MEXICO CITY — Now that federal election authorities in Mexico have confirmed Enrique Peña Nieto to be the winner of the contested presidential election, the 45-year-old politician is setting out a new course for his nation.
In one of his first interviews, the president-elect repeated his vow to fight organized crime and to restore security in regions of Mexico ravaged by the drug war.
“There will be no pact or truce,” Peña Nieto pledged.
Critics allege his political party, the PRI, cut deals with drug cartels when it ran the country in the past.
The president-elect said he will continue to work closely with the United States, but would “adjust the strategy” to reduce violent crime.
Thousands of Mexican families have fled across the border to Texas and elsewhere in the US seeking a safe haven. When asked when those families might feel it’s safe to return, Peña Nieto said: “It’s difficult to talk about a precise timetable, but what is clear is that the Mexican people expect quick results.”
The president-elect credited the Calderon administration for some advances, including an effort to build a more professional police force at the federal and state levels.
As Peña Nieto begins the transition to power, he faces questions about how he won the election.
There are mounting allegations that his political party, the PRI, violated campaign spending laws and bought votes by offering grocery store gift cards to supporters.
Peña Nieto condemned the tactics.
“I’d ask any Mexican, 'How much is your vote worth?' This is a despicable practice that disrespects our democratic constitution and the Mexican people,” he said.
YouTube videos show women with prepaid grocery store gift cards who claim they got the cards in exchange for their votes. The PRI party said the videos were crude political theater staged by rivals.
The runner-up in the presidential election, Andres Manuel López Obrador of the leftist PRD party, refuses to concede, and is calling for a full investigation of vote-buying complaints.
Mexico’s president Felipe Calderon, who narrowly beat López Obrador in 2006, said he is also concerned about the mounting accusations.
An election tribunal has until September to investigate the complaints and to certify the election results.
In the meantime, Peña Nieto said he’s confident in the election results and proud of the record turnout.
“I’ll be the president who won with the largest number of votes,” he said.