Ex-presidential candidate ‘missing’ in Mexico

A former presidential candidate in Mexico has gone
missing in suspicious circumstances, prosecutors have said.

The car of
Diego Fernandez de Cevallos was found abandoned near his ranch in the central
state of Queretaro
amid “signs of violence”, they added.

Local media
have been giving conflicting reports of his fate.

Mr Fernandez
de Cevallos was the 1994 presidential candidate of the governing National
Action Party, but he continues to be an influential figure in Mexico.

The
69-year-old served as a senator and congressman while also pursuing a
successful career as a lawyer, winning some of the country’s biggest court
judgments, often in suits against government agencies.

Mr Cevallos
finished second to Ernesto Zedillo in 1994.

The BBC’s Inma
Gil in Mexico City
says the disappearance of the man known as “Diego the boss” has
sparked all sorts of speculation in a country ravaged by drug related violence.

Some local
media reported he had been kidnapped, others that he had been killed.

The federal
attorney general’s office said it could not confirm any of the reports.

Correspondents
say kidnapping is rife in Mexico,
which is in the grip of a battle between the security forces and drug cartels
that has left 23,000 people dead since President Felipe Calderon’s election in
2006.

Separately, Mexican authorities said an armed gang
killed eight people and injured at least 12 in a bar in the town of Torreon in the northern
state of Coahuila on Saturday morning.

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