Mexico City mayor looks to history to become first female president


MEXICO CITY, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, a trained physicist vying to become the country’s first female president, hopes her environmental credentials and success in fighting crime will help her stand out in the race for the highest position in 2024.

Sheinbaum, a staunch ally of leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has held a slight lead over her rivals in recent opinion polls as she prepares to compete for the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) presidential bid in the power.

A staunch supporter of the welfare programs promoted by the president that have helped forge his power base and tackle inequality across the country, Sheinbaum, 60, is seen by many in the party as his obvious ideological successor.

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“I’ve been there (with Lopez Obrador) in good times and bad,” she said in an interview with Reuters at the lavish city hall, pointing to a shared past with the returning president. as a capital environment. minister when he was mayor from 2000 to 2005.

“The president’s projects must be consolidated, I share the president’s vision of a Mexico with justice, and of a Mexico where the welfare state must play a fundamental role in development.”

The country will elect its next president in June 2024, and Sheinbaum and other potential prospects, including Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, have begun jostling for MORENA’s candidacy, which is expected to be settled by the end of 2023. .

Lopez Obrador, who is barred by law from running for a second term, has dominated national politics since taking office in 2018, and MORENA remains far more popular than the main opposition parties.

If she were to succeed him, Sheinbaum, whose measured scientific reserve contrasts with Lopez Obrador’s combative approach to politics, said she was acutely aware of the symbolic nature of this achievement for girls and women in Mexico and elsewhere. of the.

“For me to portray this, just imagine the honor and the responsibility it means,” she said, hailing the example of Katya Echazarreta, who in June became the first Mexican-born woman to travel in space.


Lopez Obrador’s drive to bolster the state oil and gas company and the national electric utility — both of which are heavily dependent on fossil fuels — at the expense of private wind and solar energy companies has caused friction with the United States and other longtime allies.

The policy has also upset some on the Mexican left who want the country to prioritize renewable energy sources.

Sheinbaum, who was part of an intergovernmental panel on climate change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, has championed Lopez Obrador’s efforts to pursue energy independence but also wants to capitalize on the Mexico’s green energy reserves.

“I think it’s crucial to really take advantage of renewable energy in the country,” she said when asked how a Sheinbaum administration might differ from its predecessor, while emphasizing her support for the Lopez Obrador’s vision for Mexico.

Some have also called for higher taxation. When asked if she supported higher taxes, Sheinbaum declined to be drawn, saying the issue would require further analysis.

Where Mexico City has diverged is in its success in reducing the gang-fueled violence that has plagued the country for years.

The city has targeted problem areas, increasing the number of police on the streets and their salaries, Sheinbaum said, and more than quadrupling the number of CCTV cameras.

While the national murder tally barely dropped in 2021 from nearly 34,000 in 2018, Mexico City’s total fell by more than a third in the same period.

This year, the national figure has fallen somewhat. In Mexico City, it’s on track to drop to half of 2018’s total.

Still, Sheinbaum said the improvement hinged on close cooperation between city officials and federal forces.

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Reporting by Dave Graham and Diego Ore; edited by Richard Pullin

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Diego Ore

Thomson Reuters

Covers politics, migration and security in Mexico and Central America, a Peruvian journalist with over 20 years of experience in Latin America and the Caribbean, including in magazines, newspapers and the Associated Press covering elections , coups, demonstrations, summits, disasters and football matches.


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