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Elections: Mexico’s mega-election: Two women fight for the presidency

Elections: Mexico’s mega-election: Two women fight for the presidency

For the first time, Mexico will have a female president – that is almost certain. A left-wing physicist and a tech entrepreneur with indigenous roots are competing for the presidency.

Anyone who wants to show political strength in Mexico must fill the Zócalo square in the center of the capital with tens of thousands of supporters. The National Palace and the Cathedral rise up there majestically next to the ruins of the main Aztec temple.

The two presidential candidates have mastered the obligatory test of strength in front of the impressive backdrop before the election next Sunday. Now the government candidate Claudia Sheinbaum and the opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez are facing a historic clash: one of them is to become the first female president of the Latin American country.

Mega election: 20,000 new positions to be filled

“The only option for the future is ours,” said favorite Sheinbaum, former head of government of Mexico City, at her closing event in the Zócalo. “On June 2nd we will make history.” With her election victory, a woman will be elected president for the first time in the 200-year history of independent Mexico.

The 61-year-old physicist is running for the government coalition around the left-wing Morena party. She plans to continue the course of the national populist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Despite the unbridled violence of the drug cartels, the head of state enjoys high approval ratings. However, after six years in office, he is not allowed to run again. López Obrador has polarized Mexico for decades.

According to opposition candidate Gálvez, there is a lot at stake in the elections in the USA’s southern neighbor: “It is a decision between democracy and authoritarianism.” The ex-senator and tech entrepreneur with indigenous roots is the candidate of a coalition of the three largest opposition parties. The third candidate for the highest office in the state, 38-year-old Jorge Álvarez from a smaller party, has no chance according to polls.

In Latin America’s second-largest economy, almost 100 million eligible voters are voting for the presidency, both houses of Congress, and numerous regional and local posts. The mega-election will see 20,000 new positions filled, including governorships in eight states and the capital district. The drug cartels, who want to secure their influence, also got involved: dozens of local candidates were murdered, one even at the closing event of his campaign.

Between loyalty and one’s own style

In the blazing sun, 84-year-old Columba Cazares waited for Sheinbaum’s rally to begin, wearing a white hat and carrying a flag from the Morena party. She is a big fan of the government candidate and of course of the president, says Cazares. “López Obrador has helped me a lot and Sheinbaum is the best qualified.” She is serious and cares about the elderly.

The outgoing president’s social policy, which includes cash transfers to pensioners, for example, is very popular. Sheinbaum is now expected to ensure continuity in the most populous Spanish-speaking country. The granddaughter of Jewish immigrants in predominantly Catholic Mexico showed herself to be in line with her political mentor during the election campaign – a difficult balancing act between loyalty and her own style.

Entrepreneur in traditional Huipil dress

Her rival Gálvez comes from a humble background. She studied computer engineering with a scholarship and founded two technology companies. The ex-senator and former mayor of a capital district, who likes to appear in the traditional huipil dress, is independent but is close to the bourgeois PAN. With a million signatures of support from citizens, she forced her candidacy on the discredited parties PAN, PRD and the PRI, which ruled continuously for over 70 years. She accuses Sheinbaum of using state resources in the election campaign.

Gálvez criticizes the failed security policy, the demonization of dissidents and the erosion of democratic counterweights under López Obrador. The ruling party wants to further expand its majority in Congress in order to push through constitutional reforms such as the direct election of judges. “A polarizing and false narrative has been put forward. According to it, everyone who does not accept their ideology is a traitor to the fatherland,” said Gálvez. Whether it is Sheinbaum or Gálvez, one thing is certain before the elections: the glass ceiling in Mexican politics will be broken.

Source: Stern

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