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Mexico elects Claudia Sheinbaum as its first woman president

Ruling party presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum bows before casting her ballots during general elections in Mexico City, Sunday, June 2, 2024.
Ruling party presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum bows before casting her ballots during general elections in Mexico City, Sunday, June 2, 2024. Copyright Matias Delacroix/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Matias Delacroix/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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The governing party candidate campaigned on continuing the political course set over the last six years by her political mentor, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

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Climate scientist Claudia Sheinbaum will be Mexico's first female president in Mexico's history, after winning between 58.3% and 60.7% of the vote according to a statistical sample from the country's National Electoral Institute.

“I will become the first woman president of Mexico,” Sheinbaum announced at a downtown hotel after her two competitors called her to concede her victory.

“I don't make it alone. We've all made it, with our heroines who gave us our homeland, with our mothers, our daughters and our granddaughters” Sheinbaum added.

The governing party candidate campaigned on continuing the political course set over the last six years by her political mentor, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

His anointed successor, the 61-year-old Sheinbaum, led the campaign wire-to-wire despite a spirited challenge from Opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez.

This was the first time in Mexico that the two main opponents were women.

Election day in Mexico was marked by violence as town council candidate Israel Delgado was shot dead by two hitmen aboard a motorcycle in the township of Cuitzeo.

Residents voted under a heavy police guard — but later passed by the home of murdered candidate Israel Delgado to light a candle for the well-known local politician at an improvised altar on his doorstep.

Nearly 100 million people were registered to vote, but turnout appeared to be slightly lower than in past elections. Voters were also electing governors in nine of the country’s 32 states, and choosing candidates for both houses of Congress, thousands of mayors and other local posts, in the biggest elections the nation has seen.

Sheinbaum has promised to continue the policies of her predecessor, López Obrador’s policies, including a universal pension for the elderly and a programme that pays youths to become apprentices.

Opposition presidential candidate Xochitl Galvez waves after polls closed during general elections in Mexico City, Sunday, June 2, 2024.
Opposition presidential candidate Xochitl Galvez waves after polls closed during general elections in Mexico City, Sunday, June 2, 2024.Marco Ugarte/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

She is also a climate activist and academic who critics say lacks López Obrador’s mass appeal. Sheinbaum has said her administration will follow the outgoing president’s policies but with more data to support her decisions.

Her main opponent, Gálvez, a tech entrepreneur and former senator, attempted to seize on Mexicans' concerns about security, promising to take a more aggressive approach to organised crime.

The elections were widely seen as a referendum on López Obrador, who has largely failed to bring down gun violence in Mexico. His Morena party currently holds 23 of the 32 governorships and a simple majority of seats in both houses of Congress. Mexico’s constitution prohibits the president’s re-election.

About 27 candidates — mostly running for mayor or town councils — have been killed so far this year. The election has seen an unprecedented number of mass shootings as criminals target whole campaign events with gunfire.

Persistent cartel violence and Mexico's economy were primary issues on voters' minds.

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