Violence, Claims of Drug Corruption, Mark Mexican Local Election

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After an election campaign marred by threats from drug cartels, kidnappings and an assassination, political parties have condemned organized criminal groups’ meddling in elections in the state of Michoacan, Mexico.

Representatives of the PRD (Revolutionary Democratic Party) hurled accusations of corruption and influence peddling in the weeks before Sunday’s elections, while a spokesperson for PAN (National Action Party) alleged that drug cartels favor PRI candidates. All three parties were unified in condemning the threats and violence from La Familia and the Caballeros Templarios that have allegedly caused six candidates to drop out of of the race.

Luisa “Cocoa” Calderon, sister of President Felipe Calderon, promised to follow his hard-line approach to crime. Although she led pre-election polls, Fausto Vallejo, the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) candidate for governor is now leading by three percentage points, according to preliminary results.

Michoacan’s electoral institute has not yet determined how to carry out elections in Cheran, where vigilante groups have formed to protect surrounding forests from illegal logging and ineffective public security forces. On Sunday, residents refused entry to poll workers and demanded an election that respected indigenous Purepecha traditions.

Despite the assassination of the outgoing mayor as he campaigned for fellow PAN candidates and the publication of anonymous threats against supporters in a local newspaper, the PAN candidate for mayor won in La Piedad, Michoacan.

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