Assassinations of politicians as the new normal. The increase in violence in Mexico is to be calmed by a woman at the head of the state

Assassinations of politicians as the new normal. The increase in violence in Mexico is to be calmed by a woman at the head of the state
Assassinations of politicians as the new normal. The increase in violence in Mexico is to be calmed by a woman at the head of the state

Candidates for Mexico’s new president launched election campaigns in March in a tense environment marred by political assassinations. For the first time in history, two women are the favorites for the head of state. The country will almost certainly have a female president.

In mid-March, the main candidate for mayor of the city of Chilapa, Tomás Morales, was shot dead in front of his home in southern Mexico. The city has been plagued by gang warfare for more than a decade. But his death is not an exception. During this year, drug cartels in the country have already murdered six politicians, a total of 19 people since the beginning of the election campaign, in an attempt to influence the upcoming elections.

Mexican drug cartels often target assassinations of mayors or candidates for such a position with the vision of controlling local police or extorting money from municipal governments, CBS News reports. In the last twenty years, however, violence in the country has been steadily increasing.

Since the end of 2006, when then-President Felipe Calderón launched a military campaign against drugs that drew criticism, Mexico has recorded more than 420,000 murders, and tens of thousands more have gone missing.

Security became one of the main topics of the June elections. The current left-wing president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has sought to reverse a crackdown on gangs that sparked a wave of violence in the country. As part of a policy known as “hugs, not bullets”, it discourages security forces from using coercive practices and repression, writes the Financial Times. But even he fails to stop the violence. López Obrador also faced investigations into whether drug cartel money went to support his campaign in 2006 and 2018.

Twenty points ahead

Voters will thus look for new alternatives to change the situation in the country. And two women offer them a solution. The current favorite is Claudia Sheinbaum, a left-wing climatologist and mayor of the capital, who benefits from the large support of the populist president and enough money for her campaign. He belongs to the ruling Movement for National Renewal (Morena).

He fully supports the current head of state, promises to continue his policies, and sometimes even imitates his slow way of walking in public appearances, notes The New York Times. He mainly emphasizes the strengthening of the economy, but also wants to attract the middle class of the population, El País newspaper describes.

Her rival is Xóchitl Gálvezová, a businesswoman who grew up in poor circumstances and a senator from the right-wing National Action Party (PAN). But she lags behind her rival by more than twenty percentage points. Sheinbaum has the support of 58 percent of voters, Gálvez 34 percent. All other candidates remain far behind.

A different procedure in Mexico City

Two female candidates are completely unprecedented in the history of Mexico. The Latin American country is known for its “machismo”. While Mexican women have risen to political positions, thanks in part to mandatory quotas for representation in public office, the country has high levels of gender-based violence.

The election will be the largest in the history of Mexico. In addition to the new head of state, people will elect both houses of Congress, eight governors and thousands of local representatives.

The ruling Moreno party is campaigning to ensure a decent life for low-income residents, while the opposition warns that the future of the country’s democracy is at stake. Mass protests broke out here in February against López Obrador’s electoral reforms, the AP agency reminds.

People are also worried because of the increasing number of murders. On average, a hundred people are now killed every day in Mexico. Sheinbaum differs from her mentor on this issue, and as mayor of the Mexican capital, she has introduced different rules.

It has improved police training, raised their salaries and invested in intelligence services. She promised to do the same if she became president. While reports of extortion and disappearances have increased across the country, murders, thefts and other crimes in Mexico City have fallen by about 60 percent.

Even though the polls are clear, analysts warn that many voters are only just beginning to decide who to vote for. And security in the country may be one of the factors that will influence their choice.

The article is in Czech

Tags: Assassinations politicians normal increase violence Mexico calmed woman state


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