Mexico: newly-elected mayor assassinated

Steph Deschamps / June 18, 2024

 

The mayor of a municipality in southern Mexico, newly elected in the June 2 elections, was murdered on Monday on a road near Acapulco, according to the Guerrero State Prosecutor's Office. Salvador Villalba Flores, elected on behalf of the regional party Mexico Avanza (Mexico advances, left), was the victim of a "qualified homicide" on the Acapulco-Pinotepa Nacional road, according to a statement from the prosecutor's office, which has opened an investigation.
 
Salvador Villalba was a retired Navy captain and had an escort from the National Guard -a security corps-, according to the regional daily El Sur de Guerrero. But his escort was not with him when he was assassinated, according to the same source. "The mayor-elect was taken off the bus in which he was traveling when the vehicle made a stop" before being shot dead, the newspaper added on its news site. Salvador Villalba had decided to run for mayor after the murder of his friend Jesus Gonzalez Rios, leader of Mexico City's Partido Verde, in Copala on June 29, 2023, according to regional media.
 
On June 2, Mexico held the biggest elections in its history, with over 98 million voters registered for the presidential and legislative elections, the renewal of nine governors out of a total of 32 states, and a myriad of local mandates. Left-wing candidate Claudia Sheinbaum was elected the first woman president in Mexico's history, and will have a two-thirds majority in the Chamber of Deputies and close to it in the Senate, according to preliminary results from the National Electoral Institute (INE).
 
Some thirty candidates for local elections have been assassinated, according to the NGO Data Civica. Cartels, gangs or gangs seek to "impose candidates" in elections, and let others know that they "don't have the right" to run, explained Victor Serrato, Michoacan's state electoral crimes prosecutor, to AFP at the end of May. In 2023, 1,890 people were murdered in the state of Guerrero, mainly as a result of violence and the settling of scores by criminal organizations.
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