• Israfan
  • Posts
  • Claudia Sheinbaum Elected Mexico’s First Woman and First Jewish President

Claudia Sheinbaum Elected Mexico’s First Woman and First Jewish President

Historic victory marks a new era amidst challenges of violence and gender inequality.

In a landmark election, Claudia Sheinbaum has been elected as Mexico's first woman and first Jewish president, achieving a decisive victory on Sunday. Preliminary official results revealed Sheinbaum’s win with approximately 58-60 percent of the votes, a significant lead over her main opponent, Xochitl Galvez, and long-shot candidate Jorge Alvarez Maynez.

Supporters filled Mexico City’s main square, celebrating with mariachi music and flag-waving, as Sheinbaum promised in her victory speech, "I won’t fail you."

The 61-year-old former mayor of Mexico City, a scientist by training, triumphed in an election that saw high voter turnout despite sporadic violence in areas plagued by drug cartels. Thousands of troops were deployed to ensure voter safety after a particularly violent electoral process where more than two dozen local politicians were murdered.

Hailing the election as "historic," Sheinbaum expressed her commitment to democracy and change. She revealed a symbolic gesture of voting for 93-year-old veteran leftist Ifigenia Martinez, rather than herself, in recognition of Martinez's lifelong struggle for social justice.

Sheinbaum's victory is seen as transformative for Mexico, especially among women. Clemencia Hernandez, a 55-year-old cleaner in Mexico City, highlighted the potential impact, saying, “A female president will be a transformation for this country, and we hope that she does more for women.” Daniela Perez, a 30-year-old logistics company manager, described Sheinbaum’s election as “something historic,” while also emphasizing the need for significant action on women's rights and the rampant femicide problem.

Sheinbaum’s popularity is closely tied to the outgoing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, her mentor and fellow leftist, who enjoys an approval rating of over 60 percent but is limited to one term. Reina Balbuena, a 50-year-old street food seller, voted for Sheinbaum because the ruling Morena party “has given a lot of support to older adults, to children.”

Born to Jewish immigrants from Lithuania and Bulgaria, Sheinbaum has referred to her Jewish heritage in the past, particularly during a speech at a Jewish community event in 2018. While she identifies more secularly, her heritage remains a notable aspect of her identity.

Mexico’s political landscape remains fraught with violence, as evidenced by the murder of a local candidate on the eve of the election and attacks on polling stations in various states. Sheinbaum has committed to continuing the “hugs not bullets” strategy of addressing crime by tackling its root causes, a controversial policy of the outgoing administration. In contrast, her opponent Galvez had advocated for a tougher stance on cartel-related violence.

The new president will also face the challenge of managing complex relations with the United States, particularly concerning drug smuggling and migration. Alongside electing their president, Mexicans also voted for members of Congress, state governors, and local officials, totaling more than 20,000 positions.

Stay informed about this historic moment and other significant developments by subscribing to our newsletter and sharing this article with your community.