3 essential readings on the groundbreaking vote

On June 2, 2024, Mexicans will go to the polls to elect a president after an electoral campaign marked by violence And divisive political rhetoric.

Survey suggest that the candidate of the ruling party Claudia Sheinbaum will win, defeating her rival Xóchitl Gálvez, who leads a left-right coalition.

The level of voter turnout should be unpredictable, but unless there are major surprises, Mexico may have its first female president once all votes are counted.

Scholars writing for The Conversation US have discussed, amongst other things, what this gender milestone will mean for Mexico. Here are three stories that explore the importance of the 2024 Mexican elections.

1. Towards gender equality?

There has been plenty of discuss Mexico soon electing a lady president, but does this really reflect gender equality within the country's politics? Xavier Medina Vidal And Christopher Chambers-JuScholars of Mexican politics and gender issues on the University of Texas at Arlington are investigating this query.

They indicate that although women already make up half of the Mexican Congress and hold top positions in politics and the judiciary, this only tells a part of the story.

“Electing women to high office does not necessarily result in a meaningful shift in power. Experts on women in politics call this 'descriptive representation' – when political leaders resemble a group of voters but fail to take measures that protect them,” they write. A serious concern is the extent of violence and harassment against women in Mexico, each by women in the general public eye and by unusual residents. The femicide rate in Mexico stays shockingly high: 10 women and girls are killed daily.

“Although women are gaining political power in Mexico, the question now is whether they will use it to fight for the women they represent,” conclude Medina Vidal and Chambers-Ju.

Read more: Mexico will soon elect its first female president – ​​but this milestone masks uneven progress on women's rights

2. A deadly election cycle

The 2024 elections can even be a milestone for Mexico in one other respect: the violence throughout the election campaign. Amalendu MisraProfessor of international politics at Lancaster University, points out that the election season – during which voters also choose hundreds of positions on the local, state and congressional levels – is on target to be the deadliest ever.

“Violence against Mexican politicians is commonplace,” he writes. “But the country's powerful organized gangs are increasing their political violence during election campaigns to gain the approval of candidates and secure business opportunities.”

Making matters worse, the country's gangs have been fragmenting in recent times, with cartels splitting into different branches. “Put simply, the ongoing violence against politicians and political candidates in Mexico reflects the struggle of various organized crime gangs for territorial consolidation and lucrative business opportunities,” Misra notes.

At least 36 candidates were killed throughout the current electoral cycle.

Read more: Mexico's criminal gangs fuel political violence ahead of elections

A poster of Claudia Sheinbaum with her first name towers over a crowd
Supporters of Mexican presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum delay a poster of her during her final campaign rally on May 29, 2024 in Mexico City.
Matias Delacroix/AP Photo

3. The state of democracy

Of course, Mexico just isn’t the one country in Latin America where gang violence disrupts the political process.

What impact does this have on people’s attitudes towards democracy within the region? Lukas Plutowski, Elizabeth J. Zechmeister And Noam Lupu on the LAPOP Lab at Vanderbilt University have some answers.

Their latest AmericasBarometer, which surveys public attitudes across the Western Hemisphere every two years, finds that widespread pessimism about poverty and violence influences people's attitudes toward democracy in Latin America.

“Our results show that disappointment with the democratic status quo in the region is strikingly high: only 40 percent believe that democracy works,” they note.

But despite this gloomy assessment, support for the concept of ​​democracy stays high. Across the region, 58 percent of individuals consider democracy is the most effective form of presidency. In Mexico, this figure is even higher, at 62 percent.

“For now at least, a sustained belief in democracy could facilitate the efforts of political leaders inside and outside the region to advocate for and strengthen democratic governance,” conclude Plutowski, Zechmeister and Lupu.

Read more: Faced with serious challenges, democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean is under pressure – but support continues

image credit : theconversation.com