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Latin America

Mexican mid-term election candidate killed by gunmen

A spate of political assassinations has marred the campaign for this Sunday’s vote

Valle de Chalco: Elecciones México 2015
Miguel Ángel Luna Munguía during his campaign. EFE

A Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) candidate running to become a Mexican national deputy was gunned down at his campaign office by a group of armed men on Wednesday, just four days before voters go to the polls in mid-term elections.

According to authorities, three men broke into Miguel Ángel Luna Munguía’s headquarters in Valle de Chalco – about 35 kilometers outside of Mexico City – aimed their weapons at the candidate and fired before escaping. The PRD contender was rushed to a nearby hospital where he died.

His death is the latest of 19 political assassinations that have taken place throughout the country over the past three months. Tensions are continuing to rise ahead of Sunday’s vote, in which Mexicans will cast ballots for 1,996 local and regional officials, including the governors of nine states and all 500 members of the Chamber of Deputies.

At least 19 political killings have taken place over the past three months in Mexico

The mid-term race is seen as significant for President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which has introduced a series of far-reaching reforms in the areas of energy, education and fiscal structure.

But the pre-election violence has marred many campaign activities; so far there have been reports of about 70 incidents throughout Mexico.

Not all the victims have been official candidates: party officials, advisors and members of political groupings have also been killed. In a country where only three percent of all murders lead to convictions, authorities are often unable to find clear motives for the killings.

This has so far been the case with Luna Munguía’s death. A lawyer by trade, he was no political novice. From 2003 to 2006, he served as mayor of Valle del Chalco, a city of about 350,000 residents in Mexico state, serving under the PRI. In this year’s election, he was vying for a deputy seat on the PRD ticket.

His photos on his Facebook page showed him surrounded by citizens, and he described himself as “the candidate who listens and attends to the community.”

Police believe that the gunmen had been following his movements for some time but authorities have no suspects in custody.

On May 26, two men on a motorcycle gunned down José Salvador Méndez Morales, the campaign manager for PRI candidate Lorenzo Rivera Sosa in Puebla. Police said that one of the men took out his gun and shot Méndez Morales as he was walking near his home in Chignahuapan.

Again, no arrests have been made in that case.

One of the most gruesome political killings to take place recently was the murder three months ago of Aidé Nava González, who was running on the PRD ticket for mayor of Ahuacuotzingo – a small mountain town in Guerrero state.

In March, authorities found the decapitated body of mayoral hopeful Aidé Nava González

Authorities found her body in early March in Tecoanapa, Guerrero. She had been tortured and was still alive when her captors decapitated her.

Her husband, who was also a mayoral candidate in Guerrero, was killed in front of her by a drug trafficker last year. The couple also had a son who was kidnapped and has not been seen since.

Besides her body, police found a note written in red letters: “This is what happens to all fucking brownnosers and politicians who don’t want to join.”

The state of Guerrero has been under siege by rival groups of drug traffickers vying for control of the state.

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