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PRI party back in power in Mexico

Mexico's old guard has sailed back into power after a 12-year hiatus as the official preliminary vote count handed a victory to Enrique Pena Nieto, whose party was long accused of ruling the country through corruption and patronage.

The second place candidate, leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, refused to concede defeat, saying he would wait for a full count.

The Federal Electoral Institute's representative count said Mr Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, won about 38% of the vote, prompting wild cheers from a party that was voted out in 2000 after 71 years in power when Mexicans became weary of what critics called autocratic and corrupt rule.

Mr Lopez Obrador, of the Democratic Revolution Party, had 31% and Josefina Vazquez Mota, of the ruling National Action Party, had about 25%, according to the institute.

Mr Pena Nieto called his victory "a fiesta of democracy".

"There is no return to the past," said the 45-year-old, who is married to a soap opera star. "You have given our party a second chance and we will deliver results."

He promised a government that would be democratic, modern and open to criticism. He pledged to fight organised crime and said there would be no pacts with criminals.

"My gratitude tonight is for the millions of Mexicans who voted for me," he said. "I will work for all of Mexico ... I will govern for everyone."

Despite a clear victory, more than 60% of voters did not support him and it was not the mandate the PRI had anticipated based on the pre-election polls. Ms Vazquez Mota, 51, was the first to concede, followed by New Alliance candidate Gabriel Quadri, who had only single-digit support.

At the PRI headquarters in Mexico City, a party atmosphere broke out with supporters in red dancing to norteno music.

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