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Monday, July 15, 2024

Sheinbaum elected as Mexico’s first woman president

While supporters praised Claudia Sheinbaum’s continuation of AMLO’s policies, critics labeled her as his puppet.

Mexican voters braved long lines on Sunday to participate in a historic election, marking the potential rise of Claudia Sheinbaum as the country’s first female president. The election featured Sheinbaum, the ruling party candidate, against Xóchitl Gálvez, representing a coalition of opposition parties. Both women’s candidacies signify a significant step forward for a nation often characterized by its macho culture.

Decisive Victory

Sheinbaum, an environmental scientist and former Mexico City mayor, achieved a landslide victory with 58-60% of the votes, according to early estimates. Her closest rival, Gálvez, garnered only 26-28%, while another opposition candidate, Jorge Álvarez Máynez, received 9-10%. This overwhelming support highlights Sheinbaum’s popularity and the continuity of outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) policies.

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Milestone for Women

Sheinbaum’s victory is historic in a country with high rates of gender-based violence. Her success highlights the political advancements women have made, though many voters view it as a referendum on AMLO’s six-year term. López Obrador, known for his divisive yet popular policies, has lifted millions out of poverty but faced criticism for undermining democratic institutions.

Challenges Ahead

Despite her significant mandate, Sheinbaum faces formidable challenges. Mexico grapples with organized crime violence, economic deficits, and strained US relations. The campaign itself was marred by violence, with 38 candidates murdered, reflecting the pervasive threat of drug cartels.

Sheinbaum’s agenda includes addressing education and security issues, continuing AMLO’s social programs, and managing Pemex’s declining oil production. Additionally, she will navigate nearshoring trends and deal with US-bound migrant flows.

Mixed Reactions

Voter reactions were mixed. While supporters praised Sheinbaum’s continuation of AMLO’s policies, critics labeled her as his puppet. “Claudia represents the continuation of AMLO,” said Norma Bautista Herrera, a market vendor benefiting from AMLO’s social programs. Conversely, Almarosa Anaya, a Gálvez supporter, expressed concerns about potential authoritarianism and corruption.

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The election’s violent backdrop was epitomized by the murder of Jorge Luis Huerta Cabrera, a local council candidate. His father’s lament highlights the dire need for reforms to address the pervasive violence. Sheinbaum’s administration will need to tackle these issues head-on to restore peace and justice in a country yearning for stability.