Mexico Presidential Succession Heats Up Early With Ebrard’s Bid

Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard said he plans to make his own presidential bid amid early succession speculation as President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador starts the final part of his six-year mandate.

Ebrard, one of Lopez Obrador’s main advisers and Mexico’s key diplomatic liaison with the U.S. government, said that while it was early to speculate on the 2024 general election, he would be ready to run for the country’s top job.

“When the rules are announced, when the time arrives -- and there’s a long way to go, because we’re halfway through this government -- when that happens, we’ll be prepared to participate in accordance with the rules,” he told reporters on Tuesday, standing next to Lopez Obrador. “That’s the position I am in.”

Last month’s midterm election in Mexico kicked off talks of possible candidates to succeed Lopez Obrador, who is constitutionally limited to a single term ending in late 2024. AMLO, as the president is known, already floated the names of some of his closest advisers as potential runners, including Ebrard, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier, Energy Minister Rocio Nahle, Ambassador to the U.S. Esteban Moctezuma and the country’s Ambassador to the United Nations Juan Ramón de la Fuente.

Presidential successions are often filled with intrigue in Mexico, where for decades the outgoing president hand-picked a successor. Lack of details about how the ruling party Morena will handle the process amid growing infighting, together with AMLO’s stand-out presence in Mexican politics, led to anticipation about the succession debate even with three years to the election.

In his daily press briefing on Tuesday, AMLO said he wasn’t opposed to officials within his administration declaring their political intentions as long as they continue to “fulfill their responsibilities.”

Ebrard, 61, ushered the country through its vaccine diplomacy efforts and enjoys broad name recognition among Mexicans after a long career in politics. But his popularity took a hit with the collapse earlier this year of a Mexico City metro, which he inaugurated when he was mayor between 2006 and 2012.

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