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Conservative Jalisco voters face presidential election dilemma

In most of Mexico’s 32 states, voters have an easy choice in the June 2 presidential election.

The race is between two women: left-leaning Claudia Sheinbaum from the ruling Morena Party, running on a manifesto promising to continue the “transformation” of Mexico instigated over the past six years by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador; and the centrist Xóchitl Gálvez (of the PRI/PAN Fuerza y Corazón por México alliance), whose platform predominantly highlights deficiencies in law and order, health and education, and prioritizes entrepreneurship.

The choice for voters in Jalisco is more complicated.  The political evolution of this state over the past decade has seen the rise of the centrist Citizen’s Movement (MC) at the expense of the long-established Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and National Action Party (PAN).

To the dismay of some of its members here, the MC’s national leadership decided not to join the opposition PRI/PAN alliance, and put forward their own candidate for the presidency: Jorge Álvarez Máynez, a little-known 39-year-old legislator from Zacatecas. With no prospect of winning the election, his candidacy is irrelevant in most of Mexico’s states where the MC’s outreach is weak or nonexistent. However, his presence on the ticket in Jalisco poses a question for MC supporters here. Should they “waste” their vote on Álvarez, or try to make it “count” by going for Gálvez, who will obtain a much larger share of the national vote?

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