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Mexicans head to polls after violent campaign season

By Danielle Haynes
Mexicans head to polls after violent campaign season
Movimiento Regeneracion Nacional candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during the closure of his electoral campaign in Mexico City on Wednesday. Photo by Jorge Nunez/EPA-EFE

July 1 (UPI) -- Mexican voters stand poised to elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador president as they head to the polls Sunday in an election marred by violence.

More than 130 political candidates or their workers have been killed since the start of the campaign season in September, which may be why Obrador, known by his initials, AMLO, and his strong anti-corruption stance has a lead in the polls.

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Obrador, who heads the Movimiento Regeneracion Nacional Party, or Morena Party, leads conservative candidate Ricardo Anaya by 20 points as of Friday. He'll likely oust the three parties that have governed Mexico in the three decades since the end of autocratic rule there.

Obrador has promised to root out corrupt government officials during his third bid for the presidency.

His platform includes free access to telecommunications services like the Internet and pension increases for the elderly. He also wants to reverse key reforms made by President Enrique Pena Nieto's administration that opened the country's energy industry to foreign companies.

Nieto can not run for re-election, as Mexico's constitution limits presidents to a single six-year term.

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Other presidential contenders are Anaya of the National Action Party, Jose Antonio Meade of the Institutional Revolutionary Party and independent Jamie "El Bronco" Rodriguez.

Sunday's election marks the first time members of the national congress can be re-elected. In congress, 628 spots will be decided along with nine governors, about 1,600 mayors and thousands of lower level lawmakers.

Susan McFarland contributed to this report.

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