Sunday, March 3, 2024

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard announces he’ll resign Monday

Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard announced Tuesday that he will step down next Monday to focus on winning the ruling Morena party’s nomination for the 2024 presidential election.

During an address at a boisterous event broadcast live on social media, Ebrard said he would resign first thing Monday morning to dedicate himself fully, “with happiness and resolve,” to “defending the project that our President Andrés Manuel López Obrador leads in the entire Mexican republic.”

Marcelo Ebrard, center, announcing his impending resignation as Mexico's Foreign Affairs Minister
Ebrard is the first Morena presidential nominee hopeful to resign his post, sparking speculation that other main contenders, who are all also public servants, will soon resign as well. (Marcelo Ebrard/Twitter)

Amid a sizable group of supporters gathered at a Mexico City hotel, the 63-year-old former Mexico City mayor called for a “transparent and verifiable” survey to select Morena’s candidate for the presidential election.

The ruling party will choose its standard bearer via an internal survey, which Ebrard said should “ideally” have just one question.

The election will be held on June 2, 2024. Under Mexican law, candidates running for public office will be required to resign any currently held government positions by March 7, 2024. However, Morena will apparently be requiring its hopefuls for the candidacy to resign much earlier, before any one of them is named the Morena candidate for president, and before the citizen survey takes place.

Ebrard — who has stood in for López Obrador at numerous international meetings, forums and summits — is one of four main contenders for Morena’s nomination. The others are Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, Interior Minister Adán Augusto López Hernández and Senator Ricardo Monreal.

Contenders for Morena Party presidential nomination in Mexico
The other main contenders for the Morena presidential nomination are, from left to right, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, Interior Minister Adán Augusto López and Senator Ricardo Monreal. (Government of Mexico, Senate)

Most polls show Sheinbaum as Morena voters’ favored candidate, but one conducted in January found that Ebrard is more popular than the mayor among Morena supporters.

The 300-member Morena National Council will convene this Sunday to determine the rules and dates of the selection process for the party’s presidential candidate.

Ebrard said he would participate in the meeting and expressed confidence that he and his rivals for the Morena candidacy would present a “single proposal” in favor of a selection process that “guarantees equity [and] transparency” and has “clear rules.”

He noted that the aspirants committed in December to stepping down from their current positions before the selection process officially starts, and to debating their proposals in public.

“I imagine that what we proposed in December will be reflected in the single proposal we’ll have on Sunday,” Ebrard said.

His announcement that he will resign to focus on becoming Morena’s candidate was met with chants of “Marcelo, Marcelo!” “we’re going to win!” and “presidente, presidente“.

Mexico's President Lopez Obrador
President López Obrador has promised to not intervene in the candidate selection process even though he is the Morena Party leader and founder. (Presidencia)

López Obrador, whose six-year term ends on Oct. 1, 2024, has pledged to not intervene in the selection process and respect the candidate chosen by “the people” — shorthand for members of the party he founded.

The president said Tuesday that he’d spoken with the presidential aspirants and with Morena party governors at a dinner on Monday about the need to maintain party unity leading up to next year’s elections. Citizens will also elect deputies, senators, governors of eight states and a new Mexico City mayor on the same day.

AMLO said Wednesday that other potential Morena candidates will possibly announce their resignations in the coming days.

Some have speculated that Ebrard could seek to represent another party, such as Citizens Movement, if he doesn’t win Morena’s 2024 nomination.

However, his clear focus now is on getting his name on the Morena ticket; polls suggest Morena will win the presidency no matter its candidate.

Ebrard said Tuesday that he’s a proud member of the López Obrador’s government, while Morena national president Mario Delgado declared that there was no “dissent” on the part of the foreign minister.

Celebratory dinner by Morena Party figures for governor elect of Mexico state, Delfina Gomez
AMLO told reporters that he took the opportunity at a celebratory dinner for México state governor elect Delfina Gómez to speak to the four main presidential hopefuls.

“I want to thank … President López Obrador for his support, his trust, his generosity, his guidance and his closeness during all these years,” Ebrard — who served in AMLO’s 2000–2005 Mexico City mayoral government — told supporters and reporters in Mexico City.

As president, he said he would consolidate Mexico’s “Fourth Transformation” of Mexico — which López Obrador asserts his government is carrying out, especially through its fight against corruption. Ebrard also said he would work to eradicate extreme poverty.

He also stressed the importance of maintaining distance between vested interests and government.

The announcement of his imminent resignation came two days after Morena candidate Delfina Gómez won the gubernatorial election in México state, ending almost 100 years of Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) rule. Her victory in Mexico’s most populous state has been widely interpreted as a good omen for Morena in 2024.

The PRI prevailed Sunday in Coahuila’s gubernatorial election, where a PRI, National Action Party and Democratic Revolution Party alliance put former Saltillo mayor Manolo Jiménez Salinas into office.

As for who will replace Ebrard as foreign minister after his Monday departure, the news agency Reuters reported that Mexico’s United Nations Ambassador Juan Ramón de la Fuente, as well as Ambassador to the United States Esteban Moctezuma, a former education minister in the current government, “are seen by many analysts as the favorites.”

With reports from Reforma, EFE, El País and El Financiero

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