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Tags: claudia sheinbaum | mexico | president | 2024 election

Leftist Jewish Woman Leads Mexican Presidential Race

By    |   Wednesday, 27 December 2023 05:37 PM EST

One thing almost certain is that when Mexico elects a new president in June, it will be the first woman in the nation's history.

But it also could be the nation's first Jewish head of state.

The two leading candidates are former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, 61, whose Jewish parents are scientists, and Xóchitl Gálvez, 60, a former mayor of the Miguel Hidalgo borough of Mexico City.

A November poll by Parametría showed Sheinbaum, who represents the leftist ruling Morena party of term-limited President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, leads with 52%, followed by Gálvez, who heads a center-right coalition of three parties, with 25%.

If elected, Sheinbaum would become one of the few Jews outside Israel who have risen to their country's highest office, including Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Sheinbaum would also be the first Jewish person to lead a country of more than 50 million people.

Sheinbaum holds a doctorate in energy engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and was on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore.

Although Mexico is largely a devout Catholic country — there are approximately 40,000 Jews in a country of about 129 million, according to the World Jewish Congress — Daniel Fainstein, dean of Jewish Studies at the Hebraica University in Mexico City, told the Jewish Telegraph Agency the average Mexican might not care about Sheinbaum's religion.

But he said the average Mexican Jew is probably not voting for her. Like most other Latin American Jewish communities — and unlike most Jewish communities in the U.S. — most Mexican Jews lean conservative politically.

Sheinbaum's platform is not radically left-wing when compared to other leftist leaders in Latin America, but Gálvez might be more appealing to conservative-leaning Jews, many of whom are business owners.

"I think that most [Mexican Jews] will vote for Xóchitl Gálvez," Fainstein said. "[Their decision] is not related to the Jewish or non-Jewish origins of the candidates."

Sources told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in 2018 that Sheinbaum feels connected to the history of Jews in political activism but not as much so to the religion or its traditions. She told a group of Jewish women voters during her successful campaign to be Mexico City's mayor in 2018 that she was a proud Jewish woman.

Sheinbaum, who resigned as Mexico City's mayor over the summer to run for her party's presidential nomination, oversaw the electrification of the city's buses and had solar panels cover the huge Central de Abasto food market.

Her biggest challenge, if elected, will be balancing her focus on alleged man-made climate change with the nature of what drives Mexico's economy: oil production. Mexico is the world's 13th-largest oil producer, according to the International Trade Administration, and is the only Group of 20 country with no net-zero emissions targets, according to the Climate Action Tracker.

López Obrador has directed billions of dollars to prop up the indebted state-owned oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos, Bloomberg reported in October. His government recently opened an oil refinery in Tabasco state, and it has tried to dissolve the National Institute for Ecology and Climate Change because of policy changes that bolstered the national power utility. Private investment in renewables has dropped since he took office in 2018.

Michael Katz

Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

One thing almost certain is that when Mexico elects a new president in June, it will be the first woman in the nation's history.
claudia sheinbaum, mexico, president, 2024 election
Wednesday, 27 December 2023 05:37 PM
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