Monday, June 24, 2024

LATIN AMERICA | 30-05-2024 17:58

Bloodshed mars final day of Mexico election campaigns

Mayoral candidate for opposition coalition gunned down in Guerrero; Frontrunner Claudia Sheinbaum or Xóchitl Gálvez likely to become nation’s first female president.

Mexico's campaign season came to a bloody end as a gunman shot dead an aspiring mayor at a rally on Wednesday, days before the country is expected to elect its first woman president.

The attack brought the number of candidates who have been murdered to at least 24 during what has been a particularly violent electoral process in the Latin American nation, according to official figures. Other tallies put the figure higher.

Alfredo Cabrera, a mayoral candidate for an opposition coalition, was gunned down in the southern state of Guerrero, causing chaos and panic among people attending the rally. The murder was captured on camera, with the footage showing Cabrera smiling and flanked by fans before he was shot several times.

The state prosecutor's office said that "the alleged assailant was killed at the scene." Three people were also injured and two others detained, according to witnesses.

Cabrera belonged to the same opposition coalition as presidential candidate Xóchitl Gálvez, who expressed indignation over his murder. "He was a generous and good man," she wrote on social media platform X.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), part of the opposition coalition, accused the government of having "not made even the slightest effort to guarantee the safety of the candidates."

Around 27,000 soldiers and National Guard members will be deployed to reinforce security during Sunday's elections.


'Make history'

Tackling the cartel violence that has convulsed Mexico and turned it into one of the most dangerous countries in the world will be among the major challenges facing the next leader, along with managing migration and delicate relations with the neighbouring United States.

More than 450,000 people have been murdered and tens of thousands have gone missing since the government deployed the army to fight drug-trafficking in 2006.

Barring a major upset, a woman appears almost certain to be elected leader of the world's most populous Spanish-speaking country.

Frontrunner Claudia Sheinbaum, from the ruling Morena party, ended her campaign with a rally in the capital's main public square. 

"We're going to make history," Sheinbaum told the cheering crowd. "I say to the young women, to all the women of Mexico – colleagues, friends, sisters, daughters, mothers and grandmothers – you are not alone.”

Sheinbaum has pledged to continue outgoing left-wing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's social programmes and strategy of tackling crime at its roots – a controversial policy that he calls "hugs not bullets."

At her closing rally in the northern city of Monterrey, Gálvez promised a tougher approach to cartel-related violence.

"You will have the bravest president, a president who does confront crime," she said.

Sheinbaum, a former Mexico City mayor and a scientist by training, enjoys a sizable lead in the polls with 53 percent of voter support, according to research firm Oraculus.

Gálvez, a centre-right senator and businesswoman with Indigenous roots, is second with 36 percent.

The only man running – long-shot centrist Jorge Álvarez Maynez – has 11 percent.



related news

In this news


More in (in spanish)