CARACAS – Venezuelan opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said he met in Mexico with President Felipe Calderon to learn about that country’s electoral transition process, during a visit of a few hours before presidential elections were held in that country.
“I had the opportunity to speak with President Calderon during a visit of several hours I made to Mexico, among other things to find out what the transition entails,” Capriles said in a press conference.
“Well, it’s a normal process, but here we’ve had the experience, the bad precedent of what happens when the government loses. ‘Let’s give it our all’ changes to ‘let’s make off with it all,’” Capriles said.
Capriles flew to Mexico City on June 28, before Mexico’s general elections were held July 1, on a visit he had said he was making on his own initiative and without a formal invitation from any Mexican party or institution.
“I saw the electoral process in Mexico...and I saw immediately that the (Federal) Electoral Institute gave a quick projection of the vote,” the Venezuelan opposition leader, who will face off against President Hugo Chavez on Oct. 7, said.
“Immediately the president of the republic came on with a message to the Mexican people, saying that ‘I’m here at the orders of the government that has been elected by popular vote and of the changeover commissions, to cooperate in everything the transition requires’ because in Mexico that lasts about five months,” the 39-year-old Capriles said.
Capriles was one of the first to congratulate Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, who won the presidential elections, which have been clouded by allegations of massive vote-buying and whose results are being challenged by leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
“My congratulations and best wishes to the new president of Mexico. From Venezuela we send warm greetings to all the Mexican people. I’m sure we will strengthen our ties with Mexico and its new government, a country that we Venezuelans admire a great deal,” Capriles said in Twitter postings the day after the election.
Peña Nieto won Mexico’s presidency with 38.21 percent of the vote, while Lopez Obrador took second place with 31.59 percent, according to the final official results released by the Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE. EFE