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Where inmates and ex-cons are running for office

By AFP

Added 27th June 2018 02:31 PM

Francisco Lopez is running for mayor of San Carlos, Tamaulipas from a jail cell.

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Francisco Lopez is running for mayor of San Carlos, Tamaulipas from a jail cell.

ELECTIONS

Voters around the world have been known to complain their politicians are crooks, but Mexico takes it to a whole new level, with multiple current or former prison inmates running for office in Sunday's elections.

What's more, even though many voters say crime and corruption are their top concerns, some of these candidates appear to have a good chance of winning.

Here are some of the most notable cases.

Running in place

Francisco Lopez is running for mayor of San Carlos, Tamaulipas from a jail cell.

Standing for the country's current ruling party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), he was mid-campaign when police arrested him on May 19 on murder charges.

Lopez, 43, is currently in jail in the state capital, Ciudad Victoria, awaiting trial.

In the meantime, Mexican law entitles him to continue his candidacy.

"He remains our candidate. We're sure he'll get through this situation he's going through," said state party leader Sergio Guajardo.

"We're sure he's going to win the election from prison," he told AFP.

He argued that Lopez was not "directly" accused of murdering anyone -- though in fact he is, a social services official in San Carlos who was shot dead in May -- and asked voters to remember he is considered innocent until proven guilty.

Lopez's family is continuing his campaign.

"I'm sure my dad didn't do what they're accusing him of. Not just me, but the whole town of San Carlos is sure my father is innocent," said his 15-year-old daughter turned spokeswoman, Fernanda Lopez.

Red card?

Ex-footballer Cuauhtemoc Blanco, a three-time World Cup veteran who is now running for governor of Morelos state, is accused of corruption, embezzlement, forgery and involvement in organized crime.

Blanco, 45, is currently the mayor of state capital Cuernavaca. He is running for a coalition led by the left-wing party Morena.

The third-highest goal scorer in the history of the Mexican national team, he offered his sporting record as proof of character.

"When I represented Mexico, I did it for my country, I did it for all of you. Believe me, I won't let you down. I'm not like this current batch of bastards" in power, he said in launching his campaign.

'To err is human'

Enoc Diaz, a former mayor, was jailed in 2015 for torture, abuse of office and racketeering.

Today his is trying to win back his old job as mayor of Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacan in Chiapas state.

"It's human to make mistakes. What's stupid is to keep on making them," said Enoc Hernandez, a local leader for Diaz's coalition.

"I hope his time behind bars changed his attitude," he added, though he insisted that Diaz was cleared of wrong-doing.

Front office?

Carlos Lomeli, a candidate for governor of Jalisco state, was named in a US investigation along with Mexican footballer Rafael Marquez as partners in a company that allegedly acted as a front for an international drug-trafficking gang.

Lomeli has presented letters from Mexican and US officials that he says absolve him.

In his asset disclosure as a candidate, he declared a net worth of $9.9 million.

As for Marquez, he is currently playing for Mexico in the World Cup.

 

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