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Mexico City's mayor is presidential favorite -- for now

June 23, 2008 | 10:13 am

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who has made his mark with popular public programs, such as a free ice-skating rink in the main square, traffic-free Sundays for cyclists and fake beaches, is a favorite for Mexico's upcoming presidential elections in 2012, the Houston Chronicle's Marion Lloyd reports.

Getting ahead of the pack on the elections still four years away, Ebrard offers "a public face that blends populist theater and good government and a behind-the-scenes reputation as part geeky environmentalist and part shrewd political operator."

Looking ahead, it is expected that the leftist mayor could compete for the top job against his fellow PRD party frontman Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in 2012, who though not the holder of an official position remains in the public spotlight on a daily basis and is one of the party's most influential leaders.

Lopez Obrador, the loser in Mexico's controversial 2006 elections that saw current President Felipe Calderon elected, has vowed that the 2012 campaign will be his last -- if he doesn't win, he's going to call it a day.

But four years can be a long time, especially in volatile Mexican politics.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City