World Politics

The Elections In Mexico Simplified: Know It All.

WFY BUREAU USA: Claudia Sheinbaum has made history as she becomes the first woman to lead Mexico.

The country’s presidency has seen the historic election of the first woman, who happens to be an environmental scientist.

Claudia Sheinbaum, an environmental scientist and former head of government in Mexico City, emerged as the clear winner in her country’s elections, achieving a resounding victory that carries significant historical significance. Not only has she shattered the glass ceiling by becoming the first woman to hold the presidency, but she has also made history as the first Jewish person to assume this esteemed position in Mexico.

According to the quick count, Sheinbaum, 61, emerged as the winner with what electoral authorities are calling the largest vote in the country’s history. This election saw the highest voter turnout and the most contested votes.

The vote’s close was truly remarkable, as two women went head-to-head in a historic moment to lead one of the largest countries in the hemisphere. An unprecedented move will see a Jewish leader take the helm of one of the most populous countries with a predominantly Catholic population.

Sheinbaum, a self-proclaimed leftist, ran her campaign with a pledge to uphold the principles and policies of her mentor and current Mexican president, Andr茅s Manuel L贸pez Obrador. This stance resonated with his party’s supporters while also sparking apprehension among his critics. Many observers viewed the election as a crucial test of his leadership, with Sheinbaum’s win widely regarded as a strong endorsement of L贸pez Obrador and his political party.

L贸pez Obrador has completely transformed Mexico’s political landscape. Over the course of his six-year term, a significant number of Mexicans were able to lift themselves out of poverty, while the minimum wage experienced a noteworthy doubling. However, criticism of his inability to curb cartel violence, detrimental effects on the national health system, and consistent erosion of democratic institutions has met his presidency with intense division.

Despite this, L贸pez Obrador continues to enjoy widespread popularity, which has greatly benefited his chosen successor. In spite of the numerous obstacles confronting the nation, the opposition was unsuccessful in convincing Mexicans that their candidate was a superior choice.

Sheinbaum emerged as the clear victor, securing a commanding lead with a minimum of 58 percent of the vote, as per the initial results. These results revealed a substantial gap of at least 29 points between her and her nearest rival, X贸chitl G谩lvez, a prominent businesswoman and former senator who ran as part of an opposition coalition.

During her speech, Sheinbaum made a promise to serve the entire Mexican population, emphasising her party’s dedication and expressing her joy at becoming the first woman to hold the highest office in the country.

She expressed her gratitude for this historic opportunity in her statement. She emphasised that she would be the first Mexican president in the Republic’s 200-year history. “On multiple occasions, I have emphasised that I do not come alone. We come together, accompanied by our esteemed heroes who fought for our nation, our ancestors, our mothers, our daughters, and our granddaughters.”

According to Sheinbaum, she received calls from G谩lvez and the candidate who secured third place, Jorge 脕lvarez M谩ynez, to extend their congratulations on her victory. Following Sheinbaum’s address, G谩lvez addressed her supporters, expressing disappointment with the outcome of the quick count and describing the trends as irreversible. She mentioned having recently spoken with Sheinbaum.

During a pre-vote interview, G谩lvez expressed her belief that there is a significant anti-system vote against L贸pez Obrador, which she believes could potentially boost her chances of winning. It was clear that she left many Mexicans with the perception that the parties backing her were closely tied to a system that is widely seen as ineffective and corrupt, further reinforcing the negative image of the political class.

Political analysts in the region criticise X贸chitl G谩lvez for not bringing about the change she promised, perceiving her competitors as representatives of the establishment. A significant number of Mexicans appeared to support maintaining the progress that L贸pez Obrador initiated.

Claudia Sheinbaum, the recently elected president of Mexico

As Mexico’s new president takes office, many are curious about her approach: will she break away from Andr茅s Manuel L贸pez Obrador’s policies or prioritise solidifying his legacy?

Claudia Sheinbaum has an extensive list of accomplishments, including: an impressive background, including a Ph.D. in energy engineering; experience on a United Nations panel of climate scientists awarded a Nobel Peace Prize; and governance over a major capital city.

On Sunday, she made history by becoming the first female president of Mexico. Ms. Sheinbaum, 61, secured a significant victory in a historic election on Sunday, where two women vied for the highest office in the nation. This groundbreaking contest challenged the prevailing culture of machismo and pervasive violence against women that has long plagued the country.

“As the first female president of Mexico, I am poised to create history,” she declared, marking a significant milestone in the 200-year-old republic. “I want to emphasise that I never come alone, as I have mentioned before.” As we gathered, accompanied by the remarkable women who shaped our nation, our forebears, our matriarchs, our daughters, and our granddaughters were all present.

With the presidency now in her grasp, Ms. Sheinbaum faces the challenge of emerging from the shadow of her predecessor and longtime mentor, Andr茅s Manuel L贸pez Obrador, the outgoing president.

In an interview, she emphasised that she and Mr. L贸pez Obrador have distinct personalities. One individual has chosen to invest in projects that raise environmental concerns, while the other is a climate scientist. However, Ms. Sheinbaum has primarily garnered support from voters by pledging to solidify her legacy, endorsing initiatives such as her significant investment in the national oil company, and proposing undemocratic alterations to the constitution.

Many Mexicans are questioning whether Ms. Sheinbaum can truly be an independent leader, given her alliance with others. Will she merely serve as a pawn in his game?

“I’ve been hearing this idea from a number of columnists that I lack a personality,” Ms. Sheinbaum expressed her frustration to reporters earlier this year. “President Andr茅s Manuel L贸pez Obrador guides me.”

She maintains her commitment to governing independently from Mr. L贸pez Obrador and emphasises her distinct set of priorities. However, straying too far from his agenda could pose significant risks.

These are five key points to consider regarding the newly elected president of Mexico, which shed light on whether she will deviate from Mr. L贸pez Obrador’s policies or focus on solidifying his legacy.

Sheinbaum will encounter numerous challenges.

Describing herself as “obsessive” and “disciplined,” Ms. Sheinbaum is a former ballet dancer. However, according to analysts, discipline alone may not be sufficient.

As president, she is already facing a multitude of challenges. The state-owned oil company is struggling with a heavy debt burden, while migration through the country has reached unprecedented levels. Additionally, the country continues to grapple with the persistent issue of cartel violence.

In her statement, she expressed her commitment to maintaining Mr. L贸pez Obrador’s approach of tackling the root causes of violence rather than engaging in direct conflict with criminal organisations. Additionally, she emphasised her intention to reduce levels of impunity and strengthen the National Guard.

In an interview with The New York Times, she expressed her readiness to collaborate with the eventual winner of the upcoming U.S. presidential election. In her public statements, she has echoed Mr. L贸pez Obrador’s focus on addressing the underlying causes of migration.

She expressed her intentions to overhaul the nation’s migration authority during a recent debate, amidst a glimmer of possible transformation. This agency has frequently faced allegations of corruption.

Many perceive her as being reserved, perhaps even aloof.

The Times conducted interviews with a diverse group of individuals, totaling twenty-four, who have had professional or personal connections with Ms. Sheinbaum. In addition to attending her campaign events, we thoroughly examined her writings and media appearances. Our team had the opportunity to interview her twice, once in 2020 and again this year.

It is evident that Ms. Sheinbaum, whose name is pronounced SHANE-balm, has always preferred to work diligently behind the scenes rather than promote herself or her accomplishments.

She is known to be quite private about her personal life, including her Jewish heritage, which stems from her grandparents who escaped Europe as immigrants, according to colleagues. During interviews, she emphasises the collaborative effort behind the Nobel Prize she received alongside a group of climate researchers.

She has gained a reputation as a formidable leader, known for her assertiveness and ability to evoke both fear and admiration among her staff. However, when it comes to her public demeanour, she maintains such a composed and distant attitude that it borders on being aloof.

Mr. L贸pez Obrador, who has built his party into a formidable force through the strength of his personality, has described her professorial demeanor as a potential challenge in the political landscape.

According to Carlos Heredia, a political analyst from Mexico, she is in need of his assistance. “According to critics, she lacks charisma, popularity, and political stamina, leading her to rely on borrowing these qualities from L贸pez Obrador.”

Some in Mexico may view a woman who lacks excitement as the ideal counterbalance to a man who has plunged the nation into political chaos.

For quite some time, she has made it a priority to maintain Mr. L贸pez Obrador’s satisfaction.

The candidate’s political journey began when Mr. L贸pez Obrador assumed office as mayor of Mexico City in 2000 and extended an invitation for a meeting at a local diner. According to her recollection, Mr. L贸pez Obrador expressed his desire to decrease pollution. “Are you familiar with the process?”

When asked, Ms. Sheinbaum, an experienced writer of over a dozen reports on energy use and carbon emissions, readily agreed. She was appointed as the environment minister. According to multiple individuals who collaborated with her, she appeared to be extremely eager to please her boss during meetings.

Mr. Heredia, who collaborated with her in city government during Mr. L贸pez Obrador’s tenure, consistently repeated the phrase “The mayor said to.” Mr. Heredia asserted, “We do not function as a cabinet that provides ideas.” “We are a collective of individuals dedicated to carrying out his decisions.”

Over the years, Ms. Sheinbaum maintained a delicate balance between her academic pursuits and political involvement while maintaining a strong connection with Mr. L贸pez Obrador. In 2014, he approached her with an offer to run for mayor of Tlalpan, a borough of Mexico City, under his newly founded Morena party. With his assistance, she emerged victorious. She has gained a reputation for being a boss who sets high expectations.

In 2018, Mr. L贸pez Obrador emerged victorious in a resounding victory, securing the presidency, while Ms. Sheinbaum assumed the role of Mexico City’s mayor. She became known as a demanding boss.

“When attending her meetings, people don’t just say, ‘I’m working on it,'” stated Soledad Arag贸n, a former member of Ms. Sheinbaum’s cabinet. According to Ms. Arag贸n, her mere presence commanded attention as soon as she entered a room.
According to Ms. Arag贸n, the mayor has an impressive ability to recall specific numbers from meetings that took place weeks ago. She describes the mayor as “brilliant” and “demanding,” particularly when it comes to her own performance. Ms. Arag贸n believes that this approach has yielded positive outcomes.

Five officials who have worked closely with Ms. Sheinbaum revealed that she occasionally displayed a quick temper and would openly express her frustration by raising her voice towards her subordinates, even in front of a large audience. When asked for a response, Ms. Sheinbaum’s spokesperson chose not to provide a comment regarding the accusation.

According to her supporters, certain individuals simply had a negative response to a woman assuming a position of authority.

“In her government, there were instances where individuals felt offended or upset due to her assertive communication style,” stated Marta Lamas, a prominent feminist activist who has maintained a close relationship with Ms. Sheinbaum and her team. “However, cultural differences come into play when considering that if a man were to yell, it may not be perceived as a problem.”

“She’s tough,” Ms. Arag贸n said, acknowledging the critical tone in which people often describe her. “Do we really want a leader who lacks assertiveness to govern the city?”

She wholeheartedly supports Mr. L贸pez Obrador’s vision.

Over the years, Ms. Sheinbaum has made efforts to clarify the alignment between her and Mr. L贸pez Obrador while maintaining her individuality. According to her, the answer is quite straightforward: she truly has faith in him.

In 2022, a radio host posed a direct question to her, prompted by a female listener: “Why do you not opt to be a woman who governs based on her own ideas?” She inquired, using Mr. L贸pez Obrador’s nickname, why the person didn’t choose to leave AMLO’s circus. “Why use repetitive language and recycled arguments?”

Without a moment’s hesitation, Ms. Sheinbaum made her decision.

“When individuals share similar thoughts, it’s not a matter of imitation but rather a convergence of ideas,” she explained. One cannot ignore their own beliefs.

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