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Mexico Elects New President, ‘La Presidenta’ Sheinbaum Emerges as Country’s First Female President

Darren Maung
Darren is an aspiring writer who wishes to share or create stories to the world and bring humanity together as one. A massive Star Wars nerd and history buff, he finds enjoyable, heart-warming or interesting subjects in any written media.
Published: June 3, 2024
President-elect Claudia Sheinbaum delivers a speech at Hilton Hotel in Mexico City on June 3, 2024, following her victory in the presidential elections in Mexico. (Image: Hector Vivas via Getty Images)

On June 2, following a tumultuous election race, Mexico chose former mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, making her the first female president in the country’s history. However, the road to her victory comes after a violent period of murder and intimidation, prompting a need for higher security measures.

A former mayor of Mexico City and a climate scientist, Shienbaum seized the presidency following the departure of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, winning “between 58.3% and 60.7%” of the national vote; the highest vote percentage in Mexico’s history, Reuters wrote.

Her ruling party, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena), also won mayorship of Mexico City; one of the most crucial posts for the country, preliminary results showed.

“I commit to you that I will not let you down,” Sheinbaum said in a statement on X. “There is history, there is homeland, there is people, and there is commitment.”

Her opposition candidate was Xochitl Galvez, an engineer and tech entrepreneur with Indigenous roots. She admitted defeat after winning between 26.6 percent and 28.6 percent of the vote.

“A few minutes ago, I contacted… Sheinbaum to acknowledge the election result. I told her that I saw a Mexico with a lot of pain and violence and that I hope she can resolve the serious problems of our people,” she said.

Despite a difficult road ahead, Sheinbaum vowed to “balance promises” to improve popular welfare policies and tackle a budget deficit amidst poor economic growth. She also assured her supporters that the government would take responsibility and respect the central bank’s autonomy.


Who is Claudia Sheinbaum

Sheinbaum was born to a family of a Jewish background, and was inspired by her parents’ commitment to both science and politics.

In school she initially studied physics before moving on to study energy engineering. She then pursued politics and student activism.

“I have always said it: I am a daughter of ‘68,” she said on social media, referring to the 1968 student protests that her parents were involved in; an act that inspired Sheinbaum.

After meeting Lopez Obrador in 2000, Sheinbaum continued to support his campaign as she raised her political status. In 2018, she became mayor of Mexico City, leading the city until her resignation in June 2023 when she started to pursue her presidential aspirations.

Her time as mayor saw a 50 percent drop in the homicide rate between December 2018 and June 2023, which she owed to her security measures including improving police operations and cooperation with prosecutors.

Due to her association with Lopez Obrador, many in the opposition accuse her of being a “puppet” to the former president, despite the latter’s insistence on staying out of Sheinbaum’s eventual tenure.

“Her [political] trajectory has been practically an unconditional alignment with [Lopez Obrador]… So, it’s really hard for me to understand what Claudia is going to do on day one without [Lopez Obrador] in charge,” Juan Pablo Micozzi, associate professor of political science at Mexico’s Autonomous Institute of Technology (ITAM), told al-Jazeera.

Nevertheless, Sheinbaum is believed to be “less combative and more data driven” than her predecessor, AP News wrote.

Unrest in Mexico

Sheinbaum has also vowed to enhance security measures following increasing violence in Mexico. 

The election period saw a myriad of assassinations and violent moves on other political figures, with 38 candidates murdered during the presidential race. The vote was also tarnished by the deaths of two people at polling stations in Puebla state.

Over 185,000 had been killed during Lopez Obrador’s mandate, more than any other administration in the country’s history.

“Unless she commits to making a game-changing level of investment in improving policing and reducing impunity, Sheinbaum will likely struggle to achieve a significant improvement in overall levels of security,” Nathaniel Parish Flannery, an independent Latin America political risk analyst, said.

Sheinbaum will also have to face rising tensions with the U.S., especially in regards to migrants from the latter, and tackling drug trafficking.