As mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum is arguably the second-most powerful person in all of Mexico, second only to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Like AMLO, Sheinbaum won her election by a landslide in 2018 and ever since has been seen as one of two frontrunners for her party in the 2024 presidential race.
But Sheinbaum is by no means the first woman to seek election to Mexico’s highest office. That honor goes to Rosario Ibarra de Piedra, who ran under the banner of the no-longer-extant party, the PRT.
Though Ibarra de Piedra and a handful of other women since have run for president, only one has been able to crack a 2% voter margin — Patricia Mercado in 2006 with a 2.78%.
But the big difference this time around is that if Sheinbaum wins her nomination she stands a strong chance of winning, as Morena is currently Mexico’s most widely supported political party.
Sheinbaum’s tenure in Mexico City is generally viewed as positive albeit with more than its fair share of hiccups and all-out disasters.
Sheinbaum presided over Mexico City’s COVID-19 lockdown, for which she received mostly positive approval ratings toward the beginning of the crisis. But after a year, or so her approval numbers began to suffer as a result of strict measures.
Sheinbaum is also seen to have been ineffectual in the aftermath of the L12 subway line collapse.
The subway line collapsed on the morning of May 4, 2021, killing 24 and injuring dozens. The infrastructure project was built during the administration of Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who along with Sheinbaum is also considered to be a likely successor to the presidency.
According to recent polls by El Universal, the number of people in Mexico who think a woman is not fit to rule the country has fallen sharply over the past few years.
As a matter of fact, a series of polls are showing stronger support within the party for Sheinbaum over Ebrard in the fast-approaching election.
“A Sheinbaum presidency would see a continuity of President Obrador’s policies, which is something that many Mexicans want to see,” said Morena Party official, Lorena Villavicencio.
Both Sheinbaum and Ebrard are seen by their base as less impulsive than the sitting president, something which much of the electorate seems to be losing patience with.
This month Sheinbaum is expected to hold rallies in Yucatán which are expected to attract thousands of supporters.
Sheinbaum might or might not obtain her party’s nomination and win the general election. But one thing is certain — being so well known nationally and a member of the party in power, she has a much better chance of winning than any other woman before.