Enrique Pena Nieto took the oath of office as Mexico’s new president on Saturday, promising a list of specific reforms that are part old-party populist handouts to the poor and new assaults on the entrenched systems and sacred cows that have hampered the country’s development.
Pena Nieto, marking the return of the institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, promised everything from a new integrated program to prevent crime to ending the patronage and buying of teacher positions that rule the public education system and opening up broadband Internet service now dominated by just a few telecommunication monopolies.
“It’s time to move Mexico and to achieve a national transformation,” Pena Nieto said. “This is the moment for Mexico.”
The return of the PRI after a 12-year hiatus started with violent confrontations in the streets and protest speeches from opposition parties inside the congress, where Pena Nieto took the oath of office. Protesters continued vandalizing downtown businesses, smashing plate glass windows and setting office furniture ablaze outside.
Protesters clashed with tear gas-wielding police, calling the inauguration of Pena Nieto an “imposition” of a party that ruled with a near-iron fist for 71 years using a mix of populist handouts, graft and rigged elections. At least two people were injured, one gravely, police said, and a police officer who was bleeding from the face was taken for medical treatment