Mexican media scandal: timeline How the relationship between Enrique Peña Nieto and Televisa blossomed

Mexican media scandal: timeline How the relationship between Enrique Peña Nieto and Televisa blossomed

Enrique Pena Nieto campaigns

Enrique Peña Nieto waves to supporters during a rally in Atlacomulco, Mexico. Photograph: Mario Vazquez/AFP/Getty Images

2005 Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI, still a little-known politician, is elected governor of the State of Mexico. The Mexican magazine Proceso publishes a copy of a budget proposal and promotional deal allegedly designed to raise his national profile through extensive advertising and new coverage.

2006 Felipe Calderón of the PAN wins the presidential election by a tiny margin over left wing candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador who claims he was cheated of victory by fraud and dirty media tricks. The PRI’s candidate, Roberto Madrazo, comes in a poor third.

2009 The PRI does very well in midterm congressional elections. The party’s resounding victory in the State of Mexico consolidates Peña Nieto as an early presidential front runner. Extensive coverage of him onTelevisa fuels allegations of media bias.

2011 Peña Nieto becomes the PRI presidential candidate with polls showing him far in front. López Obrador secures his second presidential candidacy but is far behind. The PAN does not choose its candidate, Josefina Vázquez Mota, until the following February.

11 May 2012 Students at the Ibero-American University in Mexico City protest against Televisa’s alleged support for Peña Nieto’s presidential campaign during a visit to the campus. The protest becomes a movement, Yosoy132, which campaigns against media bias in the election.

7 June 2012 The Guardian publishes a report based on a large cache of documents dating from 2005 that appears to show Televisa sold favourable coverage to many politicians, including Peña Nieto. The computer files also contain evidence of a smear campaign against López Obrador (below).

8 June 2012 The Guardian’s report causes online furore and is picked up by the leftwing press, but is largely ignored by mainstream. Televisa and Peña Nieto deny the allegations. Televisa questions the authenticity of the document and demands an apology.

8 June 2012 The Guardian reveals that the Wikileaks cables indicate that US State Department officials were discussing Televisa’s assumed support of Peña Nieto as early as 2009.

26 June 2012 The Guardian reveals that a new cache of documents and sources indicate that a secretive unit inside Televisa codenamed “Handcock” spearheaded an internet campaign to support Peña Nieto in a 2009 election which paved the way for the presidential candidacy. Peña Nieto’s campaign denies any knowledge of the unit or the campaign in his favour. Televisa refuses to comment on the new allegations and renews its demand for an apology over the original story

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Mexico court rejects Lopez Obrador election appeal

Mexico court rejects Lopez Obrador election appeal

Mexico’s highest electoral court has dismissed a legal challenge to the result of July’s presidential election by the runner-up, left-winger Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Mr Lopez Obrador had accused winner Enrique Pena Nieto of using illicit money to buy votes and media coverage.

But the court ruled that he had not produced enough evidence of wrongdoing.

A recount of the election result gave Mr Pena Nieto 38% of the vote to Mr Lopez Obrador’s 31%.

All seven judges on the Federal Electoral Tribunal voted on Thursday to reject the runner-up’s accusations.

“There is no proof of vote-buying, there is no proof of coercion,” Judge Flavio Galvan Rivera told the tribunal.

Mr Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which governed Mexico for 71 years until 2000, denied any wrongdoing.

The BBC’s Will Grant, in Mexico says that is now clear that Mr Pena Nieto will be sworn in as Mexico’s next president on 1 December.

“It is time to start a new phase of work on Mexico’s behalf,” Mr Pena Nieto tweeted after the ruling.

“With dialogue, understanding and agreements, we move together for the unity and greatness of Mexico.”

Limited options

There were minor scuffles between police and anti-PRI protesters outside the court after the decision was announced.

A student movement has organised several demonstrations against Mr Pena Nieto’s victory since the election, and further large protests may take place in Mexico City in the next few days, our correspondent says.

But there are very options left for Mr Lopez Obrador and his supporters, and the tribunal’s decision – while expected by many – may have taken the wind out of their sails, he adds.

Mr Lopez Obrador, a former mayor of Mexico City who leads the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), accused the PRI of bribing voters with presents ranging from supermarket gift cards to fertilizer, cement and livestock.

He also claimed Mr Pena Nieto had broken campaign rules by overspending, and that Mexico’s media was biased in favour of the PRI candidate.

One of the main challenges awaiting the new president will be the future of current government anti-drugs policy.

The PRI did not win a majority in congressional elections, also held on 1 July. This means he will probably need support from opposition parties.

Mexican court throws out presidential election challenge

Mexican court throws out presidential election challenge

Unanimous ruling by electoral tribunal paves way for Enrique Peña Nieto to take reins as PRI party returns to power

Enrique Pena Nieto

Enrique Peña Nieto celebrating in July. His rival Andrés Manuel López Obrador claimed he engaged in vote-buying and campaign spending excesses. Photograph: Daniel Aguilar/Getty Images

Mexico‘s highest election court has voted to dismiss legal challenges to the results of the 1 July presidential election by the second-placed candidate.

The unanimous ruling by the seven-member electoral tribunal paves the way for the Institutional Revolutionary party to return to power after it lost the presidency for the first time in 71 years in elections in 2000.

The party, known as the PRI, won the presidential vote with a 6.6-point advantage for its candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto. But leftwing rival Andrés Manuel López Obrador challenged the results, alleging Peña Nieto engaged in widespread vote-buying and campaign spending excesses.

Before the vote in their night-time session, all of the justices said they did not think supporters of López Obrador had submitted convincing evidence of the alleged abuses.

“Mexico has a president elected by the people, in the person of Enrique Peña Nieto,” said Justice Salvador Nava.

Justice Flavio Galvan dismissed evidence submitted by the leftist coalition regarding alleged abuses by Peña Nieto’s campaign as “vague, generic, imprecise”. The evidence included gift cards, household goods and even farm animals purportedly given out to voters by the PRI.

Outside the courthouse, demonstrators who believe Peña Nieto received an unfair advantage from media outlets, pollsters and campaign donors reacted with outrage.

A crowd of about 200 protesters chanted “No to imposition” and “Defend democracy”, and some grabbed steel security barriers that ring the courthouse and began banging them against the building’s gates. One youth group has called for a “funeral march for democracy” on Friday.

Ricardo Monreal, López Obrador’s campaign manager, said the justices were “acting like a gang of ruffians”.

The justices said some of the evidence submitted was hearsay or unclear. For example, they said the evidence included gifts allegedly given out by Peña Nieto’s party, the PRI, without proof that was where they came from or that the gifts had been given to influence votes.

Monreal complained that the justice wanted his coalition “to supply not just the evidence, but the victims and criminals” as well.

The court appeared to have done little if any of its own investigation into the accusations, which centred on hundreds and possibly thousands of pre-paid gift cards that shoppers at a Mexican grocery store chain said they were given by Peña Nieto’s party before the election.

The Associated Press interviewed about half a dozen people among shoppers who mobbed one Soriana store two days after the elections to redeem the cards; almost all said PRI supporters had given them the cards, expecting they would vote for the party. The court did not apparently interview any card recipients. Galvan said only that “there is no proof of vote-buying”.

“It has not been demonstrated that they [the cards] were given to citizens, or if that occurred, that it was done on condition they vote for a given candidate,” Galvan said.

Justice Pedro Penagos agreed, saying: “Even though the existence of the Soriana cards is proven … it has not been proven they were handed out, nor that they were in exchange for votes for Enrique Peña Nieto.”

The court’s ruling also came as electoral authorities were still investigating whether Peña Nieto’s campaign had exceeded campaign spending limits. To outsiders it appeared much better funded than those of his rivals.

The justices ruled those investigations may continue but would not be grounds for overturning the vote.

The ruling by the full court would be the final step before what is widely expected to be the tribunal’s confirmation of Peña Nieto’s victory.

According to the official count, Peña Nieto won 38% of the votes, followed by López Obrador of the leftist Democratic Revolution party at about 31%.

The PRI has denied wrongdoing. A confirmation of its victory would end a 12-year PRI absence from Mexico’s highest office, which it held without interruption from 1929 to 2000

Mexico court to rule on Pena Nieto’s poll victory

Mexico court to rule on Pena Nieto’s poll victory

Protesters outside Mexican Electoral CourtStreets near the court in Mexico City have been fenced off overnight to keep protesters away

The Mexican Electoral Court is meeting to rule on an appeal against the result of the 1 July presidential election.

The centre-right candidate, Enrique Pena Nieto, was declared the winner after a recount of nearly half of the votes.

The runner-up, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, then lodged a complaint.

He accused his opponent of buying millions of votes and breaking the law by exceeding spending limits.

Mr Pena Nieto rejects all the charges.

After the recount, Mexican electoral authorities said Mr Pena Nieto had won 38.21% of the vote to Mr Lopez Obrador’s 31.59%.

But Mr Lopez Obrador, from the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), says the vote should be declared void.

“Article 41 of the constitution, which states that elections must be free and fair, was violated,” he said.

The electoral court has until 6 September to issue a ruling, but analysts say it is expected to do so before the Congress reconvenes on Saturday.

Student anger

The PRI, which governed Mexico for 71 years until 2000, has been the target of many protests organised by a new student movement – YoSoy132 – since the vote.

Andres Manuel Lopez ObradorLopez Obrador lost the 2006 presidential election by a narrow margin

The students accuse the party of fraud and say the PRI candidate had unfair advantage during the campaign as he enjoyed favourable media coverage.

The new Mexican president is due to take office on 1 December.

One of the main challenges awaiting the new president will be the future of current government anti-drugs policy.

Since President Felipe Calderon deployed the army to fight Mexico’s powerful trafficking cartels in December 2006, more than 55,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence.

Mr Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) did not win a majority in congressional elections, also held on 1 July.

This means he will probably need support from opposition parties to enact reforms in key sectors such as energy, tax and labour

Mexico electoral judges reject challenge to Pena Nieto victor

Mexico electoral judges reject challenge to Pena Nieto victor

 

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A protester hits a pot during a demonstration outside Mexico's electoral court in Mexico City, August 30, 2012. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
 

By Lizbeth Diaz

MEXICO CITY | Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:46am BST

(Reuters) – Mexico’s electoral tribunal on Thursday unanimously rejected a legal bid to overturn Enrique Pena Nieto’s victory in the July 1 presidential election, paving the way for the centrist to take office and press ahead with his reform agenda.

Pena Nieto, 46, and his Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, were accused by runner-up Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of laundering money and buying votes to secure victory, but the judges said there was insufficient evidence of wrongdoing.

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Lopez Obrador, a leftist former mayor of Mexico City, accused the PRI of buying 5 million votes with illegal funding and plying voters with presents ranging from supermarket gift cards to fertilizer, cement and livestock.

The court must settle some smaller issues before Pena Nieto is officially declared president-elect and can take office in December, but the remaining issues are largely formalities.

“There is no proven vote buying, no evident coercion or illicit inducement,” Justice Flavio Galvan said, rejecting the challenge.

Hundreds of protesters shouted their disapproval outside the tribunal’s offices when the decision was announced.

Pena Nieto won the election by some 3.3 million votes, or about 6.5 percentage points. He rejected the claims of Lopez Obrador, who also unsuccessfully challenged the 2006 election result, which he lost by less than 1 percentage point.

Election experts say allegations of vote buying are nearly impossible to prove unless someone is caught in the act.

The youthful-looking Pena Nieto has had to hold back on his plans to forge deals in Congress over economic reforms due to the defiance of Lopez Obrador, who drew thousands of protesters to the streets after the July 1 election.

The protests tapped into memories of the PRI’s long rule in Mexico, which lasted between 1929 and 2000 and was frequently dogged by allegations of corruption and vote-rigging.

In 2000, officials were accused of funnelling more than $100 million (63 million pounds) from state oil firm Pemex to fund the PRI’s unsuccessful presidential bid, when it lost to the conservative National Action Party (PAN).

Electoral authorities fined the PRI, but prosecutors failed to convict officials linked to the crime.

Lopez Obrador’s allies have been accused of using similar tactics. In 2004, a close aide of Lopez Obrador was caught on camera stuffing wads of cash into a suitcase.

Once almost omnipotent in Mexico, the PRI has spent the last 12 years in opposition. Although Pena Nieto led it back to power in the July election, the party fell short of a majority in the new Congress, so it will rely on support from other parties to pass legislation.

The new Congress convenes on Saturday.

Pena Nieto has pledged to push through reforms to spur growth, such as extending the country’s tax base, opening up state oil giant Pemex to more private investment, and liberalizing antiquated labour laws.

His party has also said it will seek to bring more transparency and accountability into politics in Congress.

(With reporting by Anahi Rama, Dave Graham and Miguel Gutierrez; Editing by Kieran Murray and Stacey Joyce)

Thousands march in Mexico to protest Pena Nieto win

Thousands march in Mexico to protest Pena Nieto win

(Reuters) – Thousands of people marched through Mexico City on Sunday to denounce the July 1 election of Enrique Pena Nieto as president, though the protest was smaller than one held earlier this month.

Pena Nieto’s capture of the presidency for the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, has been challenged by his rival, leftist runner-up Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who alleges the PRI resorted to vote-buying and money laundering to win.

Lopez Obrador is seeking to invalidate the PRI victory at the federal electoral tribunal, and the former mayor of Mexico City has pledged to keep the pressure up on Pena Nieto with rallies around the country starting at the end of this month.

On Sunday, student groups dominated the crowd that marched to the capital’s main square, chanting slogans like “Pena Out,” “Fraud, Fraud” with banners decrying what the protesters called the “imposition” of the PRI candidate on Mexico.

“The people have woken up. The people realize that the PRI violated the elections,” said Luis Martinez, a 25-year-old engineering student from Mexico City.

The PRI ran Mexico for 71 straight years until it was ousted in a 2000 election. The party’s rule was marred by allegations of corruption, vote-rigging and violent repression of dissent.

Officials in the capital estimated about 30,000 people turned out for Sunday’s protest, less than half the number seen at an anti-Pena Nieto demonstration there on July 7.

Authorities said the protest was peaceful.

Separate, smaller demonstrations against Pena Nieto took place in other parts of Mexico on Sunday.

The PRI has dismissed Lopez Obrador’s claims and accused him of being a sore loser. The 58-year-old also fought the outcome of the 2006 election, which he narrowly lost to President Felipe Calderon of the conservative National Action Party (PAN).

In 2006, the margin of Lopez Obrador’s loss to Calderon was less than 250,000 votes. This time he lost by over 3 million votes to Pena Nieto, who is due to take office in December.

The country’s electoral tribunal must rule on Lopez Obrador’s challenge by early September. Analysts do not expect the election result to be overturned.

In 2006, Lopez Obrador claimed he had been robbed and declared himself the rightful president of Mexico, leading massive street protests that choked the capital for weeks.

He remained a bitter opponent of Calderon, though this week PAN party chairman Gustavo Madero lent his support to Lopez Obrador’s money laundering accusations against Pena Nieto.

Pena Nieto has said he will be respectful of the protesters provided they are peaceful and don’t break the law.

(Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)