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Bloody Mexican election exposes security woes

Abel Murrieta was out campaigning - like he is shown here - when a gunman shot him in broad daylight at point-blank range, making him the latest candidate murdered in one of the bloodiest election campaigns in Mexico's recent history.

Running for mayor in mid-term elections, Murrieta died on May 13th in Ciudad Obregon, a city in the northern state of Sonora.

An ex-attorney general of the state, Murrieta was the 83rd politician killed in Mexico since September 2020, according to one security consultancy. Two more have since followed.

Security analyst Alejandro Hope says the attacks are the most brazen examples of an even larger problem plaguing Mexican politics.

"There are threats, there are various acts of intimidation, many of which are kept quiet by the candidates. There are not such showy interventions, but they can be very insidious in the process, which can determine the outcome of the election in some places."

The bloodshed has underlined President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's difficulty in containing gang-fueled violence - an issue he campaigned on.

But homicides have climbed even higher since he took office in December 2018.

Sonora has been particularly hard hit.

Murrieta was a lawyer for Adrian LeBaron, a Mexican Mormon of American descent who in 2019 lost a daughter and four grandchildren in a notorious massacre by suspected cartel hitmen in Sonora.

For the past two months, public security has been seen as the main problem facing Mexico, with two out of three Mexicans saying the government is handling it poorly, according to a survey for newspaper El Financiero published this month.

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