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Sat Sep 1, 2012 3:13AM
Mexico's president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto

Mexico's president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto

Mexico’s seven-judge electoral tribunal has unanimously named centrist Enrique Pena Nieto the winner of the July 1 presidential election, ending a lengthy dispute over the results. “Enrique Pena Nieto is the president-elect of... Mexico, from December 1, 2012, to November 30, 2018,” court president Jose Alejandro Luna Ramos said on Friday. Pena Nieto, 46, will be sworn in on December 1 and bring the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) back to power after 12 years in the political wilderness. Several hundred PRI supporters held a demonstration outside the tribunal amid a heavy police presence. On Thursday, the tribunal dismissed his leftist rival Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s appeal to scrap the result. The runner-up accused the PRI of vote buying and money laundering. Lopez Obrador refused to recognize the court's ruling and appealed to his supporters to hold a demonstration on September 9 in Mexico City. “The elections were neither clean nor free nor genuine, therefore I will not recognize an illegitimate administration that emerged from votes that were bought and other grave violations of the constitution,” he told reporters on Thursday. “Civil disobedience is an honorable duty when it is aimed against thieves who steal the hope and happiness of the people,” Lopez Obrador added. But the tribunal dismissed his accusations and said that Pena Nieto defeated Lopez Obrador by 3.3 million votes in the election in which more than 80 million people were eligible to cast their ballots. With nearly half of Mexico's 112 million people living in poverty, the economy has been one of the main issues in the election campaign. The war on drugs that was launched nearly six years ago by outgoing President Felipe Calderon was another issue dominating the campaign. Calderon's military crackdown on drug cartels has turned parts of the country into war zones. Mexico says over 55,000 people have been killed due to the drug trade and in wars between drug cartels since December 2006. GJH/MA
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