Mexico's Calderon defends war on drug cartels
Latest polls suggest the main opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, whose 71 years of authoritarian and often corrupt rule were ended by the PAN's candidate Vicente Fox in 2000, will win the 2012 presidential elections.
The PRI is expected to field the popular outgoing governor of the State of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, who called for more resources in tackling crime and security after the speech.
The country's police forces needed to be more professional and better-trained, Pena Nieto said, vowing to speed up the building of new training centers for police and officials.
"At the end of the day the most important things are coordination, clearly identifying the objectives and more resources for issues like public security," he told reporters.
Security forces have captured or killed many senior traffickers and Calderon says the violence is a sign of the cartels' weakness. But critics say his policy of using force to bring down the cartels has made a bad situation worse.
Locals in the prosperous northern city of Monterrey were appalled by the death toll after suspected members of the Zetas drug cartel attacked the Casino Royale last Thursday.
Hitmen, local traffickers and police initially made up the bulk of the drug war dead, but most of the largely female victims in the Monterrey casino were middle class, the kind of people who have made the city a PAN stronghold.
Long viewed as a jewel in the crown of the Mexican economy, Monterrey, a city of 4 million, has become a potent symbol of how the drug war can quickly ravage major cities. Continued...