Mayoral candidate murdered in Mexico two days before the elections | Elections News

Jorge Huerta Cabrera, shot dead in Izúcar de Matamoros, is the last contender killed before the June 2 elections.

A candidate running for local office in the central Mexican state of Puebla was killed at a political rally two days before the election, adding to the number of contenders killed in what is considered the election. most violent recorded in the country.

Jorge Huerta Cabrera was shot to death on Friday in the city of Izúcar de Matamoros, where he was a candidate, according to the state Prosecutor’s Office.

The candidate’s wife and one of his colleagues were also injured in the attack, captured on video. Footage showed the chaos that erupted at the demonstration after gunshots were heard.

The murder brings the number of candidates murdered in the 2024 election season to 37, one more than during the 2021 midterm elections, when 36 candidates were murdered, according to data from the security consulting firm Integralia.

However, the federal government reported 22 candidates killed as of Tuesday. Since then, three more deaths have been recorded, the AFP news agency reported.

Integralia has also recorded 828 non-lethal attacks on candidates during the current election season, compared to 749 since Monday.

The campaign for Sunday’s elections, in which a new president, federal legislators, state governors and thousands of local officials will be elected, has been marked by a wave of attacks against candidates that has skyrocketed in the last week.

On Wednesday, the campaign period for the elections closed, in which nearly 100 million Mexicans, out of a population of 129 million, are eligible to vote.

Violence linked to organized crime in Mexico has long killed politicians from various parties, especially those holding or seeking regional office.

Drug cartels have often carried out these types of assassination attempts in an attempt to control local police or extort municipal governments.

Eduardo Bohórquez, director of Transparency International Mexico, has told Al Jazeera that corrupt politicians and organized crime seek political positions of control, which leads to the violence experienced in the country.

He said: “It’s about taking control of the office. They can buy the candidate and all the candidates. I mean, it is very easy to finance by illegal forces.”

Violence tops the electoral agenda

The issue of violent crime has emerged as one of the major issues in this year’s presidential race, in which outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s ruling party has been forced to defend a persistently high homicide rate, while The opposition has tried to use bloodshed to advocate for change.

Ruling party candidate Claudia Sheinbaum is expected to win Sunday’s vote and become Mexico’s first female president. Her main rival is another woman, Xóchitl Gálvez.

Addressing the cartel violence that makes murders and kidnappings an everyday occurrence in Mexico will be one of the main challenges for the winner.

René Valencia, candidate for mayor of Morelia, said that the state “has the means to stop violence but does not want to fight crime because it generates dividends.”

“It generates profits, bribes, money. A criminal generates money for the authorities, while a victim is just a statistic,” he told Al Jazeera.

Earlier this week, a local mayoral candidate in the southern state of Guerrero was shot dead at point-blank range during a campaign rally.

He was among 560 candidates and election officials to whom the government has assigned security guards due to persistent threats.

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