June 22, 2024

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Claudia Sheinbaum’s huge success is a danger to Mexico

Claudia Sheinbaum’s huge success is a danger to Mexico
Claudia Sheinbaum was elected president of Mexico and her party won an absolute majority in Congress Photo: Reuters

Some doubted that Claudia Sheinbaum She won Mexico’s election on June 2, becoming the country’s first female president. But the overwhelming voter victory for him and the ruling party, Morena, exceeded expectations. He won at least 58% of the vote, a higher share than his predecessor in 2018. Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Morena’s coalition is almost certain to win a majority in Congress. That spells danger: Even before he takes office on Oct. 1, his ruling party could shape Mexico by changing the constitution.

This great success is due to a combination of Morena’s redistributive policies, cash transfers and steady increases in the minimum wage. Although he won all but one of the 32 Mexican states, Scheinbaum’s vote percentage was higher in the country’s poorest regions. “I don’t get anything, but I’m happy to help students, the elderly and people with less resources,” says Miriam Salazar, a 42-year-old architect from Mexico City.

The fiscal deficit now exceeds 5 percent of GDP. Containing these transfers while they are paid is one of the challenges Scheinbaum plans to expand. He needs to please his supporters and his party (without the populist appeal of López Obrador) and reassure financial markets. We need to urgently talk about that Growing insecurity and Mexico’s modest economy.

Scheinbaum, a technocrat as mayor of Mexico City, was conciliatory in his victory speech. He promised to rule for all Mexicans, protect democracy, work with the United States, and encourage investment and private business. But the Mexican stock market fell 6% and the peso hit a six-month low against the dollar. The sell-off was fueled by concerns about Morena’s majority and the possibility that she would support Lopez Obrador’s rewrite efforts. Constitution In a way that undermines democracy and harms Mexican companies.

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Congress will take its seats a month before the new president, so López Obrador will have a chance to push for a package of 20 constitutional changes. He wants to link animal welfare and an inflation-linked minimum wage. The judges of the Supreme Court and the heads of the Election Commission are appointed by popular vote. A series of autonomous bodies will be abolished. Control of the federal police would go to the defense ministry, which the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional.

Scheinbaum has openly supported these efforts. In theory, his strong personal mandate would allow him to chart his own path. But Morena’s majority increases López Obrador’s influence after the presidency because it controls the party and can curb any dissenting instincts it may have. López Obrador has some red lines, such as continuing to prop up Pemex, the world’s most indebted state oil company.

Sheinbaum is brilliant. He could find a way to build his own identity and keep his mentor happy, perhaps echoing his nationalist and “Mexico First” rhetoric, but operating with less fanfare and being personally friendlier to business. Public services such as health have more room to promote their own policies.

Scheinbaum’s promise to promote Mexico’s transition to green energy — a rare policy on which he disagreed with López Obrador during the campaign — will be a test. Abundant clean energy is needed to fuel economic growth. Mexico’s dirty and expensive electricity has discouraged foreign investors, meaning the country has failed to realize its potential as an expansion destination for companies moving away from China.

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The absence of serious opposition to the government is worrying. A strong opposition coalition led by Xochitl Galvez“It’s a complete failure and dead,” says Antonio Ocaranza, analyst. This gives Morena a chance to tighten his grip, leaving some dangerous checks and balances in place.

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