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Mexico elects first female president amid violence

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Claudia Sheinbaum, the former mayor of Mexico City, has become Mexico’s first female president.
Claudia Sheinbaum, the former mayor of Mexico City, has become Mexico’s first female president.

Claudia Sheinbaum, the former mayor of Mexico City, has become Mexico’s first female president.

Sheinbaum won in a landslide victory, defeating opposing candidate Xóchitl Gálvez.

It was the first time that two women have led the polls in Mexico.

Mexico’s election

Claudia Sheinbaum comes from the same party as the outgoing president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (known by his initials AMLO), who has been in power since 2018. Sheinbaum and AMLO belong to leftist party, Morena.

Along with the presidential race, over 20,000 congressional and local positions were up for election, making this the biggest election in the country’s history.

Under Mexico’s constitution, presidents only serve a single six-year term.

Claudia Sheinbaum, Mexico’s first female president

Sheinbaum began her career as an environmental engineer and climate scientist. In 2007, she was part of a UN climate change research team that won a Nobel Prize.

Sheinbaum served as the Environment Secretary for Mexico City from 2000 to 2006. In 2018, she became Mayor of Mexico City, the country’s capital and largest city, with a population of over nine million. She stepped down last year to run for president.

Election issues

Sheinbaum has promised to expand AMLO’s social welfare programs. This includes a universal pension for the elderly, and a program that pays young people for apprenticeships.

Sheinbaum also pledged to invest over 238 billion pesos ($AU20b) in renewable energy sources by 2030. However, critics question whether she can steer the Morena Party away from its pro-fossil fuel legacy and deliver on her environmental promises.

Critics also say Sheinbaum hasn’t released enough information on how she plans to combat Mexico’s surging rates of violence, homicide and organised crime.

However, she has promised to implement programs aimed at providing young people with economic opportunities, which she says will prevent their recruitment by criminal groups.

Violence

Sheinbaum’s victory comes amid surging violence in the country, which has been a key issue in the contest. In fact, this election has been named the country’s “bloodiest” in modern history. At least 30 political candidates were killed.

According to Mexican political-crime database “Vote Between Bullets,” 77.5% of attacked politicians were candidates running for local roles.

This includes a local candidate who was fatally shot on Saturday night.

Women in Mexico

Sheinbaum’s victory comes amid high rates of violence against women. According to data cited by the United Nations authorities, ten women are killed every day by intimate partners or family members in Mexico.

In 2023, 2,580 women were murdered. Authorities classified 32% of these cases as femicides — the intentional killing of a woman because of her gender.

In 2019, Mexico’s constitution was amended to require political parties to have 50% of their candidates for all levels of government be female.

“For the first time in the 200 years of the republic, I will become the first woman president of Mexico. 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 mothers, our daughters and our granddaughters.”

Claudia Sheinbaum in an address to supporters after her election victory.

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