Mexico's ruling party again picks woman to run for mayor of capital

By David Alire Garcia

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's ruling party on Saturday picked veteran politician Clara Brugada to be its candidate for Mexico City mayor, placing her in a strong position to win the election next June.

Brugada could become the second woman in a row to be elected as mayor of the Mexican capital if her campaign for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's leftist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) is successful.

"Thank you to everyone who gave us their trust," Brugada wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, early on Saturday. "Today we came out strong and united to win the heart of our great capital."

To pursue the post, two-time congresswoman Brugada stood down as mayor of Iztapalapa, a sprawling borough in the southeast of the capital of over 1.8 million people where she built up a respected track record during three stints in charge.

New gender parity rules on political representation in Mexico secured the nomination for the 60-year-old Brugada, even though the capital's former chief of police Omar Garcia Harfuch comfortably defeated her in polling commissioned by the party.

Nine heads of regional government will be elected next June, including the mayor's job, and the parity rules meant that parties needed to nominate at least five women for the posts.

As runner-up for the capital, Brugada will run for the job to meet the quota, MORENA party leaders said.

Mexico City has for decades been a bastion of the left, but MORENA suffered a major setback in midterm elections in 2021, losing more than half the city's boroughs to the opposition.

The city's top job has also served as a springboard for presidential ambitions.

Lopez Obrador in 2005 launched the first of three presidential bids from the mayor's office. His then-environment chief Claudia Sheinbaum, who became mayor in 2018, won the party's presidential nomination in September for the 2024 election.

(Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Dave Graham and Diane Craft)