efe-epaMexico City

A candidate for a seat in the state legislature and four members of the leftist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) were gunned down in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, officials said.

Emigdio Lopez Avendaño, a MORENA candidate for the Oaxaca legislature, and four party members died and two others were wounded on Monday, but only one had to be hospitalized, the state Attorney General's Office said.

The armed attack was perpetrated on the highway between San Vicente Coatlan and Ejutla de Crespo, an area for which Lopez Avendaño had been a candidate for the state legislature.

Salomon Jara Cruz, MORENA coordinator for the region and the party's candidate for the federal Senate, denounced the assassination of his fellow party member and demanded that Oaxaca Gov. Alejandro Murat get to the bottom of this crime.

"I greatly decry this cowardly act, and we demand that Mr. Murat immediately punish those responsible for this crime," Jara Cruz said in a Twitter post.

These deaths raise the number of politicians assassinated to 129 during Mexico's current campaign for the elections to be held next Sunday.

Since the start of the electoral process on Sept. 8, 2017, more than 543 direct attacks have been recorded, with 129 politicians murdered, 48 of whom were candidates or nomination hopefuls, according to a report on political violence issued by the Etellekt consultancy.

The elections this July 1 will choose the president of Mexico, the 500 representatives and 128 senators of the federal Congress, plus local authorities in 30 of the country's 32 states.