Mexico's leftist mayor readies campaign ahead of presidential race

Lopez Obrador is the frontrunner candidate, according to opinion polls

Mexico's City mayor and frontrunner presidential hopeful, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, made public this week his program to lead the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) to power for the first time in history ahead of 2006 elections. The candidate, that leads opinion polls by a comfortable 10% margin, presented a 50 points proposal which includes policies to fight poverty, the acknowledgment of indigenous people's rights and the creation of jobs.

“We will acknowledge the civil rights of the indigenous communities”, said Lopez Obrador at a 5,000 attendance on Monday. The pledge also includes the ratification of the agreements signed with the Zapatista rebels in 1996 on the “rights and culture” of the Indian minorities.

According to the popular Mexico's City mayor, once in power, the PRD will fuel a progressive program to increase state investment in infrastructure, social care and the creation of new jobs. All in all, the candidate confirmed what he has been announced in several rallies since he decided to run for presidency.

During the second half of the year, Lopez Obrador will promote the 50 points program across the country. But PRD officials commented that they will formally launch the campaign in November, to meet legislation requirements.

According to last opinion polls, the percentage of those polled who said they'd vote for Lopez Obrador if the election were held today is of 32 percent, followed by a 24 percent that preferred Roberto Madrazo, a former Tabasco governor coming from the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, that ruled Mexico for 71 years until 2000.

Santiago Creel, former interior minister under President Vicente Fox, remained unchanged at 21 percent. Support for "others", in turn, rose to 6 percent in June from 2 percent in April, according to the Mexican daily El Universa.

Asked which political party they favored, 25 percent said the Institutional Revolutionary Party, up from 23 percent in April. Lopez Obrador's Party of the Democratic Revolution fell to 26 percent from 23 percent in April. Creel's National Action Party gained rose two points from 20 to 22 percent, the paper said.

On the photo: Mexico's City mayor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is friendly called AMLO by his followers.

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Author`s name Olga Savka