Mexico likely to have first female president in 2024 election – NBC 6 South Florida

With the selection of former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum as the country’s ruling party candidate in next June’s elections, Mexico will see two women from its main political movements competing for the presidency for the first time.

Both Sheinbaum and opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez have insisted Mexico is ready to be led by a woman, but that won’t be an easy path.

On Wednesday evening, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s Morena party announced that Sheinbaum had defeated five internal party rivals, all of whom were men. López Obrador has placed women in key positions in his cabinet and has been a mentor to Sheinbaum, though he has at times been accused of male chauvinism.

A notoriously intense “macismo,” or male chauvinism, still reigns in Mexico, manifesting itself in its most extreme form in high rates of femicide but also in hundreds of more subtle ways every day.

Mexico has a strong “macho electorate,” said Gloria Alcocer Olmos, director of voting magazine Voice and Vote, adding that it’s not just reserved for male voters.

Alcocer Olmos noted that the June gubernatorial election in the state of Mexico – the country’s most populous judicial district – was contested between two female candidates “and the turnout was the lowest in history”. The same thing happened in the 2021 state election in Aguascalientes, she said.

“What does that tell us?” she asked. “That people vote for women? The reality is no, and the saddest thing is that women themselves don’t vote for women.”

Such a low turnout in the June 2 presidential election is unlikely because so much is at stake, Alcocer Olmos said. There’s also a possibility that the Citizen Movement party, which controls Nuevo Leon and Jalisco — two of the most economically important states — could nominate a male candidate who would attract the macho vote, she said.

Another question mark is what former Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard will do. As Sheinbaum’s closest rival in Morena, he did not accept the results of the party’s internal selection process and claimed that there were irregularities.

Morena controls 22 of Mexico’s 32 states and López Obrador remains extremely popular, giving Sheinbaum a huge advantage. But Gálvez practically emerged from the darkness, helped largely by daily public criticism from López Obrador, and became the consensus candidate of the largely directionless opposition.

Aurora Pedroche, a Morena activist who supports Sheinbaum, suggested another issue should one of the candidates win the presidency. Given the increased power and responsibility López Obrador has bestowed on the military during his tenure, “how are they going to accept a woman as commander in chief?”

“It scares me,” Pedroche said.

While Mexican women have risen to positions of political power in public life—in part because of the representation quotas required for public office—women suffer from high levels of gender-based violence. Femicides – cases in which women are killed because of their gender – have been an ongoing problem for decades.

Sheinbaum represents the continuation of López Obrador’s social agenda, but lacks the charisma to take on Gálvez against an opponent whose ease with people is more reminiscent of the outgoing president.

The independent Galvez represents the Broad Front for Mexico, a coalition of the conservative National Action Party, the small progressive Party of the Democratic Revolution and the old-guard Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which held the presidency of Mexico uninterruptedly between 1929 and 2000.

Galvez meets with the National Action Party in the Senate but is not a member.

Strategist Antonio Sola, who worked on former President Felipe Calderón’s 2006 election campaign and later at one of the parties that helped López Obrador win, believes Gálvez’s outsider image could help her.

As large parts of the world see the end of a political era dominated by traditional candidates, it is the rising figures who are “taking the system up,” he said.

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