Millions of Mexican citizens headed to the polls Sunday, under the cloak of violence for thousands of public offices, including all 500 members of the lower house of Congress, hundreds of mayors, and nine state governors.
After days of violent protests that hit the several restive southern states in the run up election, the government strengthened security to try to safeguard Sunday’s midterm elections.
About 40,000 federal police, soldiers and marines have been deployed into Oaxaca, Chiapas and Michoacan states where a union and other radical groups have vowed to disrupt the vote.
A splinter teachers union as well as relatives of Mexico’s disappeared have pledged to disrupt the country’s national election, sowing chaos by burning ballots and attacking the offices of local political parties, among other acts.
National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido told reporters on Saturday that the operation to dispatch federal police and soldiers to trouble spots ahead of the election began on Friday.
The protests pose a great challenge for President Enrique Pena Nieto who has been trying to live up to his 2012 election promise to bring peace to Mexico, which has long been shaken by drug cartel violence.
Nieto’s party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, PRI which took the power in 2012 after being on the sidelines since 2000, is expected to keep its majority coalition in Mexico’s Congress following the results.