Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

Éelections in Mexico : duel iné ;said between two women

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Mexico presidential candidates Xochitl Galvez (left) and Claudia Sheinbaum (left) right).

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Mexicans will vote on June 2 in an election that promises to be historic since, for the first time, Mexicans will have a president.

Indeed, the main candidates are two women: Claudia Sheinbaum, the outgoing president's runner-up, and Xochitl Galvez, the opposition candidate. Here is an overview of the candidates in the running.

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Claudia Sheinbaum in front of the headquarters of the National Electoral Institute after officially registering her candidacy, February 18, 2024.

She is the candidate of the coalition of the current president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), which brings together his party, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) as well as the Labor Party and the environmentalist Green Party.

This trained engineer, who holds a doctorate in energy engineering, was part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC ), with which she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

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She gave up her post as mayor of the capital in June 2023 to run for president, winning the primary of the party currently in power.

Claudia Sheinbaum benefits from the high popularity rating of the outgoing president, who cannot run for a second term, as provided by law. The president organized a series of events with her that helped put her candidacy front and center.

Claudia Sheinbaum is currently leading in the polls with around 50% to 60% of the vote.

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Opposition candidate Xochitl Galvez addresses supporters during a campaign launch rally in Irapuato, 'State of Guanajuato, Mexico, March 1, 2024.

Of indigenous origin, Xochitl Galvez was born into a modest background. Also an engineer, Ms. Galvez started her own company in the technology sector. Noticed by former President Vicente Fox, she was responsible for the issue of indigenous peoples within several government agencies.

Elected senator in 2018, she has been critical of President Lopez Obrador and has repeatedly denounced corruption cases.

She is the candidate of the PAN (Party of National Action), to which her traditional rival, the PRI (Party of the Institutional Revolution) and the PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution) have joined.

She has charisma, she is well prepared and she has an incisive speech, notes Tony Payan, director of the Baker Institute for the United States and Mexico at the University Rice, in Houston. The difference is notable with Claudia Sheinbaum, who, according to him, is very boring and rather dull.

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Mexico presidential candidate Jorge Alvarez Maynez of the Citizens' Movement Party , greets his supporters, February 22, 2024.

Jorge Alvarez Maynez was the campaign coordinator for Nuevo Leon state governor Samuel Garcia, who was the party's initial candidate. When he had to retire, Jorge Alvarez was chosen to replace him. Member of Parliament for Jalisco, he campaigns on generational renewal, social democracy, gender equality, and the defense of the rights of minorities and workers. He is given about 5% of the votes.

The challenges facing the next president are immense.

Insecurity and violence are reaching unprecedented levels. Clashes between gang members and the army have meant that Mexico has become the most dangerous country in the world for civilians, according to the ranking of the NGO “Gang Location and Events Data Project”. armed conflicts” (ACLED). In 2023, more than 30,000 Mexicans have been murdered.

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Forensic doctors collect information in the area where six people were killed and two others injured, in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco state, Mexico, February 18, 2024.

There are murders, but there are also other types of predatory violence, such as extortion, kidnappings and another problem that has worsened over the last six years, which is that disappearances, points out Cecilia Farfan, head of security research programs at the Center for Mexican-American Studies at the University of California, San Diego. If we assume that many of the missing are dead, the homicide rate should actually be even higher, she explains.

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Furthermore, impunity is widespread. On average, only 7 homicides out of 100 are solved, for an impunity rate of 93%, according to calculations by the NGO “Impunidad Cero” (Zero Impunity). In the case of disappearances, the impunity rate is 99%.

Insecurity is one of AMLO's great failures, argues Tony Payan, who believes that the outgoing president did not have a concrete strategy to deal with organized crime.

Analysts fear it could be even worse in this election year. In 2021, during the legislative and state elections, there was a marked increase in violence against candidates, more than 60 of whom were murdered, underlines Cecilia Farfan, who fears the impact of this violence on the quality of democracy .

The type of people who apply will change, she believes. We will see people who perhaps already have an agreement with these criminal structures, while others will not come forward for fear that something will happen to them.

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Armando Perez Luna, candidate for mayor of Maravatio, in the state of Michoacan, was assassinated on February 27, 2024.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Attacks on politicians, candidates, civil servants, and government officials increased in January 2024, ACLED notes. At least four candidates in June elections have been assassinated as disputes between criminal groups for territorial control intensify.

The monitoring group Data Civica notes in its political violence report that 2023 was the most violent year in our database. And everything suggests that 2024 will be worse.

It is likely that the biggest elections in history will also suffer the biggest attacks from organized crime.

A quote from Data Civica< /blockquote>

In addition to the presidency, some 20,000 other positions will be at stake on June 2, including those of all senators and representatives, nine governors and thousands of local representatives, which means that these elections will be historic.

Corruption is another problem that worries Mexicans. It has taken on a new dimension in recent years, maintains Ms. Farfan. A blatant case is that of the former state prosecutor of Nayarit, Edgar Veytia, who, among other crimes, is accused of having abused his power to force landowners to give him their land at a low price.< /p>

We are seeing more and more cases that resemble that of Nayarit: it is no longer about bribes [paid to corrupt officials], but rather people trying to enrich themselves using the ;state apparatus, argues Ms. Farfan.

Corruption that comes from the top of the state, notes Tony Payan. Having come to power by criticizing corruption, AMLO must now defend himself from it.

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Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

One of his sons allegedly helped friends obtain multimillion-dollar contracts, journalistic investigations revealed. Another is believed to be living in a house in Houston owned by an oil company executive who receives very lucrative contracts from Pemex, the state-owned oil company. False allegations, according to the president.

What differentiates him from the families of other presidents who have enriched themselves through influence peddling and public contracts? wonders Mr. Payan.

It is one of the most corrupt administrations that we've had for at least 40 years.

A quote from Tony Payan, director of the Baker Institute for the United States and Mexico at Rice University

Not to mention the allegations against AMLO himself, allegations relating to payments he allegedly received from cartels for the 2006 election campaign. The president has called these journalistic investigations slanders.

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Children in the village of Juquila Yuvinani, Guerrero state, on May 16, 2021.

The economic situation of Mexicans has hardly improved in recent years.

There have been one-off payments, but that is not enough, believes Adriana Baez Carlos, professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and specialist in gender issues. The government has launched support programs for young people, single mothers or the elderly, but there has been no progress regarding the employment rate or economic activity, she emphasizes. .

People have food to eat, but it’s not thanks to their work is rather thanks to state aid.

A quote from Adriana Baez, professor at UNAM and specialist in gender issues

Poverty in Mexico is at the same level as there is six years old, deplores Tony Payan. Cash transfer programs do not address the skills gap that prevents people from accessing better jobs and better wages.

Some 47 million Mexicans are poor, including 9 million suffering from extreme poverty, according to government data.

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The number of Mexicans leaving their country says a lot about the failure of economic policies, believes Mr. Payan. These are people who say: in this country there is no future, no economic opportunities, no growth, no security.

Between 2015 and 2020, more than 800,000 Mexicans emigrated, according to official data.

The government of Felipe Calderon (2006-2012) called on the military to fight drug traffickers and regain control of certain regions of the country.

During the campaign, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had promised to send the soldiers back to their barracks. Instead, he gave them a growing place in the management of the country.

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Military guards the area where six people were killed in an attack, in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco state, on July 18 February 2024.

Mexico is becoming militarized, Ms. Baez argues. The president handed them civilian activities, such as airport construction, customs administration or road maintenance.

It is in particular the armed forces which built the famous Mayan train, which they will also administer.

Tony Payan is concerned about the risks this represents for democracy, particularly because of the lack of transparency. By invoking national security, we give very little information to citizens, he specifies.

Claudia Sheinbaum's proposal is very clear. His slogan is continuity, summarizes Tony Payan. The military will remain in the streets and the presidential programs will continue.

On provides continuity when things are going well, but you can't do that when they're going badly.

A quote from Tony Payan, director of the Baker Institute for the United States and Mexico at Rice University

Her problem is that she cannot offer anything else, since she is the candidate of the outgoing president. AMLO was her mentor, he chose her, underlines Mr. Payan. She cannot, at least not right away, distance herself from him or his programs.

Regarding security, Claudia Sheinbaum intends to continue the government's strategy of hugs rather than bullets and tackle the roots of violence by offering other options to young people to prevent them from being recruited. by organized crime.

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Armando Olmeda, father of a kidnapped youth, participates in an event marking the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances in Lagos de Moreno, State of Jalisco, Mexico, August 30, 2023.

For her part, Xochitl Galvez is proposing the construction of three maximum security prisons, a Bukele-style initiative, according to Baez. She wants to take civilian activities away from the military and improve the relationship with the United States, in particular by creating a binational customs agency to strengthen border control, particularly targeting arms trafficking from the United States to Mexico.

No more hugs for criminals, she says, we will enforce the law.

Neither of the two candidates, however, poses a clear diagnosis on the causes of the violence, believes Ms. Farfan. What is more, they do not propose replacing the army with civilian public security.

What is certain is that we will see a difference because the country will be governed by a woman, believes Adriana Baez.

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Claudia Sheinbaum proposes an ambitious program for Mexican women.

The two candidates proposed a series of measures specifically targeting women. Claudia Sheinbaum notably announced that she will set up a program under which an annuity will be paid to housewives over the age of 60 in order to give them compensation for child care. Both want to prioritize a daycare system.

That two women find themselves in the running for the presidency clearly shows the progress of Mexican women in the public space, underlines Ms. Baez. This is the result of different laws imposing parity at different levels of state and within parties.

There has been a significant push for women's political rights; equality has not been achieved because machismo is very deeply rooted, but we have made major progress.

A quote from Adriana Baez, professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico

Whether one or the other wins, she believes, the Mexicans will win.

With information from Associated Press and Reuters

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