In Mexico vote, comeback beckons for old rulers
By Lizbeth Diaz and Dave Graham
MEXICO CITY, Mexico (Reuters) - Mexico's old rulers were on track for a comeback as voters chose a new president on Sunday, after a grisly war with drug cartels and a sluggish economy wore down the ruling conservatives.
Twelve years after the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) lost power, opinion polls showed its candidate, Enrique Pena Nieto, heading into the vote with a double-digit lead over his opponents.
Voters ousted the PRI in 2000 after 71 years of virtual single-party rule that was tainted by corruption, electoral fraud and authoritarianism.
But Pena Nieto has established himself as the new face of the party, which has bounced back, in part because of economic malaise and lawlessness under the conservative National Action Party (PAN).
A noisy crowd of protesters met Pena Nieto when he voted in Atlacomulco, about two hours northwest of the capital, but hundreds of his supporters shouted down the demonstrators.
A youthful-looking former governor of the State of Mexico, Pena Nieto promises reforms to improve the country's tax take, loosen the job market and open the state-owned oil firm Pemex to more foreign investment, citing Brazil's Petrobras as a model.
Mexicans are fiercely protective of Pemex, but the PRI, which nationalized oil production in 1938, could be the one party able to liberalize the energy sector.
"It's time for the PRI to return. They're the only ones who know how to govern," said Candelaria Puc, 70, preparing to vote in the beach resort of Cancun with the help of a friend because she cannot read or write. Continued...