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Independent win in Mexican election

Published 08/06/2015

Jaime Rodriguez, known as El Bronco, shows his inked finger after casting his vote in Villa de Garcia, Mexico (AP)
Jaime Rodriguez, known as El Bronco, shows his inked finger after casting his vote in Villa de Garcia, Mexico (AP)

Mexican voters have elected their first independent gubernatorial candidate, seen as a protest against party politics.

Voters also gave the ruling party a lead in Congress, according to official results, sending mixed messages in midterm elections.

President Enrique Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and two allied parties had about 40% of the vote, according to preliminary results with 82% of the ballots counted.

But that may be enough to preserve their narrow majority in Congress, partly due to divisions among rival parties.

"The PRI lost, but not very much," said Jesus Cantu, political analyst at the Monterrey Institute of Technology.

In a Sunday election marred by sporadic violence, independent Jaime Rodriguez, known as "El Bronco," won the governor's race in the border state of Nuevo Leon, ousting the PRI from a key state that includes the business hub of Monterrey.

His popularity was attributed to voters' disgust with all political parties.

"I think in the whole country, this will help the political parties to renew and transform themselves so they can be better," said Mr Rodriguez, adding that he would give them a "six-year vacation," a reference to the length of his term in office.

Mr Rodriguez said his first action as governor would be to attack corruption: "We have to investigate the entire previous government."

It was the first election in Mexico to allow unaffiliated candidates, thanks to electoral reform last year.

Sunday's vote came amid widespread discontent with politicians in Mexico, where corruption scandals, a lacklustre economy and human rights concerns related to missing students and suspected army massacres have tarnished Mr Pena Nieto's image and fed anti-government protests.

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