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Mexico Almost Certain to Elect Its First Woman President as Campaigning Begins

Originally published by Megan Janetsky for PBS News Hour

Campaigning formally starts on Friday for the biggest election in Mexico’s history.

Voters will choose the president, along with the winners of 628 seats in Congress and tens of thousands of local positions.

The country of 130 million people has often been marked by its “macho” culture. Now it is almost certain to elect its first woman president.

Also at play are issues such as escalating cartel warfare, the political legacy of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the long, often tumultuous relationship with the United States.

When is the Mexican election and how does voting work?

Parties selected their candidates well before the official start of campaigning for the presidential, congressional and municipal elections. On June 2, millions of voters will turn out at the polls to vote for their new leaders. The winner of the highly anticipated presidential elections will serve a six-year term.

While most eyes are on the presidential race, Mexicans will also vote for 128 senators, 500 congressional representatives and for tens of thousands of local government positions.

Who is running the Mexican elections?

Leading presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum has enjoyed a comfortable lead, with around 59% of the vote, according to a February poll. The former mayor of Mexico City, Sheinbaum is seen as a continuation of populist leftist leader López Obrador and is backed by his Morena party.

Senator Xóchitl Gálvez is in a not-so-close second with around 36% of the vote. Gálvez is a fierce critic of López Obrador and is running under the Strength and Heart for Mexico coalition. Trailing behind both is little-known Jorge Álvarez Máynez of the Citizen Movement party.

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