Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard is confident in getting the nomination to fight for the country’s presidency next year, even as he faces a fierce battle within the ruling party to succeed Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Ebrard is “sure” he will run for president in 2024, he told Bloomberg News in an interview on Thursday, adding that Mexico’s government party Morena should have a “transparent” process to decide on the candidacy.
With 17 months to go for Mexico’s presidential elections, internal infighting within Morena is heating up as potential candidates are vying for the nomination. Ebrard, 63, is head-to-head in the polls against Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, who is seen as Lopez Obrador’s favorite pick.
AMLO, as the president is known, has said the government’s candidate will be decided by polling Morena supporters and seeing who collects more backing. Yet the proposal triggers questions about the transparency of the process amid lack of reliability of polls. In the past, Mexican presidents typically waited until a few months before the election to announce the government’s candidate, a practice locally known as “Dedazo.”
A poll published by the Mexican newspaper El Financiero on Jan. 17 among Morena backers showed Ebrard taking the lead over Sheinbaum to be the party’s presidential candidate with 35% of support against 33%. Interior Secretary Adan Augusto Lopez appeared with 20% support, followed by Senator Ricardo Monreal with 9%. Amid the general population, Sheinbaum led preferences with 25% versus Ebrard’s 23%, according to the poll, even after she lost five percentage points of support since December.
During the interview, Ebrard also said the Morena poll needs to be simple and transparent and that candidates should step down of their government roles ahead of time to be able to compete fairly.
“Let’s do an independent poll, clear, transparent, just one question, not entangled questions,” he said. “We should have debates for people to understand what we are proposing.”
For Ebrard to become AMLO’s successor, he is likely to need the approval of the president, who has been giving signals of preference for Sheinbaum despite saying publicly he will remain neutral in the race. Yet the foreign minister dismissed the idea that the president won’t support him.
“I am in his government, very close to him, we have worked together for 25 years,” Ebrard said. “If I didn’t have his sympathy, it’d be very difficult.”
Ebrard has been Mexico’s foreign affairs minister since AMLO took power in late 2018. He was previously mayor of Mexico City between 2006 and 2012.
Mexico’s presidential candidacies are expected to be decided before the end of the year, with the election scheduled to take place in July 2024.