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Voters Head to the Polls in Mexico after Tumultuous Presidential Race

- Common Dreams staff

Voters in Mexico headed to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president. The tumultuous campaign season has seen a massive student uprising in protest of candidate Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Now, recent allegations of fraud suggest candidates are offering money and flouting campaign-spending limits, particularly in the PRI, reports Al-jazeera.

PRI ruled Mexico for 71 years, tainted by corruption, electoral fraud and repeated acts brutal authoritarianism.

PRI was voted out in 2000. But polls show voters are turning back to PRI, as the party promises to end drug related violence and boost weak economic growth.

A massive student movement broke out this year protesting both Nieto's candidacy and what students saw as biased news coverage in favor of Nieto. The movement labeled #YoSoy132, or 'I am 132', found widespread success through online sources such as YouTube. Last week the Guardian/UK revealed new evidence showing a cozy relationship between Nieto and predominant broadcasting company Televisa.

However, Nieto still remains the front runner, leading the polls by large margins.

Polls opened at 8 a.m. (9 a.m. EDT/1300 GMT). The first national exit polls are expected when voting ends 12 hours later.

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Supporters of the "I am 132" movement march with torches in Mexico City, Saturday, June 30, 2012.  (AP Photo/Christian Palma)

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