Activist, scientist, president: Claudia Sheinbaum’s path to power in Mexico

Claudia Sheinbaum, the former mayor of Mexico City, on Monday won a landslide electoral victory to become Mexico's new president and the country's first woman head of state. An environmental scientist and experienced left-wing politician, she is known for keeping a cool head in times of crisis.

Sheinbaum won between 58.3% and 60.7% of the vote, according to the National Electoral Institute’s president, while opposition candidate Xochitl Galvez won between 26.6% and 28.6% and Jorge Alvarez Maynez won between 9.9% and 10.8%.

Sheinbaum's Morena party was also projected to hold its majorities in both chambers of Congress.

The granddaughter of Bulgarian and Lithuanian Jewish migrants, Sheinbaum is a close ally of outgoing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Unlike her mentor, however, the 61-year-old is "not a populist", said Pamela Starr, a political scientist at the University of Southern California.

"She is much more of a mainstream leftist politician," and likely to be "less ideological" than the outgoing president, Starr added.

Activist roots

Sheinbaum was born in Mexico City to parents caught up in the turmoil of the early 1960s, when students and other activists were seeking to end the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s (PRI) long grip on power in Mexico.

"At home, we talked about politics morning, noon and night," Sheinbaum was quoted as saying in a recent biography.

"I would call you the ice lady," Galvez said.


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