Mexican presidential candidate would be country's first woman leader with Jewish roots

Mexico is holding their biggest election yet in June, including selecting a new president who is likely to make history.

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has reached his term limit, and when the two leading political parties put forward women as their candidates, it became all but certain the winner of the June 2 presidential election will be the country's first female leader.

Former Mexico City mayor and ruling party candidate Claudia Sheinbaum, also known as Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo, is the favorite to win the race, and as Reuters reported, she shows an increasing lead in local polls.

Not only would she be the first woman president of Mexico, she would also be the first president with a Jewish background.

Here is what else to know about the front runner in Mexico's presidential race:

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Who is Claudia Sheinbaum?

Sheinbaum is the presidential candidate for the leftist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) party. Morena is the current ruling party with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Sheinbaum, 61, was the mayor of Mexico City from December 2018, until stepping down to pursue the presidential candidacy.

She has a Jewish background in her four grandparents who immigrated from Lithuania and Bulgaria, according to the Associated Press, but calls herself a woman of faith who does not adhere to any religion. Mexico's population is 78% Roman Catholic, according to 2020 census data.

Sheinbaum is tailed at a distance by candidates Xóchitl Gálvez and Jorge Álvarez Máynez in the polls. If elected, she would serve a six-year term until 2030.

Leftist candidate Claudia Sheinbaum wants to focus on renewable energy

Sheinbaum is scientist specializing in energy with a Ph.D from National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has served on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as part of a team that won a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

She recently unveiled an ambitious plan to pledge $13.6 billion in wind and solar power generation projects, according to Reuters. It would be a break from the current president's policies which invested in the state oil company Pemex, though Sheinbaum generally wants to continue with President López Obrador's legacy if elected.

"We are working on the national energy plan not only through 2030, but to 2050," Sheinbaum said, according to Reuters.

Mexico and US to navigate new relationships after 2024 elections

Mexico's next president will have to contend with the elections happening next door as the U.S. is likely headed for a rematch between former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden. But Mexican voters choice could also play a role in some key aspects of the U.S. elections.

Immigration is a big issue for many voters in the 2024 presidential election, not to mention responses to climate change and conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza require international coordination.

A rematch between Biden and Trump, both who have been president while current Mexico President López Obrador has been in office, offers insight into how the relationship might continue if Morena remains the governing party through the Mexican presidential election.

AP called López Obrador's relationship with Trump "strangely warm," considering Trump's rhetoric about building a wall on their shared border. AP also said López Obrador had fewer public disagreements with Trump than Biden.

But Bloomberg reported Sheinbaum says that, if elected, she would maintain a "good relationship" with the next U.S. president, given the close economic ties.

Contributing: Corrie Boudreaux, El Paso Times; Reuters

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Who is Claudia Sheinbaum? Mexico's presidential race could be historic