MEXICO CITY — President Felipe Calderon and his drug war will get their biggest test of support yet when Mexico holds midterm elections Sunday amid growing frustration over rampant cartel violence and a shrinking economy.
Calderon's National Action Party, or PAN, has been campaigning as the one party tough on crime and drug trafficking ahead of the elections for 500 congressional seats, 565 mayors and six governorships.
Many Mexicans are fed up with the violence that has left decapitated bodies on the streets from Pacific resorts to small mountain villages. And that mounting frustration could lead to a comeback for the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.
The PRI ruled Mexico for 71 years before losing the presidency to the PAN in 2000. Drug trafficking then was pervasive but never the target of a nationwide crackdown. Since Calderon launched his drug fight after taking office in 2006, more than 10,800 people have been killed by drug-related violence.