In First, Mexico City Elects a Female Mayor - and She's Jewish

Exit polls give Claudia Sheinbaum, a scientist and member of the Natural Regeneration (Morena) party, more than 48 percent of the vote

Claudia Sheinbaum, Mexico City's new mayor in a triumphant pose on the campaign trail with Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP

The Mexican elections on Sunday produced a revolution in presidential politics, with the victory of a left-wing candidate, and the first female mayor ever elected in Mexico City.

Exit polls give Claudia Sheinbaum, a scientist and member of the Natural Regeneration (Morena) party, more than 48 percent of the vote. 

Also a precedent: Women accounted for five of the city’s seven mayoral candidates. 

Sheinbaum was born in 1962 to a Jewish family and has a degree in engineering. “Just because I might look like a skinny scientist doesn’t mean I’m not going to crack down on crime here. I will,” she promised a crowd during the campaign.

According to AFP, Sheinbaum was one of the first to abandon the establishment party PRD to join the newly elected president,  Andrés Manuel López Obrador, when he established his left-wing movement in 2014. A year later she won a poll and became the head of a district of Mexico City. 

Her rise was meteoric, but not without obstacles. Her district suffered badly from an earthquake in September. An elementary school in her area collapsed, killing 19 children and seven adults; later it transpired that the school building had been expanded illegally and unsafely.

Grieving relatives have demanded Sheinbaum be investigated. She denies culpability and accuses rivals of making political hay out of tragedy.