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Who is Claudia Sheinbaum, the first female president of Mexico?

At the age of 61, Claudia Sheinbaum became the first female president of Mexico since its independence in 1821. Who is Claudia Sheinbaum and how did she achieve this position in a country known for its masculine culture.

For the first time in Mexico since its independence in 1821, a woman is at the head of power in the country, it is Claudia Sheinbaum, the candidate of the left in power. Sheinbaum won a significant victory in the presidential elections held on Sunday, according to preliminary results released by the National Electoral Institute.

Sheinbaum, the former mayor of the capital Mexico City, received between 58 and 60 percent of the vote, far ahead of her rival, opposition candidate Suchitl Galvez, who would have obtained between 26 and 60 percent. percent. 28 percent of the votes during this ballot which took place in the last round one, indicated the president of the institute, Guadeloupe Taday. The centrist candidate, Jorge Álvarez Mines, received between 9 and 10 percent of the vote.

Sheinbaum’s presidential victory would represent a big step for Mexico in a country known for its masculine culture.

During the closing meeting of her electoral campaign in Mexico City on Wednesday, Claudia Sheinbaum, supported by the popularity of outgoing President Andres Manuel López Obrador (70), declared: “We are going to make history.” Addressing Mexican women who denounce the domination of patriarchal society, she added: “This is a time for women and change. It means living without fear and violence. »

Who is Claudia Sheinbaum?

Between 2000 and 2006, she was responsible for public policies in the capital, Mexico City, regarding the environment, while the current president, Andres Manuel López Obrador, was mayor of the main city. She was then elected to head the “Tlalpan Delegation”. » a district in southern Mexico City, before winning the municipal elections in 2018. She assumed this position despite the tragedy of the Ribsamin school, which was part of the Tlalpan region under her tutelage, where negligence in the issuance of building permits led to deaths. of 19 children and seven teachers during the 2017 earthquake.

His popularity declined during his years as mayor of Mexico City following the horrific collapse of subway line 12 on May 3, 2021, killing 27 people and injuring 79 others. The accident, caused by apparent construction defects, revealed a 20-point drop in his popularity in polls.

Who is Claudia Sheinbaum, the first female president of Mexico?
Claudia Sheinbaum, presidential candidate for the ruling Movement for National Renewal party, speaks to supporters after her election victory, in Mexico City, Mexico, June 3, 2024. Reuters

Chosen as presidential candidate for the Movement for National Renewal, the left-wing party in power, this environmental activist established herself on the Mexican political scene without having joined the Institutional Revolutionary Party or the National Action Party, the only two major parties who ruled Mexico before Andrés. Manuel López Obrador came to power in 2018. Both parties were mired in corruption that no one sought to deny anymore. While Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whose positive rating never fell below 60 percent during his mandate, promised to support him with his ever-present voice in the media arena, notably through his press conferences daily from 7 a.m. – which largely make the headlines.

A politician who listens to people

Claudia Sheinbaum spent most of her activities in the mornings when she was mayor of Mexico City. Three times a week, at six in the morning, in a large room at the town hall – but with few cameras – she personally received the residents who had come to queue up to present their problems to her: noisy bars in their neighborhoods, administrative problems linked to to the calculation of their pensions, artistic projects in the places, deterioration of the public highway… There was no barrier, you just had to arrive early to obtain one of the dozens of appointments available for these . meetings.

Claudia Sheinbaum listened, took notes, directed people to her professional assistants or, if necessary, woke up an employee on the phone to severely reprimand him if it appeared that he had not behaved properly towards a citizen. This careful observation of the city she administered and this direct contact with its inhabitants considerably strengthened her reputation as a hard worker and humanitarian.

Early in her emergence, observers considered that the only real obstacle Claudia Sheinbaum faced on her path to the presidency was related to her external image, away from flashy politics. She gave the impression of being like the stern and unsmiling teacher, this divorced mother, who happily offered short lessons in history or atmospheric physics in her speeches.

Claudia Sheinbaum insisted on publishing some of the slogans used by her boss, who adopted them loud and clear, in a demagogic style: “We must perpetuate and strengthen the principles of the Fourth Transformation (the name that Andrés Manuel López Obrador gave to his political program): do not lie, do not steal, do not betray the people! These are promising political slogans in a political world full of temptations and in which false promises to voters are repeated. Claudia Sheinbaum, in turn, tries to remain who she was before entering politics as a scientist.

Former member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

“Scientists have this ability to identify the causes of a problem and find effective solutions,” the former Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientist said in an interview with France 24 in 2019. In this sense, I think that being a scientist is an advantage, whether in social projects or in governance and management “There must be a link between science and political decision-making processes.”

In the 1980s, Mexico City was known as the most polluted city in the world. During this decade, Claudia Sheinbaum studied physics at the UNAM Public University where she defended her bachelor’s thesis on the energy efficiency of wood-fired ovens. At the time, she sometimes went with friends to install more efficient cooking systems in particularly poor areas, like Michoacán. Energy efficiency remains her favorite field, a subject on which she would go on to publish dozens of scientific articles and on which she wrote part of the IPCC report in 2007 – the year when the Intergovernmental Panel on Change climate change won the Nobel Peace Prize.

The winner will begin a six-year term on October 1, 2024.

French version of the article by Laurence Cuvillier

Translated into Arabic by Sabra Al-Mansir

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