National Press Club

Former Mexican governor upbeat for July presidential elections

November 17, 2011 | By Tejinder Singh | tejindersinghdc@gmail.com

Enrique Pena Nieto discusses trade, security, immigration and economic relations at a National Press Club Newsmaker November 15, 2011.  Mr. Nieto is the leading candidate for the Mexican presidency in 2012.

Enrique Pena Nieto discusses trade, security, immigration and economic relations at a National Press Club Newsmaker November 15, 2011. Mr. Nieto is the leading candidate for the Mexican presidency in 2012.

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

The former governor of the State of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto said Tuesday he was ready to compete "with anyone," in the upcoming Mexican presidential elections.

Peña Nieto said as president he would push for the country's economic growth. Calling it a mutually dependent equation, Peña Nieto said security comes with economic growth and in turn, secure environs promote more economic prosperity.

“If we really want to pay attention to security, education and health, we need to grow first," he said.

Peña Nieto, the candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party, known by its Spanish acronym PRI, took questions at a Newsmaker event at the National Press Club.

He refuted allegations voter fraud from the two losing parties after a weekend election in which his party’s nominee, Fausto Vallejo Figueroa, won 35% of the vote, edging out Luisa Maria Calderón, the sister of incumbent President Felipe Calderón, who won 33% of the vote.

Peña Nieto called allegations that the PRI aligned itself with organized crime to intimidate voters “nonsense,” adding that the political parties should learn to take defeat in their stride as much as they celebrate victories.

In the presidential election, his opposition includes Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who represents the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD).

“I have nothing to say or to qualify, I hope to be the bearer of my party and deal with anyone or whoever the opposition candidates are," Peña Nieto said.

Peña Nieto, who leads in most of Mexico's opinion polls, said, “I am very sure that the PRI is on the path of winning the presidential election. My aim is to participate in this process in a civilized manner, avoiding a confrontation especially marked by the 'dirty war' which, I believe, does not contribute to the construction of our democracy.”

Peña Nieto said he was "optimistic" that the PRI would conclude an agreement to form alliances with the Green Party and New Alliance (Honeycomb) ahead of the presidential elections of July 1, 2012.