Mexicans go to polls: Turnout low in northern state after assassination of candidate

July 5, 2010 · Print This Article

Olga R. Rodriguez and Alexandra Olson

The Associated Press

CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico — Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s party appeared headed to a triumph Sunday in a longtime stronghold of the former ruling party and was in a tight race for the governorship of another key state, according to exit polls and preliminary official results.

A victory in the southern state of Oaxaca would be a much needed boost for Calderon after a campaign for local elections in more than a dozen states that was besieged by assassinations and scandals that displayed the power of drug cartels and faced his gov¬ernment with its most serious political challenge.

The vast majority of citizens didn’t show up to vote in the northern state of Tamaulipas, where the leading gubernatorial candidate was assasinated a week ago by suspected cartel gunmen.

Impoverished and volatile Oax¬aca is one of several states in which Calderon’s conservative National Action Party formed alliances with leftist parties seek¬ing to thwart a resurgence of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ruled Mexico for 71 years and still controls many state gov¬ernments.

The polls and preliminary offi¬cial results pointed to a PRI defeat in Oaxaca, a heavily indigenous state that it had ruled for 80 years

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