The Latest | Sheinbaum appears set to become Mexico’s first female president – Metro US

The Latest | Sheinbaum appears set to become Mexico’s first female president

Mexico Election
Electoral officials count ballots after polls closed during general elections in Mexico City, Sunday, June 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Ginnette Riquelme)

Former Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum declared victory in Mexico’s presidential election, shortly after electoral authorities said she held an irreversible lead in an official quick count.

Sheinbaum appears set to become Mexico’s first female president — a major step in a country long marked by its macho culture. The election is also the biggest in the country’s history. More than 20,000 congressional and local positions are up for grabs, according to the National Electoral Institute.

Sheinbaum was the expected victor after maintaining a comfortable double-digit lead in opinion polls for months. Xóchitl Gálvez, an opposition senator and tech entrepreneur, represented a coalition of parties that have had little historically to unite them other than their recent opposition to outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Mexico went into Sunday’s election deeply divided: Friends and relatives no longer talk politics for fear of worsening unbridgeable divides, while drug cartels have split the country into a patchwork quilt of warring fiefdoms. The atmosphere is literally heating up with a wave of unusual heat, drought, pollution and political violence.


— More populist policies or tougher fight with cartels? Mexicans weigh choice as they pick a new leader.

— Mexico’s drug cartels and gangs appear to be playing a wider role in Sunday’s elections than before.

— Mexicans choose between continuity and change in an election overshadowed by violence.

— Violence clouds the last day of campaigning for Mexico’s election.

Here’s the latest in Mexico’s election:

Mexico’s projected presidential winner Claudia Sheinbaum said Sunday night that her two competitors had called her and conceded her victory.

“I will become the first woman president of Mexico,” Sheinbaum said with a smile, speaking at a downtown hotel shortly after electoral authorities announced that a statistical sample showed she held an irreversible lead.

“We have demonstrated that Mexico is a democratic country with peaceful elections,” she said.

Climate scientist 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 National Electoral Institute’s president said Sheinbaum had 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 governing party candidate campaigned on continuing the political course set over the last six years by her political mentor President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

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

Former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum is leading in very early returns from Sunday’s presidential election, but only 10% of polling place tallies have been counted by Mexico’s electoral authority.

Vote counting is running slower than usual.

The head of Mexico’s electoral agency is urging political parties, candidates and the news media “to act with restraint, prudence and responsibility” in announcing results.

The plea Sunday night came after a number of news organizations called the presidential race based on private exit polls with little official information available.

In a statement, electoral institute President Guadalupe Taddei Zavala says: “Our electoral system is designed to ensure that every vote counts and that every result is verified in a fair and transparent manner.”

Vote counting is lagging in Mexico’s historic election. Despite private exit polls favoring front-runner Claudia Sheinbaum, The Associated Press bases its report on official results.

Mexico’s electoral agency is beginning to publish results of the country’s historic election, in which a woman is likely to be elected as president for the first time.

Polls have closed in most of Mexico’s 32 states. Voters begin awaiting the results of an election that will chart the way forward in the coming years. Voting will continue for another hour on the Baja California peninsula.

MCALLEN, Texas — Thousands of Mexican voters lined up at their nearest consulate offices. The turnout exceeded Mexico’s expectations in several cities across the United States and other countries.

In Dallas, some voters started waiting in line at 3:30 a.m. local time, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Similar lines could be seen in Houston after hundreds filled sidewalks waiting in the heat with little to no shade for hours.

In Los Angeles, voters draped themselves in Mexican flags and erupted in cheers every time another ballot was cast, the Los Angeles Times reported. Street vendors selling food and snacks also gathered outside the consulate, catering to eager voters.

The Mexican consulates in San Francisco, San Diego and Fresno also saw long lines of hundreds of voters Sunday. California is home to more than three million Mexican immigrants.

“In some cases, such as in Madrid, California, Chicago and Phoenix, the large influx of people wishing to vote at the consular headquarters has exceeded expectations,” Mexico’s National Electoral Institute said in a statement.

MEXICO CITY — An armed attack near a voting center in the border city of Tijuana, left three people injured, according to security authorities in the state of Baja California.

Local media reported that the violent episode occurred when an alleged criminal tried to assault a businessman who was lined up to vote. His bodyguard shot the attacker, which led to a shootout.

Another violent incident occurred in the coastal city of Ensenada, also in Baja California state, when two alleged criminals stole ballots from three polling stations. The assailants were intercepted by the police as they fled. A chase ensued that culminated in a crash where one of the attackers was killed, according to the state Secretariat of Citizen Security.

MEXICO CITY — Armed men kidnapped one man who was voting in a polling station in the town of San Fernando, in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, according to the Chiapas Prosecutor’s Office.

Two armed men burst into a local market where a voting station was set up and kidnapped the man. The man later appeared beaten up in another place, prosecutors said.

Violence has rapidly escalated in Chiapas in the past year like no other part of Mexico. Cartels and other criminal groups have waged a brutal war for control of the lucrative migrant and drug smuggling routes along the country’s southern border with Guatemala.

MEXICO CITY — While voting appeared peaceful, if time-consuming, at most of Mexico’s approximately 170,000 polling places, there were isolated incidents of violence reported. In the central state of Puebla, four armed assailants tried to burst into a school where voting booths were installed to try to steal ballots. State police said arrests had been made in the case.

And the governor of the central state of Querétaro, just north of the capital, told local media that assailants had tried to burn ballots at four polling places in his state. A video posted on social media showed two masked men escaping on a motorcycle after one attack. But the problems — both logistical and involving conflicts — were perhaps greatest in the southern border state of Chiapas, where as many as 42% of polling places were delayed in setting up; some apparently couldn’t open at all.

MEXICO CITY — Presidential candidate Xóchitl Gálvez cast her vote after more than an hour and a half of waiting in Mexico City. After voting, she posed for photographers and then addressed journalists saying: “It is the people who have to decide, I have already done my job… let the citizens do their job.” She anticipated that the election results are likely to “come a little late” and noted that she expects a “huge turnout.”

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s unrelenting wave of crime and violence appeared to be uppermost in the minds of some voters, especially those leaning toward the opposition.

In Mexico City, voters appeared concerned more about street-level crime, given that the capital has not seen as many drug-cartel shootouts as in outlying states.

Julio García, 34, a Mexico City office worker, said he was voting for the opposition. “I’ve been robbed twice, with a pistol pointed at me,” Garcia said, describing armed assailants who approached his car when he was stuck in traffic.

“We definitely need a change in leadership. If we continue on the same path, we’re going to become Venezuela.”

Diego García, 49, a shopkeeper and no relation to Julio, said he was voting for the opposition. “We definitely need a change, above all, because of crime. I have relatives who have been robbed, who have been kidnapped.”

MEXICO CITY —A relatively new trend is emerging in Mexico’s election: bringing your dog to the voting booth.

At one polling place in central Mexico City, nearly a dozen dogs — ranging in size from Great Danes to pugs — were waiting patiently with their owners in lines that stretched around the block.

Koba, a tawny colored Husky, accompanied his owner, Marco Delaye, into the polling place, and the two emerged smiling.

“He behaved very well,” said Delaye. “He let me vote without any problem.”

That was no small feat, given that turnout was very high early Sunday and polling places were jam-packed, perhaps because Mexicans are lining up to vote early to avoid the country’s unprecedented heat wave.

MEXICO CITY — As she left home to vote, frontrunner Claudia Sheinbaum told reporters briefly that she was “very happy, very excited” in what she described as a “historic day.”

She said that she had a “quiet” night and that after voting she would come back home to have breakfast.

She called people to go to the polls. “You have to vote, you have to go out and vote,” said the former Mexico City mayor.

MEXICO CITY — On the fringes of Mexico City in the neighborhood of San Andres Totoltepec, electoral officials filed past 34-year-old homemaker Stephania Navarrete, who watched dozens of cameramen and electoral officials gathering where frontrunner Claudia Sheinbaum was set to vote.

Navarrete said she planned to vote for Sheinbaum despite her own doubts about outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his party.

“Having a woman president, for me as a Mexican woman, it’s going to be like before when for the simple fact that you say you are a woman you’re limited to certain professions. Not anymore.”

She said the social programs of Sheinbaum’s mentor were crucial, but that deterioration of cartel violence in the past few years was her primary concern in this election.

“That is something that they have to focus more on,” she said. “For me security is the major challenge. They said they were going to lower the levels of crime, but no, it was the opposite, they shot up. Obviously, I don’t completely blame the president, but it is in a certain way his responsibility.”

At a special voting post on a large Mexico City medical campus where people like on-duty doctors and nurses who can’t get home to vote can cast their ballots, men and women are waiting for polls to open.

Aida Fabiola Valencia said, “Yesterday I told my colleagues to go vote, I don’t know who they are going to vote for, but it is the first time they are going to be able to elect a woman, who I think is going to play an important role. We (women) are 60% of the population, it is historic.”

There have been female candidates before in Mexico, but this is the first time the two leading candidates — Claudia Sheinbaum and Xóchitl Gálvez — are women.

Nearby, Mónica Martínez, said, “The fact that people vote for a candidate who is a woman implies a lot of change at all social and work levels, that means that it is already starting to get better. It already is. But the fact that it is for a presidential candidacy is much more significant.”

MEXICO CITY — Thousands of Mexican stores are advertising offers of free goods for customers who come in Sunday and show ink on their finger, a security measure to prevent anyone from voting twice.

The offers are intended to encourage voting.

Some outlets in the nation’s largest convenience store chain, Oxxo, are offering voters a free cup of coffee. The national restaurant chamber said some members will be offering discounts on food or beverage as well.

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s once-autonomous National Human Rights Commission issued an unusual statement criticizing electoral authorities.

The commission, which has largely followed and supported the policies of outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, claimed on Saturday electoral authorities have not acted forcefully enough against “slander,” a term frequently used by López Obrador in reaction to any criticism.

Elections in Mexico are run by the independent National Electoral Institute, and the commission is supposed to have no role in the process.

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