Mexico Pushes Electoral Crime Reforms

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Mexico’s prosecutor general called on senators to speed up changes to the law on electoral crimes, in the run-up to state elections this year and presidential elections in 2012.

Prosecutor General Marisela Morales Ibañez said that criminal organizations might use sophisticated strategies to buy or coerce votes in the upcoming elections, reported El Universal.

The proposed reforms would, among other things, increase penalties for those who alter the electoral roll or falsify voter credentials. The Special Prosecutor for Electoral Crimes (Fepade) has warned that these groups could launch their own candidates, and try to force people to vote for them.

There have been similar concerns in Colombia, where both guerrillas and paramilitary groups have sought to influence elections. Electoral authorities have warned that drug gangs, known as BACRIM by the government, could try to interfere in local elections to be held in October.

Fepade has also said that political campaigns may be used by criminal groups to launder money.

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