Amidst huge protests in front of Congress, Enrique Peña Nieto, the photogenic and politically savvy president elect, was sworn in as the next president of Mexico on Saturday. Peña Nieto is the former governor of a state in Mexico. Outside the streets were filled with protesters and one was critically injured after clashing with police dressed in riot gear. The Red Cross said the student was hit in the head with an object and taken to a nearby hospital.
The protests reflected how a number of Mexicans feel who have accused Peña Nieto and the PRI Party (Institutional Revolutionary Party) of carrying out bribes and other illicit activities to win July’s election. Opposition leaders filed formal complaints over the election but an election tribunal ruled against them and July 1’s election was declared legitimate.
In the ceremony, Peña Nieto was handed the red, green and white sash by his predecessor, Felipe Calderon. Calderon’s six-year term was marked by the vicious war staged against drug traffickers, violence and a sluggish economy. Prior to giving the sash to the new president, Calderon kissed the sash amongst the attendees’ chants of Mexico, Mexico!
When Calderon was elected in 2006, he knocked the PRI Party out of power after seven decades of continual rule. Peña Nieto said he was ushering in a new, modern version of the PRI and he would not resort to tactics the Party carried out previously of corruption with an autocratic rule. However, because of the large protests, it is evident that not all of the population believes Peña Nieto’s word. Black banners could be seen for blocks, which had been hoisted by the left declaring Mexico to be in mourning because of all the lives lost during Calderon’s reign.