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June 3, 2024

Claudia Sheinbaum Wins Decisively, Poised to Become Mexico’s First Female President

In a historic victory, Claudia Sheinbaum has been declared the winner of Mexico’s presidential election by a substantial margin, positioning her to become the country’s first female president. The ruling MORENA party announced Sheinbaum’s triumph after polls closed on Sunday, marking a significant milestone in a nation traditionally dominated by machismo culture.

According to exit polls conducted by Parametria, Sheinbaum secured a commanding 56% of the vote, while her main opponent, Xochitl Galvez, garnered 30%. Four other exit polls corroborated Sheinbaum’s likely victory. Although provisional results are still being tallied, Galvez has yet to concede, urging her supporters to await the official count.

Sheinbaum’s victory represents a transformative moment for Mexico, a country where women’s suffrage is a relatively recent development. “I never imagined that one day I would vote for a woman,” said 87-year-old Edelmira Montiel, a Sheinbaum supporter from Tlaxcala. “Before, we couldn’t even vote, and when we could, it was for the person our husband told us to vote for. Thank God that has changed, and I get to live it.”

The MORENA party also declared victory in the Mexico City mayoral race, another crucial contest, though the opposition disputes this result, claiming their nominee won. Sunday’s election was marred by violence, with two people killed at polling stations in Puebla state, adding to a string of attacks that made this election cycle one of the most violent in Mexico’s modern history. In total, 38 candidates were killed, highlighting the severe threat of warring drug cartels to the democratic process.

Security was a paramount concern for many voters, and Sheinbaum will face the daunting task of addressing organized crime. Outgoing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s term saw the highest number of homicides in Mexico’s modern history, although the homicide rate has decreased over his tenure. Sheinbaum’s ability to tackle this issue will be crucial to her administration’s success.

Despite her resounding electoral victory, Sheinbaum may face challenges in pushing her agenda through Congress. Pre-election polls suggested that MORENA and its allies might not secure the two-thirds majority needed for constitutional reforms, potentially hindering her legislative efforts.

Internationally, Sheinbaum will navigate complex negotiations with the United States concerning migration and drug trafficking. These talks could become more challenging if Donald Trump wins the US presidency in November, given his hardline stance on tariffs and special forces mobilization against drug cartels. Domestically, the new president must address pressing issues such as electricity and water shortages and attract manufacturers to capitalize on the nearshoring trend, which aims to relocate supply chains closer to key markets.

Another significant challenge will be managing Pemex, the state oil company struggling with declining production and mounting debt. Sheinbaum has pledged to expand welfare programs, despite Mexico’s considerable deficit and sluggish GDP growth projected at just 1.5% for the coming year.

Throughout her campaign, Sheinbaum has distanced herself from accusations of being a “puppet” of Lopez Obrador, despite her commitment to continuing many of his policies, especially those aiding Mexico’s poorest citizens. Political analyst Viri Rios attributes such claims to sexism, arguing, “It’s unbelievable that people cannot believe she’s going to be making her own decisions, and I think that’s got a lot to do with the fact that she’s female.”

As Sheinbaum prepares to begin her six-year term on October 1, her presidency promises to bring both opportunities and challenges, setting a new precedent in Mexican politics and society.

Read more latest news on R9 News

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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