Two mayoral hopefuls of a Mexican city are shot dead within hours of each other

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Police guard the City Hall in Maravatio, Michoacan state, Mexico, on Feb. 27. Two mayoral hopefuls in this city were gunned down the previous day within hours of each other. (AP)

MARAVATIO, Mexico, Feb 28, (AP): Two mayoral hopefuls in the Mexican city of Maravatio have been gunned down within hours of each other, as experts warn the June 2 national elections could be the country’s most violent on record.
The widening control of drug cartels in Mexico has been described as a threat. During the last nationwide election in 2021, about three dozen candidates were killed.
The campaigns haven’t even started yet. They formally begin on Friday.
On Tuesday, this farming town, where most of the men wear boots and big belt buckles, was in a state of wary shock following the previous day’s killings. Dozens of state police were visible around city hall.
Talking about gynecologist Miguel Ángel Zavala, one of the murdered aspiring candidates, Maravatio resident and homemaker Carmen Luna said the crime was shocking and incomprehensible. “The way I see it, there’s no explanation for killing a person … it might have been a power struggle between them.”
Luna was one of Zavala’s patients, and she ruled out any potential personal motive in his killing. “He was one of the best” doctors in town, she said. “He took care of me and was very good. He was very friendly.”
While she hasn’t voted in years – “whether it’s one or the other, everything stays the same” – Luna said the killings left people “angry and feeling powerless, because if the government doesn’t do anything, you can’t do anything.”
State prosecutors said Tuesday that Armando Pérez was found shot to death in his car in Maravatio just before midnight. He was the mayoral candidate for the conservative National Action Party.
“This illustrates the extremely serious level of violence and lack of safety that prevails ahead of the most important elections in Mexican history,” National Action’s leader, Marko Cortés, wrote on social media.
Hours earlier, officials with the ruling Morena party confirmed their mayoral hopeful, Zavala, was found shot to death Monday in his car.

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