Mexican poll contender Pena Nieto falters at book event

Enrique Pena Nieto pauses at a news conference where he stumbled to remember books or authors that had influenced him. Mr Pena Nieto leads opinion polls

Related Stories

Mexico's leading presidential contender Enrique Pena Nieto gave new ammunition to his critics this weekend.

Asked to name three books that had had an impact on him, he floundered before saying that, as an adolescent, he had been influenced by the Bible.

Political opponents have often accused Mr Pena Nieto - a handsome and telegenic politician married to a television actress - of being "hollow".

He holds a comfortable lead in polls ahead of July's presidential election.

The former Mexico State governor has become the best hope for Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to win the presidency it held for more than 70 uninterrupted years until 2000, analysts say.

Twitter response

At a book fair in Guadalajara, Mr Pena Nieto, 45, was asked by a member of the audience about his reading record. For minutes he hesitated, before mentioning that he had read "parts of" the Bible.

He then rambled on, confusing titles, forgetting the names of authors and sometimes mismatching them.

He said he liked a novel by Enrique Krauze called The Eagle's Throne (La Silla del Aguila), only to be reminded that it had been written by Carlos Fuentes.

Looking helpless, Mr Pena Nieto conceded that he could not remember titles.

"I have read a number of books, starting with novels, that I have liked," he said. "I have had a hard time recalling the titles."

Later, Mr Pena Nieto apologised and thanked all his critics, who had made fun of him, saying freedom of expression is a central pillar of democracy.

"Criticism of those of us who aspire to or hold political office is fundamental," he wrote on Twitter.

Intellectuals like Lorenzo Meyer told a local radio station that, although everybody sometimes forgot titles and authors, "a deep knowledge of Mexican history was fundamental for anyone who wanted to be president".

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Latin America & Caribbean stories

RSS

Features

  • Alana Saarinen at pianoMum, Dad and Mum

    The girl with three biological parents


  • Polish and British flags alongside British roadsideWar debt

    Does the UK still feel a sense of obligation towards Poles?


  • Islamic State fighters parade in Raqqa, Syria (30 June 2014)Who backs IS?

    Where Islamic State finds support to become a formidable force


  • Bride and groom-to-be photographed underwaterWetted bliss

    Chinese couples told to smile, but please hold your breath


  • A ship is dismantled for scrap in the port city of Chittagong, BangladeshDangerous work

    Bangladesh's ship breakers face economic challenge


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.