Photo: Maxim Hopman/Unsplash

By KELIN DILLON

Among the reported 61 assassinated political actors since Mexico’s midterm electoral process began in September 2020 were 18 candidates up for government seats this June, reported consulting firm Etellekt’s Indicator of Political Violence in Mexico.

Most recently, Ivonne Gallegos Carreño, who was candidate for the municipal presidency of Ocotlán de Morelos, Oaxaca, was murdered Saturday, March 20, bringing the total of assassinated candidates up to 18, where it currently stands.

Etellekt’s director, Rubén Salazar, said this is the second-most deadly year on record for political candidates in Mexico, only below 2018. when 48 murders were registered, though the electoral process is far from being done, with two months left to go until the June 2021 midterms.

According to Salazar, there is an 80 percent probability that between 30 and 60 candidates will be murdered before the end of the elections. The expert explained that protections by law are only given to registered candidates, leaving pre-candidates much more vulnerable to violence.

“The response of the authority is more lax when they assassinate an applicant than if they are already-registered candidates before the electoral bodies,” said Salazar.

Further risk factors for candidates include running for office in areas where there is a high presence of drug trafficking, political conflict and marginalization, particularly when candidates are promising to combat organized crime or corruption in their campaign promises.

…March 23, 2021

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