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Mexico’s bloodiest election in modern history set to give first woman president | World News

Mexico’s election has become its bloodiest in modern history after the number of assassinated candidates reached 37 before today’s vote.

The election is likely to give Mexico its first woman president as voters decide between a former academic who is promising to advance the current leader’s populist policies and a former senator and tech entrepreneur who has pledged to escalate the fight against the drug cartels.

Nearly 100 million people are registered to vote to replace Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the outgoing president.

They will also elect governors in nine of the country’s 32 states and choose candidates for both houses of Congress, as well as thousands of mayorships and other local posts.

Opposition presidential candidate Xochitl Galvez and frontrunner Claudia Sheinbaum. Pic: AP
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Opposition presidential candidate Xochitl Galvez and frontrunner Claudia Sheinbaum. Pic: AP

The number of candidates assassinated in the 2024 election has now reached 37 – one more than during the 2021 midterm election – after a candidate running for local office in Puebla state was murdered at a political rally on Friday, according to data from security consultancy firm Integralia.

The consultancy has also recorded 828 non-lethal attacks on candidates during the election season, up from 749 since Monday.

Mexico’s constitution prohibits the president from being re-elected.

Mr Lopez Obrador’s Morena party holds 23 of the 32 governorships and a small majority of seats in both houses of Congress.

The party hopes to gain a two-thirds majority in Congress to amend the constitution to eliminate oversight agencies it says are unwieldy and wasteful, something the opposition argues would endanger Mexico’s democratic institutions.

Presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum. Pic: AP
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Claudia Sheinbaum is widely expected to win the vote. Pic: AP

Who will be Mexico’s first woman president?

Both major presidential candidates are women, while a third from a smaller party is trailing far behind.

Mexico City’s mayor Claudia Sheinbaum is widely expected to win the vote and become president.

She is running for the ruling Morena party and has promised to continue all of Mr Lopez Obrador’s policies, including a universal pension for the elderly and a programme paying youths to undertake apprenticeships.

Presidential candidate Xochitl Galvez. Pic: AP
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Opposition candidate Xochitl Galvez. Pic: AP

Opposition candidate Xochitl Galvez, who has indigenous roots, is running with a coalition of major opposition parties.

She left the Senate last year to focus her criticism of Mr Lopez Obrador’s decision to avoid confronting the drug cartels through his “hugs not bullets” policy and has pledged to go after criminals more aggressively.

Cartel violence a key issue

Mexico’s problems with cartel violence and its middling economic performance are likely to be the main issues on voters’ minds.

As well as the battle for control of Mexico’s congress, the race for Mexico City is also important. Ms Sheinbaum is the latest of many Mexico City mayors, including Mr Lopez Obrador, who have gone on to run for president.

Polls open at 8am (3pm UK time) and close at 6pm (1am Monday UK time) in most of the country.

Partial preliminary results are expected by 9pm (4am Monday UK time) after the last polls in different time zones close.

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