Mexico's ruling Morena party on Wednesday picked Claudia Sheinbaum, a recent mayor of Mexico City, as its candidate to succeed the popular, term-limited President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in next year's presidential election. The main opposition bloc, the Broad Front for Mexico, chose tech entrepreneur Xóchitl Gálvez as its presidential candidate on Sept. 3, meaning Mexico's next president will almost certain be its first female president.
Mexico's third largest political bloc, Citizen's Movement, hasn't chose its 2024 candidate yet. The smaller Green Party and Workers' Party are expected to support Morena.
"We can already say today: Mexico, by the end of next year, will be governed by a woman," Jesús Silva-Herzog Márquez, a political scientist at Mexico's Monterrey Institute of Technology, told The New York Times, calling that an "extraordinary change" for a country where women couldn't vote until 1953. Sheinbaum, who leads in the early polling, would also be Mexico's first Jewish president. Both women have engineering degrees, and both are socially progressive.
Sheinbaum, 61, was environment secretary of Mexico City when López Obrador was mayor from 2000 to 2005. She was elected mayor herself in 2018 and served until stepping down in June to run for president. Gálvez, 60, is a senator for the conservative National Action Party (PAN) and got her start in politics in 2003 when then-President Vicente Fox tapped her to lead the presidential office for indigenous affairs.
Mexico has worked to boost female participation in government, with success. A woman is chief justice of the Supreme Court, which decriminalized abortion in federal health facilities on Wednesday. Women lead both houses of Mexico's Congress and make up 50 percent of the legislature and of López Obrador's Cabinet. Mexico ranks No. 4 in female participation in national legislatures, The Washington Post reported, citing the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The U.S. is 71st, just below Iraq.