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Why are elections in Mexico important for Latin America?

The June 2 general elections in Mexico, the biggest in the country's history, have particular relevance in terms of foreign policy, as two different projects are at stake, according to experts consulted by CNN : the continuity of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's policy or a 180-degree change.

For the first time in history, Mexico may also have a president, as Claudia Sheinbaum, from the ruling party, and Xóchitl Gálvez, from the opposition, are ahead in the polls.

How can the victory of one or the other influence the region?

Foreign relations and migration

“Elections in Mexico count a lot for Latin America, not only because it is the second largest economy in the region, but also because they represent continuity or a change in policy,” said political scientist and internationalist Anabel Ortega Muñoz.

In a similar logic, the internationalist for Tecnológico de Monterrey, Arlene Ramírez Uresti, highlighted that it is a process that attracts attention because there is a lot of speculation regarding the business environment and the presence of Mexico as a relevant actor in the international community.

“On the one hand, we have Sheinbaum, who talked about continuity, about his total support for López Obrador's public policy, and that wouldn't help much because Mexico really needs a new direction, a change of direction in foreign policy that, unfortunately, we wouldn’t see it with her”, he said.

She explained that this would mean maintaining a low presence in international organizations, as well as approaching certain actors in the region under an ideological principle, as in the case of relations with Venezuela, Cuba or Nicaragua.

On the other hand, there is the rupture in relations with countries such as Peru and Ecuador or the case of Argentina, in which López Obrador and Javier Milei got into a verbal dispute.

For Ortega, the future of Mexico's multilateral relations in the region will depend, to a large extent, on who arrives at the National Palace, “because each government has different nuances and a closer or more distant relationship with some countries that is related to ideology.”

He explained that Gálvez, who represents the opposition alliance Força e Coração for Mexico, has a more conservative project and, in this sense, there could be a reconfiguration in foreign policy, sharing visions on how to deal with regional problems and cooperation with other conservative countries in America Latin.

In this sense, whoever wins the elections must maintain close cooperation with neighboring countries to deal with migration and guarantee the safety and human rights of migrants arriving from Central America.

“Here, not only the relationship with Peru or Ecuador is at stake, in this issue relations with the United States will also be important, where we also face two different positions between Republicans and Democrats, and whoever reaches the White House will also have an impact on the Mexico and the region on migration issues”, considered Ortega Muñoz.

Ramírez Uresti said that this is an important factor, since in the case of Donald Trump returning to the presidency, it is possible that Mexico will assume more commitments in matters of immigration and should have a humanitarian public policy with migrants who cross its southern border and in cooperation with neighboring countries.

The impact of a president on the world stage

For the first time in the history of Mexico, a woman can become president.

Claudia Sheinbaum and Xóchitl Gálvez lead the polls, with just over a month to go until the elections. Analysts agree that this is undoubtedly great news and a powerful message for younger generations.

According to Statista, only 15 women have led their countries throughout the modern history of Latin America and currently, Xiomara Castro, in Honduras, and Dina Boluarte, in Peru, are the only two presidents in the region.

“It is practically inevitable that Mexico will have its first female president and this certainly sends an interesting message to the entire region,” said Ramírez Uresti, who is also an expert on diplomacy issues.

However, she highlights that it is not just about a woman in the presidency, “the important thing is that it is a woman with her own voice, who governs with a gender perspective and establishes a milestone in the country's history with the reduction of femicides, disappearances and that women’s conditions improve.”

For Ortega Muñoz, Mexico will set an important precedent with great impact not only in the region, but also globally, because currently some of the most important positions in the country are held by women.”

“The country has a president of the Chamber of Deputies (Marcela Guerra Castillo), a president of the Chamber of Senators (Ana Lilia Rivera), president of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (Norma Piña Hernández) and it is almost inevitable that a woman will win the elections”, he emphasized.

In the 2024 elections, the Union Congress will also be renewed: 128 senators and 500 deputies, so their respective presidencies will also change.

Source: CNN Brasil

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