Reports of violence as 12 Mexican states vote for governors

In this May 17, 2016 photo, Miguel Angel Yunes Linares, candidate for Governor for the National Action Party, PAN, and the coalition "Unidos para rescatar Veracruz," or "United to rescue Veracruz," greets supporters during a campaign rally in Ixhuacan, in the gulf coast state of Veracruz, Mexico. Veracruz is the biggest of the states choosing governors and one of five, along with Durango, Hidalgo, Quintana Roo and Tamaulipas, in which the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party has never lost even as its once iron grip on power has eroded across the nation as a whole. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

VERACRUZ, Mexico (AP) — Government and political leaders reported scattered incidents of election-related violence in Mexico on Sunday as 12 states voted for new governors.

In Veracruz, a two-party alliance backing an opposition candidate complained of attacks against party members in seven municipalities, including vehicles being burned and gasoline bombs thrown at a party office in the state capital of Xalapa.

Jose Mancha Alarcon, the state leader of the National Action Party said attackers burst into the home of the mayor of Acajete and set it on fire.

In the town of Emiliano Zapata, near Xalapa, a severed human head was left in a park just steps from a polling station.

Veracruz state Public Security Secretary Arturo Bermudez confirmed that the driver for a local lawmaker was kidnapped. The lawmaker is part of the opposition alliance’s gubernatorial campaign.

Meanwhile threatening text messages warning people not to vote were sent to cellphones in Veracruz.

Mexican newspaper El Universal reported that attackers with clubs and stones damaged dozens of buses carrying campaign material in the Pacific coast state of Sinaloa. It said a mob in the southern state of Oaxaca burned some ballots and threatened to prevent polling stations from opening, while in Zacatecas a gasoline bomb was tossed at the door of the state congress.

Veracruz is the biggest prize in Sunday’s gubernatorial elections, which could shape the fortunes of the country’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party in its bid to hold onto the presidency in 2018.

In five of the 12 statehouses up for grabs, including Veracruz, the party has ruled uninterrupted for more than 80 years.

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