Uptick in crimes against Mexican politicians points toward violent midterm election

FILE PHOTO: A soldier guards the area where eleven people were killed when unidentified gunmen riding in a truck opened fire in Tonala, State of Jalisco, Mexico February 27, 2021. REUTERS/Fernado Carranza

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - More than a hundred murders of Mexican officials and candidates in recent months point to the country’s midterm elections becoming the most violent in decades, local consulting firm Etellekt said in a report.

Between September 2020 and the first week of March, 126 Mexican politicians and candidates were assassinated.

On June 6, Mexicans will elect 500 lawmakers, 15 governors and more than 20,000 local officials.

“So far, the number of these crimes is lower than that registered in the 2018 elections, but it is increasing,” said Ruben Salazar, director of the consultancy.

“In March alone, one politician been assassinated per day. If this rate continues, it could be the most violent elections since the Mexican Revolution,” he said, referring to the armed conflict between 1910 and 1917.

Salazar said most of the politicians assassinated were members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which was in power various times between 1930 and 2000.

Attacks against all politicians increased by 4%, compared with the 2018 presidential elections, with cases of kidnapping, robbery, violence and threats, among other crimes, the report released on Friday showed.

Rosa Rodriguez, head of the Security Ministry, promised this week a protection plan for candidates. The plan establishes protocols depending on the level of political violence, crime incidence and risks for the electoral process, Rodriguez said.

Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Leslie Adler