MEXICO CITY — With the selection of former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum as the candidate of the country’s ruling party in next June’s election, Mexico will for the first time have time two women from its main political movements competing for the presidency.
Sheinbaum, as well as the opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez, have insisted that Mexico is ready to be led by a woman, but it will not be an easy path.
On Wednesday night, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s Morena party announced that Sheinbaum, a climate scientist, had defeated five internal party rivals — all men. López Obrador has put women in important positions in his Cabinet and been a mentor for Sheinbaum, even while being accused at times of male chauvinism.
Mexico still has famously intense “machismo” or male chauvinism, expressed in its most extreme form in a high rate of femicides, but also daily in hundreds of more subtle ways.
Morena controls 22 of Mexico’s 32 states and López Obrador remains highly popular, giving Sheinbaum a strong advantage. But Gálvez emerged from virtual obscurity, helped largely by daily public criticism from López Obrador, to become the consensus candidate of the largely directionless opposition.
On Thursday, López Obrador said he was ready to pass responsibility for continuing the transformation he started to Sheinbaum and would devote himself to finishing his signature projects.