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Claudia Sheinbaum set to become Mexico’s first female president – ​​NBC Chicago

Climatologist Claudia Sheinbaum held an irreversible lead Sunday in the race that would make her Mexico’s first female president, according to an official quick count.

The president of the National Electoral Institute said Sheinbaum received between 58.3% and 60.7% of the vote, according to a statistical sample. Opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez had between 26.6% and 28.6% of the vote and Jorge Álvarez Máynez had between 9.9% and 10.8% of the vote.

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

His designated successor, Sheinbaum, 61, led the campaign wire-to-wire despite a spirited challenge from Gálvez. It was the first time in Mexico that the two main opponents were women.

Shortly before the electoral authorities’ announcement, Gálvez wrote on the social platform X: “The votes are here. Don’t let them hide them.

Sheinbaum is unlikely to enjoy the kind of unconditional devotion that López Obrador enjoys. Both belong to the ruling Morena party.

In Mexico City’s main colonial square, the Zocalo, Sheinbaum’s role did not initially draw the kind of enthusiastic, jubilant crowds that greeted López Obrador’s 2018 victory.

Fernando Fernández, a 28-year-old chef, joined the relatively small crowd, hoping for a Sheinbaum victory, but even he acknowledged there were problems.

“You vote for Claudia by conviction, for AMLO,” Fernández said, referring to López Obrador by his initials, as most Mexicans do. But his biggest hope is that Sheinbaum can “improve what AMLO couldn’t do, the price of gasoline, crime and drug trafficking, which he didn’t fight even though he did.” had the power.”

Also in the crowd, Itxel Robledo, 28, a business administrator, expressed hope that Sheinbaum would do what López Obrador failed to do. “What Claudia needs to do is put professionals in all areas.”

Elsewhere in the city, Yoselin Ramírez, 29, said she voted for Sheinbaum, but split her vote for other positions because she didn’t want anyone to hold a strong majority.

“I don’t want everything to be occupied by the same party, so that there is a little more equality,” she declared without further details.

The main opposition candidate, Gálvez, a technology entrepreneur and former senator, has tried to take advantage of Mexicans’ security concerns and promised to take a more aggressive approach to organized crime.

Nearly 100 million people were registered to vote, but turnout appeared to be slightly lower than in previous elections. Voters also elected governors in nine of the nation’s 32 states and chose candidates for both houses of Congress, thousands of city halls and other local offices in the nation’s most important elections in history. by violence.

The elections were widely seen as a referendum on López Obrador, a populist who expanded social programs but largely failed to reduce cartel violence in Mexico. His Morena party currently holds 23 of 32 governorships and a simple majority of seats in both houses of Congress. The Mexican constitution prohibits the re-election of the president.

Sheinbaum promised to continue all of López Obrador’s policies, including a universal pension for the elderly and a program that pays young people in apprenticeships.

Gálvez, whose father was an indigenous Otomi, went from selling street snacks in her poor hometown to starting her own technology companies. The candidate for a coalition of major opposition parties, she left the Senate last year to focus her anger on López Obrador’s decision to avoid confronting drug cartels through his “hugs, not” policy. balls “. She pledged to pursue criminals more aggressively.

Continued cartel violence and Mexico’s poor economic performance were voters’ top concerns.

Julio García, a Mexico City office worker, said he was voting for the opposition in Mexico City’s central San Rafael neighborhood. “They robbed me twice at gunpoint. We need to change direction, change leadership,” said the 34-year-old. “By continuing on the same path, we will become Venezuela.”

On the outskirts of Mexico City, in the San Andres Totoltepec neighborhood, election officials encountered Stephania Navarrete, a 34-year-old housewife, who watched as dozens of cameramen and election officials gathered where front-runner Claudia Sheinbaum was to vote .

Navarrete said she considered voting for Sheinbaum despite her own doubts about López Obrador and his party.

“Having a woman president, for me as a Mexican, will be like before when, just because you say you are a woman, you are limited to certain professions. No more.”

She said Sheinbaum’s mentor’s social programs were crucial, but added that worsening cartel violence in recent years was her main concern in this election.

“It’s something they need to focus more on,” she said. “For me, safety is the biggest challenge. They said they were going to reduce the level of crime, but no, it was the opposite, they increased. Obviously, I don’t completely blame the president, but in a way it’s his responsibility.”

In Iztapalapa, Mexico City’s largest district, Angelina Jiménez, a 76-year-old housewife, said she came to vote “to end this incompetent government that says we are fine and there is ( again) so many deaths.”

She said the violence in Mexico really worries her, so she plans to vote for Gálvez and his promise to take on the cartels. López Obrador “says we are better and that’s not true. We are worse.”

López Obrador claims to have reduced historically high homicide levels by 20% since he took office in December 2018. But this claim is based largely on a questionable reading of the statistics. The actual homicide rate appears to have declined by only about 4 percent in six years.

Just as the upcoming rematch in November between US President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump highlighted deep divisions in the United States, Sunday’s election revealed how severely polarized Mexican public opinion is on the the direction of the country, including its security strategy and how to develop. the economy.

Beyond the fight for control of Congress, the race for mayor of Mexico City – a position now considered equivalent to a governorship – is also important. Sheinbaum is just the latest of a slew of Mexico City mayors, including López Obrador, who have run for president. There is also interest in gubernatorial positions in large, highly populated states like Veracruz and Jalisco.

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Associated Press writer Fabiola Sánchez contributed to this report.

NBC Chicago

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