There are still two and a half years before Mexico’s next presidential election, but a potential candidate — the high-profile mayor of Mexico City — has been accused of cheating.
The controversy started last month, when the Mexico City government launched a new “scholarship” card to provide 1.2 million preschool, elementary and middle school students with meals and other supplies up to $24 a month.
These cards have been around since Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum proposed them in 2019. Her opponents were dissatisfied that her government had been holding rallies with her parents to promote them, and their parents’ rallies were very focused on paying tribute to her.
What caught their attention was a speech by a senior federal education official at one of the events. After praising the mayor for being a champion of the children, he told the parents that the teachers called it “Claudia Card.”
The opposition party filed a complaint with two election-monitoring agencies, accusing the mayor of illegally using public funds to promote self-propaganda—despite trying to eradicate this tradition, it’s a long tradition in Mexico.
“The election rules establish equal status for all candidates.” “The moment Claudia Simbaum was running for three years in advance, she was breaking this equality,” said Angel, who represented the Democratic Revolutionary Party at the National Electoral Institute. · Avila said.
National Action Party Senator Kenya López Rabadán (Kenia López Rabadán), Hold a press conference It is fair to say “put Claudia’s name on everything that this government does not do well”.
“We should talk about… the murder of the Claudia government, the disappearance of the Claudia government, the killing of women by the Claudia government,” she said.
Sheinbaum denied these allegations. She told the local media that the only thing she recognized was the right to education, “This is not to exchange votes.”
Her chief of staff, José Alfonso Suárez del Real y Aguilera, told The Times that the mayor did not express any wishes to run for president and that the director of the Federal Bureau of Education in Mexico City was using the “Claudia Card.”
He said that what really bothers critics is “our right to universal and free education in the public school system.”
The election authorities stated that they have no jurisdiction to review this issue and have been submitting complaints to the audit agency.
“We did not find that this would affect the election because we did not have an election,” said Bernardo Valle Monroy, a senior official at the Mexico City Electoral Institute. “We are far from the election time.”
For a long time, Mexico’s political candidates have been accused of everything from distributing gift cards to Attract voters with cheaper tortillas.
The actors of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which has ruled Mexico for seven years, will Reaching poor communities Install power lines before the election.
Vidal Romero, a political scientist at ITAM University in Mexico City, said that the distribution of cash cards is a “propaganda tool” that can help citizens understand how resources are transferred to them and give them a clearer understanding of how to vote.
As for the cash cards of students, experts say that their way of promotion is at least morally disturbing.
Beatriz Camacho, an analyst at the Citizens League, an election monitoring organization in Mexico, said: “There is a very delicate line between the government’s use of resources and the use of social projects for personal gain.” “On the one hand, Claudia can say that giving money to these children is a social policy. She is right. On the other hand, in the long run, can calling it’Claudia Card’ enhance her image?”
Mexico City media pointed out that the latest version of the card is white and cherry red, very close to the colors of the mayor’s political party, Morena.
As for whether any laws have been violated, Horacio Wives, a former adviser of the National Electoral Institute, said that since Sheenbaum’s name is not on the card, this is a “border situation”.
Luis Carlos Ugalde, the former chairman of the Federal Electoral Institute, said that Sheinbaum should condemn the statement of education officials.
“I think there is no doubt that this is a strategy that benefits her politically,” he said.
Sheinbaum, with a doctorate in energy engineering, became the city’s first elected female mayor in 2018. world record Get the most free hot spots in the city network.
But her most recent tenure has been subject to pandemics and Subway overpass collapsed That time in May caused more than two dozen deaths.
As a disciple of President Andres Manuel López Obrador, she has been considered the front runner of the 2024 presidential election. She recently participated in the inauguration of the female governors of Baja California, Guerrero, and Colima, which some political observers believe was to enhance her national image.
The “scholarship” card, which can be used in shops across the city, is welcomed by parents. The controversy over Sheinbaum has not changed this.
“To be honest, it doesn’t bother me, but in this city, people misunderstand everything,” said Carlos Rodriguez, an Uber driver, whose 9-year-old son has received a new card. “I know she didn’t issue this card.”