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Mexican Mayor-Elect, Aide Shot Dead

Sunday, 12 Aug 2012 03:44 PM


MEXICO CITY — A mayor-elect was found shot dead Sunday with an aide inside a van in the northern Mexican state of San Luis Potosi, recently the scene of rising drug violence, prosecutors said.

Police received a report overnight Sunday leading them to the vehicle in the town of Matehuala, in the northern part of the state, where they found the two bodies and a survivor of the attack, according a statement by the state prosecutors office.

"The lifeless body of mayor-elect Edgar Morales was found in a van this morning," a spokesman for prosecutors told AFP by telephone. The second body was identified as Juan Francisco Hernandez, Morales' campaign manager.

The survivor, who escaped injury, told police the three men were attacked as they left a party. He said he did not know who or how many attackers there were.

San Luis Potosi has been rocked in recent days by a wave of violence attributed to drug cartels, including the discovery of 14 bodies inside a van on Thursday.

Morales would not be the first mayor targeted by drug gangs seeking to dominate local affairs. At least six were killed across Mexico last year, and 15 the year before.

Morales had been elected in the July 1 elections that also earned Enrique Pena Nieto the presidency. Both hail from the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which ruled Mexico under an authoritarian regime for more than seven decades, until it was voted out in 2000.

More than 50,000 people have been murdered since December 2006 when outgoing President Felipe Calderon launched a military offensive against drug cartels — a failure analysts link to Calderon's defeat in the July polls.

Pena Nieto has promised a "new strategy" and also pledged to wage his battle "without pacts or truces" — a nod to the tactic his party was previously known for, of looking the other way while drugs were sent north of the border as long as the cartels did not commit violence within Mexico.

However, the incoming president has yet to offer many details of just what he proposes.

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