Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Governor García for president?

Nuevo León Governor Samuel García is officially aiming to face off against Claudia Sheinbaum and Xóchitl Gálvez as the Citizens Movement (MC) party candidate at next year’s presidential election.

The 35-year-old governor submitted a letter to the Nuevo León Congress on Monday to request six months leave to run in the election.

A letter in Spanish from Nuevo León Governor Samuel García requesting leave
García’s leave request has yet to be approved by the state Congress. (X)

García, who took office in October 2021 and is not scheduled to finish his term as governor until 2027, intends to commence his leave six months before the presidential election in accordance with an electoral requirement that is enshrined in the constitution.

The election will be held on June 2, 2024, meaning that he would have to leave office by Dec. 2.

However, National Action Party (PAN) and Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) lawmakers — who together occupy 28 of the 42 seats in Nuevo León’s unicameral Congress — have previously indicated that they would reject any request from García to take leave. If Congress doesn’t approve his leave, the governor — who would be temporarily replaced by the state government’s general secretary — could challenge the decision at the Federal Electoral Tribunal.

Even if García is temporarily freed of his gubernatorial duties, there is no guarantee he will become the MC candidate for the presidential election.

Another option for the centrist party is former foreign affairs minister and discarded Morena party hopeful Marcelo Ebrard, according to MC leader and Senator Dante Delgado.

“I believe that Samuel is an internal option [for the party] and Marcelo Ebrard would be an external citizen option,” Delgado said Monday.

Ebrard, who finished second to Sheinbaum in the candidate selection process run by the ruling Morena party, has not announced any intention to seek the MC nomination. The ex-foreign minister, who was affiliated with MC for a period before joining Morena, submitted a complaint against the ruling party’s process, arguing that it was plagued with irregularities.

García, a social-media savvy governor and perhaps Mexico’s foremost nearshoring champion, first announced last December that he was interested in contesting the 2024 presidential election. However, he said in an interview in June that he wouldn’t seek to run next year.

A family photo of a man, a woman and a baby
García with his wife, influencer Mariana Rodríguez, and their daughter, Mariel. (Samuel García/X)

The governor said more recently that he hadn’t received permission from his influencer wife Mariana Rodríguez — with whom he has a 7-month-old daughter — to contest the election.

García, who recently returned to Mexico from a successful investment-seeking trip to Japan and China, took to social media on Monday to acknowledge news reports that he was seeking to take leave as governor, but didn’t immediately comment on his confirmed presidential ambitions.

Polls indicate that that former Mexico City mayor Sheinbaum is the clear favorite to win next June, while Senator Gálvez — selected as the candidate for the Broad Front for Mexico opposition bloc made up of the PAN, the PRI and the Democratic Revolution Party — is seen as her main rival.

García finished in a distant third place behind the two women in a mock contest set up by the El Financiero newspaper as part of a poll conducted in August.

The news agency Reuters reported Monday that the governor’s inclusion in the 2024 presidential contest “could divide opposition to the ruling leftist party” — Morena, which was founded by President López Obrador and launched him to a comprehensive victory at the 2018 election.

With reports from El País, El Financiero and Reforma 

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