MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said she will step down on Friday to pursue the ruling party’s candidacy for the 2024 presidential election, in a bid to become the country’s first female president.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s leftist Movement for National Renewal (MORENA) agreed on Sunday to declare the winner of the September 6 internal selection process. Sheinbaum is one of my two favorites.
Morena was heavily favored to win the presidential election in June 2024, which was lifted by López Obrador’s personal popularity.
He cannot seek re-election because Mexican presidents are limited by law to a single six-year term. Aides close to Lopez Obrador told Reuters they believed he would like Sheinbaum to succeed him. He denies that there is any preference.
Sheinbaum, 60, announced her resignation plan at a press conference Monday, affirming her credentials as a scientist and environmental expert, saying she will continue to “transform” López Obrador’s Mexico “with her own stamp.”
“I made the decision to leave office permanently on June 16, with the goal of becoming the first woman in Mexican history to lead the nation’s destiny,” she said.
MORENA’s leadership agreed at the weekend that the competitors should step aside that week to compete.
Most opinion polls tend to give Sheinbaum a slight edge in the race over her rival, Marcelo Ebrard, who resigned as foreign minister earlier Monday to contest.
Sheinbaum highlighted that the previous poll had put her ahead and said she was confident it would stay that way.
Five polls open to the general public are slated to determine Morena’s presidential candidate.
Sheinbaum also cited a study released last month by the national statistics agency showing that more than two-thirds of Mexicans strongly support a woman president.
“It’s time for women,” she said.
Ebrard argued that potential candidates should leave office to ensure a level playing field. Interior Minister Adan Augusto Lopez, another candidate, is also expected to resign.
Speaking to reporters after his resignation, Ebrard said improving security was his priority, and stressed the need to strengthen public health care and education.
In a previous radio interview, he said Mexico has a “golden opportunity” to double “or more” economic growth, spurred on by companies bringing manufacturing capacity to the country due to economic tensions between China and the United States.
Additional reporting by Dave Graham in Mexico City; Writing by Sarah Moreland and Brendan O’Boyle; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Leslie Adler
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