fraud, some are predicting major demonstrations if Lopez Obrador is not declared the winner, Warner said.

View all of the NewsHour team’s Mexico coverage.

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