Mexico is heading into an election at an extremely volatile time when violence against political figures is at an all-time high.

The vote will be held in June, and 170 attacks against politicians have already been committed with many more expected to come.

Of these attacks, 30 involved the murder of candidates, 77 instances saw politicians threatened, and 11 were kidnappings.

Last Friday, a candidate in Mante, a city in the state of Tamaulipas, was stabbed several times while on the campaign trail.

Noé Ramos Ferretiz died at the event, with images of his blood-stained leaflets circulating online. The suspect fled the scene before being arrested a couple of days later.

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Just hours after this crime, another politician was found dead in the city of San José Independencia, in the state of Oaxaca.

Alberto Antonio García was a mayoral candidate for the ruling party. His wife was released after being kidnapped for two days.

Arturo Espinosa Silis, director of Laboratorio Electoral, commented on the spate of attacks.

He told the Spanish-language daily newspaper El País: “The phenomenon of electoral violence has been growing in the country and is increasingly spreading.

“It’s not only a question of numbers, but also of territorial expansion: there are more red flags, more [areas] with a higher incidence of violence, more attacks.”

Daniela Arias, the organization’s coordinator, added: “I don’t think we have to wait for the number of fatalities to be exceeded… this electoral process has been more violent when other aspects are looked at, such as assaults and threats.”

Manuel Pérez Aguirre, a researcher from the College of Mexico, also said: “February and March tend to be very violent months because that’s when [the parties decide] who they will put up as candidates.”

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He added that the politicians are themselves involved and seek to win their positions “with bullets.”

Pérez Aguirre continued: “Mexico has a long history of electoral violence, even since its creation as a state…It’s something much more systematic, much more ‘normal,’ much more common, and one that occurs at the local level.”

Polling by Data Cívica, México Evalúa, and Animal Político has shown that every political murder drops participation in democracy in Mexico by one percent, leading to fears that regular attacks will leave millions too afraid to vote.

El Pais also reports that political parties in Mexico are struggling to fill vacancies because many fear the consequences of entering politics.

An election in the state of Jalisco in 2021 was annulled after just one candidate made it to the end of the mayoral race.

Votes being annulled in local elections has become more common, and many say this problem has arisen due to political intimidation.

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