Deadly end to Mexico campaign as local candidate shot

Supporters of Mexico's presidential candidate for the Fuerza y Corazon por Mexico coalition party, Xochitl Galvez, attend a campaign rally with Indigenous people in Atlacomulco, Mexico State, Mexico, on May 24, 2024
[Getty Images]

A mayoral candidate in the Mexican state of Guerrero has been shot dead in the latest attack on an aspiring politician, ahead of this weekend's elections.

Alfredo Cabrera, who was running for mayor in the town of Coyuca de Benítez, was killed by a gunman at a campaign rally.

The run-up to the vote, in which a new president as well as members of the legislature, nine governors and almost 20,000 local officials will be chosen, has been the most violent in recent history.

More than 20 candidates have been killed and hundreds more have been threatened.

Video footage shared by local media shows Alfredo Cabrera shaking hands with supporters ahead of his closing rally in Guerrero state.

Someone can then be seen approaching him when, suddenly, shots ring out.

Some 15 shots can be heard. Guerrero state officials said that members of Mexico's National Guard returned fire, killing the gunman at the scene.

According to local media, Cabrera was under police protection after having been the target of a previous attack in 2023.

An investigation has been launched to determine what the possible motive of the attack may have been.

Government figures suggest 22 people running for local office have been murdered across Mexico since last September but non-governmental groups say the number is even higher.

Alfredo Cabrera's murder was condemned by Xóchitl Gálvez, who is running for president for the centre-right opposition coalition.

Ms Gálvez said there were "no words to express the indignation I feel".

She added that she had met Alfredo Cabrera and found him to be "a generous and upstanding man".

Ms Gálvez, 61, is backed by a coalition of opposition parties whose aim it is to remove the governing Morena party from office.

Mexico's opposition presidential candidate Xochitl Galvez closes her campaign, in Monterrey
Xóchitl Gálvez is running on an anti-Morena ticket [Reuters]

The current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is limited by the constitution to a single six-year term but his Morena party has put forward the former mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, as its candidate.

Opinion polls have given Ms Sheinbaum and Ms Gálvez a wide lead over their other male rival for the presidency, Jorge Álvarez Máynez, which means it is almost certain that Mexico will get its first female president in this election.

Both women held their final campaign rallies on Wednesday.

Ms Sheinbaum, who is the the clear favourite in the polls, told a crowd in Mexico City's central Zócalo Square that Mexico had "changed profoundly for the better” since Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected in 2018.

Mexican presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum stands with her arms outstretched on stage at a campaign event.
Polls have given Claudia Sheinbaum a wide lead; if she wins she will become Mexico's first female president [Reuters]

"I'm clear that my obligation is to take Mexico along the path of peace, security, democracy, freedom and justice," she said.

Ms Gálvez, who has criticised President López Obrador for the prevalence of organised crime in the country, held her closing event in the northern city of Monterrey.

"You are going to have the bravest president," she said. "I am going to defend your family. I am going to protect your sons. I am going to take care of your daughters. Don't forget that."

Whoever wins the presidency will be faced with tackling a stagnant economy, rising violence and the continuing flow through Mexico of migrants trying to reach the United States.