Monday, June 24, 2024

How did Mexico’s presidential candidates finish their campaigns?

Mexico’s three presidential candidates held their final campaign events on Wednesday, four days before millions of Mexicans go to to the polls to elect a successor to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Claudia Sheinbaum, the ruling Morena party candidate and the clear frontrunner, drew more than half a million people to Mexico City’s main square, the Zócalo, for her cierre de campaña, or campaign closure, according to the Mexico City government.

Claudia Sheinbaum in Mexico City Zócalo
Claudia Sheinbaum’s event in the Zócalo of Mexico City was reportedly attended by over 500,000 people. (Cuartoscuro)

Her main rival, Xóchitl Gálvez of the three-party Strength and Heart for Mexico opposition bloc, made her final campaign address in her home town of Tepatepec, Hidalgo, but before that she spoke in front of more than 20,000 people at a packed Arena Monterrey in the capital of the northern border state of Nuevo León.

The third candidate, Jorge Álvarez Máynez of the Citizens Movement party, closed his campaign with a music festival-style event at a Mexico City concert venue.

The three candidates criss-crossed Mexico during the almost three-month-long official campaign period, holding countless events in every state of the country and facing off against each other in three debates replete with accusations and personal attacks.

Campaigning is prohibited on the final three days before Mexicans cast votes to elect a new president — most likely a woman for the first time ever — and thousands of other federal, state and municipal representatives.

Photo collage of three presidential candidates
The three presidential candidates closed their campaigns on Wednesday. Polls show Claudia Sheinbaum (left) has a commanding lead over both Xóchitl Gálvez (right) and Jorge Álvarez Máynez (center). (Cuartoscuro)

Sheinbaum pledges to continue and strengthen the ‘transformation’ of Mexico  

In a 40-minute speech from a stage set up in front of Mexico’s National Palace, Sheinbaum declared that López Obrador — her political mentor and close ally — has “laid the foundations and the first story” of the so-called “fourth transformation” of Mexico, but asserted that a “consolidation” of “this true change” is still required.

“That’s why I’ve made the call to build — together — the second story of the fourth transformation of public life in Mexico,” she said.

Sheinbaum, mayor of the capital for five years before officially becoming the leader of the “fourth transformation” political project last September, also pledged to “protect the legacy” of López Obrador, whose six-year term has been defined by the implementation of social programs aimed at benefiting Mexico’s most disadvantaged people, the construction of various large-scale infrastructure projects, the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, record high levels of violence, and, of course, many other things.

“The transformation will continue moving forward and, for the first time in the 200 years of the republic, women will reach the highest honor that our people can give us: the presidency of Mexico. I use the plural because I’m not arriving [to the presidency] on my own, all women are arriving,” she said.

Claudia Sheinbaum at the closing campaign event in Mexico City
Claudia Sheinbaum (center) was joined by other Morena politicians at the campaign closing event, including Mexico City mayoral candidate Clara Brugada (to the left of Sheinbaum). (Cuartoscuro)

Joined on stage by dozens of Morena devotees, including most of the party’s gubernatorial candidates and her erstwhile rivals for the presidential nomination, Sheinbaum enumerated 20 commitments of a government she leads, many of which contained several points.

She pledged that her government would be “honest” and “austere,” that it will never be subjugated by any “economic or foreign power,” that it will guarantee people’s “freedoms,” that it will deliver “all” the current social programs and that it will ensure that increases to the minimum wage always outpace inflation.

Among her other commitments, the Morena party candidate said her administration would “strengthen” the “strategic” infrastructure projects carried out by the current government, such as the Maya Train railroad and the Olmeca Refinery, “promote energy sovereignty” and “deepen the strategy of peace and security.”

Gálvez promises to combat crime and to be Mexico’s ‘bravest president’

“There will be no greater priority in my government than your security and the security of your families, your daughters and your sons,” declared Xóchitl Gálvez during her campaign event in Monterrey.

Throughout her campaign, the PAN-PRI-PRD candidate has stressed that a government she leads will implement a tough-on-crime security strategy, and asserted that López Obrador’s so-called “hugs, not bullets” approach to combating violent crime has been a failure.

“You will have the bravest president, who does confront crime,” Gálvez told supporters at Arena Monterrey, a sports and concert venue in the Nuevo León capital.

Xóchitl Gálvez with family members at final campaign event
Xóchitl Gálvez (center left) stood with family members on stage at her final campaign event in her hometown of Tepatepec, Hidalgo. (Cuartoscuro)

Her decision to hold her final major campaign event in Monterrey appeared to be aimed at winning back votes from Citizens Movement (MC), which holds the city’s mayorship and the governorship of Nuevo León.

Gálvez repeatedly criticized MC during her address on Wednesday, and some of the proposals she outlined were squarely aimed at voters in Nuevo León, such as a plan to close the Pemex refinery in the municipality of Cadereyta Jiménez to ensure residents of the northern state have clean air.

“The [MC] governments prefer to get ‘likes’ than deliver results,” she said, referring in particular to the state government led by the social media-savvy Governor Samuel García.

The former senator is trailing Sheinbaum by 20 points or more in several major polls, but she asserted that “they’re scared to death in the National Palace” — the seat of executive power and López Obrador’s residence — because she’s going to win.

“They’re shaking in their boots because they know there are more of us good people and we’re fed up,” said Gálvez, who was joined on stage by Monterrey mayoral candidate Adrián de la Garza.

“We’ve grown tired of their lies, of so much death, of so much injustice,” she added.

Supporters of Xóchitl Gálvez at her final campaign event
Xóchitl Gálvez promised to be the “bravest” president of Mexico at her campaign closure event in front of over 20,000 supporters in Monterrey, Nuevo León. (Cuartoscuro)

“Be assured: God is with us, have faith. If God is with me, who is against me? Long live Mexico!” Gálvez concluded before taking a flight to Hidalgo to attend a much smaller cierre de campaña in her birthplace.

“In front of us we have a false idol with feet of clay, who thinks he’s invincible,” she said at that event, referring to López Obrador.

“But like all false idols, he’s condemned to fall,” Gálvez said.

Máynez: ‘It’s not that we’re not interested in politics, but that we’re not interested in their politics’ 

Jorge Álvarez Máynez — commonly known by his second surname only — held an exuberant event at the BlackBerry auditorium in Mexico City — with beer, live music and marijuana smoke perfuming the air.

The 38-year-old candidate courted the youth vote during the campaign, and there is evidence his strategy was somewhat successful as he finished well above Gálvez, albeit well below Sheinbaum, in a large mock election held across university campuses in Mexico.

On Wednesday — exactly one week after nine people were killed in an accident at an MC event he attended in Nuevo León — Máynez asserted that he and his supporters have showed Mexico’s old political parties and officials that “it’s not that we’re not interested in politics, but that we’re not interested in their politics.”

Jorge Álvarez Máynez at his closing event in Mexico City
Jorge Álvarez Máynez (MC) at his closing event in Mexico City on Wednesday, which was dubbed the “Máynez Capital Fest.” (Cuartoscuro)

The MC candidate, a former federal deputy who is in a distant third place in the polls, told some 3,000 attendees of the “Máynez Capital Fest” that “the country will change” under his leadership.

“Never again are we going to have a young person in jail for smoking marijuana or a woman in jail for making a decision about her own body,” Máynez said during a relatively brief speech.

Accompanied by MC’s Mexico City mayoral candidate Salomón Chertorivski, Máynez also pledged to fight for people’s right to adequate housing.

Among the candidate’s other commitments are to increase the minimum salary to 10,000 pesos (US $590) per month, shorten the standard working week to 40 hours and provide students with free access to “concerts, books, artistic shows, theater and dance” performances.

By Mexico News Daily chief staff writer Peter Davies ([email protected])

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