Claudia Sheinbaum waves during Rally in LA

Claudia Sheinbaum Becomes Mexico's First Female President In Double Milestone Victory

Home / Politics / Claudia Sheinbaum Becomes Mexico's First Female President In Double Milestone Victory

By Afouda Bamidele on June 3, 2024 at 8:30 AM EDT

A "groundbreaking achievement" is just one of the phrases used to describe Claudia Sheinbaum's ascension to Mexico's presidential seat.

The member of the left-wing political party's presidential win will go down in history, but it also raises questions about her image outside her political mentor, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Claudia Sheinbaum has made waves as the first woman and the first Jewish person to be elected to lead Mexico, one of the world's largest predominantly Catholic countries.

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Inside Claudia Sheinbaum's Presidential Election

Claudia Sheinbaum laughs during Rally in LA

Sheinbaum, the former mayor of Mexico City, won her fellow citizens's hearts with her campaign to continue Lopez Obrador's legacy. She obtained a landslide victory in what the authorities described as the largest election in Mexico's history.

Sheinbaum reportedly won with at least 58.3% of the votes, according to preliminary results, while her closest competitor, Xóchitl Gálvez, had at least 26.6%.

The other woman vying for the highest seat failed to show Mexicans she could lead them without Lopez Obrador's legacy. Days before Sheinbaum's victory, Gálvez noted in an interview that "an anti-system vote" against López Obrador could support her campaign.

However, several Mexicans seemed unsure that the parties backing her were not tied to a system of corruption and incompetence.

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Carlos Bravo Regidor, a political analyst based in Mexico City, reflected on her loss in a candid statement, per The New York Times, saying:

"Xóchitl Gálvez has been unable to represent change because the parties backing her embody the establishment. Most Mexicans want a continuity of the change brought by López Obrador."

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Is Sheinbaum's Victory Tied To President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador?

Supporter holds up a poster where current president Manuel Lopez Obrador holds up of Mexican presidential candidate for the party of Morena

During his tenure, President Lopez Obrador supported millions of Mexicans by lifting them out of poverty and doubling the minimum wage. He reshaped Mexican politics, earning the love and respect of his people as well as criticisms for failing the nation.

Lopez Obrador faced backlash for failing to control rampant cartel violence, destroying the nation's health system, and frequently undercutting democratic institutions. However, his beloved image helped secure Sheinbaum's ascension as his successor.

Gloria Maria Rodríguez, a 78-year-old woman from Tabasco, proudly celebrated Sheinbaum's victory. "We love her; we want her to work like Obrador. We want a president like Obrador," she declared.

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Rodríguez wasn't alone, as many Mexican voters saw Sheinbaum as an agent of institutionalizing the changes brought about by her mentor.During the campaign, she supported many of Lopez Obrador's most controversial policies.

This includes a slate of constitutional changes that critics claimed would severely undermine democratic checks and balances. However, backing her mentor's ideas did not make Sheinbaum his puppet.

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The President-elect Has An Image Outside Her Predecessor

Earlier this year, the speculations about Sheinbaum's close relationship with Lopez Obrador forced the president-elect to address the situation. She assured the public that she had her own thoughts outside her mentor's wishes, saying:

"There's this idea, because a lot of columnists say it, that I don't have a personality. That President Andrés Manuel López Obrador tells me what to do, that when I get to the presidency, he's going to be calling me on the phone every day."

Sheinbaum doubled down on her plan to support Mexicans in a statement after her historic win. She reaffirmed her party's commitment to democracy and celebrated her victory as that of her people. She said:

"For the first time in 200 years of the republic, I will become the first female president of Mexico. And as I have said on other occasions, I do not arrive alone. We all arrived with our heroines who gave us our homeland, with our ancestors, our mothers, our daughters, and our granddaughters."

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Who is Claudia Sheinbaum?

Sheinbaum was born into a Jewish family and followed her parents' footsteps in the field of science. She studied physics and then energy engineering before pursuing research for her doctoral degree at the University of California, Berkeley.

Despite her scientific success, Sheinbaum's desire to leave a positive mark on Mexico's history outweighed her accomplishments. Her parents had instilled in her their passion for politics, pushing the 61-year-old to student activism.

She often credited her parents' involvement in the 1968 student protests as an inspiration for her political growth. Sheinbaum's passion eventually transitioned to a political career under Lopez Obrador's wing, per Al Jazeera.

More About Sheinbaum's Political Career

Sheinbaum revealed that she and Lopez Obrador often participated in the same protests and activist work in a campaign video about her life. However, they officially met in 2000, a week after he was elected mayor of Mexico City.

Shortly after, Lopez Obrador proposed Sheinbaum become the secretary of the environment, and she happily accepted. While campaigning on her mentor's behalf, she also forged her own academic and political career.

In 2018, she became the first woman elected to lead Mexico City and resigned from the post in June 2023 to receive her party's presidential nomination. Now, she is the first woman and Jewish person to become her country's highest official.

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