The most historic legacy of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a left-leaning resource nationalist who casts his administration as a turning point in the annals of Mexico, maybe to pave the way for the country’s first woman leader.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, a 60-year-old physicist, environmentalist, and longstanding ally of Lopez Obrador who has governed as mayor in tandem with his presidency, has emerged as an early front-runner to be his party’s candidate in 2024, despite hints she could be more moderate than him.
Polls give Lopez Obrador’s National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) a commanding lead in the presidential race, currently making the election appear a battle between the ruling party’s own contenders. Mexican law bars presidents from re-election.
Lopez Obrador, whose 2018 election ushered in a series of left-wing victories in Latin America, most recently on Sunday with the return of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Brazil, has repeatedly stated publicly that he has no favorite.
But five senior aides to the president told Reuters they had no doubt he would most like Sheinbaum to follow him, on the basis she was most likely to cement in history his vision of making the state the principal engine of social change.
Lorena Villavicencio, a former MORENA lawmaker, agreed.
“Claudia guarantees the key programs of the ‘Fourth Transformation’ will continue,” said Villavicencio, using the epithet Lopez Obrador claims for his government as an epochal shift comparable to Mexico’s independence from Spain.
Socially conservative, the headstrong president has built his power base on higher welfare spending, state control of natural resources, and expanding the role of the armed forces, while pillorying critics as corrupt and self-serving.
He has clashed with some feminists who view him as out of touch. Yet his government and Congress have also seen record female participation in a country where ‘Machista’ culture has long been blamed for relegating women to subordinate roles and higher levels of violence against them than in regional peers.
Sheinbaum, who points to her record of making the city safer for women and providing free daycare for children, wants to take things further, pitching her candidacy as historic for women in Mexico and beyond.
“A woman in charge of the country would open new horizons and unleash the potential of other women. It would break the monopoly of men in public life,” said Villavicencio.
Speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, the aides said Lopez Obrador did not state his preference for Sheinbaum explicitly. They saw her as a favorite based on their dealings with him, what he had said, and their assessment of political developments.
Source: El Economista