Mexican president-elect taps heir of leftist icons as her chief of staff

By Diego Oré and Anthony Esposito

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Mexican President-elect Claudia Sheinbaum announced on Thursday that she has chosen Lazaro Cardenas, a former congressman and governor and a scion of two of Mexico's most emblematic leftists, to be her chief of staff.

Cardenas, 60, is the son of Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, an elder statesman of Mexico's left who co-founded the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), governed Mexico City, and ran for president three times.

He is the grandson of former President Lazaro Cardenas, an icon of the Mexican left who governed between 1934-1940 and nationalized the oil industry in 1938.

Cardenas said it would be "an honor" to serve in the role, which was last held by businessman Alfonso Romo from 2018-2020.

"His job will be to help me keep tabs on the government's strategic issues and, at the same time, with relationships with different sectors," Sheinbaum said in a press conference.

On Sheinbaum's agenda are campaign promises to expand her predecessor's popular social programs and boost activity at Mexico's state-owned energy companies.

Cardenas served under current President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as a coordinator of presidential advisors before resigning in 2023 to take a job with the regional bloc CELAC.

Political analyst Antonio Ocaranza said Cardenas brings an ability to manage government projects and ensure discipline in Sheinbaum's administration.

"He is a politician with extensive experience ... capable of establishing dialogues with diverse political, business and social sectors," Ocaranza said.

Ahead of her inauguration on Oct. 1, Sheinbaum, a physicist who won Mexico's June presidential election in a landslide, has announced various members of her government.

Still to be announced positions include the ministers of defense, the navy, labor, tourism and culture, as well as the directors of state energy firms PEMEX and CFE.

(Reporting by Anthony Esposito and Diego Ore; Writing by Brendan O'Boyle; Editing by Rod Nickel)