Mexico Takes Action to Keep Criminals Out of Elections

MEXICO CITY – A security agreement to keep drug traffickers and other organized crime groups from interfering with Mexico’s July 1 general elections has been signed by President Felipe Calderon and the state governors.

The goal of the agreement is to “create the necessary conditions for citizens to go to the polls in full peace,” Calderon said.

The agreement’s signing shows “our unity in the face of a common enemy,” the president said.

Calderon cited the 2010 murder of Tamaulipas gubernatorial candidate Rodolfo Torre Cantu, the killings of 28 mayors in the past five years and the pressure put on candidates by criminals as examples of what Mexico has had to deal with.

Mexico’s drug war death toll totaled 47,515 from December 2006 to September 2011.

“The Mexican state will not yield and it should not yield to the threats of criminals,” Calderon said.

The president declared war on Mexico’s drug cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006 and has deployed tens of thousands of army troops and Federal Police officers in areas plagued by drug-related violence.

Mexico will hold its presidential election on July 1, 2012, electing a successor to Calderon, a member of the conservative National Action Party, or PAN.

Some 80 million Mexicans will be eligible to vote for a new president, 628 federal legislators and thousands of other officials in the general elections. EFE

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