Mayoral candidate murdered in Mexico

Mexico City, Jul 2 (EFE).- A leftist candidate for the mayoralty of San Dimas, a city in the northern Mexican state of Durango, was murdered, prosecutors told Efe Tuesday.

Ricardo Reyes Zamudio, a member of the Citizens Movement, was kidnapped during a funeral and his bullet-riddled body was found Monday in the town of Tayoltita, the Durango state Attorney General's Office said.

An army patrol found the body of the politician, who had served as San Dimas's mayor from 2007-2010, the AG's office said in a statement.

"State Investigations Administration (DEI) personnel are working on the investigation to clear up what happened and find those responsible for this crime," the AG's office said.

The killing of Reyes Zamudio, who was married and had four children, was condemned by the Citizens Movement.

Reyes Zamudio's "cowardly murder" reflects the "dangerous and alarming climate of violence and impunity" in Mexico, Citizens Movement national coordinator Dante Delgado said.

The acts of violence are aimed at "imposing fear and discouraging citizens ahead of the electoral process that will culminate next Sunday, July 7," Delgado said.

"If the violence prevents citizens from participating in the elections, our democracy will be the loser and the state will show its inability to guarantee public safety and the nation's governability," Delgado said.

Officials must provide "a convincing explanation" about the killing, Citizens Movement Durango leader Jose Ramon Enriquez said.

Conservative National Action Party, or PAN, politician Victor Hugo Castañeda also condemned the murder in a state where other candidates have received threats.

Over the weekend, the PAN and the Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, Mexico's main opposition parties, called on President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration to deal with cases of violence ahead of the elections in 14 states.

"We see a tense electoral climate, not just because of the endless irregularities that have occurred and that continue occurring eight days ahead of the elections, but also because of the climate of violence against candidates, relatives and leaders," PRD secretary-general Alejandro Sanchez Camacho said during a rally on Sunday.

PRD official Nicolas Merino was kidnapped and murdered in Tuxtepec, a city in the southern state of Oaxaca last week.

The conservative PAN, meanwhile, also called for an end to the pre-election violence.

The wave of violence of the past few days is "regrettable" and "sad," PAN chairman Gustavo Madero said during a visit Sunday to the central state of Aguascalientes.

Some 30 million Mexicans will be eligible to vote in the elections next Sunday, when nearly 1,800 offices in 14 states will be up for grabs.

A total of 1,348 mayoralties and more than 400 state legislative seats will be in play in the elections.