Marcelo Ebrard’s exit from MORENA could alter political dynamics, but he is unlikely to challenge Sheinbaum’s lead
Firms should not expect drastic changes to Mexico’s business environment during the next 12 months—or under a potential Sheinbaum presidency. However, if elected president, Sheinbaum will need to contend with a more divided MORENA, increasingly complex legislative dynamics, and higher expectations from the public, all of which are likely to push her to moderate her agenda and governing style vis-à-vis the AMLO era.
- On September 6, Mexico’s ruling MORENA party selected Claudia Sheinbaum as its candidate for the 2024 presidential election, putting the former Mexico City head of government in a strong position to become Mexico’s first female president.
- Following a three-month selection process, Sheinbaum won the party’s internal polls with an average voting intention of 39.4%; her main opponent, former Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard, only obtained 25.8%.
- According to the latest polls, Sheinbaum would win by an overwhelming margin of 36 percentage points against the main opposition candidate, Xóchitl Gálvez (Frente Amplio).
- Sheinbaum’s main MORENA opponent, Ebrard, is a complicating factor. Despite overwhelming support from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and other senior MORENA officials for Sheinbaum’s candidacy, Ebrard challenged the internal selection process on September 10, denouncing irregularities in the ballot count. Ebrard is slated to leave the party and create his own political movement.
- Presidential elections will be held on June 2, 2024.
It is unlikely that the opposition will be able to counter MORENA’s dominance in the 2024 elections. All data points to Sheinbaum winning by a comfortable margin, as the opposition vote will be split between Gálvez, the Movimiento Ciudadano candidate, and a potential Ebrard candidacy. A scenario in which the opposition is able to unify under one candidate would alter the dynamics of this election, leading to a much more competitive landscape, but this remains unlikely.
At this juncture, the main question surrounding a potential Sheinbaum presidency is whether she would ever diverge from AMLO’s 4T playbook, particularly in the energy and trade arenas. Sheinbaum’s popularity within the party polls stems primarily from her commitment to continuing AMLO’s legacy. As the presidential election draws near, Sheinbaum will seek to capitalize on the strong support AMLO has garnered during his term in office, promising to continue the policies of the so-called Fourth Transformation (4T). Consequently, Sheinbaum’s stated agenda to date echoes AMLO’s policy priorities. For instance, Sheinbaum has vowed to continue to uphold “Republican Austerity” and redirect public resources to social programs. Sheinbaum has also stated that she intends to channel increased investment stemming from the nearshoring trend into ensuring inclusive development in the south of Mexico.
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