Mexico students killed
A man walks by graffiti reading "Ayotzi, it was the state. #43" after a protest to mark the seven months of the Ayotzinapa students' disappearance in Mexico City on April 26, 2015. Reuters/Tomas Bravo

A mayoral candidate in the town of Chilapa in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero was slain on Friday, according to reports. Ulises Fabian Quiroz was contesting on behalf of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party-Green party coalition.

Quiroz was shot dead on Friday afternoon in the town of Atzacoaloya, according to the Associated Press (AP). The state of Guerrero has witnessed an increasing amount of violence following clashes between several local gangs trying to establish a monopoly over the drug trade and smuggling routes in the region. The state legislature condemned the act.

On Thursday, two state police officials and six others were killed in a gunfight in Guerrero. Randy Suastegui, a spokesman for the state prosecutor, said, according to AP, that the gunmen had fired on state police who were responding to a kidnapping report.

In March, a woman who was running for mayor in the town of Ahuacuotzingo in Guerrero was found decapitated. Aidé Nava was contesting on the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party ticket. Local media organizations reported that officials found a note on her body, which said, "This is what will happen to all the f---ing politicians who do not want to get in line." The note was reportedly signed by Los Rojos, one of the most prominent criminal gangs in the area.

In September, 43 students from a college for teachers went missing in the city of Iguala in Guerrero, raising concerns about the growing power of the drug cartels. The Mexican government later said that the students were killed by a gang that was working with the region’s police.

Activists blamed the authorities for an improper investigation and critics of the government, which has launched a war against the drug trade, say that most local officials are under the influence of the powerful drug cartels.

Protesters also rejected the findings of a government investigation into the missing students saying evidence had been tampered with. The Mexican government has since shut down all lines of inquiry in the case despite protesters threatening to disrupt the June 7 elections, according to AP. President Enrique Peña Nieto’s approval ratings have taken a hit following the government's handling of the missing students' case.