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Claudia Sheinbaum, the model student in search of continuity

Photo: Aurea de Rosario Associated Press Presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum waves to the crowd at her election campaign launch in Mexico City in March 2024.

Lisa-Marie Gervais

Published at 0:00

  • Americas

As is often the case when one is a favorite – the polls give her a majority of votes – Claudia Sheinbaum has not been spared from criticism at this stage of the electoral campaign. However, its impeccable image does not seem to have been scratched.

Hair always slicked back, the candidate displays the impeccable air of a model student, a top of the class who would always have the right answer to impress her master. Moreover, her campaign, practically flawless, carefully puts forward the proposals of her party, MORENA (National Regeneration Movement), which she represents in a broader coalition including the Labor Party and the environmentalist Greens called “Let's continue to make history” (Sigamos Haciendo Historia). Many even accuse him of not having his own personality, of being downright a female clone of the outgoing president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Criticisms to which she recently responded in an interview with the BBC: “I have confidence in myself. I don't care if the opposition says that my government would be another López Obrador government. »

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Nevertheless, looking at her impressive track record, we are not surprised that she has the ambition, if not the makings, to become the first woman in history to govern the country.

Growing up in Mexico City in a family of Jewish origin, Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo pursued a career in the science sector, like her parents. She studied physics and engineering at the National University of Mexico (UNAM), culminating in a doctorate in environmental engineering at the Lawrence-Berkeley National Laboratory of the University of California, where she conducted his research. A specialist in energy efficiency, she joined the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007 and will be a member ten years later of the United Nations Committee on Development Policies.

As a student at UNAM and later as a professor at her alma mater, Claudia Sheinbaum has always been politically involved. In 2000, when she was not yet 40 years old, she made her official entry into active politics by becoming Minister of the Environment of Mexico City, while López Obrador was its leader. It was during his mandate that the first line of the metrobús, a rapid public transport route, was created and the second floor of the ring road was built.

Some point to his personality, which lacks warmth, and his difficulty, unlike his main opponent, Xóchitl Gálvez, in communicating with people. “She is much more rational, more austere than her rival. In terms of personality, the two candidates are very different,” underlines Jean-François Prud’homme, from Colegio de México.

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This text is published via our Perspectives section.

But the now 61-year-old politician has a poise that rarely shows her unsettled, analysts say. Her loyalty to Mr. López Obrador never wavered, with Claudia Sheinbaum leaving her position as minister to join his presidential campaign team in 2006. About ten years later, in 2012, she would follow in his footsteps when she herself will become head of government of Mexico City and then candidate in the presidential election to succeed him at the head of the country. And thus could take place, like its straight line journey, a change… in continuity.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116