• D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG
rotating globe
  • D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
Semafor Logo
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG


Updated Jun 3, 2024, 7:24am EDT
politicsNorth America
icon

Semafor Signals

Mexico elects leftist Claudia Sheinbaum as first female president

Insights from The New York Times, Animal Político, The Guardian, Journalist León Krauze, and El Financiero

Arrow Down
Claudia Sheinbaum, the presidential candidate of the ruling MORENA party, reacts as she addresses her supporters after winning the election, in Mexico City, Mexico June 3, 2024. REUTERS/Raquel Cunha
Raquel Cunha/Reuters
PostEmailWhatsapp
Title icon

The News

Claudia Sheinbaum was elected as Mexico’s first woman president.

Preliminary results showed Sheinbaum — a protégé of outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador — won around 60% of the vote on Sunday, putting her around 30 percentage points ahead of her main rival, businesswoman Xóchitl Gálvez.

AD

Sheinbaum’s victory marks a milestone for women in politics. But the historic significance of the election has been overshadowed by one of Mexico’s bloodiest campaign seasons. Observers are waiting to see if Sheinbaum, the former mayor of Mexico City, continues López Obrador’s brand of populism, which many believe sidelined Mexico’s spiraling security crisis.

icon

SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Mexicans rallied behind minority Jewish candidate

Source icon
Source:  
The New York Times

Sheinbaum is Mexico’s first female and first Jewish president. That a Jewish candidate managed to triumph “says something about the degree to which the country’s effervescent democracy has redrawn the role of minority groups,” wrote Illan Stavans, a Jewish-Mexican academic, particularly given Mexico’s historical persecution of Jews that lasted into the 20th century. In turn, the Israel-Hamas conflict could become a “particularly thorny subject” for Sheinbaum, given Latin America’s left-wing “anti-Israel bent” and association of Jews with Israel, Stavans wrote. So far, Sheinbaum has endorsed López Obrador’s neutral stance on the conflict, and “her neutrality may perhaps be a defining factor in her foreign policy.”

Violence hampered suffrage

Source icon
Sources:  
Semafor, Animal Político

The election brings a particularly deadly campaign season to an end, with at least 30 candidates killed since 2023, according to Animal Político, a left-leaning Mexican news site. Attacks on candidates have been shown to decrease voter turnout, with many voters feeling disillusioned and unsure if their vote will actually change the country’s security, Semafor previously reported. The violence also impacted polling stations: The National Electoral Institute on Friday told Animal Político it would be unable to install at least 175 polling stations across the country because of “social and community conflicts … and for insecurity and violence.”

Will Sheinbaum diverge from López Obrador’s populism?

Source icon
Sources:  
Semafor, The Guardian, Journalist León Krauze, El Financiero

Observers are curious to see how far Sheinbaum will step out from López Obrador’s shadow, particularly his populist and, at times, anti-democratic policy and rhetoric. Sheinbaum has signaled she will fulfill López Obrador’s legacy, promising to keep his social and infrastructure projects. She is “so disciplined” that “not one of her speeches strays far from [those of López Obrador],” one political scientist told The Guardian. But Sheinbaum has also flirted with more populist rhetoric, including that she would wait to see “how things proceed” when previously asked if she would accept the election results (Gálvez, meanwhile, said she would “absolutely” respect the results). Sheinbaum has also been critical of families who attacked her party’s response to kidnap and murder victims.

Semafor Logo
AD