Claudia Sheinbaum elected president of Mexico, breaking barriers as woman and Jew


Claudia Sheinbaum swept to victory in Mexico’s presidential election Sunday, giving the country of more than 120 million a woman leader and a Jewish leader for the first time.

Sheinbaum’s election makes Mexico by far the biggest country to have a Jewish head of state. Only Israel (9.5 million) and Ukraine (38 million) currently have Jewish leaders.

Sheinbaum’s Jewish ties are centered mostly on her family story — her grandparents came to Mexico after fleeing persecution in Europe — and local Jews say she is not involved in Mexico’s Jewish community today. Still, her election marks a departure in a country where the overwhelming majority of people identify as Catholic. She faced some antisemitism on the campaign trail when her detractors characterized her as not fully Mexican.

A climate scientist and former mayor of Mexico City, Sheinbaum, 61, campaigned on a promise to continue the liberal policies of her political mentor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico’s popular outgoing president. The preliminary vote total showed her winning nearly 60% of votes, more than twice as much as the first runner-up, who conceded.

“For the first time in 200 years of the republic, I will become the first female president of Mexico,” Sheinbaum said in a speech delivered early Monday in Mexico City. “And 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 ancestors, our mothers, our daughters and our granddaughters.”

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