By Avinash Tharoor

The leading presidential candidate in Mexico’s election says scaling back the country’s militarised drug war could reduce bloodshed. Meanwhile, election candidates are being killed in huge numbers.

Mexico’s election process began in September 2017, with candidates and voters preparing for the country’s general and local elections, which will take place on July 1. The nine months following this declaration have seen widespread violence against politicians, with at least 113 policymakers or candidates being brutally murdered. Some were outspoken against cartel activity, while some were alleged to have been involved with trafficking.

The most recent death was that of Rosely Danilu Magaña, a candidate running for a municipal council seat in Isla Mujeres, who was shot by two men while at a campaign meeting on June 9. Magaña died in hospital on June 11, and her attackers have not be identified or captured.

One day prior to the attack on Magaña, Fernando Purón – who was previously mayor of the city of Piedras Negras - was murdered after speaking at a pre-election debate. Just minutes prior to his death, Purón told crowds that he had a strong record of opposing the notorious Los Zetas drug cartel, and that he would not cave to corruption:

"We demolished where the Zetas lived, houses that were a monument to the [illegal drug trade], we snatched the city from Los Zetas and returned it to the citizens. [Drug cartels] seek to do illicit business, earn dirty money for criminals, sow terror and fear among citizens, infiltrate the police with corruption."