Mexico’s presidential election takes historic turn after both major parties select female candidates

Mexico is set to elect its first female president as both major parties have nominated female candidates for the presidential election on June 2, 2024.

The country’s ruling party nominated former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum as its candidate for next June’s presidential election, when she will face off against Xóchitl Gálvez, a senator of the Mexican Republic who was nominated by an opposing coalition.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s Morena party nominated Sheinbaum Wednesday night after she defeated five other candidates in the same party – all men.

Sheinbaum and Gálvez have insisted that Mexico is ready to be led by a woman, but a potential victory will not come easy, according to some experts as Mexico’s culture remains male-centric. Mexico has never had a woman president, though there have been several female candidates in the past.


Sheinbaum has a strong edge in the upcoming general election as Morena controls 22 of Mexico’s 32 states, and López Obrador remains highly popular. She was the coordinator of the Morena political party and has been helpful to López Obrador.

Gálvez, once a street-food salesgirl who emerged from virtual obscurity to become a tech entrepreneur and senator, was selected as the consensus candidate of political parties that oppose López Obrador. She is an independent but caucuses with the conservative National Action Party in the Senate.

Gálvez represents the Broad Front for Mexico, a coalition that includes the National Action Party, the small progressive Democratic Revolution Party, and the old-guard Institutional Revolutionary Party, which held Mexico’s presidency without interruption between 1929 and 2000.

Several potential roadblocks could stand in the way of a potential Sheinbaum or Gálvez victory, including one of Sheinbaum’s rivals joining the race or the addition of a third-party candidate.


Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, a member of Morena and one of Sheinbaum’s closest rivals, did not accept the results of Wednesday’s internal party selection process, claiming irregularities.

He could launch a bid for the presidency, potentially capturing the male vote and upsetting the party-chosen candidates.

Gloria Alcocer Olmos, director of the electoral magazine “Voice and Vote,” suggested the Citizen Movement party, which controls Nuevo Leon and Jalisco – two of the most economically important states – could also offer a third-party candidate to seek to capture the interests of male voters. She said recent elections have shown that voters are not particularly attracted to the idea of backing a female candidate.

Alcocer Olmos highlighted an election in June that featured a race between two female candidates in the country’s most populous jurisdiction. “Turnout was the lowest in history,” she said.

The same thing occurred in the state election in Aguascalientes in 2021, she explained.

“What does that tell us?” Alcocer Olmos asked. “That the people are voting for women? The reality is that no, and the saddest thing is that women themselves are not voting for women.”

Aurora Pedroche, a Morena activist who supports Sheinbaum, suggested another problem could arise with Mexico’s military should one of the female candidates win the presidency.

“How are they going to accept a woman as commander in chief?” Pedroche asked. “That scares me.”

While Mexican women have advanced to positions of political power in public life – partially due to required representation quotas – women continue to suffer from gender violence, including femicides – cases of women killed because of their gender.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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