Mexico's newly elected government could start negotiating with the country's brutal drug lords in a bid to buy peace, senior U.S. politicians have warned.
Enrique Pena Nieto's campaign team claimed victory in the country's presidential election on Sunday after exit polls showed him winning by a comfortable margin.
But critics have warned his victory could mark a softening of the country's war on drug cartels.
Pena Nieto, 45, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), had campaigned on switching authorities' efforts to reducing violence rather than smashing the drug lords.
Opponents fear the new government might now enter into talks with the cartels, thought to be responsible for 47,500 deaths so far.
Pena Nieto has repeatedly denied wanting to open up negotiations - though this has not assuaged fears among some senior U.S. politicians.
Republican Jim Sensenbrenner told a congressional hearing that he feared the history of Pena Nieto's party had a history of 'turning a blind eye to the cartels'.
He said: ‘While in power, the PRI minimized violence by turning a blind eye to the cartels,’ adding that Pena Nieto ‘does not emphasize stopping drug shipments or capturing kingpins’.