On 4 July, the same day that elections at the municipal and state levels were held in different locations of the Mexican Republic, elections took place for the 118 mayorships and seats in the state congress of Chiapas. On the day of the election, violent incidents and acts were observed in some municipalities, and many called for the repudiation of the election results due to allegations of irregularities.
For these elections, the National Action Party (PAN), the Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD), Convergence, and New Alliance formed a coalition against the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party); this type of coalition was also seen in other Mexican states during this electoral cycle. The coalition, called in Chiapas “United for Chiapas,” won the mayorship of the state capital, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, as well as those of San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Tapachula, according to the Program for Preliminary Electoral Results (PREP) of Chiapas. Furthermore, the coalition won the majority of the seats in the state congress. Nonetheless, election results were challenged in several localities due to alleged irregularities that are said to have occurred during the day. It is should be mentioned that abstentionism in the state surpassed 50 percent.
Within the context of the elections, several incidents occurred. On election day in Tila, Juan José Díaz Solórzano, ex-mayor of the muncipality, was detained , accused of having bought votes for mayoral candidate of the Green-Ecological Party of Mexico (PVEM), Sandra Luz Cruz Espinosa, as well as for the PAN-PRD candidate for the state congress, Antonio Morales Messner. According to journalists, a group of PRI militants found him with 3.5 million pesos in cash, and they made him walk barefoot through the center of Tila before turning him over to the authorities.
On the same day in San Juan Chamula, a presumed PRI militant who was carrying 400 electoral ballots marked in favor of the PRI was also detained. He has been held by Federal Attorney General Office’s Special Prosecutor for Electoral Crimes. In the same municipality, residents of the community of Rancho Narváez detained officials for hours due to the fact that 8000 electoral ballots were missing; they were released once state officials produced the missing ballots.
Furthermore, in the morning of 4 July, Francisco Girón Luna, president of the National Union of Autonomous Regional Campesino Organizations (UNORCA), was killed en route to Cruz Pilar, in the municipality of Tenejapa. Girón Luna held no political office, but he had links to the municipal authorities of the PRD.
Another homicide that could be related to 4 July occurred on 5 July in the city of Palenque, where Hugo Messner Ocaña, nephew of the PAN-PRD coalition’s local-congress candidate, Antonio Morales Messner, and ex-member of the present state administration, was killed. Messner Ocaña had been a political operator of the state government in Yajalón, in the northern zone of the state. Regardless, the authorities responsible for investigating this crime refused to provide information regarding the motive for the murder, claiming that they did not want to hinder ongoing investigations.
For more information (in Spanish):
Relative calm during elections in Chiapas, Baja California, and Coahuila (La Jornada, 5 July)
UNORCA requests investigation into murder of leader in Chiapas (La Jornada, 5 July)
Investigations continue into murder (Cuarto Poder, 7 July)