Mexico is far ahead of the U.S. in gender leadership. Voters there may soon make history in 2024 by electing a woman president for the first time.
Mexico’s ruling party, Morena, nominated Claudia Sheinbaum and Xóchitl Gálvez was nominated by the Frente Amplio por Mexico (Broad Front for Mexico) as presidential candidates.
Sheinbaum, 61, is the former Mexico City mayor and longtime political ally of the current resident, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). A scientist and an academic, she has vowed to continue the policies of López Obrador that have focused on social welfare and more state control of the economy and energy sectors.
Gálvez is a former senator from the conservative PAN party. Her coalition consists of three parties, the PAN, the PRI and the PRD. She is pro-business and wants to encourage more private investment.
Both candidates have made recent campaign stops in Los Angeles to court votes. Mexicans living abroad have been allowed to vote in Mexican elections since 2006.
The INE, the National Electoral Institute, is the autonomous body in charge of elections in Mexico. It estimates that 12 million Mexicans live abroad and 97% live in the United States.
In the 2018 presidential election, about 1.5 million Mexicans had the credentials needed to vote abroad, according to INE. Of those, around 180,000 registered to vote, and about 98,000 Mexicans actually voted. But then only mail-in voting was allowed.
More Mexicans in the U.S. might vote in June 2024 as they will be allowed to vote in person at consulates, online or by mail. Also, a constitutional reform in Mexico would allow descendants of Mexican citizens the right to apply for citizenship, which could grow the voting pool.
To vote, they must be Mexican citizens and obtain a valid voting credential at a Mexican consulate. They also must register before February 20, 2024 through votoextranjero.mx or by calling INETEL (866) 986-8306 toll free.
“The Mexicans that not only live in California, but in the United States, not only have a fundamental place in the economy in Mexico, but they also have a fundamental place in the U.S. economy. And that’s what we want to be recognized,” said Sheinbaum, according to news reports.
Many other countries, including in Latin America, have had women presidents or prime ministers.
Isabel Perón became president of Argentina in 1974. Nicaragua elected Violeta Barrios Torres de Chamorro in 1990. Beatriz Merino became the first female prime minister of Peru in 2003. Chile elected Michelle Bachelet in 2006. Costa Rica elected Laura Chinchilla in 2010. Dilma Rousseff became Brazil’s first female president in 2011, but was later impeached and removed from office.
It’s not the first time women have run for president in Mexico. There have been six female candidates in the past. But it’s the first time a woman is likely to win in Mexico. A recent poll gave Sheinbaum the advantage. She has an 18 point lead over her nearest rival, Gálvez.
A survey of 1,620 Mexicans taken between October 19 and October 28 by El Financiero newspaper showed Sheinbaum polling 46% and Gálvez at 28%. A third presidential candidate, Nuevo Leon state governor Samuel García of the center-left Citizens’ Movement (MC) party, polled at 8%. The remaining 18% did not express a preference.
The current president, López Obrador, cannot seek reelection. Under Mexican law, presidents may only serve a single six-year term. He literally passed the baton to Sheinbaum in a ceremony. He has regularly attacked Gálvez and called her a “wimp,” “puppet,” and “employee of the oligarchy.”
“We will not resort to offense, insult, disqualification. Mexico needs a president who respects everyone,” Galvez said in response to the attacks by the current president.
Gálvez is trained as a computer engineer and the daughter of an Indigenous father and a mixed mother. She previously served as the top official for indigenous affairs under former Mexican President Vicente Fox.
The presidential race is likely to become more competitive in the coming months. It’s inspiring to see that Mexico is likely to elect a woman president.
Sadly, it’s not in the near future in the U.S.