What new Mexican President Pena Nieto's election means for the U.S.

(CBS News) In Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto has won the presidential election.

He's the new face of the old guard. His party ran Mexico for seven decades before being voted out in 2000.

It was a dramatic comeback for the Institutional Revolutionary Party - once so dominant it was referred simply as "the ruling party." And this is the man who led the PRI from 12 years on the sidelines back to the center of power: energetic, telegenic 45-year-old Pena Nieto.

mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto
Presidential candidate Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), gestures as he casts his vote with his wife Angelica Rivero de Pena on July 1, 2012 in Atlacomulco, Mexico. Mexicans went to the polls to choose a new president and vote in thousands of state and local posts nationwide.
Daniel Aguilar/Getty Images

"No one person won, no party won - this day, democracy won," he told supporters at his victory party

Enrique Pena Nieto wins Mexican election, bringing power back to PRI

Pena Nieto inherits a raging war with Mexico's rich, ruthless drug cartels, started by his predecessor to try to wipe the cartels out. Pena Nieto says he'll take a different approach.

CBS News has learned the new president plans to continue to work with the U.S. cracking down on cross-border drug trade, but he intends to de-emphasize targeting high-profile drug lords and focus more on crimes that hurt Mexicans most: kidnapping, extortion and gun battles in the streets.

"There will be no pact or truce with organized crime," he told supporters.

There also will be no mincing of words when he meets with U.S. officials. Pena Nieto's party says the U.S. is the largest consumer of the drugs trafficked through Mexico and the biggest exporter of guns fueling the violence here. Pena Nieto is likely to be tougher pushing American leaders to do more north of the border to curb the use of drugs and smuggling of guns.

This afternoon President Barack Obama called from Camp David to congratulate the new president of Mexico. They confirmed the close bond between the two countries and vowed to work together closely on security, trade and promoting democracy.

The new president will serve one six-year term

  • Bill Whitaker

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