Mexico is mourning the murder of mayoral hopeful Aaron Varela Martinez: the 30th federal candidate assassinated since September.
Police reports state Varela was found dead in a van after being shot three times in the neck, back and legs on Thursday morning in San Andres Cholula, Puebla.
Forensic experts say he was killed with a .45-caliber firearm, and investigators have ruled out theft as a motive because the victim's phone was left at the scene.
Carlos Figueroa, secretary of the Executive Committee for Human Rights in Morena, said the crime is undoubtedly linked to politics: "It is an extrajudicial execution, which takes place in the electoral context and which, I repeat, is taking place in a national context in which these acts of violence are being observed."
Figueroa is demanding that national and state-federal administrations launch an investigation into Varela's murder, along with the 29 other assassinations in the run-up to elections.
Governmental Secretary General Diodoro Carrasco Altamirano also condemned Varela's murder as regrettable, and offered the state's condolences to the victim's family.
"In the coming hours, the Office of the Prosecutor will provide a press conference where he will inform the public of the lines of investigation; we will be vigilant and are demanding that the guilty be resolved and punished," he told Varela's relatives.
According to security specialist Gerardo Rodriguez, a spike in assassinations during the weeks before any election is expected "because organized crime is interested in influencing politics, have a mayor, a governor, akin to their interests."
A hopeful in Acapulco's governor elections, Joaquin Badillo, said his fellow candidates live in fear; at least five have so far been harassed for violating guidelines dictated by local criminal organizations.
"We are at the mercy of those who today do evil, of those who carry firearms in illegality," Badillo told Telemundo.
The National Electoral Institute (INE) has issued a warning of a rise in violence in the region, particularly in the states of Michoacan, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Chihuahua and Guerrero.