Sunday, May 19, 2024

Morena hopefuls make final pitches before polling begins

The aspirants to Morena’s 2024 presidential election nomination closed their campaigns on Sunday ahead of a weeklong polling process that will determine who the ruling party’s new standard-bearer will be.

In their final pitches to citizens, the three leading Morena hopefuls – former Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, ex-foreign affairs minister Marcelo Ebrard and former interior minister Adán Augusto López Hernández – all expressed confidence that they will prevail in the contest to represent Morena at the June 2, 2024, presidential election.

Morena aspirants to run for president in 2024
The six Morena hopefuls: from left to right (top), Adán Augusto López, Manuel Velasco and Marcelo Ebrard; from left to right (bottom), Claudia Sheinbaum, Ricardo Monreal and Gerardo Fernández Noroña. (Morena/X)

They also emphasized their closeness to and admiration for President López Obrador, the founder of Morena and the leader of what he and his government colleagues call the “fourth transformation” (4T) of Mexico.

A day after holding a rally at Mexico City’s Monument to the Revolution, Sheinbaum spoke in front of some 5,000 supporters at an event in the Veracruz capital of Xalapa on Sunday.

“Our movement is the present and future of the nation,” said the ex-mayor, who polls show is the most popular of the six Morena aspirants.

“… There is no turning back, no backward steps or steps to the right, only the continuation of the transformation,” Sheinbaum declared.

Claudia Sheinbaum at her closing event
Claudia Sheinbaum is leading in the polls and says that Morena is the “present and future of the nation.” (YERANIA ROLÓN/ CUARTOSCURO.COM)

Among those listening to the 61-year-old physicist and environmental scientist was the president’s brother, Ramiro López Obrador, who described her as the “best” person to lead Morena at next year’s election.

Sheinbaum said that honesty is the “main attribute” required of the person who will lead the “defense of the fourth transformation.”

Among the other attributes needed are “love for the homeland, love for the people, love of our history and love for our movement,” she said.

Morena will never “divorce” itself from the people of Mexico, asserted Sheinbaum, who declared late last year that she was ready to become Mexico’s first female president.

President López Obrador at a rally
President López Obrador founded Morena and won a landslide election in 2018. (lopezobrador.org.mx)

“This is a social movement that will continue fighting for justice. That’s why we say loudly and proudly … it’s an honor to be with Obrador,” she said.

Sheinbaum said that the past ten weeks she spent traveling in Mexico as she attempted to sell herself as the best option for Morena had been “unforgettable” and thanked her supporters for speaking about “the continuation of the transformation” with “the face of a woman.”

She described López Obrador, her boss when she was environment minister in Mexico City in the early 2000s, as a “great leader.”

Speaking to residents of Veracruz as well as people who were bussed in from the neighboring states of Tabasco, Chiapas, Oaxaca and Puebla, Sheinbaum took a shot at probable opposition presidential candidate Xóchitl Gálvez, although she refrained from mentioning the senator by name.

“There are those who don’t know the southeast [of Mexico], who speak disparagingly of the men and women of this region, who criticize the Maya Train [railroad] – a project of the present and future of Mexico,” she said.

Sheinbaum told those in attendance at the Xalapa International Velodrome that it won’t be the last time she sees them “because I’m going to come back as national coordinator of the committees of defense of the fourth transformation,” the title the winner of the Morena selection process will assume before officially becoming the party’s 2024 presidential candidate.

Marcelo Ebrard at close of campaign
Marcelo Ebrard and his wife at the Sunday event where he delivered his final address before polling begins. (Marcelo Ebrard/X)

At Arena Ciudad de México, a concert hall in the Azcapotzalco borough of the capital, Marcelo Ebrard delivered his final address as a Morena aspirant to some 20,000 supporters.

“This is a festive meeting, a celebration. We’re finishing one stage of work and starting another. The future of Mexico begins today, today we begin on the road to win the 2024 elections, to defend the fourth transformation, to take it to the next level,” said the ex-foreign minister, who was mayor of Mexico City between 2006 and 2012.

He said his aim was not to “stay where we are,” but to build on the “transformation” initiated by López Obrador when he took office in late 2018.

“We want a better country, [improved] security, a universal health system, gender equality, very well paid jobs, economic growth, a better justice system, education – a winning country,” said the 63-year-old, who also served as a minister in Mexico City when López Obrador was mayor.

Ebrard said that the transformation already has “very large foundations” and acknowledged “the great work that my friend and colleague Andrés Manuel López Obrador has done” since becoming president.

He called on his supporters to open the doors of their homes to pollsters who will conduct surveys across Mexico between Aug. 28 and Sept. 3 to determine whose name will appear on ballot papers in 2024.

Mario Delgado
Mario Delgado, the president of Morena, shows the polling ballot at a press conference on Monday. (Morena/X)

“We need to participate in the poll. Only 12,000 people will be polled. … When you take a decision, when you put [the name of] who you want on the ballot, you’re representing thousands and thousands of people,” Ebrard said.

“In an election in Mexico 63 million of us vote, but they’re only going to poll 12,000 people. What I ask of you, colleagues, is to help me … and [with that] we’re going to win the poll next week,” he said.

Ebrard, who has claimed that sections of the government have favored Sheinbaum during the Morena selection process, said he will host another “party” on Sept. 6 to celebrate his victory.

“See you on Sept. 6 … at the party, the second chapter of this party. Long live Mexico, we’re going to win. … Those of you here are free, you’re convinced [I’m the best person to lead the country] and you’re committed. And that’s why we’re going to win,” he said.

Across town at the Monument to the Revolution, Ebrard’s former cabinet colleague López Hernández was accompanied by thousands of supporters at his final public event of the contest to select the presidential candidate for Morena and its allies, namely the Labor Party (PT) and the Ecological Green Party of Mexico (PVEM).

He noted that Saturday marked the second anniversary of his resignation as governor of Tabasco so that he could he could “accept the most honorable assignment” of his life: “accompanying the greatest president in history as interior minister.”

Adán Augusto López Hernández
Adán Augusto López at an event in Toluca on Saturday. (Adán Augusto López H/X)

That role, López Hernández said, allowed him to “build a dream that will undoubtedly become reality.”

“We’re going to win and we’re going to represent the people of Mexico,” he said.

López Hernández, who, like the president, is a native tabasqueño, said he was convinced the 4T would continue and declared that the transformation is “for you and with you.”

Imitating López Obrador, he pledged to follow the orders of the Mexican people as president, and asserted that there is strong support for the current government across Mexico. After noting that he has recently visited the capitals of the majority of Mexico’s states and many of its municipalities, López Hernández said that citizens don’t want the government’s welfare and social programs to stop and don’t want generous pensions for ex-presidents to return.

The former interior minister called on the other Morena aspirants to maintain unity and support whoever becomes the party’s presidential candidate.

“We need all of us, we can’t afford the luxury of not building collectively due to personal ambitions,” he said.

“… You, the Mexican people, deserve everything. I already put my heart in your hands. Together we’re going to build the better Mexico of the future. … The country needs all of us, the country belongs to all of us,” López Hernández said.

Ricardo Monreal at rally
Ricardo Monreal at a rally in Mexico City on Friday. ( PEDRO ANZA /CUARTOSCURO.COM)

The three other aspirants to the Morena-PT-PVEM nomination also closed their campaigns on Sunday. Gerardo Fernández Noroña, a former PT deputy, held a rally in Zacatecas city while former Chiapas governor and ex-PVEM senator Manuel Velasco spoke at an event in the Santa Fe business district of Mexico City. Former Morena senator and ex-governor of Zacatecas Ricardo Monreal addressed supporters in the Three Cultures Square in the capital’s Tlatelolco neighborhood.

Recent polls conducted by the El Financiero and Reforma newspapers found that Sheinabum is the most favored Morena aspirant ahead of Ebrard. López Hernández ranked third in the El Financiero poll, but fifth behind Fernández Noroña and Velasco in the Reforma one. Numerous earlier polls found that he was the third most likely candidate behind Sheinbaum and Ebrard.

Morena will announce the winner of its selection process on Sept. 6, three days after the Broad Front for Mexico (FAM) opposition bloc names its 2024 candidate. Gálvez, a National Action Party senator, and Senator Beatriz Paredes of the Institutional Revolutionary Party are the only aspirants left in the FAM contest.

Published on Monday, the results of the El Financiero and Refoma polls indicate that Morena will win next’s presidential election with either of Sheinbaum or Ebrard as its candidate.

With reports from Milenio

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