Mexico Poised to Elect First Female President as Sheinbaum Leads in Polls

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On June 2, nearly 100 million constituents are expected to cast their votes in Mexico’s presidential election. The winning candidate will succeed President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and govern Mexico for the next six years.

During the campaign season, three main candidates have garnered most of the attention. Claudia Sheinbaum and Xochitl Galvez are the public’s favorites, joined by Jorge Alvarez Maynez, who consistently holds the third position in surveys.

Sheinbaum leads Galvez as the preferred candidate in the polls as the country is on course to elect its first female president. This election marks a significant shift in a society long defined by its “macho” culture.

Sheinbaum, the former mayor of Mexico City, has been polling with 50% of the vote, according to the most recent surveys. Trained as a scientist, she is considered the continuation of populist leader Lopez Obrador and is supported by the ruling Morena party.

Presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum speaks at her closing campaign rally at the Zocalo in Mexico City, Wednesday, May 29, 2024. Mexico’s general election is set for June 2. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

In power since 2018, when Lopez Obrador won the previous presidential election, the Morena party advocates ethnic, religious, cultural, and sexual diversity, as well as respect for human rights. It also prioritizes environmental conservation and defines itself as an opponent of neoliberalism.

With the campaign slogan “Let’s continue with Morena,” Sheinbaum has promised to maintain many of Lopez Obrador’s policies, such as increasing the minimum wage and funding large infrastructure projects, while also endorsing his controversial constitutional reform.

The proposal aims to modify the functioning of the legislative and executive branches, as well as the electoral system, and eliminate various autonomous constitutional bodies and regulatory organisms. This includes cutting the number of lawmakers in Congress’s House of Deputies and the Senate, electing judges by direct vote, and reducing spending for political campaigns and parties.

Joshua S. Trevino, from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, told the Truth Voices that despite not knowing much about her political platform and policies, she would likely continue the left-leaning trajectory in Mexico, possibly adopting a more socially liberal stance.

Regarding Mexico’s relationship with its neighbor, Sheinbaum has said the United States needs to respect Mexican sovereignty. Trevino has said she is signaling to continue protecting cartels from Americans, as the current government is doing.

Presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum arrives at her closing campaign rally at the Zocalo in Mexico City, Wednesday, May 29, 2024. Mexico’s general election is set for June 2. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A founding member of the Morena party, Sheinbaum, 61, was the former mayor of Mexico City from 2018 to 2023, the first woman to be elected in the position. She also served as secretary of the environment from 2000 to 2006 and as head of a local district from 2015 to 2017.

Sheinbaum said her first act as president will be “to submit an initiative that amends the Constitution to recognize substantive equality for women and nonviolence.”

Galvez, an opposition leader and tech entrepreneur, represents a coalition of parties, Strength and Heart for Mexico. Led by the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, this coalition has united in opposition to Lopez Obrador’s administration. In recent polls, she’s secured approximately 34% of the vote just a few days before Election Day.

This coalition advocates free enterprise and trade agreements, a small government, more privatization, and libertarian reforms.

Galvez, 61, represented PAN in local positions between 2015 and 2018 and served as a senator from 2018 to 2023. She also served as head of the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples from 2000 to 2006.

Presidential candidate Xochitl Galvez holds a campaign rally in Los Reyes la Paz on the outskirts of Mexico City, Wednesday, May 29, 2024. Mexico’s general election is set for June 2. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

“This campaign made even clearer the widespread corruption. There is no difference with previous parties,” Galvez said in an interview. “They want to take over the [National Electoral Institute], the courts. They don’t know what democracy is. It’s brutal authoritarianism.”

Galvez advocates pro-business and pro-market policies. She has also campaigned against Lopez Obrador’s security strategy “hugs not bullets,” instead emphasizing better pay for police officers and increased investment in security. Additionally, she has pledged to bolster checks and balances within the government.

The third candidate is Alvarez Maynez from the center-left Citizens’ Movement party, who has garnered approximately 13% of the vote and focused on appealing to younger demographics.

His party identifies as social democratic. It advocates a social market economy, gender equality, sexual freedom, sustainable mobility, demilitarization, and primary elections within political parties.

Maynez, 38, has held different political positions at the local and federal levels since 2004. He also served as a congressman from 2021 to 2024.

Presidential candidate Jorge Alvarez Maynez delivers a speech at a campaign rally in Mexico City, Wednesday, May 29, 2024. Mexico’s general election is set for June 2. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Ailin Vilches Arguello
Ailin Vilches Arguello
Editorial Intern. Hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ailin Vilches Arguello graduated from the University of Rochester, NY, with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Language, Media, and Communications.

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