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Slain presidential candidate remembered on 30th anniversary

At the start of 1994, Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari hand-picked Luis Donaldo Colosio Murrieta, his social development minister, to represent the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the summer general election.

pg3a copyHe believed the dashing 44-year-old technocrat would be the ideal man to carry on his policies of economic liberalization, while maintaining the PRI’s corporatist structure and hold over the nation’s most influential institutions.

However, within a few weeks of accepting the nomination, Colosio shocked Salinas and the PRI’s old guard with his independent stance, denouncing the excessive concentration of power in the hands of a few and vowing to end authoritarianism and separate his dominant party from the government.

On March 23, while being escorted to his car amongst a throng of people at the end of an open-air campaign stop in Tijuana, a man emerged stealthily from the crowd brandishing a handgun. Within seconds he fired a single bullet at close range into Colosio’s right temple, and another into his abdomen.  Bystanders pounced on the gunman while the candidate was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he died within an hour.

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