Local Elections and Organised Crime: The Case of Michoacán, Mexico


This study, based on ethnographic analysis, reveals that municipal government elections in Mexico have become spaces of struggle among criminal groups striving to strengthen their presence throughout the territory. In municipal contexts characterised by institutional vacuums, delinquent organisations have succeeded in capturing political spaces. We argue that the continuous violence that has plagued the country since 2013 can be explained largely by factors of an institutional order coupled with distorted electoral processes in municipalities and states, exacerbated by widespread citizen disenchantment with democracy and especially manifest at the level of local government. This situation suggests the need for strategies that address the influence of these criminal groups that go beyond police-based approaches and for actions designed to improve the quality of state institutions.

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Published: 2019-10-08
Pages:62 to 76
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How to Cite
Ochoa, J. A. and Herrera Torres, H. A. (2019) “Local Elections and Organised Crime: The Case of Michoacán, Mexico”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 8(4), pp. 62-76. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v8i4.1099.

Author Biographies

Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo.

Professor Jerjes Aguirre played a pioneering role in developing and deploying public polices against violence in Mexico, and initiated the first thorough investigation of organized crime in Michoacan, Mexico. He lives in Michoacan and has taught crime theory at Michocan State University since 2003.

Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo

Hugo Amador Herrera is Doctor in Philosophy in Regional Development at UMSNH (Mexico). He obtained the National Public Administration Award in 2011 (INAP), the Latin American Public Administration Award (2nd place) in 2012 (GLAP / IICA / INAP), the State Trial Prize on Democracy in 2010 (Government of the State of Mexico), among others. Research lines: political realism and realpolitik, as well as public policies.