The recent murder of a mayoral candidate is a reminder of Mexico’s long-standing problem with election violence fueled by organized crime.
The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) is in danger of leaving multiple mayor seats uncontested in the southwestern state of Guerrero, due to candidates’ fear of violence, local PRI director Cuauhtemoc Salgado Romero told local media. Mexico is due to hold legislative elections on June 7, 2015.
Romero’s comments follow the recent murder of Fabian Quiroz Garcia, a joint candidate for the PRI and Mexico’s Green Party for the town of Chilapa in Guerrero. Garcia was reportedly shot to death by a group of armed men while campaigning. His alternate, Jose Santos Valdivia, has refused to continue the campaign for fear of his own life.
Guerrero, which initiated elections for 81 mayorships in late April, has seen mayoral candidates murdered or forcibly disappeared on multiple occasions in the past, with organized crime groups as the primary suspects. Meanwhile, a reported struggle between criminal groups the Rojos and the Ardillos for Chilapa has been blamed for recent violence in the area, including the discovery of 11 beheaded corpses in November 2014.
InSight Crime Analysis
Garcia’s murder is just the latest in Mexico’s long-standing problem with election violence. Previous elections have also seen fearful candidates drop out of the race, due to violent attacks throughout the country.
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As InSight Crime has previously noted, criminal groups are particularly keen to corrupt and intimidate Mexico politics at the local level, where officials receive less protection and are more susceptible to criminal influence.
Continued intimidation and corruption of local officials in Guerrero is particularly troublesome in light of last year’s massacre of 43 students. Authorities have accused the mayor of Iguala and his wife of colluding with organized crime in the killings.
Per usual, Mexico’s political parties have asked the government to assign protection for candidates in this year’s election, emphasizing those running in the states of Tamaulipas, Michoacan, and Guerrero. These areas are among the regions most affected by organized crime and violence in Mexico.