Claudia Sheinbaum to be Mexico's 1st female president: What to know about her

Claudia Sheinbaum, the virtual winner for the presidency of Mexico for the MORENA party, is pictured in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Gerardo Vieyra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Claudia Sheinbaum will be Mexico’s first female president in the nation's more than 200 years of independence.

Sheinbaum, the favored successor of outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, vowed to continue in the direction set by the populist leftist leader. 

The National Electoral Institute’s president said Sheinbaum had between 58.3% and 60.7% of the vote, while opposition candidate Xóchitl Gálvez had between 26.6% and 28.6% and Jorge Álvarez Máynez had between 9.9% and 10.8% of the vote. Sheinbaum's Morena party was also projected to hold its majorities in both chambers of Congress.

The 61-year-old said that her two competitors had called her and conceded her victory.

"I promise that I am not going to let you down," Sheinbaum said, greeting supporters in Mexico City’s colonial-era main plaza, the Zocalo.

Quick facts about Claudia Sheinbaum, Mexico’s next president:

  • Climate scientist: Sheinbaum’s background is in science. She has a Ph.D. in energy engineering. Her brother is a physicist. In a 2023 interview with The Associated Press, Sheinbaum said, "I believe in science." 
  • Former Mexico City mayor during pandemic: Observers say that her background in science showed itself in Sheinbaum’s actions as mayor during the COVID-19 pandemic, when her city of some 9 million people took a different approach from what López Obrador espoused at the national level. While the federal government was downplaying the importance of coronavirus testing, Mexico City expanded its testing regimen. Sheinbaum set limits on businesses’ hours and capacity when the virus was rapidly spreading, even though López Obrador wanted to avoid any measures that would hurt the economy. And she publicly wore protective masks and urged social distancing while the president was still lunging into crowds. 
  • 1st leader of Mexico with Jewish background: Sheinbaum will also be the first person from a Jewish background to lead the overwhelmingly Catholic country. While she is of Jewish ancestry, she is not religiously observant. Her four grandparents were Jews who emigrated from Lithuania and Bulgaria. She was born in Mexico City and her parents did not raise her under any religion. According to her campaign team, Sheinbaum considers herself a woman of faith – but she is not religiously affiliated. 
  • A leftist: Sheinbaum has said she believes the government has a strong role to play in addressing economic inequality and providing a sturdy social safety net, much like her political mentor. 
  • Her take on Mexico’s violence: The country’s persistently high levels of violence will be one of Sheinbaum’s most immediate challenges after she takes office Oct. 1. On the campaign trail she said little more than that she would expand the quasi-military National Guard created by López Obrador and continue his strategy of targeting social ills that make so many young Mexicans easy targets for cartel recruitment. "Let it be clear, it doesn’t mean an iron fist, wars or authoritarianism," Sheinbaum said of her approach to tackling criminal gangs, during her final campaign event. "We will promote a strategy of addressing the causes and continue moving toward zero impunity."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.