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Claudia Sheinbaum becomes first female President of Mexico with a landslide victory in elections

Claudia Sheinbaum, a climate scientist and former mayor of Mexico City, has made history as Mexico’s first female president following a decisive victory in the presidential elections.

Sheinbaum capitalized on the popularity of her mentor, outgoing president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, particularly among the poorer segments of society. According to a rapid sample count by the electoral authority, Sheinbaum secured between 58.3% and 60.7% of the vote, marking the highest percentage in Mexico’s democratic history.

Opposition candidate Xochitl Galvez conceded defeat after preliminary results showed her receiving between 26.6% and 28.6% of the vote.

The ruling coalition is also on track for a potential two-thirds supermajority in both houses of Congress, allowing them to pass constitutional reforms without needing opposition support, based on the electoral authority’s range of results.

“For the first time in 200 years of the republic, I will become the first woman president of Mexico,” Sheinbaum declared to her supporters, who responded with chants of “president, president.”

Her victory represents a significant milestone for Mexico, a country with the world’s second-largest Roman Catholic population, which has traditionally upheld conservative values and roles for women.

Sheinbaum is the first woman to win a general election in the United States, Mexico, or Canada.

“I never imagined that one day I would vote for a woman,” said 87-year-old Edelmira Montiel, a Sheinbaum supporter in Mexico’s smallest state, Tlaxcala. “Before, we couldn’t even vote, and when you could, it was to vote for the person your husband told you to vote for. Thank God that has changed, and I get to live it,” Montiel added.

However, the country’s first female president faces a challenging path ahead. She must balance promises to increase welfare policies while inheriting a substantial budget deficit and sluggish economic growth.

After the preliminary results were announced, Sheinbaum assured her supporters that her government would be fiscally responsible and respect the central bank’s autonomy.

She has pledged to improve security but has provided few details. The election, the most violent in Mexico’s modern history with 38 candidates murdered, has underscored the country’s severe security issues. Analysts note that organized crime groups expanded their influence during Obrador’s term.

Sunday’s vote was also marred by the killing of two people at polling stations in Puebla state. Over 185,000 people have been killed during Obrador’s mandate, more than any other administration in Mexico’s modern history, although the homicide rate has been inching down.

“Unless she commits to making a game-changing level of investment in improving policing and reducing impunity, Sheinbaum will likely struggle to achieve a significant improvement in overall levels of security,” said Nathaniel Parish Flannery, an independent Latin America political risk analyst.

The ruling MORENA party also won the Mexico City mayorship race, one of the country’s most significant posts, according to preliminary results.

Looking ahead In addition to managing relations with the United States over border issues related to migrants and drug trafficking, Sheinbaum will face several domestic challenges, including electricity and water shortages and attracting manufacturers as part of the nearshoring trend, where companies move supply chains closer to their main markets.

Sheinbaum will also have to address the future of Pemex, the state oil giant that has seen production decline for two decades and is heavily in debt.

“It cannot just be that there is an endless pit where you put public money in and the company is never profitable,” said Alberto Ramos, chief Latin America economist at Goldman Sachs. “They have to rethink the business model of Pemex.”

Obrador doubled the minimum wage, reduced poverty, and oversaw a strengthening peso and low unemployment levels—achievements that contributed to his immense popularity.

Sheinbaum has promised to expand welfare programs, but it will be challenging with Mexico facing a large deficit this year and sluggish GDP growth of just 1.5% expected by the central bank in 2025.

Obrador has been a dominant presence throughout the campaign, framing the vote as a referendum on his political agenda. While Sheinbaum has rejected claims that she would be a “puppet” of Obrador, she has pledged to continue many of his policies, especially those benefiting Mexico’s poorest.

In her victory speech, Sheinbaum thanked Obrador, calling him “a unique person who has transformed our country for the better.”

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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