Samuel García’s quest to become Mexico’s next president appears to be over, as a messy political situation continues to play out in the northern state of Nuevo León.
The 35-year-old would-be presidential candidate for the Citizens Movement (MC) party announced in the early hours of Saturday morning that he had reassumed his position as Nuevo León governor, a move that will prevent him from contesting the June 2, 2024 election.
“Nuevo León, I already communicated to the cabinet that I legally and formally reassumed [gubernatorial] duties. I have convened [the cabinet] first thing tomorrow morning to continue building the new Nuevo León,” García wrote on the X social media platform.
His resumption of duties was also notified in the Nuevo León government’s official gazette.
The governor requested and was granted six months of leave in order to seek the MC nomination and campaign for the presidency ahead of the 2024 election.
However, due to his dissatisfaction with opposition parties’ appointment of an interim governor considered sympathetic to their political agenda and the Supreme Court’s ratification of that appointment, García ultimately decided to eschew the leave period authorized by the state Congress.
Luis Enrique Orozco, a former deputy attorney general with ties to the Institutional Revolutionary Party, was sworn in as interim governor at the tail end of a chaotic congressional session on Wednesday, and arrived at the Nuevo León Palace of Government shortly after midnight Saturday to commence his term.
The Supreme Court ruled late Friday that Orozco’s appointment was valid – although the Federal Electoral Tribunal had ruled that an MC-affiliated politician should replace García – and he officially became interim governor at 12 a.m. Saturday.
Orozco’s tenure apparently lasted less than an hour, although he claimed he was still interim governor even after García announced his return, and asserted he wouldn’t leave the position until he received an official order to do so.
As he was holding a press conference in the Palace of Government patio, Orozco was informed by government secretary Javier Navarro that García had decided to reassume his position as governor.
García – who arrived at the Palace of Government at 12:50 a.m. to resume his gubernatorial duties – was legally required to leave the position to contest the 2024 presidential election. He is precluded from participating unless he goes on leave.
Just hours before announcing his decision to reassume his position as governor, García said he was planning to continue campaigning for the presidency and expressed confidence that he would never return to the top job in Nuevo León because he believed he would win next year’s election.
With the Nuevo León governor now effectively out of the race, the contest to succeed President López Obrador is between Claudia Sheinbaum, the candidate for the ruling Morena party, and Xóchitl Gálvez, who will represent the Broad Front for Mexico opposition alliance.
Sheinbaum, former mayor of Mexico City, is the clear frontrunner, with recent polls showing she has around 50% support, compared to about 25% for Gálvez. The polls showed García – a controversial former senator who assumed the governorship of Nuevo León in late 2021 – in a distant third place.