Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, pictured in China on Nov. 13, 2014, faces his lowest approval rating in recent memory as calls for his resignation increase. UPI/Stephen Shaver | License Photo
MEXICO CITY, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Protesters took to the streets in Mexico on Monday to call for the resignation of President Enrique Peña Nieto.
The protests coincided with the second anniversary of Peña's inauguration and were a demonstration of how far the president's approval ratings have dropped. According to a poll published Monday by the Reforma newspaper, Peña's approval rating was at 39 percent, the lowest in recent memory, and his disapproval rating was at 58 percent.
Monday evening's protests in Mexico City were triggered by frustration with the government's delayed and poorly received response to the disappearance of 43 students in the state of Guerrero in late September. The circumstances of their disappearance revealed complicity between the local government, police and a prominent drug gang.
"The reason we're here is the outrage we feel as a people about the students," said Juan Enrique Montoya, a technician taking part in the demonstration. "This government is terrible," he added. "They passed all these reforms, but there hasn't been any improvement."
Frustration with the government has grown amid new scandals, including first lady Angelica Rivera's $7 million private mansion. Earlier this month, the Aristegui Noticias website reported the mansion is registered to Ingenieria Inmobiliaria del Centro, whose parent company has a related organization involved in lucrative government contracts awarded by President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration.
The two-year mark is significant because Mexican rules of presidential succession state that open elections would be called should the president resign in the first two years of his term. Since Peña's term has now passed that mark, Congress would be responsible for picking his successor, were he to resign or otherwise vacate his post.
No Mexican president has left office before completing a full term since 1934.