Mexico’s presidential candidates offer some colorful surprises

Los Angeles Times, 5/6/12

The four candidates for president of Mexico met in a two-hour debateon Sunday night that saw several colorful surprises but few signs that one candidate pulled away with a sure win.

Although the format was tightly controlled, with pre-approved questions written on paper and chosen from a row of boxes, a string of attacks and counterattacks on the part of the candidates offered a much livelier evening than initially expected. Enrique Peña Nieto of the former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, held up a blown-up photograph of a newspaper article referring to a 2004 corruption case tied to leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Lopez Obrador, in turn, showed a photograph of Peña Nieto sitting arm in arm with former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari of the PRI, a move meant to remind voters of the corruption and repression that occurred in the Salinas administration. “Pure lies, pure insecurity, and that’s how they want to impose [the candidacy of] Peña Nieto,” Lopez Obrador said, referring to his long-held belief that the dominant television network Televisa is unofficially supporting the PRI campaign.

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