2012 Mexican general election

General elections were held in Mexico on Sunday, July 1, 2012.

2012 Mexican general election

 2006 July 1, 2012 2018 
Turnout63.08% (presidential)
Nominee Enrique Peña Nieto Andrés Manuel López Obrador Josefina Vázquez Mota
Alliance Commitment to Mexico Progressive Movement
Home state State of Mexico Tabasco Mexico City
States carried 20 7+D.F. 4
Popular vote 19,226,284 15,896,999 12,786,647
Percentage 38.2% 31.6% 25.4%

States won by Peña Nieto in green, López Obrador in yellow, Vázquez Mota in blue.

President before election

Felipe Calderón

Elected President

Enrique Peña Nieto

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Mexico portal
Citizen voting in the ballot box for president in Mexico City
Ballots for voting in Mexico City. July 1, 2012.

Voters went to the polls to elect, on the federal level:

Several local ballots were held on the same day, notably:

Electoral reform

In December 2009, president Felipe Calderón sent a bill to Congress aimed at reducing the number of legislators in both chambers and another mechanism for the presidential election which have not yet been passed. If approved, the following reforms will be implemented:

  • Second round voting in case no presidential candidate receives an absolute majority of the votes.[1][2]
  • 96 Senators of the Republic, 3 for each state, elected by plurality for a period of six years, renewable once.
  • 400 Federal Deputies (240 by first-past-the-post and 160 by proportional representation) elected for a period of three years with possibility of reelection.

Presidential candidates

The following are individuals who have either formally announced that they are running for president in 2012, or have formed an exploratory committee for a possible presidential run in 2012.

National Action Party (PAN) Nomination


Other pre-candidates:

Pre-Candidates gallery

On Feb. 5th Josefina Vázquez Mota was announced as PAN presidential candidate following her victory in the internal selection process.[15]

Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) Nomination


Candidates gallery
Other pre-candidates

Never publicly announced intentions to run but was considered a likely contender.

Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) Nomination


Former candidates

Candidates gallery

New Alliance Party (PNA) Nomination


Candidates gallery

Opinion polls

Date Polling company Vázquez Mota
Peña Nieto
López Obrador
November 2011 Reforma[26] 25.0% 49.0% 26.0% Unnominated PAN and PANAL candidates.
November 2011 Covarrubias y Asociados[27] 12.6% 56.3% 31% Unnominated PAN and PANAL candidates.
February 2012 Grupo Impacto Inteligente 360º[28] 34.4% 47.4% 18.2% Unnominated PAN and PANAL candidates.
February 2012 Consulta Mitofsky[29] 29.5% 48.5% 21.0% 1.0%
February 2012 Buendía & Laredo[30] 32.0% 48.0% 20.0% 0.0%
February 2012 Covarrubias y Asociados[31] 27.2% 42.3% 30.2% 0.3%
February 2012 Ipsos/Bimsa[32] 30% 45% 25% 0.0%
March 2012 Uno TV/María de las Heras[33] 27.4% 44.0% 27.4% 1.2%
March 2012 Grupo Impacto Inteligente 360º[34] 32.6% 44.9% 22.5% PANAL's vote share not shown
March 2012 Reforma[33] 32.0% 45.0% 22.0% 1.0%
April 2012 Uno TV/María de las Heras[35] 30.6% 38.9% 29.2% 1.3% Carried out between March 24 and March 27
April 2012 OEM-Parametría[33] 25% 51% 23% 1.0%
April 2012 BGC-Excélsior[33] 29% 50% 20% 1.0% Carried out between April 9 and April12
April 2012 GEA/ISA-Milenio[33] 27.9% 48.5% 22.7% 0.9%
April 2012 El Universal/Buendía & Laredo[33] 22.9% 54.3% 21.4% 1.4%
April 2012 Consulta Mitofsky[33] 26.9% 50.1% 22.3% 0.7%
April 2012 Covarrubias y Asociados[36] 22.0% 42.0% 24.0% 1.0% Published on April 23
April 2012 BGC-Excelsior[37] 28.0% 47.0% 23.0% 2.0% Carried out between April 19 and April 25
April 2012 OEM-Parametría[38] 26.0% 49.0% 24.0% 1.0% Published on April 30
May 2012 GEA/ISA-Milenio[39] 26.1% 51.2% 21.1% 1.6% Published on May 1
May 2012 Consulta Mitofsky[40] 28.0% 48.0% 23.0% 1.0% Published on May 1
May 2012 El Sol de México/Parametría[41] 26.0% 49.0% 24.0% 1% One week before the candidates' debate
May 2012 El Universal/Buendía & Laredo[42] 22.9% 54.3% 21.4% 1.4% Before the candidates' debate
May 2012 GEA/ISA-Milenio[43] 27.6% 49.1% 21.9% 1.4% Before the candidates' debate
May 2012 El Universal[44] 22.0% 36.3% 23.4% 9.5% After the candidates' debate
May 2012 Uno TV/María de la Heras[45] 17.98% 16.85% 31.46% 17.98% After the candidates' debate
May 2012 El Universal/Buendía & Laredo[46] 23.1% 49.6% 24.8% 2.1%
May 2012 Covarrubias y Asociados[47] 26.0% 40.0% 30.0% 4%
May 2012 Uno TV/María de las Heras[48] 26.0% 39.0% 31.0% 4.0%
June 2012 Reforma[49] 23% 38% 34% 5% Gross preference draw between EPN and AMLO
June 2012 Mitofsky[50] 20.8% 35.8% 24.0% 1.6%
June 2012 Berumen y asociados[51] 20.7% 30.9% 31.8% Not shown Gross preference
June 2012 BGC-Excelsior[52] 28% 42% 28% 2%
June 2012 Berumen y asociados[53] 18% 33.4% 27.3% 1.5% Gross preference
The share of the undefined vote has been excluded from these polls

Allegations of media bias and Yo Soy 132 student protests

Mass protests have taken place in Mexico City against alleged bias towards PRI and Peña Nieto in the print and television media, particularly Televisa.[54]

The movement Yo Soy 132 ("I am 132") formed in response to this perceived bias, with initial focus on Peña Nieto as the flagship of "corruption, tyranny and authoritarianism".[55] On May 11, 2012, Peña Nieto visited Universidad Iberoamericana and was received with scorn.[56] Both printed and televised media reported this as a minor mishap, called the students intolerant, and claimed that they had been paid by leftist organizations. In response, 131 students identified themselves on a YouTube video by their university IDs and stated that their actions were independent. This caused a ripple effect as many tweeted "I'm the 132nd student" in solidarity. Mass protests organized by public and private university students then took place across the country. The movement successfully demanded that, unlike the first debate, the second presidential debate be broadcast on national television, and has proposed a third debate to cover a broader scope of issues.[57][58]

Claims of hacking

In a 31 March 2016 article published by Bloomberg Business Week, a Colombian hacker named Andrés Sepúlveda claimed to have been paid US$600,000 by the PRI for hacking files (including phone calls, e-mails, and strategies) pertaining to the respective political campaigns of Peña Nieto's rivals, and also to manipulate social media to create fake news against his opponents with 30,000 fake Twitter accounts, creating fake trending topics and the perception of public enthusiasm toward Peña Nieto's campaign. On election day, Sepúlveda claimed to have been watching a live feed from Bogota, Colombia and destroyed evidence right after Peña Nieto was declared winner. He said he was helped by a team of six hackers, which he led. The hacker is serving a 10-year prison sentence in Colombia for hacking crime, in favor of the election campaign of Óscar Iván Zuluaga.[59]



Candidate Party Votes %
Enrique Peña NietoInstitutional Revolutionary Party19,158,59238.20
Andrés Manuel López ObradorParty of the Democratic Revolution15,848,82731.60
Josefina Vázquez MotaNational Action Party12,732,63025.39
Gabriel Quadri de la TorreNew Alliance Party1,146,0852.28
Non-registered candidates20,6250.04
Invalid/blank votes1,236,8572.46
Registered voters/turnout79,492,28663.08
Source: IFE
Popular Vote
Peña Nieto
López Obrador
Vázquez Mota
Quadri de la Torre

Results by state

Based on the official results of the Federal Electoral Institute

State Peña Nieto López Obrador Vázquez Mota Quadri Write-in None
Baja California463,350389,922339,50834,89349222,232
Baja California Sur104,75063,17775,0664,940975,138
Distrito Federal1,258,1692,568,944844,11087,3323,94090,434
Nuevo León666,990441,450800,09962,15961338,503
Quintana Roo179,009226,054111,30310,36224810,822
San Luis Potosí428,797263,762346,57632,28258745,755

Chamber of Deputies

Party Proportional representation Constituency Total
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
Institutional Revolutionary Party15,513,47831.874915,166,53131.10163212−30
National Action Party12,620,82725.926212,550,87927.2452114−28
Party of the Democratic Revolution8,996,08918.4844207,67860104+41
Ecologist Green Party of Mexico2,963,7186.0815706,6951.531429+7
Labor Party2,219,2284.551077233515+1
New Alliance Party (Mexico)1,986,5384.08101,977,1854.29010+2
Citizens' Movement1,943,8553.991058096616+10
Party of the Democratic RevolutionCitizens' MovementLabor Party13,088,35528.41
Institutional Revolutionary PartyEcologist Green Party of Mexico12,533,77127.20
Non-registered candidates51,4730.1051,0760.110
Invalid/blank votes2,378,7312,351,092
Registered voters/turnout77,547,51162.7677,547,51162.44
Source: PREP
Popular Vote
House seats


Party Proportional representation Constituency Total
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
Institutional Revolutionary Party15,679,72933.11117,119,85437.3465719
National Action Party13,245,08827.9912,783,06827.8293814
Party of the Democratic Revolution9,353,87919.7613,288,98328.9172313
Ecologist Green Party of Mexico2,881,9236.12867,0561.9244
Labor Party2,339,9234.92244
Citizens' Movement2,025,0454.3111
New Alliance Party1,855,4033.911,796,8163.901 0
Non-registered candidates32,5670.1051,9360.10
Invalid/blank votes2,897,6682,701,179
Registered voters/turnout77,651,01964.877,651,01962.3
Source: Adam Carr

The Labor Party senators elected in constituencies ran on joint tickets with the Party of the Democratic Revolution, whilst the winning Ecologist Green Party of Mexico senators were on a joint list with the Institutional Revolutionary Party.[60]


Following the elections, López Obrador demanded a full recount, claiming there had been widespread irregularities.[61] The Federal Electoral Institute subsequently announced that there would be a partial recount, with presidential ballots from 78,012 of the 143,132 polling stations to be recounted, whilst ballots for the Congressional elections would be re-examined at two-thirds of polling stations.[61] On July 6 after a partial recount of approximately 50% of the votes, the Federal Electoral Institute declared they had found anomalies but that Nieto still had majority and was confirmed as the winner with 38.2% of the popular vote.[62] which officially has until 6 September to announce a winner.[61]

Request to Invalidate Election

On July 12, López Obrador presented his formal complaint to invalidate the election to the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judiciary on grounds of violation of constitutional article 41 which states that the elections must be free and authentic and with equal benefits for all competing parties.[63] Alleging that the Mexican media had treated them with inequality in relation to Peña Nieto and presenting the numerous evidence of paraphernalia used to buy votes for the PRI as well as pre-marked ballots and notarized witness statements of people who sold their votes to the PRI.[64] The complaint also pointed towards the PRI's campaign going over budget an alleged 1000% over the established allowed budget by the Federal Electoral Institute which is of 336 million Mexican pesos.[65] On July 18 López Obrador accused Peña Nieto of using illicit funds and money laundering to finance his campaign.[66] After presenting new audio evidence regarding the PRI's use of Monex cards, López Obrador commented that it would be better if the Electoral Tribunal invalidated the election and move in an interim President than to violate the constitution and acting in an "anti-democratic" way. He said that if the Electoral Tribunal does not invalidate the election, Mexico will be governed by a "gang of evildoers".[67] On 30 August 2012, the TEPJF, Mexico's highest election-law court rejected the allegations of fraud after they concluded that there was "insufficient evidence of wrongdoing."[68]

Post-electoral protests and claims of fraud

After the preliminary results of the Federal Electoral Institute announced Enrique Peña Nieto as virtual President-elect, several student protests led by the youth movement Yo Soy 132 and independent citizen movements, have broken out throughout the country claiming the forced imposition of a President and electoral fraud,[69][70][71][72][73][74] as evidence of an alleged fraud has surfaced and pointed towards the PRI buying votes by providing voting citizens with store credit cards of Mexican supermarket chain Soriana.[75][76] Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) confirmed in January 2013 that Peña Nieto's party spent $5.2 million in electronic cards throughout the whole campaign. Opposition parties complained that this represented a form of illicit funding, but the IFE claimed the contrary. The PRI party claimed that the electronic cards were intended for party personnel, but this method rose suspicions because some of the money was transacted through "several shadowy companies instead of being disbursed directly from party coffers."[77] This also increased the suspicions that the PRI had received illegal donations from corporations (given that this move is prohibited under law). The IFE stated on 24 January 2013 and ruled by 5–4 votes that the fundings were not violating the law, but opposition parties and critics believe that the IFE did not thoroughly investigate the origins of the money.[77]

Further alleged evidence arose as pictures of ballots already marked in favor of the PRI, with the logo of the party printed over the marking, have been shared widely over online social networks,[78] and there have also been numerous videos and photos of that show the irregularities between local ballot boxes and the official result of those ballot boxes.[79] More allegations appeared as videos showing protection of local police patrols protecting supposed "Mapaches". Following a request from Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the Federal Electoral Institute agreed to recount more than half of the ballots cast in the presidential election. It later reconfirmed the original result.[80] The result was endorsed by Barack Obama, the president of the United States, and by the Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, who backed López Obrador in a similar dispute in 2006.[80]

On July 7, a national protest in opposition of Enrique Peña Nieto was organized through online social networks, and demonstrations occurred in several cities. The protest in Mexico City was billed as a "mega-march", but the number of demonstrators equalled only around half the number which attended anti-PRI demonstrations held prior to the election.[80] Statements from the Yo Soy 132 student movement formally uninvolved themselves from the protest cautioning against violent results; alleging that it may have been organized by a similarly named movement linked to the PRI.[81] Despite the statement the protests effectively took place in 37 cities in Mexico, Canada, The United States, and Europe[82] with no incidents of violence or known involvement of the PRI. Though in Xalapa, Veracruz a man identified as Juan Pablo Frianzoni, presumed member of the youth PRI group "Juventud Dinamica"; threw chairs at the protesters and then pointed a handgun at them from his balcony. Frianzoni was then apprehended by Police officers who were standing by the protest.[83] Televisa did not broadcast the National protests, and instead presented a live broadcast of Eugenio Derbez and Alessandra Rosaldo's wedding which was interrupted due to "technical difficulties" when loud protest chants became audible outside of the event.[84] Derbez however stated that he was in support of the protests, and though he regrets them happening on the day of his wedding; he said he will cherish the memory.[85]

As of July 15[86] protests and further acts of civil resistance against Peña Nieto and Televisa continue around the country.[87] On July 27 protesters set up a 24-hour blockade around the main Televisa studios in Chapultepec, Mexico City.[88] On August 30 several protesters gathered outside the offices of the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judiciary as the Magistrates declared that the claims made by the left-wing coalition were "unfounded" and were therefore rejected.[89]

On December 1, 2012, as Peña Nieto was being sworn in as President, protesters rioted outside of the national palace and clashed with Federal Police forces, in an event that has been labeled by the media as the 1DMX,[90][91][92][93] while vandalizing hotel structures and setting fires around Mexico City. More than 90 protesters were arrested and several were injured. Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard blamed anarchist groups for causing the violent outcomes.[94]


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Further reading

  • Jorge I. Dominguez et al. eds. Mexico's Evolving Democracy: A Comparative Study of the 2012 Elections (Johns Hopkins University Press; 2015) 304 pages

Official candidate websites

National Action Party
Party of the Democratic Revolution
Institutional Revolutionary Party