Violence Spikes Ahead of Mexico’s Midterm Elections

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Another political candidate has been murdered as Mexico continues to register violence ahead of upcoming midterm elections, with unrest concentrated in regions infiltrated by organized crime.

On June 2, armed men entered and attacked Miguel Angel Luna Munguia — a congressional candidate for the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) — at his campaign headquarters in Valle de Chalco, reported El Pais. He was reported dead on arrival after being taken to a nearby hospital.

A former mayor of Valle de Chalco — a town of about 350,000 residents located in Mexico state on the outskirts of Mexico City — Luna Munguia is the fourth political candidate assassinated ahead of Mexico’s midterm elections on June 7. Two mayoral candidates in the state of Guerrero and one in Michoacan have been killed since March.

According to El Pais, pre-election violence has seen a total of 70 incidents and 19 political assassinations throughout Mexico.

There have been incidents of apparent political unrest as well. On June 1, the electoral offices in Tlapa, Guerrero were attacked by unknown persons and over 116,000 electoral ballots burned. The attack followed similar episodes in the state of Oaxaca, where, according to El Universal, 16,000 ballots were destroyed — reportedly by teachers protesting educational reforms.

Pre-electoral violence — including attacks against offices of the National Electoral Institute (INE) with Molotov cocktails — has also occurred in the states of Puebla, Veracruz, Yucatan, Jalisco, Michoacan, and San Luis Potosi, reported El Universal.

InSight Crime Analysis

Violence ahead of Mexico’s midterm elections — when ballots will be cast for nearly 300 mayoral seats, nine governorships, and all 500 seats in Mexico’s lower house of Congress — has been especially concentrated in regions like Guerrero, where organized crime groups Los Rojos and Los Ardillos have been locked in a power struggle. On May 1, Fabian Quiroz Garcia, a mayoral candidate in the Guerrero town of Chilapa, was murdered while campaigning.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Nonetheless, pre-election violence is not a new phenomenon in Mexico, and political candidates have been known to withdraw their candidacies out of fear of violence and assassination.

As InSight Crime has previously noted, Mexican organized crime groups — seeking collaboration with local authorities in order to facilitate their illegal activities — have an interest in influencing electoral outcomes.

This may explain why, on June 2, a new video began circulating online showing Servando Gomez, alias “La Tuta” — the former leader of the Knights Templar criminal group — discussing how he has helped Michoacan politicians. While La Tuta has been in custody since February, the release of the video seems intended to call attention to links between Michoacan political elites and organized crime just before voters cast their ballots.

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