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One of two women will be Mexico's next President! Will they...

Will they be crooks like Obrador and most of his predecessors? Of course not. We're talking females here! It's going to be different dagnamit.


Come to think of it maybe next November AOC should switch parties and we could have her face off against Hillary. Sorry...I must have lost my mind. Not Hillary, Megan Rapeno. Or if she won't run I could live with Megan Markle.


Two Women to Compete for Mexico’s Presidency

Face-off between ruling party’s Claudia Sheinbaum and Xóchitl Gálvez of opposition coalition reflects country’s growing female representation


By Juan Montes and José de Córdoba, WSJ

Updated Sept. 6, 2023 11:13 pm ET




Xóchitl Gálvez (left) and Claudia Sheinbaum are set to square off for Mexico’s presidency. MEXICO CITY—For the first time in Mexico’s history, two women will compete for the presidency in next year’s election, a milestone of female representation in a country with high rates of violence toward women.


On Wednesday, the ruling Morena party of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that Claudia Sheinbaum, a former Mexico City mayor and staunch loyalist of the nationalist president, won in a set of internal polls to become the party’s candidate in the June election.


Sheinbaum defeated former foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard with average support of 39.5% in five polls versus 26% for Ebrard, the party said. Many Morena supporters say they see Sheinbaum as a natural heir to López Obrador, whose approval ratings hover around 60%. Mexican law doesn’t allow for presidential re-election.


Ahead of Wednesday’s vote count, Ebrard said his team detected “significant irregularities” in the polling and called for the selection process to be repeated. Ebrard said he would make known his next steps on Monday. Top party officials denied any decisive irregularity.


Sheinbaum will face off against Xóchitl Gálvez, who was formally named Sunday as the candidate of a coalition of opposition parties led by the conservative National Action Party, or PAN.


A recent poll by Mexico’s Reforma newspaper showed Sheinbaum leads the race for the presidency with 44% support, while Gálvez would get 27%. The small center-left Citizen Movement is considering fielding a separate candidate. The Reforma poll gave Citizen Movement 12% support.


Critics of Sheinbaum say that a lack of connection with independent voters, serious demeanor and alignment with López Obrador’s policies could work against her. Gálvez, however, is a senator with humble origins and a folksy manner. She emerged in June as a national political figure, energizing the opposition, and challenged López Obrador with a message of change and unity.


Yet both candidates adamantly pledge to support Mexican women.


In stump speeches, Gálvez says she has successfully confronted a succession of tough men, beginning with her hard-drinking father. She has said pushing for equal pay for men and women would be a priority of her government.


Sheinbaum, an environmental scientist who conducted research at California’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, often emphasizes how much women have progressed since her student days.


“This is women’s time. We have to build a different culture, one in which women and men are equal,” Sheinbaum said at a recent rally as the crowd cheered her name.


The fact that two women will contend for the presidency could inspire millions of Mexican women to overcome any barrier in a country where violence against women is rife, said Luz Estrada, head of the National Citizens’ Observatory of Femicide, an advocacy group.


“It breaks new ground. It is important to have female references in a country where men have always ruled,” she said.


Close to 3,800 women were murdered in Mexico last year, a 5% decline from 2021, but three times as many as in 2007, government statistics show. There were 954 femicides—a legal definition that refers to the murder of a woman because of her gender—almost unchanged from 2021.


Sexual violence is also on the rise. A 2021 government survey showed that around 50% of Mexican women over 15 have been victims of sexual violence at some point in their lives, up from 41% in the previous survey in 2016.


Feminist groups aren’t certain that a female president can bring real change for women in Mexico. They point out that Sheinbaum has defended López Obrador’s disparaging comments about feminist groups that protested against his government. And although Gálvez supports abortion rights, the PAN party doesn’t.


Whoever wins the presidency will have a difficult time governing and could generate expectations that are impossible to meet, said Marta Lamas, a prominent Mexican feminist.


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“Being a woman won’t make much of a difference,” she said, ticking off the widespread drug violence, conflicts and polarization that plague Mexico. “It will cause great frustration and perhaps be a boomerang, in that people will say women can’t do the job.”


Sheinbaum, whose grandparents were Jews from Bulgaria and Lithuania, has declared herself a feminist, and is a proponent of what she calls “social feminism,” an approach in which poor women are given priority. As mayor, she established a telephone line for women victims of violence and supported laws to protect abused women.


But Sheinbaum has also agreed with López Obrador that mass feminist protests in recent years were a conspiracy of the conservative opposition against his administration. Women’s rights groups have rejected such claims as baseless. Most women’s protests have been against sexual violence.


Rights groups also fault Sheinbaum for staying silent as López Obrador implemented policies analysts say have been harmful to women.


The president cut funding for daycare centers across the nation, affecting working women, said Nayeli Roldán, a journalist who published last year a book about violence against women in Mexico. López Obrador also cut the budget for breast-cancer screening programs and for shelters for victims of domestic violence.


The race between Sheinbaum and Gálvez caps the rise of Mexican women to top political positions in recent years, in a country where male chauvinism is often reflected in soap operas, songs and movies.


In 2000, when Mexicans voted in an opposition president to end 71 years of one-party rule, only 16% of lawmakers were women, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an organization of legislative bodies worldwide. After a series of legal reforms in 2014 and 2019, Mexico now has gender parity in both chambers of congress, and is first among the Group of 20 countries in terms of women representation.


In the U.S. Congress, which ranks 71st in the world in terms of gender parity, three out of 10 lower house representatives and one out of four senators are female. Women in Mexico won the right to vote in 1953, more than three decades behind the U.S.


In the legislatures of Mexico’s 32 states, women account for 47% of lawmakers, up 10% since 2018, data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union show. Nine state governors are women, the highest number ever. Early this year, a woman became Mexico’s Supreme Court chief justice for the first time, and three of the central bank’s five board members, including the governor, are women.


“Mexico is at the forefront in political gender parity in the world,” said Carlos Elizondo, a political scientist at the Tec de Monterrey university.


One reason for women’s rise in Mexican politics is that the nation doesn’t have any extreme party opposed to gender equality, Elizondo said.


A stronger women’s rights movement, alongside gruesome violence against women has also created awareness among politicians about women’s rights, he said.


Greater political involvement has already resulted in greater rights. Earlier on Wednesday, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled to decriminalize abortion at the federal level on grounds that the current penal code violates the constitution, a decision that expanded a previous order banning criminal proceedings over abortion.


Write to Juan Montes at juan.montes@wsj.com and José de Córdoba at jose.decordoba@wsj.com

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