Claudia Sheinbaum, AMLO's protégé and favorite in the polls to be Mexico's new president

An academic and one of the founders of MORENA in 2014, she has had some controversies in her extensive political career.

"I am serene and happy because Claudia Sheinbaum, who has replaced me at the helm of the transformation movement, represents a true guarantee that we will have a future of more justice and more honesty in our beautiful and beloved Mexico," Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) wrote in his autobiography, referring to who could become the first woman to become president of Mexico.

The current president will finish his six-year term on December 1 and hopes to hand over the keys to the National Palace to Sheinbaum, whom he has known since 1989 and is seen as his political protégé.

Despite not having AMLO's charisma, the 61-year-old engineer and academic leads in the polls for the presidential elections, which will pit her against Xóchitl Gálvez and Jorge Álvarez Máynez.

Who is Claudia Sheinbaum?

The candidate was born into a Jewish family on June 24, 1962, in Mexico City, the country's capital. Her father, Carlos, was a jewelry merchant and member of the Mexican Communist Party, so she began to learn about politics from a young age.

Regarding her studies, she graduated from the Faculty of Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) with a degree in Physics. In 1994, she earned a master's degree in energy engineering. She completed her training with a doctorate in energy engineering, also at UNAM.

Her political career began at university when she was part of different mobilizations and protests. However, she had her first experience as a civil servant during the administration of López Obrador, whom she met in 1989 due to her then-husband, Carlos Imaz Gispert, a founding member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), of which AMLO was a part until founding MORENA in 2014.

Sheinbaum then took over as Secretary of the Environment, thus beginning her working relationship with AMLO, whom she would later accompany in his three presidential campaigns. Indeed, she was the spokesperson for the 2006 presidential campaign, the first of the three led by the current president. Years later, she joined him to found MORENA in 2014.

Her career outside of politics was as a university professor and academic, where she mainly researched renewable energy and climate change.

Controversies abound

In 2015, Sheinbaum was elected head of the delegation in Tlalpan. During her administration, the Enrique Rébsamen School collapsed during the earthquake of September 19, 2017. The tragedy left 19 children and four adults dead.

The then delegation head was accused of illegally authorizing the construction of an apartment on the school's top floor, which contributed to the collapse.

During the same administration, a chapel called the "Lord of Works" was demolished. The parish priest, Juan Guillermo Blandón Pérez, directly blamed Sheinbaum as the person responsible and assured that the demolition took place without prior notification.

In 2018, she went one step further and was elected as the first head of government in Mexico City, achieving 47% of the votes. In addition to focusing on public safety, her agenda created a public policy called ' My Scholarship to Start,' an educational program that provides financial support to the most vulnerable sectors for primary and secondary education.

This management was also not without controversy. In May 2021, Metro Line 12 suffered an accident that left 27 dead and 80 injured. The case uncovered some irregularities in the construction and maintenance of the structure, given that one of its elevated sections collapsed onto a public road.

Precisely, Sheinbaum's mandate was questioned by the maintenance of what until then was known as the "golden line."

The successor of the "fourth transformation"

As 2024 approached, there was much speculation about who would be the successor to López Obrador's political project, which is still very popular in Mexico. However, Sheinbaum's path began to clear in September 2021, once the inauguration of a Banco de Bienestar branch in Tláhuac was completed.

Seconds after the event ended, AMLO raised the hand of the then head of government and pointed at her with his right hand, shouting, "It's her," which was quickly interpreted as a political blessing.

Even so, Marcelo Ebrard, Adán Augusto López and Ricardo Monreal were some of the names that competed for the presidential nomination, which finally went to Sheinbaum, whose electoral slogan is summarized in the following phrase: "Let's continue making history."

Sheinbaum's 15 points

Emulating Wilson's famous 14 points, Sheinbaum presented the proposal with which she hopes to guarantee the continuity of AMLO's model.

Without much detail but emphasizing corruption and individual freedoms (questioned by her opponents), here are the points by which her administration would be guided:

  • An honest government without influence or corruption
  • I will maintain the division between economic and political power
  • We will have an austere government with fiscal discipline
  • We will guarantee freedoms of expression, assembly, concentration and mobilization without using state force to repress
  • We will respect and enforce political, social and sexual freedom
  • Substantive equality of women will be guaranteed
  • We will dedicate the public budget to guarantee justice programs and social programs
  • Promote scientific and technological development
  • I will promote cultural rights
  • Continue with trains and other projects
  • Take care of energy sovereignty with Pemex and CFE
  • Protection of the environment and natural resources for future generations
  • Promote food sovereignty and not plant genetically modified corn
  • Facilitate private and foreign investment
  • The security strategy and achievements already achieved will be deepened

Favorite in the polls

Tied to AMLO's popularity, Sheinbaum is the clear favorite in the polls for the elections on Sunday, June 2. According to the latest Mitofsky poll, carried out at the beginning of May, the continuity candidate would win with 56% of the votes, compared to 32% for Gálvez and 11% for Máynez. The more than 30-point advantage is close to AMLO's victory in 2018, and it remains to be seen whether Sheinbaum can obtain an even stronger one.

The candidate is perfectly aware that she is very close to becoming the first female president in the country's history, and she makes this known during the campaign. " Mexico with an 'M' for machismo is being left behind, and today is the time for women," she celebrated at a rally.

Voz Media will be live from Mexico covering the presidential election on Sunday, June 2.