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Mexican mayor-elect shot dead in San Luis Potosi

SAN LUIS POTOSI, MEXICO (BNO NEWS) -- Unidentified gunmen ambushed a vehicle in northern Mexico on early Sunday morning, killing a politician who was elected mayor last month and his campaign coordinator, officials said on Monday. Two other people survived the ambush.

The attack happened in the city of Matehuala in the northern state of San Luis Potosi at around 2 a.m. local time on Sunday after Matehuala mayor-elect Edgar Morales Perez left a family gathering and was on his way home with campaign coordinator Francisco Hernandez Colunga and his wife.

Authorities said two vehicles carrying nine people followed their car and caused them to crash, after which Morales Perez and Hernandez Colunga were both shot dead. The wife of Perez and the driver, who were both in the front seats of the vehicle, survived the attack and were not injured.

San Luis Potosi State Attorney-General Miguel Angel Garcia said investigators are trying to identify the attackers and what was the motive for the assassination. Morales Perez had been elected mayor of Matehuala in the July 1 elections and was scheduled to take office later this year.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) strongly condemned Sunday's assassination and urged authorities to find those responsible. "Morales Perez knew how to reach the hearts of the citizens of Matehuala, as was demonstrated when they gave him heir majority vote in the elections on July 1," said Fernando Pérez Espinosa, the head of the PRI in San Luis Potosi.

At least 31 people have been murdered in the state of San Luis Potosi so far this month. Among those were fourteen people who were found dead inside an abandoned van along a highway in the city of San Luis Potosi, which is the capital of the state which carries the same name.

According to partial figures released in January, at least 12,903 people were killed in Mexico in violence blamed on organized crime from January to September 2011. Figures for the entire year are not yet available but they will likely bring the total figure for 2011 to more than 17,000, the highest annual number yet.

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