Mexico City makes history, elects first Jew and first woman as mayor

Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo is both the first woman and the first Jew to win the mayoral race in Mexico City.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo has made history in Mexico by being elected mayor of the country’s capital, say the exit polls from Sunday’s election.

That Sheinbaum Pardo is the first Jew elected to such an important post – heading North America’s largest city of nine million people – may not even be the biggest surprise, even though its Jewish community merely numbers between 30,000 and 36,000 (or most of the country’s total Jewish population). She is also the first woman to earn the post via election. The only other female mayor held the position on an interim basis for a year nearly two decades ago.

The mayor’s grandparents hail from Lithuania and Bulgaria and they kept Jewish tradition, according to Sheinbaum Pardo.

“We celebrated all the Jewish holidays at my grandparents’ house,” she told a Jewish audience in a speech last month.

The 56-year-old followed her parents into the sciences, getting her university degree in physics and holding a doctorate in environmental engineering. She has published many articles in her field and is a respected member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences.

From being an activist in the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), she jumped into Mexico City politics in 2000 to become the locality’s environment minister (for six years) when the leader of her party, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, became mayor. Later, when he formed a leftist breakaway party in 2014 called Morena, she followed him as well, and in 2015 was elected a district mayor of the Tlalpan borough of Mexico City.

Her election comes as the representative of a coalition party called “Together We Shall Make History,” which is a partnership among three leftist-leaning parties: the Labor Party, the Social Encounter Party, and newcomer Morena (National Regeneration Movement).

In fact, Morena leader Lopez Obrador, with whom Sheinbaum Pardo has a close relationship, became president-elect of Mexico on Sunday. Both have promised to tackle crime and corruption, which are considered major issues in the country.