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Welcome to Mexico’s surreal elections

April 25, 2015
"Those who are qualified to govern have robbed us blind,” says former Big brother contestant Pato Zambrano.

“Those who are qualified to govern have robbed us blind,” says Pato Zambrano, a former Big brother contestant running for mayor of Monterrey.

With a football legend, a famous clown, a former Big Brother contestant and several soap stars in the running, the list of candidates in Mexico’s forthcoming elections reads more like the line-up of a television panel show. But the emergence of these maverick contenders reflects a growing sense of disillusionment, which has been compounded by a high-profile movement to boycott the elections.

Enrique Peña Nieto, who has the lowest approval rating of any president in the past two decades, still has three years left in office, but there are more than 1,200 positions at stake in the mayoral and congressional contests to be decided on 7 June.

This is the first time independent candidates have been allowed to participate in Mexico, an unwelcome development for the three major parties that have been tarred by years of bloodshed. An estimated 100,000 people have been killed since 2006 and at least 23,000 have disappeared, including 43 students who were infamously abducted in southern Mexico last September.

The government says the students were massacred by a drug gang, but their parents continue to search tirelessly for them. They are calling for a nationwide boycott of the elections, arguing that a vote for any politician is a vote for corruption and impunity…

Click here to read this feature in full at The Independent on Sunday.

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