Former Mexico City mayor readies for presidential run

Former Mexico City mayor Andres Manuel López Obrador says he will make another run for the presidency in 2012, six years after he narrowly lost the last election.

The 58-year-old leftist made the comment Tuesday after winning an opinion poll released by his party, the Partido de la Revolución Democrática. The poll asked 6,000 supporters of left-wing candidates whether they preferred him or Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard.

In 2006, López Obrador was defeated by current President Felipe Calderón, who is constitutionally barred from seeking a second, six-year term next year.

López Obrador contested his loss, claiming vote fraud and charging that then-president Vicente Fox used the power of his office to support Calderón. Mexico’s electoral tribunal rejected López Obrador’s claims. López Obrador staged massive protests in the capital after the election.

Tuesday’s announcement comes a day after preliminary results showed that the main opposition party, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional had won the governor’s race in Michoacan, President Calderon’s home state. Its candidate, Fausto Vallejo, defeated the president’s sister, Luisa Maria Calderón, of the ruling Partido Acción Nacional. The Partido de la Revolución Democrática candidate, Silvano Aureoles, placed third following Sunday’s vote. Revolución Democrática has governed Michoacan for the past decade.

The Partido Revolucionario Institucional lost the presidency in 2000 to Fox after governing Mexico for 71 years. Observers say the election outcome is set to boost the Partido Revolucionario Institucional ahead of next year’s elections, which its likely candidate, Enrique Pena Nieto, currently is tipped to win.

Michoacan is the base of the drug cartel known as La Familia and is the region where a drug gang calling itself Knights Templar has emerged. The president’s sister had complained that armed gangs intimidated voters in some areas, while Aureoles, in a television interview, accused the Partido Revolucionario Institucional of working with cartels. Vallejo was quoted as saying his supporters were subjected to threats as well.

The vote was dominated by concerns about security.

An estimated 45,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since President Calderon took office in late 2006 and began a crackdown on the cartels.

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