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Mexico mayoral candidate killed during campaign event, third politician ahead of June elections

A former Mexican vigilante running for mayor was shot dead during a campaign event on Thursday in the troubled state of Michoacan, the third politician killed ahead of June elections.

Enrique Hernandez was killed by gunfire coming from "a vehicle in movement" in the center of the town of Yurecuaro, where he was seeking higher office, the state prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Three other people were wounded in the shooting in the town of 30,000 people.

 Mexico mayoral candidate killed during campaign event, third politician ahead of June elections

Mexico City. AP

Hernandez was a candidate for Morena, the new leftist party of two-time presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

He was also a former leader of vigilante groups that were formed by farmers in Michoacan in 2013 to combat the Knights Templar drug cartel, which had terrorized the state through murder, kidnappings and extortion.

The June 7 vote is the first electoral test of President Enrique Pena Nieto's administration, almost half way through his six-year term.

Security is a concern in Michoacan and the neighboring state of Guerrero, which has been hit by drug gang violence and social tensions in recent months. The western state of Jalisco has also endured cartel violence this year.

Earlier this month, a mayoral candidate for Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party, Ulises Fabian Quiroz, was murdered as he returned home from a rally in the Guerrero town of Chilapa.

In March, also in Guerrero, a woman candidate in the town of Ahuacuotzingo, Aide Nava, was kidnapped and later found dead. Her husband, the town's former mayor, was killed months earlier.

Mexicans will vote for 500 new members of the lower chamber of Congress as well as governors in nine of 32 states and nearly 900 mayors.

Michoacan Governor Salvador Jara Guerrero said Hernandez's killing "marks the first flashpoint" of the election and that the security cabinet would meet on Friday.

"We hope that this won't have a bigger impact" on the elections, he told Milenio television.

AFP

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Updated Date: May 15, 2015 10:55:05 IST

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