Sep 14, 2012

Mexico City mayor seeks to unite left after split

Dave Graham and Anahi Rama

Reuters: September 13, 2012

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard is trying to rally Mexico's left behind him after rival Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he would break with the established parties following his defeat in July's presidential election.

Lopez Obrador led a three-party leftist alliance to second place in the election, but on Sunday he told a massive crowd in Mexico City he would form a new political group, potentially opening up a serious rift in the left.

In an interview with Reuters, Ebrard said on Thursday he aims to bring the left back together, contrasting himself with Lopez Obrador, who has strong support among the poor and came close to winning the last two elections but alienated centrist voters with his combative style.

Lopez Obrador staged massive, disruptive protests in the capital to contest his narrow presidential loss to Felipe Calderon in 2006 and this time around he is refusing to accept defeat to President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto.

By going solo with a new party, Lopez Obrador has laid bare tensions in the left between moderates ready to work in Congress and accept Pena Nieto's win, and those firmly opposed to cooperating with his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

Lopez Obrador's decision was "utterly predictable" and had not helped the cause, Ebrard said, noting it would be "absurd" if the left did not run on a joint ticket in future elections.

"What we must avoid is having the left destroy itself, that we lose votes next year, that we're no longer second strongest force in 2015 (when legislative elections are held)," said Ebrard, 52, who plans to run for the presidency in 2018. Read more. 

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