Mexicans are voting in an election expected to result in the country's first female president. The leading candidates, Claudia Sheinbaum and Xóchitl Gálvez, are

significantly ahead of the sole male contender, Jorge Álvarez Máynez, in the polls.

In addition to selecting the president, voters will elect all members of Mexico's Congress, governors in eight states, and the head of Mexico City's government. The election campaign has been marred by violence, with over 20 local candidates killed according to government reports, while private surveys estimate the number at 37.

Claudia Sheinbaum, the candidate from the ruling MORENA party, has the support of outgoing president Andrés Manuel López Obrador. López Obrador, who has governed since 2018, is constitutionally barred from running for a second term. He has endorsed Sheinbaum, a 61-year-old scientist and former mayor of Mexico City (2018-2023), who promises to continue his policies. Despite the president's support, which has expanded her voter base, questions about her independence from López Obrador linger. Sheinbaum emphasizes her autonomy while pledging to build on López Obrador's achievements, such as reducing poverty and raising the minimum wage.

Her main opponent, Xóchitl Gálvez, is a senator and businesswoman representing the "Strength and Heart for Mexico" coalition, a diverse group of opposition parties. Gálvez has criticized the increase in violence during the election period and promises to confront crime more aggressively than López Obrador, who advocated for a "hugs not bullets" strategy. Although Gálvez has offered limited details on her approach to combating criminal organizations, she pledges better pay for police and increased investment in security. She also promises to strengthen institutions weakened under López Obrador, like the constitutional court and the National Electoral Institute, accusing his government of being authoritarian and undermining democracy.

Polls close at 01:00 BST (18:00 local time), and the winning candidate will assume office at the end of September. Photo by Secretaría de Cultura Ciudad de México from México, Wikimedia commons.