Mexico City — Claudia Sheinbaum, a former Mexico City mayor, won the internal selection process of the ruling Morena party Wednesday, and will run as its presidential candidate in the June 2024 elections.
Sheinbaum will face Xóchitl Gálvez, the candidate for the opposition coalition that unites the PRI, PAN and PRD, and which were the country’s three largest parties prior to the emergence of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s Morena party.
Alfonso Durazo, president of Morena’s national committee, said: “This movement needs all of us; in unity, no one loses”.
The selection process had raised eyebrows earlier in the day, with former Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, a frontrunner for the candidacy, saying the process used to pick the nominee was “tainted” and needed “to be redone”.
Ebrard tweeted a video in which he alleged anomalies in 14% of the ballots, and his staff being barred from entering the building where the vote count was taking place.
He said the process should be “redone” even in the event that he was declared winner.
The polls commissioned by Morena showed that Sheinbaum was first in five surveys with support from 36% to 41% depending on the poll, said party coordinator Alfonso Durazo. Marcelo Ebrard, who was foreign minister until earlier this year, was second-place finisher with support ranging from 25% to 26%
Five of the six presidential hopefuls were present during the event to announce the candidacy, including interior minister Adán Augusto López and former senate majority leader Ricardo Monreal, but Ebrard, her closest rival, did not attend the official announcement of the result.
Who is Claudia Sheinbaum?
Sheinbaum, 61, has a long career as a Mexico City official alongside AMLO, as the president is known. She was first environmental secretary when Lopez Obrador ran the country’s capital early this century and oversaw one of Mexico City’s big southern districts before becoming mayor herself in 2018.
She is betting the limelight of running Mexico’s biggest city — together with AMLO’s 60% approval rating after five years in power — could pave her way to the presidency.
Sheinbaum, who leads Gálvez by 17 percentage points in a recent poll by Reforma newspaper, has presented herself as the continuity candidate, repeating almost word-for-word AMLO’s main pledges including stripping the country of corruption, increasing cash transfers to sectors of the population in need of support and improving Mexico’s energy sovereignty.
She is expected to benefit from Mexico’s economic rebound and replicate many of the measures set forth by Lopez Obrador if she is elected, though she has yet to release a platform specifying any new proposals on key issues.
“She’s the candidate who is closest to the president,” said Carlos Perez Ricart, an international relations professor at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics in Mexico City, who sees Sheinbaum winning next year’s election. “The president’s support is simply massive, and he has in favor of him the party structure, the governors, and public opinion.”
Claudia vs Xóchitl
Sheinbaum will face Xóchitl Gálvez, the candidate selected to represent the Frente Amplio por México coalition, which includes most of the opposition parties, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the National Action Party (PAN) and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).
Gálvez is trying to capture part of the electorate’s discontent with AMLO’s policy failures, including high levels of insecurity and poor public services.
Gálvez’s background as a successful businesswoman from an impoverished town in central Mexico who’s not afraid to talk to the powerful — she has repeatedly attacked AMLO — will be an asset in a race that initially appears in favor of Morena’s electoral machinery.
Opposition party Movimiento Ciudadano has yet to name its candidate.
The methodology and the results
Morena released the results of five polls, one conducted by the party and four from pollsters selected by the aspiring candidates. Around 12,500 questionnaires were carried out, 2,500 by each pollster.
Morena’s Durazo described the process as “extremely robust” and with a small margin of error.
“The result of this exercise is definitive, this does not mean that there were not incidents, but none of them aimed to manipulate or would definitively influence the final result,” Durazo said.
The poll by Morena gave Sheinbaum 39.4% of the votes, Ebrard 25.6%, López 10% and Monreal 6.5%.
The pollster Mercaei, proposed by Ebrard, gave Sheinbaum 39.3% and in second place Ebrard with 25.9%, followed by López with 11.7%, Monreal with 5.8%, Fernández Noroña with 10% and Velasco with 7.3%.
The De las Heras poll gave Sheinbaum 41.1%, Ebrard 26.4%, Lopez 10.9%, Monreal 5.4%, Fernandez Noroña 9.3% and Velasco 6.9%.
The Buendía y Márquez poll showed 36.6% for Sheinbaum, for Marcelo 26.1%, López with 11.1%, Monreal 5.9%, Fernández Noroña 11.7% and Velasco with 8.6%.
And the fifth poll by Heliga Consultores: 40.5% for Sheinbaum, Ebrard 25%, López 12.2%, Monreal 5.7%, Fernández Noroña 9.9% and Velasco with 6.7%.