The head of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, extended his congratulations to Sheinbaum. He said that he will seek to work together to achieve social justice for the people on the agenda of democracy, human rights, development, and security.

Mexico poised to elect first woman president, more than 70 years after women gained the vote

Mexicans are expected to send a woman to the presidential palace for the first time in the country’s history, about 71 years after women were first granted full voting rights in national elections.

By comparison, the United States first granted women the right to vote in 1920, but the country has yet to elect a female president.

AMLO’s feud with the country’s election institutions

During his time in office, outgoing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has sparked controversy by promoting changes to the country’s elections oversight body that critics say would diminish its independence.

That effort is part of a longstanding scepticism towards such institutions on the part of AMLO, who pledged to “send institutions to hell” after a razor-thin defeat in his 2006 bid for the presidency.

He has long maintained the election that year was tainted by fraud.

Elections ‘very attractive’ to Mexico’s many criminal groups: Security expert

Speaking to Al Jazeera outside of a Mexico City polling station, security expert Falk Ernst explained that criminal organisations in Mexico take an active role in trying to influence the vote.

They see it as a matter of survival, he explained.

“Elections are very attractive to criminal groups because essentially, as a criminal group nowadays in Mexico, your biggest asset is to gain access to the state,” he said.

“Institutions still decide who gets away scot-free with crimes – who gets to murder with impunity, to break it down like this. Essentially, as a criminal group, that leaves you condemned to gain a foothold in the state. Otherwise, you will lose against the competition and you will face the consequences. So all these criminal groups are pushing into the state by elections.”

Ernst estimates there are at least 200 active criminal groups in Mexico at the moment, making the race to influence government “very, very crowded”.

“They are financing campaigns, they are forcing voters to cast a vote in the right direction to them, to further their interests,” he said. “That means that violence is being used to secure this or the other group’s place within the state. And this is what we see visibly in the form of the killings of candidates.”