Two high-level Mexican politicians have announced they will resign from their roles to seek the nomination of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) party in the upcoming 2024 presidential election.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum and Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard both declared on Monday that they had or would step down from their respective roles in a bid to succeed current president and MORENA leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
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Sheinbaum, whose resignation becomes effective on June 16, wrote on social media that she aimed “to become the first woman in the history of Mexico to lead the destinies of the nation”. She added that she hoped to put her own stamp on the “great work of transformation” initiated by Lopez Obrador.
“It’s the time for women,” Sheinbaum said, echoing a tagline for her campaign. In a speech, she highlighted her background as a scientist and environmentalist and underscored that “Mexicans are very much willing to have a woman president”.
Ebrard, meanwhile, resigned his post at noon on Monday (18:00 GMT) to begin a nationwide tour. He likewise promised to advance Lopez Obrador’s agenda.
“Let’s build the continuation, the next stage in the fourth transformation,” he said, referencing a term — the “fourth transformation” — that Lopez Obrador uses to describe his vision for the future of Mexico.
Over the weekend, MORENA decided that potential candidates should step down from their current posts to create a more level playing field. The deadline to resign was set for this Friday.
Mañana a partir de las 12 mi renuncia a la SRE . Será el primer día de trabajo para ganar la encuesta del 28 de agosto !!! Abrazos!!
— Marcelo Ebrard C. (@m_ebrard) June 11, 2023
The MORENA party, buoyed by the substantial popularity of Lopez Obrador, is considered the favourite in the upcoming presidential elections, set for June 2024.
Earlier this month, candidate for MORENA, Delfina Gomez, won a key race to be governor of Mexico’s most populous province in an election that was seen as an indicator of the party’s momentum.
With Mexican law limiting presidents to a single six-year term, MORENA has stated it will select a nominee through a series of polls in August and September, with a winner chosen by September 6.
Mexicans who are not members of MORENA can also participate in the polling process, and most polls give Sheinbaum a slight edge over Ebrard in the race to succeed the president.
Two other prospective candidates, Senator Ricardo Monreal and Interior Secretary Adan Lopez, are expected to launch bids for the nomination as well.
Hoy informé la decisión de separarme del cargo de forma definitiva este 16 de junio con el fin de llegar a ser la primera mujer en la historia de México en encabezar los destinos de la Nación y dar continuidad con sello propio a la gran obra de transformación iniciada por el… pic.twitter.com/Os0gJuAWf5
— Dra. Claudia Sheinbaum (@Claudiashein) June 12, 2023
Since he won office in 2018, Lopez Obrador has won widespread popularity, with a recent Morning Consult poll finding that he has one of the highest approval ratings of any global leader, with about 61 percent of Mexican voters in favour.
His departure creates a dilemma for MORENA, which has built its image largely around Lopez Obrador’s personal appeal.
However, Lopez Obrador’s tenure has not been without controversy. Critics have accused him of moving to consolidate power, backing an effort to close down an agency promoting government transparency and using harsh rhetoric against the country’s press. He has also attempted to expand the role of the country’s military forces, despite concerns over human rights.
During his time in office, the military has also been accused of continuing to use Pegasus spyware to surveil journalists and human rights defenders.