Mexico City has elected a woman mayor for the first time in history, local politician and scientist Claudia Sheinbaum, according to exit polls.
Sheinbaum, 56, won the election to lead North America’s most populous city with between 47.5 and 55.5 percent of the vote, according to an estimate by polling firm Mitofsky.
Sheinbaum surged into office on the coattails of the anti-establishment leftist who looks likely to win the presidential race, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. She was among the first politicians to leave Mexico’s establishment left-wing party, the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), and join Lopez Obrador’s breakaway, Morena, when he formally launched it in 2014.
The following year, she won an election for district mayor of Mexico City’s Tlalpan neighborhood, Lopez Obrador’s own district and one of the 16 “delegations” that make up the sprawling capital of more than nine million people. That was her launchpad for her mayoral campaign.
Her district was one of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake that devastated central Mexico on Sept. 19 2017, when a private elementary school in the district collapsed, killing 19 children and seven adults inside.
A group of victims’ families brought criminal charges against her after it had emerged the district government had granted dodgy construction permits to the private school’s owner — who is today on the run from the law, and they want Sheinbaum to face charges. Sheinbaum vehemently denies responsibility, and accuses her opponents of exploiting the tragedy for political gain.