Monday, June 17, 2024

Great challenges await Mexico’s first female president

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Claudia Sheinbaum addresses her supporters after the victory in the presidential election was a fact. Photo: Eduardo Verdugo / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 03.06.2024 13:03:19

Policy: When two-thirds of the votes had been counted on Monday, Sheinbaum had secured a support of around 58 percent.

The leading challenger, Xochitl Galvez, then had about 29 percent support, acknowledged defeat and called Sheinbaum to congratulate her.

– I will be Mexico’s first female president, stated a smiling Sheinbaum in his first comment when the victory was clear.

– We have demonstrated that Mexico is a democratic country that holds peaceful elections, she said.

Although Mexico is Latin America’s second largest economy, according to official figures, more than a third of the inhabitants still live below the poverty line, probably more.

For several decades, the country has also been ravaged by violence, and powerful drug cartels have secured great power with the help of raw brutality and bribery.

Around 80 people are killed every single day, and kidnapping for ransom occurs daily.

Although Mexico now has its first female president, and the country’s women have gained increasing influence in both politics and business in recent years, domestic violence is widespread in a country characterized by a macho culture. The police and the judiciary do little to follow up such cases.

– If she does not overcome the dramatically worsened security, it will be very difficult for her to gain traction for the economic and social political agenda, he says.

Investing in education was also supposed to slow down recruitment into criminal gangs, but has had little effect so far.

Sheinbaum, for his part, has also promised to strengthen the judiciary, the National Guard and the country’s intelligence organizations to make them better equipped in the fight against the drug cartels and other criminals.

He warns of a strengthened fight against illegal immigration and claims that migrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries are behind most of the crime in the United States.

The fact that Trump does not have the statistics on his side matters less. The message hits home with many American voters.

Now many and very big challenges await the 61-year-old, who has previously been mayor of Mexico City.

Over 450,000 people have been killed and over 100,000 have gone missing over the past 20 years, and successive presidents have had little success in ending the violence.

– The spread of organized crime and the thriving drug cartels is the most frightening problem Sheinbaum has to tackle, says Michael Shifter of the Inter-American Dialogue think tank in Washington.

Sheinbaum says she will continue the policies of outgoing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who when he came to power in 2018 promised to increase welfare benefits and reduce poverty to end the violence.

Another major challenge that awaits the new president is Mexico’s often complex relationship with the United States. The relationship with the neighboring country to the north will not get any easier if Donald Trump re-occupies the White House.

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