What You Need To Know About the Presidential Elections in Mexico, from a Latam Perspective

The economy, migration, drug trafficking and AMLO’s succession by a female candidate are the main issues drawing Latin America’s attention to this Sunday’s historic vote

Jorge Álvarez Máynez, candidato de Movimiento Ciudadano; Claudia Sheinbaum, candidata de Morena-PT-PVEM, y Xóchitl Gálvez, candidata del PAN-PRI-PRD. (izquierda a derecha)
May 30, 2024 | 12:11 PM

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Mexico City — Mexico, the second largest economy in Latin America, is about to experience one of the most important electoral process in its history. For the first time, citizens will have the option to vote for a woman to succeed the popular and charismatic Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known as AMLO, as president.

The size of the Mexican economy, migration, drug trafficking networks, diplomacy, and the potential succession of AMLO by a woman are the main issues drawing Latin America’s attention to the vote-casting in Mexico, according to three analysts who spoke to Bloomberg Línea.

Claudia Sheinbaum, Xóchitl Gálvez, and Jorge Álvarez Máynez are the three candidates who will compete at the polls this Sunday, June 2, for the votes of 98.3 million registered Mexicans. They will be looking to win the presidency for the 2025-2030 term.

On Tuesday, May 28, one day before the campaigns drew to a close, Bloomberg News’ Mexico Election 2024 Tracker had Sheinbaum in the lead with 57%, followed by Gálvez with 32% and Máynez with 11%.


Sheinbaum, Xóchitl, and Máynez: Plans for Latin America

Mexicans’ date with democracy arrives after three months of campaigning and three presidential debates, which were organized by the National Electoral Institute (INE).

It was in the third debate that the presidential candidates outlined their vision for Mexico’s relationship with Latin America, although the campaigns of the three candidates were very much focused on domestic issues, with proposals on social programs and the reduction of inequality.

Mexico is part of the Pacific Alliance along with Chile, Colombia, and Peru, constituting a platform that promotes cooperation with the Asia-Pacific region.


This trade bloc represents 41% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 59% of total trade, and 44% of total foreign direct investment in Latin America, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In Latin America, Mexican exports accounted for 42.8% of the region’s total in 2023, consolidating Mexico as the main exporting power, according to World Bank data. In particular, Mexican exports of medium and high technology manufactures stand out, representing more than half of the region’s total.

Claudia Sheinbaum, AMLO’s Candidate

La candidata por la Coalición Sigamos Haciendo Historia, Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo, RNCR 2024 BBVA México, 6 de mayo de 2024dfd

Claudia Sheinbaum, the official candidate of the coalition Let’s Keep Making History, has defended AMLO’s foreign policy to the extent of calling it “a badge of pride.” However, unlike the president, she promises to reform the National Migration Institute and the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (Comar).

If elected, the Morena, Labor Party, and Green Party candidate is committed to deepening relations with Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as strengthening ties with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).


Sheinbaum says she would continue to develop economic development poles in the southeast of the country, including industrial hubs, one of AMLO’s flagship projects. She also wants to boost development in the southern border of Mexico with the Maya Train and the Interoceanic Train, aiming to extend these trains to Central America to foster employment.

Xóchitl Gálvez, the Opposition’s Most Competitive Candidate

Xóchitl Gálvez, Tercer debate presidencial, 19 de mayo de 2023dfd

For Xóchitl Gálvez, the opposition candidate of the coalition Strength and Heart for Mexico, AMLO’s foreign policy “is a disaster.” If elected, her policy would respect human rights and migrant freedoms, and she promises to order the southern border which, in her view, is under the control of crime.

The candidate of the National Action Party (PAN), Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) proposed a regularization program for migrants from the United States and increasing the issuance of work visas. Gálvez stated that she loves the people of Cuba, Nicaragua, Russia, and Venezuela, “but I will not invite their armies to parade in Mexico.”

Ver más: Empresas mexicanas serán resilientes a posibles cambios tras elecciones: Fitch

Jorge Máynez, the Candidate Slamming “Old Politics”

Jorge Álvarez Máynez, candidato de Movimiento Ciudadano a la presidencia de México, 87 Convención Bancaria, Acapulco, Guerrero, 19 de abrildfd

Jorge Álvarez Máynez, the Citizen Movement candidate, argued that Mexico’s foreign policy should be changed, stating that one of the government’s main mistakes has been to focus this policy on a bilateral relationship with the United States when alliances can be made with Latin American countries.

Máynez, who criticizes his rivals for representing “old politics,” assured that if he wins the presidential election, his first meeting with a head of state would be with Brazil’s President Lula da Silva, to strengthen relations with the United States.

Latin America’s Agenda with Mexico

Elijah Oliveros-Rosen, Chief Economist and Emerging Markets at S&P Global Ratings, said that Latin America views Mexico as a country that will maintain its anchor for economic growth after the election, meaning continuity in fiscal, monetary, and trade stability and discipline.

He pointed out that the polls in this election seem clearer than in other elections, showing that Sheinbaum has a greater chance of winning the contest. However, he stated that the composition of Congress is capturing attention from abroad, as as a factor that will determine how aggressive the government’s policies can be moving forward.


“Our macroeconomic assumption is that the next government will not generate a very dramatic change in any direction of the fiscal, monetary, and trade anchors,” said Elijah Oliveros-Rosen.

Verónica Artola Jarrín, former governor of the Central Bank of Ecuador, noted that the region is observing the presidential election due to Mexico’s economic and commercial relationship with Latin America and how the new government might handle migration policy.

The narcotrafficking network in the region is another factor that forces attention to the electoral contest, as it is expected that the new government will inform how it will counteract the contamination of organized crime in Mexico, Ecuador, and other countries, said the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Economics at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador.


Artola Jarrín welcomed the possibility that Mexico might be governed by a woman for the first time, as this would represent a beacon and a lesson for countries that have not yet taken that step.

Marco Oviedo, an economist and strategist for Latin America at XP, pointed out that the markets have been calm so far because the official candidate shows a wide margin in the polls that would give her the victory. Additionally, AMLO is perceived as a very beloved president with high approval levels.

The Mexican analyst based in São Paulo said that investors are more concerned about the composition of Congress, as according to the polls, Morena will likely win two-thirds of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies and Senate, which would be a negative scenario and a consolidation of Morena as the major political force in the country.

“There hasn’t been much attention to the election because it has been a process that from the beginning has shown the official candidate with a very wide margin of victory, so there is a perception in the markets that it is already decided (…) The markets will be attentive and there may be some volatility depending on the results, but attention will be paid on June 3,” said Marco Oviedo.