Violence erupted on election day with ballot boxes stolen, gunfire and bombing incidents
A severed head placed in a box was tossed at a voting station and a plastic bag full of human remains was found at a nearby polling booth in the border city Tijuana, during what is being termed as Mexico’s bloodiest mid-term elections in recent years.
As people queued up to vote in Terrazas del Valle area of Tijuana on election day, a man threw a box containing a human head in the morning hours of Sunday.
Authorities said the man tried to run away but did not confirm whether he was captured. They said a plastic bag with human remains and a severed hand was also found at a nearby polling station.
The mid-term election in Mexico was marred by widespread violence, with Mexican media running daily stories of kidnappings, murders of candidates, threats, and bombings, mostly blamed on drug cartels and crime groups.
Since the beginning of the election cycle in September, 97 politicians have been killed and 935 were attacked, reported Reuters, according to security consultancy Etellekt.
More attacks were carried out elsewhere in Mexico on election day. Mexican KFOR Tv reported a video of a man stepping out of a SUV in front of Morena Party offices in Tijuana, before spraying the building with machine gun bullets.
In Mexicali, Baja California’s capital, several people broke into a polling booth and stole ballot boxes. As the men drove away, poll workers were seen running behind the car.
An inactive grenade was also lobbed at a voting station in Naucalpan, authorities said, after which the area was cordoned off.
Experts noted that criminal gangs sought to influence the elections by carrying out the violence. But the government said most of the killings weren’t necessarily related to elections.
All 500 seats in the lower house of the federal Congress are up for grabs along with 15 state governorships and thousands of local leadership positions in the country with 93.5 million Mexicans eligible to vote.
Observers are describing the election as the largest and most competitive in Mexico’s history.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is himself not in the running but hoping to gain congressional supermajority for his governing National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party and allies.
According to preliminary results, the president’s coalition held its control of the Congress in mid-term elections but lost its supermajority in the lower house.
Morena party won between 190 and 203 seats following Sunday’s election day, according to projections by the national electoral institute.