Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo becomes Mexico City's first Jewish mayor

National Regeneration Movement candidate, who took 47 per cent of the vote, is also the first woman to take the role


Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo has become the first Jew – and first woman – to be elected Mayor of Mexico City.

The candidate for the National Regeneration Movement, whose leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador was elected president last weekend, takes the helm in the city of nearly 9 million people, which includes around 45,000 Jews.

She took 47 per cent of the vote in the election on Sunday.

The 55-year-old Ms Sheinbaum is the granddaughter of Jewish immigrants from Lithuania and Bulgaria and has said she celebrated the Jewish holidays while growing up.

She studied physics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, earning a doctorate in energy engineering, and worked for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

The new mayor has close ties to Mexico’s new president: Mr Obrador appointed her as his Environment Minister while he himself was Mayor of Mexico City and head of the city’s government.

Ms Sheinbaum has promised to cut down on crime and governmental corruption, declaring at a recent rally: “Just because I might look like a skinny scientist doesn’t mean I’m not going to crack down on crime here. I will.”

But her career has not been without controversy.

Her district of Mexico City was Tlalpán, one of the hardest hit in a devastating earthquake last September. It later emerged that the district had granted unreliable construction permits allowing the owner of the private Rebsamen elementary school to build an apartment on top.

It destabilised the structure and caused it to collapse, killing 19 children and seven adults in side.

A group of victims’ families has brought criminal charges over the case and wants Ms Sheinbaum to face investigation. She vehemently denies responsibility and accuses her opponents of exploiting the tragedy for political reasons.

Ms Sheinbaum was married to Carlos Imaz Gispert, a fellow student activist who went on to become governor of the Tlalpán district until 2004, when he was one of several top officials caught on camera accepting large sums of cash.

He avoided imprisonment but resigned from political office. The couple, who have two children, separated in 2016.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive