Mexico's former foreign minister threatens to leave party over candidate selection process

FILE - Former Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico and presidential hopeful Marcelo Ebrard speaks during his closing campaign event in Mexico City, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023. Ebrard has impugned his party´s primary election process on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, citing supposed irregularities during the election. (AP Photo/Ginnette Riquelme, File)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s former Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Monday that he will wait to see how the ruling party of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador handles his call to nullify its recently completed presidential candidate selection process, but warned that if not satisfied he will leave the party.

Ebrard said his team has presented evidence of numerous irregularities to party leadership, including the use of government social programs to benefit Sheinbaum’s candidacy and the intervention of government officials in the process. If those incidents “remain the same, I will not be interested in staying in Morena,” he said.

Ebrard told reporters he had great affection for López Obrador, has always been loyal and would never do him harm for political reasons, but the party can't accept practices that it says it opposes.

“I have the greatest respect for the (party’s) popular representation, but my objective is not to get a senatorship or a position,” he said. “My objective is that this is resolved.”

Morena announced last week that Sheinbaum, a climate scientist and former Mexico City mayor, had won five internal party polls. Ebrard refused to accept the results and was the only candidate absent when others voiced their support for Sheinbaum.

Ebrard stepped down as foreign affairs minister in June to campaign full time.

He formally challenged the process in a filing with the party Sunday, alleging dozens of irregularities that gave advantage to Sheinbaum. He asked that the process be nullified and carried out again.

That appears unlikely now that the party’s leadership and López Obrador have closed ranks behind Sheinbaum as the party’s standard bearer. Sheinbaum has said the door will always be open to Ebrard to support her as Morena’s candidate.

With the broad opposition coalition having already selected Sen. Xóchitl Gálvez as its candidate, an Ebrard candidacy would potentially open a third heavy-weight front in the competition for Mexico’s new president.

Ebrard said that he plans to once again begin crisscrossing the country Sept. 18 to defend his position.