Did vote-buying decide the Mexican presidential election?

Peña Nieto campaigned on a promise to break with the heavy hand and dirty tricks associated with his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). But it appears that some of his party’s crafty operatives may have been working with the old PRI playbook.

PRI activists allegedly handed out pre-paid gift cards from the grocery chain Soriana to voters in some districts, according to amateur videos broadcast Wednesday on Mexican television networks.

The alleged card recipients mobbed at least one store on the outskirts of Mexico City in a panic after rumors spread the cards would be invalidated. According to the Associated Press, the cards were each worth 100 pesos, about $7.50.

“It was neither a clean nor fair election,” said Eduardo Huchim of the Mexican watchdog group Civic Alliance, which is funded by the United Nations Development Program.

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