UK & World News
Mexico Votes In Presidential Elections
Enrique Pena Nieto looks set to be elected as president after elections in Mexico.
The candidate, who is a former state governor, has pledged to reduce the death toll in Mexico, prompting fears that he will relax confrontation of the notorious cartels.
Pre-vote surveys showed Mr Pena Nieto, the candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) heading for a landslide victory in the country of 112 million people.
"My priority will be to battle the poverty in our country at its roots," he told a cheering crowd at his final campaign stop Wednesday in Toluca, just west of Mexico City.
The candidate did not mention the violence plaguing the country, which has left more than 50,000 dead since outgoing President Felipe Calderon deployed the military to crack down on drug cartels in late 2006.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador from the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) still believes he can pull off an upset by attracting voters who want to prevent the PRI from returning to power.
For decades synonymous with the Mexican state, the PRI governed through a mix of lavish patronage and selective repression, and by isolating political foes through rigged elections and skewed media coverage.
Peru's Mario Vargas Llosa once dubbed it "the perfect dictatorship."
Mr Lopez Obrador would know: he is one of the prominent left-wing PRI members who split with the party after the controversial 1988 election and co-founded the PRD.
The PRI was in power for 71 years until 2000, when Vicente Fox from the conservative National Action Party was elected president. He was followed by Calderon, a fellow PAN member.
Mr Lopez Obrador, often referred to by his initials AMLO, lost the 2006 presidential vote by less than 1%. Outraged at perceived voter fraud, he closed down Mexico City with street protests for more than a month.
This year a kinder, gentler Lopez Obrador, now 58, talked about leading a "republic of love" on the campaign trail. Critics laughed, but in the last weeks support among voters for AMLO began to rise.
In order to win, Mr Lopez Obrador will need to peel votes away from PAN candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota - an unlikely task, given their divergent political philosophies.
Ms Vazquez Mota, 51, is the first female presidential candidate of a major Mexican party, but her campaign failed to excite voters because she lacked bold proposals and because of her association with the unpopular Calderon, who by law cannot run for re-election.
Michael Reid, Americas editor of The Economist, told Sky News there is some consensus among the main candidates on how to tackle Mexico's drug-based organised crime problem.
He said: "There'll be more focus on building a proper police force, more focus on trying to curb violence and the most violent gangs, who carry out kidnappings and extortion, the kind of crimes that really hurt ordinary people in Mexico."
It is hard for Mr Pena Nieto, 45, not to shine with his glamorous TV star wife on his arm and three children in tow when compared to his older, lacklustre rivals.
He is a former governor of the densely populated state of Mexico and married to Angelica Rivera, star of the hit telenovela Distilled Love.
His lead in the polls has not been dented by bland performances in the televised presidential debates, a student movement prematurely dubbed the "Mexican Spring" or leaked documents alleging that he paid for years of glowing media coverage.
Even though security is a top concern in Mexico, the candidates have only proposed slight modifications to Calderon's disliked policies.