Mexican President calls for authorities to protect candidates amidst wave of killings

By April 10, 2024

Mexico City, Mexico—– Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called on local authorities to provide security to candidates for the upcoming general elections amidst a spate of 22 murders of candidates for public office thus far. 

Mexico’s 2024 general election is making history; both for being the largest election in recent memory, as well as for being the most violent.

The June 2 general election will see 97 million Mexican voters elect more than 20,000 federal and local elected officials, including eight governorships, 500 members of the lower house, 128 senators, city halls and mayors, and the president of Mexico. 

As of April 2, 22 candidates for different government posts have been killed; 18 of them have been mayoral candidates for different states of the country. In the face of continuous violence, political parties have urged authorities to strengthen efforts to ensure security. 

On April 2, a mayoral candidate from Mexico’s ruling MORENA party in Celaya, Guanajuato, Gisela Gaytán, was shot and killed.

Gaytán’s murder was met with outrage by her party colleagues, who accused the state’s government and electoral body of negligence by failing to provide security to the state’s candidates, including Gaytán. 

MORENA requested the National Electoral Institute (INE) to grant federal protection to 40 candidates from Guanajuato after Gaytán’s murder, arguing that the electoral process in the state faced an “extraordinary situation” and increased security measures were necessary. 

During his morning briefing on April 4, President López Obrador called for all levels of the Mexican government to intervene in the face of the ongoing violence. 

“Hopefully, the local authorities will help because we are talking about an election with thousands of candidates; it is one of the largest, if not the largest, in the country’s history,” said López Obrador. 

“And where the parties request it, we would help and support. It is our responsibility, our obligation, to do so, to protect candidates and to protect citizens in general. But the best thing would be for all the authorities to help.” 

So far, MORENA has been the political party suffering the most murders against its candidates; Gaytán’s murder marked the ninth reported homicide of a MORENA candidate.