Mexico’s Sheinbaum blazes trail as first female president

Claudia Sheinbaum, a Nobel Prize-winning climate scientist, will become Mexico’s first female president after winning a landslide election victory and promising to continue the work of her mentor and outgoing leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Sheinbaum, 61, secured between 58.3% and 60.7% of votes, according to the INE electoral institute’s rapid sample count released late Sunday night, the most support won by a candidate in a Mexican presidential election since the end of one-party rule in 2000.

Accepting her victory, Sheinbaum thanked Lopez Obrador, calling him “an exceptional, unique man who has transformed Mexico for the better.”

Lopez Obrador doubled the minimum wage, reduced poverty and oversaw a strengthening peso and low levels of unemployment – successes that made him incredibly popular and helped Sheinbaum to victory.

But analysts believe Sheinbaum will find it difficult to follow in his footsteps.

“We made history!” Sheinbaum told a crowd early Monday morning in the Zocalo square in the heart of Mexico City.

Her victory is a major step for Mexico, a country known for its macho culture and home to the world’s second biggest Roman Catholic population, which for years pushed more traditional values and roles for women.

READ ALSO: Mexico fields two females for presidential contest in 2024

“It’s a historic moment, especially for women,” said Arlyn Rivera, a 24-year-old student, as she celebrated Sheinbaum’s victory in the Zocalo plaza. “Mexican politics deserves more than what we have had in recent years.”

Main opposition rival, Xochitl Galvez, conceded defeat after mustering just 26.6%-28.6% of votes, according to preliminary results.

Sheinbaum, who will take office on Oct. 1, is the first woman to win a general election in the United States, Mexico or Canada.

Mexico joins Latin American counterparts like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, which have voted women to the highest office.


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