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Mexico holds historic election in race largely overshadowed by violence

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  2 weeks ago  •  4 comments

By:   Nicole Acevedo, Guad Venegas and Kayla McCormick

Mexico holds historic election in race largely overshadowed by violence
Mexico is holding its largest election ever Sunday to elect its first female president and over 20,000 government officials in a race largely overshadowed by violence.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


MEXICO CITY — Voters in Mexico participated in the country's largest election ever — casting votes Sunday to fill more than 20,000 local, state and federal positions and almost certainly electing their first female president.

Isis Victoria Duarte, a senior law student, got up early and arrived at a polling site in Mexico City about two hours before it opened at 8 a.m.

"Today is an important election," Duarte said. She was the third voter to cast her ballot.

Duarte said she was excited to vote for a female president "because it shows how far we have come as a country."

One of the two front-running presidential candidates — Claudia Sheinbaum, of Morena, Mexico's governing political party, and Xochitl Galvez, of the opposition coalition Broad Front — is expected to make history as Mexico's first female president. Jorge Alvarez Maynez, the Citizen Movement party's presidential candidate, was running a distant third in the polls.

"It's a necessary change. It's long overdue," Marc Siegel, a Mexico City resident, said after having voted Sunday afternoon about the prospect of a female president.

Polls closed at 6 p.m. local time.

In the U.S., there was frustration after thousands of Mexican nationals, who for the first time were granted the right to vote in person at selected consulates across several states, reported standing in line for more than 8 hours to participate in the historic vote.

Many of them were not allowed to vote after polls closed while they were still standing in line. From New York to Chicago and Los Angeles, voters protested the long waits and the lack of organization at these polling sites after they had gone through the registration process and some had driven hours to vote.

240602-mexico-elex-3-cc-0936p-06e693.jpg People wait to vote at the Mexican Consulate building Sunday in Houston. Houston and Dallas were the only two consulate locations in Texas where Mexican nationals could go to vote.David J. Phillip / AP

The road to one of the most consequential elections in Mexico's history has been marred by rampant violence.

Criminal groups have taken over large parts of Mexico as they fight for territory to traffic drugs into the U.S., make money from migrant smuggling and extort residents to fuel their illicit enterprises.

As of noon local time, four hours after polls officially opened, nearly 88% of voting booths had been "successfully installed," according to Mexico's National Electoral Institute. The institute said voting could not take place in person at 170 polling places, mostly in Chiapas and Michoacan, citing security problems.

A man running for local office in Michoacan was gunned down on Saturday night, just hours before Election Day. The Mexican state's Attorney General's Office identified him as Israel Delgado Vega. According to a news release, the candidate died at the scene while "those responsible fled."

Violence against political figures has persisted throughout this election cycle, resulting in a 150% increase in the number of victims of political violence since 2021, according to an analysis from Integralia, a public affairs consulting firm that researches political risk and other issues in Mexico. So far, at least 34 of political candidates have been killed in this election cycle.

240531-mexico-elections-ch-1501-6a03d1.jpg A woman in Mexico City holds up a sign on May 10 with a message that reads in Spanish, "I'll exchange my vote for my son."Marco Ugarte / AP

That has greatly dismayed Mexican voters, leading most of them to cite security as a top issue of concern. About 6 in 10 Mexican adults consider their cities to be unsafe because of robberies or armed violence, according to a survey Mexico's National Institute of Statistics and Geography published in April.

"Violence is present in everyday life, everywhere," Duarte said.

Some Mexicans decided to nullify their votes by writing in the name of one of the more than 110,000 people who are missing for president, the Associated Press reported.

240602-mexico-elex-2-cc-0924p-ad8d73.jpg People line up to vote in the general election at the Cabanas Cultural Center in Guadalajara, Jalisco state, Mexico, on Sunday.Ulises Ruiz / AFP via Getty Images

Isolated incidents of violence took place on Election Day after a bloody campaign process.

In the city of Queretaro, the governor said assailants tried to burn ballots at a polling place. Videos about the incident surfaced on social media. Municipal civil protection officials said they responded to the incident. The National Electoral Institute said Sunday afternoon the polling site "is already operating normally."

In the central state of Puebla, local police made arrests after four armed assailants tried to enter a school being used as a polling site to steal ballots.

Juan Jose Alonso, a voter in Mexico City, said he had "never seen so many people coming out to vote so early." He said he believes that's because people are trying to avoid potential violent incidents.

"The insecurity caused by drug trafficking is a big problem, but I think people are increasingly aware of it," he said in Spanish.

240531-mexico-elections-ch-1503-22df8f.jpg Presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum in Mexico City on Wednesday.Carlos Tischler / LightRocket via Getty Images

Sheinbaum, the former mayor of Mexico City and a physicist and climate scientist, has said she plans to combat violence by continuing the policy of "hugs, not bullets," implemented by her mentor, outgoing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, which does not directly take on the cartels as previous administrations had been.

Before Lopez Obrador, "there was at least a rhetorical intention by the Mexican government and the local governments to do something" about the violence, said Tony Payan, director of the Center for the U.S. and Mexico at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy. "But ever since Mr. Lopez Obrador took office at the end of 2018, that discourse has completely shifted. ... These criminals feel that they can do almost anything they want to and the state will not go after them."

Lopez Obrador's policy has not significantly reduced killings over the past six years, when, Mexican government data shows, at least 102,400 homicides have been reported.

But the data also shows that the strategy of Lopez Obrador's predecessors, pursuing drug lords in an all-out war, did not improve safety, either.

240531-mexico-elections-ch-1502-da60fc.jpg Presidential candidate Xochitl Galvez in Monterrey, Mexico, on Wednesday.Mauricio Palos / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Galvez, a center-right candidate who is a tech entrepreneur and has served as a senator, has been working to convince voters that health care access and economic development have stalled under Morena and that crime rates remain high.

She has also tried to position her party — a coalition of traditional political parties that had long governed Mexico, such as the conservative National Action Party, or PAN; the small progressive Democratic Revolution Party; and the old-guard Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI — as the change Mexico needs to unite an increasingly polarized country.

"I will like to see some level of change," said Aaron Carreras, who voted in Mexico City, "but it doesn't have to be a big revamp."

240602-mexico-elex-1-cc-0921p-f101ad.jpg Electoral officials count votes after polls closed during general elections in Mexico City, Sunday.Matias Delacroix / AP

Mexico's next president will have an important role in resolving issues that are priorities for the U.S., such as immigration and foreign affairs, as well as determining the future of the trade deal that has made Mexico the U.S.' largest trade partner.

Nicole Acevedo reported from New York and Guad Venegas, Kayla McCormick and Albinson Linares from Mexico City.

190618-nicole-acevedo-byline2043.jpg Nicole Acevedo

Nicole Acevedo is a reporter for NBC News Digital. She reports, writes and produces stories for NBC Latino and NBCNews.com.

Guad Venegas

Guad Venegas is a Telemundo correspondent, covering the California region.

Kayla McCormick

Kayla McCormick is a producer for NBC News.

Albinson Linares, Noticias Telemundo, Michelle Acevedo, Marin Scott, Juliana Jimenez J., Noticias Telemundo, Reuters and Associated Press contributed.


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Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1  Buzz of the Orient    2 weeks ago

Claudia Sheinbaum won.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    2 weeks ago

Two firsts for Mexico: First female & first Jewish President.

I wish her good luck.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Participates
2  Greg Jones    2 weeks ago

One of her first challenges will be dealing with the cartels and ending police corruption.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
2.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  Greg Jones @2    2 weeks ago

An impossible task.

 
 

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