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Tens of thousands protest 'vote-buying' in Mexico

Protesters are accusing Enrique Pena Nieto, Mexico's newly elected president, of giving gifts to voters before the election.

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A masked indigenous woman from Oaxaca protests outside Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) in Mexico City July 5. Mexico's Enrique Pena Nieto was a clear victor in the presidential election, according to a second tally of votes made after the runner-up refused to accept defeat.

Edgard Garrido/REUTERS

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Tens of thousands of people marched in Mexico's capital on Saturday to protest Enrique Pena Nieto's apparent win in the country's presidential election, accusing his long ruling party of buying votes.

The protesters were angered by allegations that Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party gave out bags of groceries, pre-paid gift cards and other goods to voters ahead of July 1 national elections.

The students, unionists and leftists in the march carried signs reading, "Pena, how much did it cost to become president?" and "Mexico, you pawned your future for 500 pesos." Mexico City officials put the size of the crowd that reached its central Zocalo plaza at 50,000.

"The fraud was carried out before (the election), buying votes, tricking the people," said Gabriel Petatan Garcia, a geography student who carried a sign in Finnish.

Protesters also carried signs in English, Japanese, French, German and other languages to call the attention of the international press.

Pena Nieto, a youthful, 45-year-old married to a soap opera star, won last Sunday's election by 6.6 percentage points, according to the official count, bringing the PRI back to power after 12 years in opposition. The party had ruled Mexico for 71 consecutive years, with what critics say was the help of corruption, patronage and vote fraud.

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