An attack on a polling station in the far southwestern part of the Itotemoc region has shocked Huenyans as early voting came to a close.
Terrorists affiliated with the Golden Blade group attacked the Oxtlacoal West Polling Station in the early morning hours of December 24th. The terrorists have reportedly taken one poll worker hostage, although they have yet to issue any demands. Five other poll workers were killed at the scene in front of local villagers, according to the Huenyan Federal Police Service. The Huenyan Defense Department confirmed that three soldiers and two police officers with the local police department were also killed during the attack.
“This brazen attack is an attempt to intimidate the people of Huenya and disrupt the exercise of their right to vote for leaders of their choice. This attack will not stop us. We will hunt down the terrorists behind this heinous act, and they will be made to pay for their crimes. And we will ensure that these elections proceed forward, no matter what,” Vice-Speaker Tiacihitli said after the attack. Huenyan Army reserves have been called up to assist with guarding polling stations, and the Huenyan Civil Guard has also been mobilized to provide additional security. The Special Investigative and Prosecutorial Service (SIPS) will also begin providing additional security at polling stations. Huenyan officials have also urged foreign observer missions to increase security for their observers present in Huenya to monitor the elections.
Despite his plan to mobilize additional security for the elections on December 31st, the Vice-Speaker is coming under criticism from his electoral rivals. Acxopotl, candidate for the Party of Huītzilōpōchtli, said that additional security should have already been set up, and called the attack in Oxtlacoal “just more evidence that Tiacihitli is too inept to secure the country.” Other candidates, including Yucuyche of the Green Party and Quauhxochuepo of the Huenyan Centrist Coalition, said that the more recent emphasis on security over reconciliation has only inflamed ethnic Xiomeran nationalists in the country, and has made the problem worse.
At the end of early voting, the Vice-Speaker held a narrow lead over Yucuyche and was well ahead of the other candidates. Acxopotl has seen a recent surge, however, leading to speculation that candidates with a hard stance on security may fare better on Election Day.