MEXICO: 111 candidates murdered since September 2017, ahead of July 2018 elections.

Fernando Puron, former mayor and candidate for Mexico Congress. | Photo:

(TELESUR) – 111 candidates have been murdered in Mexico since September 2017, ahead of the July 1 general elections.

Fernando Puron Johnston, who was running for Congress in the northern state of Coahuila was murdered late Friday at the Autonomous University of Coahuila after participating in a debate with his three main political rivals.

Security footage shows Puron, a former mayor of Piedras Negras, was posing for a picture with a supporter when a man walked up to him and shot him twice in the back of the head.

Local media reports state the assailant fled the scene before first respondents arrived at the scene and Puron was taken to a hospital but died on the way due to his wounds.

Since September 2017, 111 political candidates of various parties have been murdered ahead of the July 1 national elections, in which Mexicans will choose federal and local authorities.

Rene Juarez, a representative of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), said via Twitter “we strongly condemn the devious crime against our candidate to the Federal Congress in the state of Coahuila, Fernando Puro. We demand authorities clarify what happened.”

Other political parties have also condemned the attack and called for an investigation. Through the National Action Party (PAN) official Twitter account the party said: “we shouldn’t continue counting murdered candidates, it is urgent we stop the violence our country is living.”

Mexico’s Green Ecologist Party demanded state authorities “take strict security measures that would allow candidates to campaign without fear of being attacked.”

While PRI’s presidential candidate Jose Antonio Meade announced, he would hold a closing campaign rally in the same place where the murder took place.

Politicians are not the only targeted by criminal groups. Journalists and social activists are also recurrent targets.