Sunday, July 31, 2005

Mexico City Mayor Launches Presidential Bid

REUTERS - Mexico City's popular left-wing mayor stepped down on Friday to run for president with a promise to overhaul government policies in favor of the poor. In a farewell speech, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador boasted of his achievements in the chaotic capital city and said he would take his policies of social welfare and public works spending to the national stage.

"I am going to fight along with many Mexicans, women and men, for a true transformation of Mexico," he told thousands of cheering supporters in a plush city auditorium normally used for rock concerts and ballet performances.

An austere former Indian rights activist, Lopez Obrador is Mexico's most popular politician and holds a wide lead over his rivals in polls for the presidential elections next July. He scores sky-high approval ratings in Mexico City for investing in public transport and new roads, giving pensions to everyone over 70 years old and handing out cash allowances to disabled people, poor children and single mothers.

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