Mexicans lined up to vote for a new president on Sunday with the anti-establishment outsider who is tipped to win calling for national reconciliation after a campaign in which dozens of down-ticket candidates were murdered by suspected drug gangs.
More than 130 candidates and political workers have been killed since campaigning began in September.
Opinion polls before the election showed a double-digit lead for Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor expected to inject a dose of nationalism into government and sharpen divisions with U.S. President Donald Trump if he wins.
Lopez Obrador, 64, would be the first leftist president in decades in Mexico, Latin America’s No. 2 economy, if he ousts the ruling centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
He has made tackling corruption the central plank of his election platform, promising to improve wages and pensions by stamping out rampant abuses by the state and the political and business elites.
His opponents, including the centre-right candidate, Ricardo Anaya, have tried to paint him as a populist and a dangerous maverick who cannot be trusted with the economy.
Most polls suggest, however, that a majority of voters have not listened to that message and are prepared to hand Mr Lopez Obrador the presidency, third time around.
In addition to the political killings, Mexico suffered its most violent year in recent history in 2017, with murders unabated this year. The bloodshed is blamed on drug cartels splintering and branching out into fuel theft and extortion.
“This is our chance to bring about change in the country,” said Meinardo Perez, 25, an engineer voting for Lopez Obrador, who nonetheless recognized the candidate would struggle to keep all his promises.
“But we have to start somewhere. We need to upset things,” he added.
Across the country, many people, waiting in the morning chill to vote at schools and community centers, said it was time to give the left a chance, and that traditional parties had failed to stem graft and bloodshed.