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Presidential candidate Xóchitl Gálvez is optimistic, despite polls

She comes in a distant second in the polls, but Xóchitl Gálvez remains outwardly confident that she can become Mexico’s next president.

In a recent interview with the Reforma newspaper, the candidate for the three-party Strength and Heart for Mexico opposition bloc predicted that she will win the June 2 presidential election if turnout is above 60%.

Mexico presidential candidate Xochitl Galvez holding a microphone on a stage

Gálvez also spoke to the Mexico City-based news outlet about a range of other topics, including possible appointments to her cabinet if she succeeds in becoming Mexico’s first female president and her commitment to investigate alleged corruption involving President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s sons.

Let’s take a look at the remarks she made to Reforma late last week before beginning a campaign visit to the northern state of Nuevo León.

On her plan to be an ‘independent’ president 

Gálvez, a businesswoman turned politician who was mayor of a Mexico City borough before becoming a federal senator for the conservative National Action Party (PAN), declared she will remain “independent” of political parties as president, although she also said she would “obviously … govern with them.”

The 61-year-old Hidalgo native will represent the PAN, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) at the June 2 election.

She said that she and the parties backing her candidacy have a “common agenda” in security, healthcare and education.

However, Gálvez — who represented the PAN as a senator, but is not a member of the party — asserted that “no political party has dared to tell me, ‘This is my list [of requests].’”

Xochitl Galvez before a microphone in the Mexican senate
Gálvez’s previous political career has included a stint as mayor of the Miguel Hidalgo borough in Mexico City and, most recently, as a senator representing the National Action Party. (Graciela López Herrera/Cuartoscuro)

Turning her attention to the beleaguered state oil company Pemex, the opposition candidate said that in order to “restructure” the firm and make it “efficient,” she will have to work with political parties to “build” an agenda in Congress.

Gálvez has previously said that if she becomes president, Pemex — which currently has debt in excess of US $100 billion — wouldn’t solely be focused on oil.

“There are other sources of energy; we can’t leave them out, and [including them] would give much more financial viability to Pemex,” she told Reforma.

On the possible makeup of her cabinet 

Asked whether she had potential cabinet members in mind, Gálvez noted that she has met a range of people from civil society and political parties during her campaign.

“I’ve found very valuable people from the parties. I’m fascinated by [former economy minister] Ildefonso Guajardo, who is from Monterrey — an honest man … [with] a great capacity,” she said.

Guajardo, who was a key negotiator in the talks that led to the USMCA free-trade pact, is working on the candidate’s campaign.

Gálvez also spoke positively about former tourism minister Enrique de la Madrid, ex-education minister Aurelio Nuño, Senator Beatriz Paredes — who was the runner-up in the contest to become the PAN-PRI-PRD presidential candidate —  Senator Kenia López, Senator Lilly Téllez and energy analyst Rosanety Barrios.

She said that all appointees to her cabinet would be required to undergo an “asset evolution analysis” to determine how their wealth has changed over time.

“Is it OK to have money? Yes, it’s OK, but you have to say where it comes from,” Gálvez said.

On AMLO’s alleged ‘meddling’ in the election 

Gálvez said she would challenge the National Electoral Institute’s decision to allow López Obrador to continue holding his daily press conferences during the campaign period, asserting that she would prove that the president is “meddling in the election.”

Mexico's President Lopez Obrador gesturing behind a podium during his press conference
Gálvez said in her interview with Reforma that President López Obrador is being unfairly allowed to “meddle” in the election during his press conferences, where Galvez said he regularly talks up his Morena party’s candidate, Claudia Sheinbaum. (lopezobrador.org.mx)

“The most serious issue,” she said, is that López Obrador has said that “we want to get rid of the social programs.”

Gálvez was referring to government welfare and employment programs created by López Obrador’s government, such as the Youths Building the Future apprenticeship scheme and the Sowing Life reforestation initiative.

Government officials known as “servants of the nation are telling people that if they vote for another party, they’ll lose the social programs,” she said.

“That has caused tremendous damage in this election because people wouldn’t be willing to vote for [the ruling party] Morena if it wasn’t for … the social programs,” Gálvez said.

“So that hurts me — the election is inequitable, and in addition [López Obrador] uses his morning press conference to speak about the positives of his candidate [Claudia Sheinbaum] and my negatives,” she said.

On her expectations for election day

Gálvez — who trails Sheinbaum by 25 points according to the Bloomberg news outlet’s poll tracker — predicted that there will be a “surprising” level of “citizen participation” on June 2, a day on which Mexicans will not only elect a new president but also governors in some states and around 20,000 federal, state and municipal officials.

Gálvez, second from right, poses with, from left to right, PAN leader Marko Cortes, Senator Kenia López, whom Gálvez has mentioned as a potential cabinet member, and PAN senator Santiago Creel, an early supporter of Gálvez’s candidacy.

“If the people come out to vote, we’re going to win,” she added.

Although López Obrador has maintained a high approval rating throughout his presidency and polls show that Morena and its allies are likely to win a congressional majority, Gálvez said that people are “fed up” with the ruling party.

“Morena is going to try to instill fear so that people don’t go out to vote freely — that will be a strategy,” she said.

Nevertheless, “we’re going to have great participation,” Gálvez said before predicting a “tight contest.”

However, “if 62% of the people vote, there is no doubt that we’ll win by a good margin,” she told Reforma without explaining how she arrived at that conclusion.

On her plan to fight corruption 

“I will investigate any act of corruption, whoever is involved, regardless of the party they belong to,” Gálvez said when specifically asked whether she would put López Obrador and his sons under investigation if she becomes president.

Mexican senator Beatriz Paredes raising hand with Xochitl Galvez standing in front of supporters
Gálvez, center, also mentioned Senator Beatriz Paredes, left, as a potential cabinet member if she wins the June 2 election. (Cuartoscuro)

In February, the New York Times published allegations that people close to the president, including his adult sons, received drug money after he took office in late 2018. López Obrador’s adult sons have also faced other accusations that they have benefited improperly from their father’s position as president.

Gálvez said that alleged cases of corruption involving AMLO’s sons must be investigated.

However, she indicated she wouldn’t pursue López Obrador as “I believe the president doesn’t get directly involved in the funny business with contracts, but his sons do.”

Gálvez also said that a corruption case involving the federal food security agency Segalmex has to be investigated further and that outstanding cases, such as that in which former Pemex CEO Emlio Lozoya is implicated, “have to be followed up.”

More reading on Xóchitl Gálvez 

Want to know more about the Indigenous Otomí woman vying to become Mexico’s first female president and her plans for the nation? Take a look at these Mexico News Daily articles:

With reports from Reforma 

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