Mexico is about to elect a woman president — and 20,000 other politicians. Here’s what to know

Mexican presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum greets supporters at a campaign rally in Mexico City this month.

(Marco Ugarte / Associated Press)


Frontrunner Claudia Sheinbaum, 61, a scientist, academic and former mayor of Mexico City, is widely viewed as López Obrador’s handpicked successor. She’s ahead in polls by double digits.

Sheinbaum is seen as lacking the charisma, oratory skills and political acumen of her mentor. But she touts a lifetime of political activism, a doctorate in environmental engineering — with four years of study at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California — and what she calls a successful run as mayor of Mexico’s capital, one of the world’s most populous cities.

López Obrador, who highly values loyalty, clearly viewed Sheinbaum as most likely to continue what he labels as his “transformation” of Mexican society away from corruption and a wealthy “mafia of power” — assertions his critics dismiss.

Sheinbaum, the granddaughter of emigrants from Bulgaria and Lithuania, would be Mexico’s first president of Jewish ancestry, in addition to its first female president.

“Mexico is no longer written with the M of machismo,” she said before she was chosen as Morena’s candidate, “… but M of mujer.”

Xóchitl Gálvez waves in front of a banner with her face and name.

Presidential candidate Xóchitl Gálvez waves to supporters at a campaign event in Huixquilucán, México, just outside Mexico City, last month.

(Marco Ugarte / Associated Press)


Xóchitl Gálvez Ruiz, 61, a high-tech entrepreneur and senator with Indigenous roots, heads a center-right bloc of parties united only in their opposition to López Obrador.

Gálvez, who has promised to strengthen checks and balances in the government, has run a feisty campaign. In the initial presidential debate, she attacked Sheinbaum as an “ice queen” and has called the president a “machista.” Early in the campaign, Gálvez told reporters: “You need many ovaries like the ones I have to confront such a powerful man.”

But the prevalence of traditional, corruption-tainted parties in her “Strength and Heart for Mexico” coalition has dogged Gálvez. Her campaign has struggled to make headway against Morena’s well-oiled political machine.


 Jorge Álvarez Máynez smiles and pumps his fist against a red background.

Former Rep. Jorge Álvarez Máynez of the Citizen’s Movement party is running a far-distant third in the presidential election.

(Fernando Llano / Associated Press)

The congressman from the north-central state of Zacatecas — a historic hub of emigration to the United States — rose from virtual anonymity to make a name for himself as the presidential aspirant of the center-left Citizens’ Movement. Álvarez, 38, has been an animated presence at presidential debates and on the campaign trail, appealing especially to the youth vote.

Though polls show him a distant third in the race, he seems to have already come out a winner — a likely future player in national politics.

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Kevin harson

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