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Mexicans called to choose between continuity and renewal

Photo: Adil Boukind Le Devoir A large crowd gathered Wednesday at the Zócalo, a public square in the center of Mexico City, to attend the closing campaign speech by favorite Claudia Sheinbaum.

Lisa-Marie Gervais in Mexico

Published at 0h00

  • Americas

On the eve of the Mexican elections, where a woman will likely be elected as head of the country for the first time in its history, what will the 98 million Mexicans called to the polls choose ? The “renewal” that Xóchitl Gálvez claims to embody, or the “continuity” that Claudia Sheinbaum, runner-up to the current president, prides herself on ? Even if the polls show the latter as the winner, her adversaries do not lose hope.

“Friends, friends. We're going to make history and see you here on June 2nd to celebrate the victory! » Wednesday at the end of the day, in front of the crowd both compact and excited at the Zócalo, the closing campaign speech by the favorite Claudia Sheinbaum, delivered in a solemn tone, has the air of a victory speech. “Pre-si-denta! Pre-si-denta! » her supporters chant in return.

Standing next to a delegation of teachers, Maria Isabel Martínez, wearing a Morena party cap, will vote for continuity . “I like Claudia because she is prepared and she will continue with the project of President [Andrés Manuel] López Obrador, who works for the poor,” this high school Spanish teacher enthusiastically supports. “She’s definitely going to win. »

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Not so fast, some will say. Carlos Heredia, an economist and associate professor at the Center for Economic Research and Teaching in Mexico City, is not surprised that the presidential candidate, best known for having been the mayor of the capital during a prosperous period, had the “arrogance” to consider herself “the president in waiting” (“en espera). “She was certain she would become president. Not because of the popular vote, but rather because she was chosen by López Obrador,” notes the researcher, who was also a deputy in the Mexican Congress for the PRD and held various leadership positions for the government and the City of Mexico.

Former mayor of Mexico, Claudia Sheinbaum is a model student by promising the continuity of this six-year term which is ending. Some even accuse him of being nothing more than a clone of the outgoing president, founder of Morena. “What kind of Claudia Sheinbaum we will have if she wins ? We don’t know. We only know one Claudia, who is 100% subordinate to what Mr. López Obrador decides,” says Carlos Heredia.

A good campaign for Xóchitl

On the baseball field of Los Reyes La Paz, a municipality of 230,000 inhabitants located on the outskirts of the capital, a rain of green, white and red confetti falls from the sky in a cloud of pink smoke. Pink is the color that candidate Xóchitl Gálvez and her supporters, “the pink tide,” have adopted to represent the Fuerza y ​​Corazón por México coalition, which unites three previously rival parties — the PRI, the PAN and the PRD (PRIANRD).

“Here, Mexicans, we are with Xóchitl Gálvez,” Angela Rodriguez shouts to bury the noise of the crowd. López Obrador had his chance and he broke the healthcare system. He lied to us. Xóchitl will sort this out for us. »

Mexicans called to choose between continuity and renewal

Photo: Adil Boukind Le Devoir A shower of green, white and red confetti falls from the sky during Xóchitl Gálvez's end-of-campaign rally.

On stage, surrounded almost exclusively by female candidates, the candidate lagging behind in the polls fired a few arrows at the government in power, denouncing “its lies”. “Don’t believe those who say that [the other camp] has already won,” she said, amidst a chorus of bells. On June 2, everyone to vote! We will win, have hope. God is with us, and if God is on my side, who can be against me ? »

According to Carlos Heredia, Xóchitl Gálvez led a good campaign despite the fact that she was not at all intended to run in this presidential election. But she spent too much time “looking for herself.” “She said lots of positive things for democracy, but it was only towards the end of the election campaign that she clarified her message, asking people to choose between continuity and renewal. »

The expectations of the PRIANRD candidate were very high, but she still responded very well, adds the researcher. “She has become a true leader. And even if she does not become president, she will continue to play an important role […] in Mexican society. »

The hidden vote

In Mexico City, the capital, where temperatures tend to drop after record heat, electoral signs have taken over every space that had not yet been occupied by advertising. No doubt – a blind person could almost see it – the Mexicans are in elections, says the taxi driver who takes us back to the capital, laughing. “There is excitement, but still a lot of tension,” he worries. Due to threats from organized crime in some areas, people may be discouraged from voting.

On the last day of the election campaign, May 29, one candidate at the town hall of Coyuca, a town in the state of Guerrero, was shot and killed during a crowd. This would be the 24th assassination of a candidate, according to government data, but around thirty have been killed since the start of the campaign, according to the organization Data Civica.

< p>The presence of cartels also influences the polls, believes Carlos Heredia. “There are entire regions of Mexico, especially in the north, along the U.S. border, where [the pollsters] can't go. Their job is complicated,” he said. “People are afraid to respond honestly to surveys, and this generates what we call “hidden” voting. » The Morena party, which controls around twenty polling agencies, according to him, would also contribute to biasing the results.

According to a poll published by El Financiero at the beginning of May, 70% of respondents do not trust… in the polls. More recently, another revealed that Mexicans certain to vote were split 50-50 on whether the election had already been decided.

“We might have some surprises,” Carlos Heredia said. Because nine states, six of which, including Mexico City, are among the most populous, will have their governors elected. » Although Morena claimed to win them all, he might only win two of them, according to the researcher. “If we translate this to the national level, it would be practically impossible for Morena to have a two-thirds supermajority. »

According to him, the vote will be “much closer” than what current polls claim, which give 53% of voting intentions to Claudia Sheinbaum, against 38% for Xóchitl Gálvez. With 8%, the third candidate, Alberto Máynez, who experienced a tragic end to his campaign when violent winds left nine dead and a hundred injured in one of his rallies, will hardly have been able to rise to the beyond predictions. “There’s still a lot of uncertainty. »

What is certain, however, is that for the first time in history, a woman will likely be elected as head of Mexico. And it’s nothing but happiness for Carmen García. “We’re going to make history. How many years have women been fighting to assert their rights ?? said the 21-year-old LGBTQ+ activist, who is preparing to vote for the first time in a presidential election. “This is going to be our moment. Finally. »

This report was financed with the support of the Transat-Le Devoir~60 International Journalism Fund ~i>.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116