Xochitl Galvez and Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo AFP

In the wake of upcoming elections in Mexico, the top presidential candidates held a second round of debate Sunday night, where they discussed the social initiatives of outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador alongside promising a clean energy transition.

Former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, who is representing the current president's Morena party, maintains a strong lead over Xóchitl Gálvez from a coalition of opposition parties and Jorge Álvarez Máynez of the Citizen Movement party.

Obrador, during his tenure, raised Mexico's minimum wage and increased spending on social programs, many of which involve direct cash transfers. Sheinbaum has promised to uphold the president's initiatives even after he steps down from his position.

She committed to be a "humanist, an honest model, protector of our patrimony, with better salaries, with better pensions, without raising taxes," as per AP News.

Gálvez, on the other hand, also noted that she would continue with the popular social program if elected. "I am a woman who comes from below, who knows poverty and knows how poverty hurts and the time that it steals from you," she said.

A former congressman, Álvarez Máynez, advocated for his own proposals during the debate, noting he would reduce the work week for Mexicans from six to five days, provide paternity leave and increase vacation.

Máynez went on to criticize the current administration's social spending, noting that the young children receive very little support because they do not have voting power.

Sheinbaum, in her remarks, highlighted her previous work as mayor, including installing solar panels on the roofs of Mexico City's expansive wholesale market and expanding the use of electric buses and bike lanes.

She promised to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help Mexico in adapting to climate change if elected president. However, she defended Obrador's construction of a large new oil refinery, explaining that it would reduce Mexico's reliance on gasoline imports. Sheinbaum cautioned against Gálvez's alleged intention to privatize the heavily indebted state oil company, Pemex.

Throughout the debate, Gálvez tried to show Sheinbaum as untrustworthy, while Sheinbaum called Gálvez "corrupt."

Earlier this month, the Mexican President said he will be presenting a new fund, hoping to increase pensions from May 1 onward, ahead of upcoming presidential elections.

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