Mexico will elect the first woman president in a historic vote | Elections News

The vote has been heralded as an important step in Mexico, as the winner becomes the first female leader in a country often criticized for its sexist culture.

Mexicans are voting in national elections in which the ruling party’s candidate, Claudia Sheinbaum, has a considerable lead in the polls and is expected to become the country’s first female president.

Polls have consistently placed Sheinbaum about 20 percentage points ahead of his closest rival, Xóchitl Gálvez, of an opposition coalition made up of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico for seven decades until the democratic elections of 2000. , the right-wing PAN and the left-wing PRD Party.

There were already long queues outside the voting centers when the polls opened at 8 am local time (from 13:00 GMT). Polls will close at 6:00 p.m. (starting at 11:00 p.m. GMT on Monday) and the first official preliminary results are expected shortly after.

Sheinbaum, speaking to reporters from the passenger side of a car, said it was a historic day and she felt comfortable on the way to vote.

“Everyone should go out and vote,” said Sheinbaum, a physicist and former mayor of Mexico City, during a live broadcast on local television.

Dozens of candidates murdered

Sunday’s elections are the largest in Mexico’s history, with voters choosing around 20,000 seats.

However, the race has been marred by violence, with 38 candidates killed during the campaign, the most in the country’s modern history, fueling concerns about the threat warring drug cartels pose to the democracy of Mexico.

Lisa Sánchez, executive director of Mexico United Against Crime, said that this electoral process has been the most violent.

“87 percent of all candidates who were assaulted or killed were actually running for municipal-level office. “This is something very worrying and speaks to the need to address or address the level of criminal governance that we have in Mexico at a very local level,” he told Al Jazeera.

“The main problem of electoral violence that we are seeing does not come only from criminal actors… there are political actors involved in this dynamic of violence, as well as authorities at a very local level,” he said, adding that violence has been a of the many tools that these actors have at hand to avoid changing the political dynamic.

A victory for Sheinbaum or Gálvez will be heralded as an important step in Mexico, as either candidate will become the first female leader in a country often criticized for its sexist culture.

The winner will face formidable challenges, especially how to control organized crime violence, which has contributed to the deaths of more than 185,000 people since President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office in December 2018.

The violence, along with electricity and water shortages, are problems as Mexico tries to persuade manufacturers to relocate as part of the nearshoring trend, in which companies move supply chains closer to their main markets.

Both candidates have promised to expand welfare programs, which could be a challenge amid a large deficit this year and sluggish GDP growth of just the 1.5 percent expected by the central bank next year.

“Our president really cares about the poor,” Alejandro Benítez, 68, told Reuters, who plans to vote for Sheinbaum despite living in Tepatepec, a town in Hidalgo state where his opponent Gálvez grew up.

The new president, who will begin a six-year term on October 1, will also face a series of tense negotiations with the United States over the huge flows of US-bound migrants crossing Mexico and security cooperation on immigration. drug trafficking.

However, Mexican officials expect these negotiations to be more difficult if Donald Trump wins the US presidency in the November elections.

Claudia Sheinbaum of the ruling Morena party gestures after voting on Sunday (Daniel Becerril/Reuters)

Leave a Comment