Enrique Peña Nieto, an attractive, bumbling state governor who is not fond of elitist activities such as reading, is now projected to have won Mexico’s presidency. An official “rapid count” of ballots following Sunday’s election gives the muy guapo Governor of the State of Mexico and leading candidate from Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) a comfortable projected lead of between 6% and 7.7% over his closest rival, Andrés Manuel López Obradorl, of the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).
Peña Nieto’s centrist PRI party had formerly ruled Mexico’s government for 71 successive years until finally being booted from power by the conservative National Action Party (PAN) in 2000. The iron-fisted PRI politicians were notorious for corruption and election-rigging during their 71-year reign, and Mexicans had high hopes for the PAN party in 2000. However, with Mexico’s economy continuing to lag and nearly 50,000 organized crime homicides recorded in the past five years, the country has apparently decided “meh, maybe that iron fist wasn’t so bad after all.” The current president’s would-be PAN successor, Josefina Vázquez Mota, finished third in Sunday’s elections and conceded the loss prior to Monday’s official tally.
Peña Nieto, the husband of telenovela star Angélica Rivera, was known on the campaign trail for his many entertaining gaffes, making him the clear favorite here at The Daily Dolt. During a December 3, 2011 International Book Fair, where he was presenting his book “México, la gran esperanza” (Mexico, the great hope), Peña Nieto was asked at a press conference which books had influenced his life. Peña Nieto gave the classic “Um, all of ‘em, any of ‘em that, um, have, have been in front of me over all these years” type of answer, struggling to come up with specific books and then misattributing authorship of one of the few books his was able to name, ”La Silla del Águila” (The Eagle’s Throne), to Enrique Krauze, though it was in fact written by Carlos Fuentes. Peña Nieto eventually gave up, asking the people present in the press room to help him to match some book titles with their respective authors. Peña Nieto later explained that when he reads, he “focuses more on the reading” than on the authors and titles.
The lamestream Mexican media threw another “Gotcha” question at Peña Nieto just a few days later when Spanish newspaper El País asked him what the minimum wage in Mexico was and how much a kilo of tortillas typically costs nationwide. He answered incorrectly to the minimum wage question and, with regard to the tortillas, he reminded reporters he shouldn’t be expected to know about such things. ”I am not the housewife,” he famously said. Immediately, Twitter was abuzz with the tag #nosoylaseñoradelacasa.
Much like his political dopplegänger, Peña Nieto also tends to keep a rather casual relationship with the truth. As governor, he claimed that he had halved the murder rate in the State of Mexico, but he was forced to retract these bragging rights after The Economist showed that, actually, the murder rate had not diminished at all; crime was just being measured in a different way. Womp, womp.
To his credit, though, we are told that Peña Nieto is able to see Guatemala from his house, so we’re pretty sure he’s got foreign relations covered.
Photo: World Economic Forum/flickr
*A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that it was Felipe Calderon of PAN who took office in 2000. He was not elected until 2006 and was preceded by PAN’s Vicente Fox in 2000.