Mexicans likely to elect first female president Sunday

Many Mexican voters say violence is top among their electoral worries, but it’s also spurred democratic concerns.

Cartels and other criminal groups have used elections – particularly local elections – as an opportunity to make power grabs. The National Electoral Institute said it had to cancel plans for 170 polling places, mostly in Chiapas and Michoacan and mostly because of security problems.

While voting appeared peaceful, if time-consuming, at most of Mexico’s approximately 170,000 polling places, there were isolated incidents of violence Sunday after a bloody campaign process.

Opposition presidential candidate Xóchitl Gálvez adjusts her hat as she waits to vote in the general election in Mexico City, Sunday, June 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

AP Photo/Fernando Llano

Opposition presidential candidate Xóchitl Gálvez adjusts her hat as she waits to vote in the general election in Mexico City on Sunday. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

In the central state of Puebla, four armed assailants tried to burst into a school where voting booths were installed to steal ballots. State police said arrests had been made.

And Queretaro’s governor said that assailants had tried to burn ballots at four polling places. A video posted on social media showed two masked men escaping on a motorcycle after one attack.

Earlier this week, unidentified gunmen opened fire a couple of blocks away from a mayoral candidate’s final campaign rally in western Cotija, Michoacan.

Meanwhile, candidates have been picked off, with at least 28 political contenders slain this year, according to human rights organization Data Civica.

Sheinbaum has been the clear frontrunner in her bid to replace outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. She is the chosen candidate for Morena, the party he created.

Despite running Mexico City, one of the biggest cities in the Western Hemisphere, Sheinbaum has struggled to construct her own image. While she has pitched herself as being a continuation of her political ally, she has a more reserved character and may turn out to be more progressive than López Obrador.

She has had to walk a fine line in her campaign – embracing López Obrador’s support, while not critiquing him on less popular fronts, like his security policy.

The campaign left many wondering whether she can escape the shadow of the larger-than-life incumbent.

Voters cast their ballots during general elections in Mexico City, Sunday, June 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

AP Photo/Matias Delacroix

Voters cast their ballots during general elections in Mexico City on Sunday. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

Gálvez is the opposition candidate in Mexico’s presidential elections.

She sold snacks in a small town in central Mexico as a girl to help her family and rose to national politics with a biography that could help take her to the heights of power. She speaks more candidly – similar to López Obrador – than her competitor and her story of humble origins helped her make a splash when she entered the race.

Gálvez is a fierce critic of the outgoing president and doesn’t shy away from verbal sparring. She represents a coalition of parties that have had little historically to unite them other than their recent opposition to López Obrador.

But Gálvez hasn’t been able to ignite as much fervor as her supporters hoped,and she has trailed Sheinbaum in polls.

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