Former Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum and senator Xóchitl Gálvez were selected as the candidates for Mexico’s presidential elections
In a historic turn of events, Mexico is poised to have its first female president in 2024, as both the governing Morena party and the opposition coalition have selected women as their candidates for the upcoming presidential election. Former Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum emerged as Morena’s candidate, despite the last-minute protests from runner-up Marcelo Ebrard who called for the redo of the nomination process.
Claudia Sheinbaum, a climate scientist turned politician, is widely believed to be the preferred choice of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is ineligible to contest for another term. Sheinbum presents herself as a continuity candidate and is expected to gain benefits from the former president’s continuing popularity and the support of the state apparatus during the campaign. Morena seemed assured of Victory in the June 2024 elections. The political landscape, however, is altered by the dramatic rise of Senator Xóchitl Gálvez.
Xóchitl Gálvez is a businesswoman who became the senator in 2018. She had also gathered significant media attention. Xóchitl Gálvez’s aspirational life story, growing up with an indigenous father and mestizo mother in Hidalgo state has resonated with many. Working her way through public university and into business and politics Xóchitl Gálvez is rising to become the candidate of a broad opposition coalition that includes the country’s three oldest parties- PAN, PRI, and PRD.
Both the candidates were selected through a series of polls which were aimed at increasing transparency and public participation. However, neither process was without controversy. The opposition coalition did not conduct the final consultation of its process due to the withdrawal of another candidate, Beatriz Paredes, which effectively handed the candidacy to Gálvez. Meanwhile, Ebrard accused Morena of favoritism toward Sheinbaum and alleged anomalies in 14% of the ballots cast in Morena’s national poll to decide the candidacy.
Despite Ebrard’s protests, the nominations of Sheinbaum and Gálvez have been confirmed, making it highly likely that Mexico’s next president will be a woman for the first time in its history. Sheinbaum remains the favorite to win, but Gálvez’s popularity has added an element of competition.
While the prospect of a female president is significant, Sheinbaum faces the challenge of maintaining cohesion within the Morena party once López Obrador leaves office in less than 12 months. López Obrador’s popularity has been a unifying force within the party, and his departure may test its unity.
On the other hand, Gálvez must translate her media buzz into nationwide electoral support. A recent survey indicated that 48% of the population is not familiar with her. As the candidate of Mexico’s traditional parties, Gálvez may face criticism that she may be backed by a corporate elite. However, she has a clean record when it comes to corruption scandals.
Gálvez’s stance on social justice issues including LGBTQ+, environmental, and abortion rights could attract progressive voters but alienate more conservative ones that traditionally support the PAN.
Despite these challenges, the opposition sees Gálvez as their best chance to take on Morena, which has been dominant in Mexican politics since López Obrador’s landslide victory in 2018. López Obrador’s consistently high approval ratings have made him an important political figure.
As the presidential election in Mexico approaches in 2024, the country will also be gearing up for a historic moment with the possibility of having its first female president. The political landscape is changing its dynamics and the campaigns of Claudia Sheinbaum and Xóchitl Gálvez will shape the future of Mexican politics.
Mexico stands on the cusp of a significant shift in its political landscape, with two formidable women vying for the highest office in the land. The 2024 presidential race promises to be a closely watched contest with its own excitement that will usher in a new era in Mexican politics.