Mexico election: Candidates in final debate push
Published: 11th Jun 2012 09:12:39
Mexico's four presidential candidates have held their final televised debate ahead of the 1 July election, promising to reduce violence and tackle poverty.
Hours earlier, thousands of young people protested in Mexico City against front-runner Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party.
The PRI ruled Mexico for more than 70 years before being defeated in 2000.
But Mr Pena Nieto, who has a wide lead in the polls, was largely untroubled during the debate, correspondents say.
Sunday's encounter was one of the last chances for the other candidates to make a dent in his lead.
Josefina Vazquez Mota, of the governing National Action Party (PAN), went on the attack, saying both Mr Pena Nieto and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador represented the past.
This final debate of the election campaign came against a background of protests by young people over what they say is biased coverage by the country's main media outlet, Televisa, in favour of Mr Pena Nieto. Many had expected the issue to dominate the debate.
In the end, it was conspicuous by its absence.
There are barely three weeks to go before the votes are cast. Many expected Mr Lopez Obrador to go on the offensive against Mr Pena Nieto.
But he was surprisingly reserved, focusing instead on issues such as corruption and reducing politicians' wages rather than engaging in much mutual mudslinging. As a result, Mr Pena Nieto emerged relatively unscathed.
Josefina Vazquez Mota of the governing PAN was probably the most aggressive in the debate.
But most commentators appeared to agree that no-one had scored a knockout blow and it is unlikely to have had much of an impact on the country's millions of undecided voters.
"You, young people, you can rally in the streets without fearing an authoritarian president," she said.
She accused Mr Pena Nieto of hiding in the bathroom after students heckled him during a campaign event at a university in May.
Mr Pena Nieto denied he had done so and said he welcomed the participation of students in the political process.
"I faced the groups that expressed themselves legitimately against me. It's a voice I respect," he said.
There have been student-led demonstrations in the past few weeks against Mr Pena Nieto and the PRI, with demonstrators attacking what they say is the uncritical coverage of his campaign by the main TV network, Televisa.
On Sunday, some 90,000 people gathered in Mexico City's main square, the Zocalo, to protest against the PRI.
Many carried signs of the "#yosoy132" (I am the 132) movement, a reference to the initial group who heckled Mr Pena Nieto.
Some also carried signs commemorating the killing of a dozen students by pro-government agents during a political demonstration in 1971.
During the debate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) said the current government was "rotten" and it was time for change.
"It needs a definitive renewal of public life, a change in all aspects of public life, changes in economic policies, changes in the way politics is done."
Opinion polls have consistently given Mr Pena Nieto a double-digit lead over his rivals, although Mr Lopez Obrador has seen a slight surge in support in recent days.
Fourth-placed candidate Gustavo Quadri trails far behind.
The candidates spoke about the need to boost economic growth and tackle poverty and drug violence, but gave few details of how they would achieve this.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Mexico election: Candidates in final debate push [Online] (Updated 11th Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1433827/Mexico-election-Candidates-in-final-debate-push [Accessed 7th Mar 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
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