June 24, 2021

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Polls open in Mexico’s widely anticipated midterm elections

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More than 20,000 posts are up for grabs, Mexico’s electoral body says, while nearly 95 million people are eligible to vote.

Polls have opened in Mexico, where thousands of posts at the local, state and national levels are up for grabs in what has been described as the biggest vote in the country’s history.

Sunday’s midterm elections will determine the makeup of the 500-seat Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Congress, as well as 15 governorships and thousands of mayoral and local councillor positions.

Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE) said more than 20,000 positions are being contested, while nearly 95 million people are eligible to vote.

The lead-up to Sunday’s elections was marked by widespread violence, with security consulting firm Etellekt reporting that at least 89 politicians, including 35 candidates, were killed in more than 200 days of campaigning.

“What will mark this election is the violence that arose mainly against opponents of state governments or the municipalities,” the firm’s director, Ruben Salazar, told Al Jazeera ahead of the elections.

“What we are witnessing here is political violence, where being part of the opposition implies [you will be] at greater risk in this country.”

A municipal candidate in Veracruz state in the country’s east was fatally shot in the night between Friday and Saturday, his political party said.

“We strongly condemn the cowardly murder of René Tovar, candidate for mayor of Cazones de Herrera, Veracruz,” Clemente Castañeda, national coordinator of the left-wing Citizens’ Movement tweeted, urging the government to “guarantee the life and security of Mexicans during the elections”.

While Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, widely known as AMLO, will not be on the ballot, his left-wing Morena party and its allies are looking to shore up support.

A good result in the Chamber of Deputies is especially important for AMLO as he seeks to push through several major policy promises in his remaining three years in office.

Elected in 2018 for a six-year term, the president’s party at that time won two-thirds of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies.


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