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Candidates vying to run to become Mexico's president under AMLO's party close their campaigns

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Two presidential contenders vying for the coveted spot as the candidate of Mexico’s ruling Morena party in upcoming elections closed their campaigns for the nomination this weekend.

In recent months, Claudia Sheinbaum, the former mayor of Mexico City, and Marcelo Ebrard, the country's former foreign minister, have fiercely competed for the candidacy of populist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's party.

The Morena nomination is considered a beeline to the presidency due to López Obrador’s popularity. Recent polls have put Sheinbaum ahead of Ebrard in their race for the nomination.

The faces and names of the two candidates have been plastered on posters and painted onto walls across the country as each has traveled to drum up support.

“Equality is not a privilege but a fundamental right … Long live President López Obrador. Long live Mexico,” said Sheinbaum on Saturday.

The politician to run under the Morena party banner will be chosen this week in an internal party survey, the results of which will be announced on Sept. 6. Once nominated, the winning candidate will then begin the race for presidential election in June 2024.

The candidates were met with roaring crowds this weekend. Each has underscored their closeness to López Obrador, and has campaigned on messages around social progress and equality.

“We want a better country, we want security, we want a universal health system, we want gender equality, we want highly paid jobs, growth... we want a successful country,” said Ebrard before a crowd of supporters on Sunday.

Yet both candidates have lacked the particular brand of charisma that has attracted many to the president, commonly referred to as AMLO. It has allowed other politicians to enter the competition, namely Xóchitl Gálvez, a presumptive opposition presidential hopeful.