Mexico elected its first female president by a landslide on Sunday in a historic first for the country facing growing violence and criminality.

Claudia Sheinbaum was elected as Mexico’s first woman president by a landslide on Sunday, preliminary official results showed, making history in a country plagued by rampant criminal and gender-based violence.

Crowds of flag-waving supporters sang and danced to mariachi music in Mexico City’s main square, celebrating the ruling party candidate’s victory.

The 61-year-old former Mexico City mayor won around 58-60% of the votes, the National Electoral Institute announced after a quick count.

It was more than 30 percentage points ahead of her main opposition rival Xochitl Galvez, and some 50 percentage points ahead of long-shot centrist Jorge Alvarez Maynez.

Voters flocked to polling stations despite sporadic violence in areas terrorized by ultra-violent drug cartels.

Thousands of troops were deployed to protect voters, following a particularly bloody electoral process that has seen more than two dozen aspiring local politicians murdered.

Earlier, Sheinbaum hailed what she called a “historic” election day.


Mexican women had cheered the prospect of a woman breaking the highest political glass ceiling in a country where around 10 women or girls are murdered every day.

Nearly 100 million people were registered to vote in the world’s most populous Spanish-speaking country, home to 129 million people.

Sheinbaum owes much of her popularity to outgoing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a fellow leftist and mentor who has an approval rating of more than 60% but is only allowed to serve one term.

‘Hugs not Bullets’

In a nation where politics, crime and corruption are closely entangled, drug cartels went to extreme lengths to ensure that their preferred candidates win.

Hours before polls opened, a local candidate was murdered in a violent western state, authorities said, joining at least 25 other political hopefuls killed this election season, according to official figures.

In the central Mexican state of Puebla, two people died after unknown persons attacked polling stations to steal papers, a local government security source told AFP.

Voting was suspended in two municipalities in the southern state of Chiapas because of violence.

Sheinbaum pledged to continue the outgoing president’s controversial “hugs not bullets” strategy of tackling crime at its roots.

Galvez vowed a tougher approach to cartel-related violence, declaring “hugs for criminals are over.”

More than 450,000 people have been murdered and tens of thousands have gone missing since the government deployed the army to fight drug trafficking in 2006.

The next president will also have to manage delicate relations with the neighboring United States, in particular the vexed issues of cross-border drug smuggling and migration.

Daniel Rook and Jane Arce, with AFP