MEXICO CITY – Enrique Pena Nieto took the oath of office as Mexico’s new president Saturday, vowing to restore peace and security and take on the vested interests that have hindered economic prosperity.
As several hundred protesters threw fire bombs at police and smashed plate glass windows, Pena Nieto marked the return of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, with a 13-point plan heavy on old-party populist handouts but with reforms designed to boost the economy and modernize the education and justice systems.
“Mexico has not achieved the advances that the population demands or deserves,” Pena Nieto said in an inaugural speech unusual for its heavy emphasis on policy. “It’s time for us together to break the myths and paradigms and all else that has limited our development.”
Inaugural events were marred all day by protesters opposed to the return of the PRI after a 12-year hiatus.
Inside and outside the congressional chambers where he took the oath of office, his opponents called his inauguration an “imposition” of a party that ruled for 71 years using a mix of handouts, graft and rigged elections. At least four demonstrators and four officers were injured as protesters clashed with tear-gas wielding police, and 65 people were detained.