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December 3, 2023

Mexico City mayor to step down to pursue historic bid for presidency

Mexico City mayor to step down to pursue historic bid for presidency

MEXICO CITY — Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said Monday that she will step down this Friday to pursue the ruling party’s candidacy for the 2024 presidential election, bidding to become Mexico’s first female leader.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) on Sunday agreed it would announce the winner of its internal selection process on September 6. Sheinbaum is one of the two main favorites.

Morena is heavily favored to win the June 2024 presidential election, lifted by Lopez Obrador’s personal popularity.

He cannot seek re-election because Mexican presidents are restricted to a single six-year term by law. Close aides to Lopez Obrador have told Reuters they believe he would like Sheinbaum to succeed him. He denies having any favorite.

Announcing her resignation plan at a press conference, the 60-year-old Sheinbaum underlined her credentials as a scientist and environmentalist, saying she would continue Lopez Obrador’s “transformation” of Mexico with her “own stamp.”

“I have made the decision to leave the post definitively on June 16, with the goal of becoming the first woman in the history of Mexico to lead the fate of the nation,” she said.

Morena’s leadership agreed that the contenders should step down this week to compete.

Most opinion polls have tended to give Sheinbaum a slight advantage in the race for the nomination over her rival Marcelo Ebrard, who said he was standing down as foreign minister earlier on Monday to compete in the contest.

Sheinbaum highlighted that past polling had put her ahead and said she was confident it would remain that way.

Five polls open to the general public are due to determine Morena’s presidential nominee.

Sheinbaum also cited a study published last month by the national statistics agency showing that over two-thirds of Mexicans strongly backed a woman holding the presidency.

“It’s time for women,” she said.

Ebrard, who announced his plan to resign last week, had argued that prospective candidates should leave their posts to ensure a level playing field. Interior Minister Adan Augusto Lopez, another contender, is also expected to resign.

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