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Mexico election: Claudia Sheinbaum set to become country’s first woman president | World News

Claudia Sheinbaum is set to become Mexico’s first woman president after she was projected to have won the country’s election.

The ruling party candidate, 61, had between 58.3% and 60.7% of the vote – an unassailable lead, a statistical sample showed, according to the National Electoral Institute, which is responsible for organising federal elections in Mexico.

Opposition candidate Xochitl Galvez, a female rival who is also 61, received 26.6%-28.6%, while Jorge Alvarez Maynez, 38, picked up 9.9%-10.8%.

Speaking outside a hotel in the capital Mexico City, Morena candidate Ms Sheinbaum said: “For the first time in the 200 years of the republic, I will become the first woman president of Mexico.”

She said her two competitors had called her and conceded she had won.

The climate scientist, who is a former Mexico City mayor, campaigned on continuing the political course set over the last six years by her mentor, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who was elected in 2018.

His popularity among the poor helped drive her triumph at the ballot box.

In her victory speech, Ms Sheinbaum thanked Mr Lopez Obrador, describing him as “a unique person who has transformed our country for the better”.

She has vowed to carry on with his policies, including a universal pension for the elderly and a programme paying youths to undertake apprenticeships.

Ms Sheinbaum said: “We will dedicate public funds to continue the president’s social programmes.”

She also said there would be a “friendly relationship” with the United States, adding “we will always defend Mexicans” in the US.

Claudia Sheinbaum. Pic: AP
Claudia Sheinbaum is a former Mexico City mayor. Pic: AP

Ms Sheinbaum will have to balance promises to increase popular welfare policies while inheriting a large budget deficit and low economic growth.

The ruling coalition was also on track for a possible two-thirds super majority in both houses of Congress, which would
allow the coalition to pass constitutional reforms without opposition support, according to results from the electoral authority.

Mexico’s election was its biggest ever, with more than 20,000 congressional and local positions up for grabs, according to the National Electoral Institute.

It was also its bloodiest in modern history after the number of assassinated candidates reached 38 before election day.

Sunday’s vote was also marred by the killing of two people at polling stations in Puebla state.

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Opposition presidential candidate Xochitl Galvez speaks after polls closed during general elections in Mexico.
Pic: AP
Opposition presidential candidate Xochitl Galvez has conceded. Pic: AP

Jorge Alvarez Maynez.
Jorge Alvarez Maynez was set to come third in the election. Pic: AP

Ms Sheinbaum has vowed to improve security but has given few details, and analysts said organised crime groups expanded and deepened their influence during Mr Lopez Obrador’s term.

More than 185,000 people have been killed during his rule – more than during any other administration in Mexico’s modern history, although the homicide rate has been edging down.

The country’s constitution prohibits the president from being re-elected.

Ms Sheinbaum, who is Jewish, is the first woman to win a general election in the US, Mexico or Canada.

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Mexico is home to the world’s second-biggest Roman Catholic population, which for years pushed more traditional values and roles for women.

“I never imagined that one day I would vote for a woman,” said 87-year-old Edelmira Montiel, a Sheinbaum supporter in Mexico’s smallest state Tlaxcala.

“Before we couldn’t even vote, and when you could, it was to vote for the person your husband told you to vote for. Thank God that has changed and I get to live it,” she added.

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