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Mexico votes in historic elections marred by cartel violence and deep division

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A woman walks through the Zocalo in Mexico City on May 30. (AP)

MEXICO CITY, June 2, (AP): Mexicans vote Sunday in historic elections weighing gender, democracy and populism, as they chart the country’s path forward shadowed by cartel violence.
With two women leading the contest, Mexico will likely elect its first female president – a major step in a country long marked by its macho culture. The election is also the biggest in the country’s history. More than 20,000 congressional and local positions are up for grabs, according to the National Electoral Institute.
Claudia Sheinbaum, the former mayor of Mexico City, has maintained a comfortable double-digit lead in opinion polls for months. Xóchitl Gálvez, an opposition senator and tech entrepreneur, represents a coalition of parties that have had little historically to unite them other than their recent opposition to outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Mexico goes into Sunday’s election deeply divided: Friends and relatives no longer talk politics for fear of worsening unbridgeable divides, while drug cartels have split the country into a patchwork quilt of warring fiefdoms. The atmosphere is literally heating up with a wave of unusual heat, drought, pollution and political violence. Meanwhile, Mexico’s once-autonomous National Human Rights Commission issued an unusual statement criticizing electoral authorities.
The commission, which has largely followed and supported the policies of Obrador, claimed on Saturday electoral authorities have not acted forcefully enough against “slander,” a term frequently used by López Obrador in reaction to any criticism.
Elections in Mexico are run by the independent National Electoral Institute, and the commission is supposed to have no role in the process.

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