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Peña Nieto Takes Reins in Mexico

December 3, 2012 – Amidst a large protest, Enrique Peña Nieto, a politically savvy and photogenic former governor of one of Mexico’s states, was sworn in Saturday as the new President of Mexico. The raucous ceremony was marked by a large and violent protest that injured a number of people.

One of the demonstrators, a student, clashed with riot police and was critically injured after being hit in the head by an unknown object, said the Red Cross.

The large protest reflected how upset many Mexicans are who have accused Peña Nieto and his PRI Party (Institutional Revolutionary Party) of bribes and other illegal activities to win the recent election. Formal complaints were ruled against by an election tribunal and the election of July 1 was ruled legitimate.

The ceremony was held in Congresses lower house and that is where Peña Nieto was given the green, red and white presidential sash by Felipe Calderon, his predecessor, whose term of six years was characterized by a war against drug trafficking gangs, heavy violence and an economy that grew very slowly. Prior to handing the sash to Peña Nieto, Calderon gave it a kiss, while people in attendance started chanting “Mexico, Mexico!”

The PRI have now returned to power after being ousted in 2000 when Calderon was elected following seven decades of rule. Peña Nieto has said he is ushering in a modern and new PRI that is not going to resort to prior tactics of autocratic rule and corruption. However, not the entire population is convinced by his promises.

A black banner was hoisted by congressmen from the left that declared Mexico was in mourning, which alluded to the thousands of people who were killed in the six-year administration of Calderon. Others present protested over what they said was an election based on fraud.

In the streets outside the Congress, students and many others clashed repeatedly with the police. One large group of protesters threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at barriers police had erected to stop people from getting into Congress.

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