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Mexico ruling party names Sheinbaum presidential candidate

MEXICO CITY: Mexico’s ruling party on Wednesday named former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum its candidate for next year’s presidential election, putting her in pole position to become the country’s first female leader.

Sheinbaum, 61, is a close ally of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and had been regarded as the strong favorite to be selected in the national poll organised by the leftist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA).

“Today the Mexican people decided,” a smiling Sheinbaum told supporters to shouts of “president, president, president,” at a press conference where she was declared MORENA candidate.

“We will win in 2024,” she said, dressed in the purple color of her party.

Sheinbaum beat out five other contenders and won each of five nationwide polls organised to decide the result, averaging about 39 per cent of the vote, the party said.

However, hours before the winner was announced, Sheinbaum’s closest rival, former foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard, said the vote had been tainted by irregularities and must be redone.

Ebrard was not present as Sheinbaum was hailed as the winner, telling a Mexican radio station he and his team had been removed from the event in Mexico City’s World Trade Centre, a towering building in an upscale neighbourhood of the capital.