Analysis. Sheinbaum has a broad mandate to continue the leftist transformation begun by Obrador. She will be able to do so by building on the sense of novelty that her figure embodies, starting with being the first woman at the helm of a country marred by machismo.

Claudia’s triumph, the first woman to lead Mexico

It was a completely expected triumph, after a campaign conducted with the certainty of winning, but also laboring under the need for a decisive victory to “wipe away the past for good.” All while having to manage a major and cumbersome presence, that of outgoing President Obrador, who as leader of Morena will have significant political control over the new government. Nevertheless, Claudia Sheinbaum’s victory is an enormous achievement, and not only because she will be the first woman president in Mexico’s history.

The first notable fact to emerge from the June 2 vote is obviously the incredible gap between Sheinbaum, leading the Sigamos Haciendo Historia coalition, and her opponents: the former Mexico City mayor garnered more than 58 percent of the vote, while the candidate of Fuerza y Corazón por México, which brought together Mexico’s historic parties – the National Action Party (PAN), the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) – only got 28 percent. Third was outsider Jorge Máynez of the Movimiento Ciudadano, with 10 percent of the vote. Such a wide gap meant that no one spoke of electoral fraud in this election – another significant fact in a country like Mexico.

Looking at the result of the parties, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) founded by Obrador in 2011 won 45 percent of the votes, cementing the former president’s status as the party leader who routed Mexico’s three historical parties: PAN got 16.5 percent, PRI 9.5 percent, and PRD just 1.8 percent. This result cannot be ignored when one considers that PRI and PAN gave the last two presidents before Obrador’s 2018 success, Enrique Peña Nieto (2012) and Felipe Calderón (2006) respectively.

But the triumph of Sheinbaum and Morena didn’t stop at installing her in the presidential residence in Los Pinos: Sigamos Haciendo Historia also won the local elections in Mexico City, with Clara Brugada appointed to continue Sheinbaum’s work, who had resigned as mayor a year early to run in the federal elections, and also won the leadership of the states of Chiapas, Morelos, Puebla, Tabasco (Obrador’s home state, with no less than 80 percent of the vote), Veracruz and Yucatán. The only victories by its challengers were in the states of Jalisco, where the candidate of Movimiento Ciudadano edged ahead, and Guanajuato, where the Fuerza y Corazón por México candidate won.

Sheinbaum now has a broad mandate to continue the “leftist transformation” begun by Obrador. She will be able to do so by building on the sense of novelty that her figure embodies, starting with being the first woman at the helm of a country marred by machismo, where femicides are the order of the day. As she stressed in her first speech as the new leader of the government, she did not “arrive alone” at this achievement: “we have all arrived here, from the heroines who gave us our homeland to our mothers, our daughters, our granddaughters.” It was also highly significant that her first pledge was to respect “political, social, cultural and religious diversity, gender and sexual diversity,” and her second was “to fight all forms of discrimination.”

On her profile on X, her campaign’s main presence on social media, Sheinbaum posted a series of tweets thanking, one by one, the country leaders most closely aligned with her who hailed her victory: Bernardo Arévalo, president of Guatemala, with a pledge to “continue to work together for a united Latin America,” Xiomara Castro of Honduras, to whom she said “it’s women’s time,” and John Briceño of Belize, promising to reinforce common Caribbean policies. They signified a clear choice by Sheinbaum to continue on the course set by Obrador: Mexico as “director” for the management of the migration issue; speaking “to the south” to be understood “to the north.”

Of course, Donald Trump had nothing to say on the victory of the leader of the Mexican left, while Joe Biden offered his congratulations on her “historic election as the first woman president of Mexico.” He continued with a remark that sounded decidedly hopeful in light of his own campaign in the run-up to the November 5 presidential election, given that the Sheinbaum government will only begin its term on October 1: “I look forward to working closely with President-elect Sheinbaum in the spirit of partnership and friendship that reflects the enduring bonds between our two countries.” During the Obrador administration, these bonds were often tested on the issue of migration.

More confirmation that Sheinbaum has become left-leaning Latin America’s new hope was evident from the fact that two “heavyweight” former presidents were waiting with her for the results: Argentina’s Alberto Fernández and Bolivia’s Evo Morales; and also from Lula’s message, who missed no opportunity to also congratulate his “great friend” Obrador and announce an upcoming trip to Mexico “to strengthen our trade relations. We are the two largest economies in Latin America and we can have a greater flow of trade between entrepreneurs from both countries.”

Finally, a clear sign of Mexico’s central role on the global political and economic stage was the congratulations from both European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU High Representative Josep Borrell, who highlighted “areas of mutual interest, such as economic relations, the green transition, social inclusion, security and the digital agenda,” as well as a message from Vladimir Putin, who said that “Mexico is Russia’s historically friendly partner in the Latin American region. We hope that your activity as president will facilitate the further development of constructive cooperation between our countries.”

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