Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/26/2012 -- Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) candidate Enrique Pena Nieto's electoral victory in the July 2012 general election will install the new president-elect in office in December 2012, by which point the total number of homicides in Mexico is likely to pass the 100,000 mark. Official figures peg the total number of killings at 99,632 between 2007 and 2011, with drug-related violence driving the vast majority of homicides. This morbid milestone will intensify scrutiny of Pena Nieto's plans to tackle Mexico's ongoing plague of drug-related violence.
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With the highest turnout ever recorded in a national election, Pena Nieto's solid victory grants him a degree of legitimacy lacked by incumbent President Felipe Calderon. Despite putting forward a security policy broadly similar to the current administration's, President-elect Pena Nieto continued to poll best among voters who disapprove of the president's policies in the months ahead of the election. Pena Nieto's most recent proposal includes the creation of 40,000-person 'national gendarmerie' staffed by former soldiers and the continued utilisation of the military to fight the cartels until the new force can be fully trained.
Increasing indications could be seen in late 2012 that drug cartel the Zetas were in the process of splitting into two rival factions. We believe that the uptick in violence that could result from the inter-cartel fighting is likely to create a challenging situation for Pena Nieto.
Additional reminders about the extent of cartel infiltration into the country's law enforcement agencies have been evident throughout 2012. The navy arrested 35 federal police force members over possible links with the Zetas in September 2012, while two Mexican generals were arrested for their alleged involvement in organised crime in May 2012. The government previously disbanded an entire municipal police force of more than 900 officers in Veracruz-Boca del Rio in December 2011.
In industry news, the government requested two Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 'Super' Hercules military aircraft with related equipment in September 2012. The US$412mn transaction is expected to be used mostly for 'presidential support' but could also be used in security operations, including in drug-related missions. Mexico's helicopter service firm Aeroservicios Especializados (ASESA) signed an agreement in early 2012 with Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation to partner on potential Black Hawk assembly and servicing work, while Eurocopter started construction on a new manufacturing facility in Queretaro.
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