CATHOLIC Bishops in Mexico have urged the faithful to vote in the forthcoming elections, beginning next week.
Calling upon the Mexican people's "moral and civic" duty, the bishops of the state of Chihuaha warned in a pastdral released last week that, "if we are
to have a real and effective
democracy there must be responsible and active involvement by all society, both the voters and the politicians."
Voters in the state of Chihuaha will be the first to go to the polls, on July 12.
Six years ago they voted in one of the most controversial
elections in the country's history.
Allegations of fraud were rife in 1986 and although there was less evidence of vote-rigging and corruption this time round, Church leaders have still found it necessary to issue a pastoral letter calling for "absolute freedom" in the election.
The Chihuahua vote marks the
beginning of the Mexico election season when there are 12 governorships to be voted for.
Opinion polls gave the ruling left-wing Revolutionary Party a 2I lead, but opposition groups were alleging massive alteration of voter lists and biased press coverage.
The bishops of Chihuahua
urged everybody to vote, calling it
both their moral and civic duty:
"If we are to have a real and effective democracy there must be
responsible and active involvement by all society, both the voters and the politicians."
However Bishop Talamas Camandari of Cuidad Juarez, who signed the pastoral letter, told a local newspaper that he feared the system was flawed.
Bishop Camandari said he was the only one of the three eligible residents in his house to receive voting papers. "We have to face up to the fact that our political system is still not as democratic as it ought to be," he said.