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A Landmark Election: Mexico Is About to Elect Its First Female President

May 28, 20242:14

This Sunday, an estimated ninety-nine million Mexican voters will head to polls to select the nation's next president. With two women leading the race, the result is guaranteed to be historic since a woman has never before served as the country's chief executive. In addition, voters will elect 500 congressional representatives, 128 senators, and more than 20,000 local government officials. Lila Abed, Acting Director of the Wilson Center's Mexico Institute, provides insights on the upcoming election. She comments on the significance of the election and why Mexico’s leadership in Latin America is critical to US interests. Abed also tells us why its important for Mexico and the US to strengthen economic ties ahead of the 2026 review of the USMCA.

Video Transcript

  • This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

    The 2024 electoral cycle will be the largest in Mexico's history, and with elections coinciding with Mexico and the United States every 12 years, the winners of these elections will shape the future of Mexico's domestic, but also foreign policy. 

    To give a very clear example of how Mexico's leadership in Latin America is crucial for the United States, Mexico has had discussions with the leaders of Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, countries that the United States doesn't necessarily have that close of relationship with. But Mexico can function as an intermediary between these leaders and the United States in order to stem migration flows and also provide a strategic and comprehensive migration strategy.  

    For Mexicans, the possible opportunity of having its first female president is undeniably a  positive milestone for the country's history. There have been six former women presidential candidates, but none really had the ability to win the elections. And it is just in this 2024 electoral cycle that Mexico will have its first female president. It is important to note that both candidates have included in their political platforms how they hope to initiate and continue cooperating with the United States. 

    For Claudia Sheinbaum, it looks like it would be a continuation of her predecessor, current President Lopez Obrador's foreign policy, with its US counterpart. And in terms of commercial ties, it is important to note that Mexico became the US's top trading partner in 2023 with two way trade totaling just shy of $800 billion, above China and Canada. And so Mexico's next president is going to have to continue strengthening North America's supply chains, especially ahead of the 2026 review of the USMCA. And despite who wins the white House and who wins Mexico's presidential elections, there's going to be a real collaboration going forward in terms of all of these issues.


Lila Abed

Lila Abed

Acting Director, Mexico Institute
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Mexico Institute

The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute.   Read more