"Do not have any doubt that I will apply the law over whoever is responsible for not complying with the law," Peña Nieto said in a 40-minute interview last week. "It will be up to the electoral authorities to determine whether such practices took place... but whether it's during this [outgoing] government, or during my time in office, I will be for applying the law and punishing whoever may have incurred in an illegal practice."
Earlier in the interview, he had repeatedly asserted that "there was no vote buying" by his
López Obrador, who finished second in the vote, has requested the electoral tribunal to nullify the elections. He claims that the PRI bought millions of votes -- among other things by giving people gift cards for shopping at the Soriana supermarket chain. He also alleged that the PRI had vastly surpassed campaign spending limits and made back-door deals with the country's two largest television networks to get favorable TV coverage.
The electoral tribunal is scheduled to announce its ruling by
"This has been an exemplary democratic process, with unprecedented citizen participation. There were more than 50 million Mexicans who participated and voted in the polls, and 3 million who monitored it as electoral authorities and party representatives," Peña Nieto said.
When reminded that his PRI party has been the champion of vote-buying and other electoral tricks during its seven-decade rule until it was voted out of office in 2000, Peña Nieto suggested that other parties have been more guilty of that practice than his own in recent years.
But he said that "
Asked whether he will be a weak candidate -- he will face a divided congress and a sizable part of the population has doubts about his legitimacy -- he gave a long-winded answer that ended up with a recognition that he'll need to seek agreements with opposition parties in
"There is a big, majority, strong and clear support for the project that I'm heading," he said. "You can't consider a president weak because he will have a
Asked how will be manage to pass his ambitious energy reform to allow private sector investments in the country's state-owned
But that was before he could actually do anything, I noted. Peña Nieto responded: "But I have proposed that, I have committed myself to that and it clearly has been agreed and talked about among members of my party. There have been no voices against the structural reforms that I have proposed, especially the energy reform."
My opinion: If electoral authorities confirm Peña Nieto's victory and he takes office
Meeting his new promise to throw in jail those who engaged in vote buying, including leaders of his own party, would be the best way to boost his democratic credentials at home and abroad, and to set in motion his ambitious reforms to modernize
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