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Mexico: 2 mayoral candidates gunned down before elections

February 28, 2024

The killings of the candidates took place in Michoacan state, which is one of Mexico's most violent regions. Observers say the 2024 election will see the highest involvement of organized crime.

Security forces carry out searches in Mexico
The two mayoral candidates were killed within hours of each otherImage: Enrique Castro/AFP/Getty Images

Two mayoral candidates have been shot dead within a span of a few hours in the Mexican city of Maravatio, ahead of the June 2 national elections.

The attack on the politicians took place in the western state of Michoacan, which is one of Mexico's most violent regions.

Miguel Angel Reyes Zavala, a gynecologist who wanted to be run with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's Morena party, was gunned down in his vehicle outside of his clinic, authorities said.

Two gunmen shot at point-blank range and then fled in a car, according to the witness testimonies collected by the investigating team.

A few hours later, Armando Perez Luna, who hoped to represent the opposition National Action Party (PAN), was found dead in a car with marks of gunshots on his body, according to the state prosecutor's office.

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Spike in violence ahead of elections

A surge in bloodshed in the run-up to elections has become an increasingly common phenomenon in Mexico, where local politicians, in particular, have become more vulnerable to violence.

About three dozen candidates were killed during the last national election in 2021.

More than 30 people have been killed in violence linked to elections in Mexico since June last year. Of these, 16 were aspiring candidates, according to research group Laboratorio Electoral.

The killings often come when campaigning for elections is yet to begin. The violence is attributed to the strengthening of drug cartels in Mexico.

Integralia Consultants, a research think tank, wrote in a report that "organized crime will intervene like never before in local elections in 2024" because cartels now have expanded their businesses and deal in more than just drugs.

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mfi/jsi (AP, AFP)