Claudia Sheinbaum, left, and Xochitl Galvez
It was described as a ceremonial handing of the baton by the ruling party. However, it was denounced by the opposition as a “passing of the scepter.”
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is constitutionally prohibited from seeking reelection, made a public effort last month to convey his support for presidential contender Claudia Sheinbaum. Therefore, in a ceremony held outside a restaurant in Mexico City that is close to the National Palace, the home of the nation’s executive branch, he gave his much-anticipated successor an actual baton.
In expressing gratitude to Lopez Obrador, Sheinbaum, a 61-year-old former mayor of Mexico City and close political ally, struck all the right chords. Sheinbaum declared that she would take on “the full responsibility of continuing the course marked by our people, that of the transformation initiated by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador” as she accepted the leadership role and the leftist Morena party’s presidential nomination.
In June of next year, Mexican voters will select one of two female candidates for president, a first for the nation. Four days prior to Morena’s nomination of Sheinbaum, the Broad Front, the opposition alliance in Mexico, selected Xochitl Gálvez, a former senator from the conservative PAN party, as another strong female candidate.There have been six other female presidential contenders from Mexico prior to Sheinbaum and Gálvez. This is not the first time that women have run for office. But because women were nominated by both of the major political parties, it is almost a given that Mexico, a nation notorious for its machismo, will be led by a woman beginning in December 2024. This is the first time this has happened.
However, some detractors claim that Lopez Obrador’s shadow still hangs over the current
Meet the candidates: Sheinbaum and Galvez
Gálvez’s ascent in Mexican politics has been rapid; last spring, she revealed that she was not even the preferred choice of the three parties that currently make up the Broad Front coalition—PRI, PAN, and PRD. Her public altercation with Lopez Obrador, who frequently referred to her in press conferences as a “puppet,” “wimp,” and “employee of the oligarchy,” was what finally catapulted her into the public eye.
After successfully suing López Obrador, Gálvez gained notoriety in June when she sought to enter the National Palace using a court order granting her the right to respond to the president. At the National Palace doors, she informed reporters, “This is not a show.” “The law is the law, end of story.”Before becoming a senator, Gálvez, who is the daughter of an indigenous father and a mixed-race mother, held the position of chief representative for indigenous matters under former President Vicente Fox. In an uncensored and disrespectful interview with CNN en Español, she referred to herself as “an all-terrain, 4-by-4, kind of woman.”
She appears progressive in several ways. Gálvez has fought in the Mexican Congress for the welfare and rights of indigenous peoples and Afro-Mexicans. He also stated that oil-rich Mexico should switch to renewable energy earlier this year in a regional event held in Monterrey. Gálvez stated smugly, “We haven’t done it because we are dumbasses.”She has also suggested a “universal social protection system” of welfare programs for a sizable percentage of the middle and lower classes, and she has stated that socialist Lopez Obrador’s pension for all older persons should continue.
However, Gálvez’s three-pronged approach—which she refers to as “intelligence, heart, and a firm-hand”—is formidable when it comes to security and the battle against organized crime. It consists of bolstering local and state police and providing them with intelligence, standing up for and protecting victims, and upholding the rule of law.
Gálvez’s political momentum is remarkable, according to Macario Schettino, a political analyst and Social Science professor at the esteemed Mexican institution ITESM, given that, just a few months ago, she wasn’t even thought of as a contender with a national profile. “Despite having just started to register politically, she has already made significant progress. Still a lot of people in Mexico are unaware of her. “While Claudia Sheinbaum can no longer move from where she is because she is already known by most Mexicans, she is going to grow […] in popularity,” Schettino stated.If Sheinbaum is elected, she will become the first Jewish president. She is a physicist with a doctorate in environmental engineering, and she has ruled as a secular leftist. However, she rarely discusses her personal history in public.She will be difficult to defeat because she is currently leading in the majority of polls. In addition to having the complete backing of the ruling party, Sheinbaum has long benefited from the limelight, having served as mayor of Mexico’s most significant city for the previous five years until resigning in June to pursue a presidential bid.
Regarding policies, Sheinbaum has promised to carry out many of Lopez Obrador’s initiatives, such as providing free fertilizer to small-scale farmers, a pension for all senior residents, and scholarships for over 12 million students. However, the well-known former mayor dismisses claims of her strong political ties to the president. In July, she declared, “Of course we’re not a copy (of the president).”Nevertheless, she is not afraid to promote the values they have in common, saying, “Let’s prioritize the poor for the benefit of all.” If the populace is impoverished, a wealthy government is impossible. Sheinbaum reiterated the catchphrases Lopez Obrador has been using during his campaign for years: “Power is only a virtue when it’s used to serve the people.”
Lopez Obrador promises to ‘retire completely’
Schettino thinks that Sheinbaum is seen by the wildly popular Lopez Obrador as an extension of his authority. He draws attention to the fact that their party, Morena, has its origins in the Party of Democratic Revolution, which split off from the authoritarian Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ruled Mexico for more than 70 years until 2000 and became known as “The Dinosaur.”
Lopez Obrador founded Morena as a political party in 2012. Because of Lopez Obrador’s dominance, Schettino characterizes the party as a “tyrannosaurus,” signifying the current leader’s desire for a successor who will firmly adhere to his own program. “President López Obrador is a dinosaur who possesses the traits of a tyrant in addition to being a dinosaur. He is unwilling to leave. As Schettino put it, “He wants to hold onto power.”Schettino remarked, “I think he built Claudia’s candidacy.”
However, López Obrador has always refuted claims that he has authoritarian tendencies or that he prefers a candidate that he can manage. Earlier in the year, Lopez Obrador refuted claims that he was secretly supporting one candidate over another or that he had any preferences among the candidates in his party.
In addition, he has declared that upon the conclusion of his six-year term in office, he will “retire completely.” “I am retiring, and naturally, I won’t be attending any public events going forward. I have no intention of taking on any role, serving as a leader, or even serving as someone’s counselor. I refuse to maintain relationships with politicians. In a news conference in February, the president declared, “I will not discuss politics.”