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Elections in Mexico: main candidates debate security in last debate

The main candidates for the Presidency of Mexico faced each other on Sunday (19) in a debate focused on public security. The ruling party candidate defended the current president's policies, amid harsh criticism over record levels of violent crime.

Former Mexico City mayor and government candidate Claudia Sheinbaum promised to continue President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's largely non-confrontational security policies, while also praising his record on fighting crime as leader of the capital.

“I’m the only one who can show results in terms of safety,” Sheinbaum said, arguing that the homicide rate under her watch has declined as she has hired more police officers and at the same time supported social programs aimed at what she described as the alleviating the underlying causes of crime.

Sheinbaum ran Mexico City from 2018 to 2023, when she left the position to run for President, and at the beginning of her career she served as the capital's Minister of the Environment under the command of then-mayor Lopez Obrador.

Her main opponent, Xóchitl Gálvez, challenged Sheinbaum's record as mayor, claiming that murders had actually increased due to a disproportionately higher number of deaths in which no cause was officially disclosed.

Gálvez, a senator who represents a coalition of left- and right-wing parties that once dominated Mexican politics, has repeatedly attacked the ruling Morena party for turning a blind eye to lawlessness, especially violent crime caused by the country's powerful drug gangs.

“The country is on fire because of the pact you all have with criminals,” said Gálvez, remembering when López Obrador warmly greeted the mother of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, a drug kingpin arrested in 2019.

Gálvez repeatedly derided Sheinbaum as “the candidate of lies,” displaying a graphic that showed her opponent with a Pinocchio-style nose, and promised to continue the generous social spending programs established by López Obrador.

The debate was held just two weeks before voters go to the polls on June 2 in an election that for months has seen Sheinbaum favored by double-digit leads in most opinion polls.

Whoever is elected will be the first female president of Mexico, where presidents are limited by law to a single six-year term.

A third candidate also shared the stage with the two main candidates — Jorge Álvarez Máynez, a 38-year-old former state legislator from the centrist Citizen Movement party.

Source: CNN Brasil

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