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150,000 march in support of leftist leader

Over 150,000 march to support Mexico’s leftist mayor
Conservative parties try to impeach Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on corruption allegations.  The leftist leader, who tops 2006 presidential race, says they are trying to block his rise to power.

Mexico City’s left wing mayor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, led more than 150,000 supporters, who marched on Sunday to protest against efforts from the powerful conservative parties to impeach him on alleged corruption scandal. Demonstrators say that the initiative threatens Mexico’s political stability as has been meant to block the aspirations of millions of Mexicans ready to vote for Lopez Obrador in 2006 elections.

Protesters brought in by hundreds of buses from outside the city mingled with local supporters of Lуpez Obrador, the leading contender in the 2006 presidential race. Although he didn't declare his candidacy, Lуpez Obrador laid out a campaign platform that envisioned a return to a more self-sufficient economy and a renegotiation of part of Mexico’s public debt.

Federal prosecutors have filed a case to remove Lуpez Obrador's official immunity from prosecution — a move that would bar him from running in 2006 — because he allegedly ignored court orders in a land-use case in which the city allegedly infringed on private property. Lуpez Obrador argues that many other officials have ignored similar court orders, but that he was singled out for prosecution because his opponents — purportedly including President Vicente Fox — want to knock him out of the 2006 race, in which he is currently the favorite according to polls.

The opposition to Lopez Obrador –the conservative ruling National Action Party, or PAN, and the once hegemonic Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI- are afraid of Lopez Obrador’s skills to lead the vast majority of “those on the bottom” against “those on top”, as he likes to say, and become the next president of Mexico in less than two years. Therefore, they want to liken Lopez Obrador to Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez, but he denies similarities with the populist leader.

''We have to recover the best of Mexican history, that's where Mexico's character is,'' Lopez Obrador told a cheering crowd. ''We should return to the policy of state support that has been practically eliminated by free-market policies. We have to support industry.''

Lopez Obrador, who can take his Democratic Revolutionary Party, or PRD, to presidency for the first time in its history makes good use of class against class formulas in his speech. Days before the march, he declared to the press: ''The ones on top aren't going to come. They just dine and drink fine wines, and make decisions that hurt the little guy.''

Allegations against Lopez Obrador are part of a complot, argue Mayor’s supporters, as they are prepared to crush it with a popular rebellion, if necessary.

Hernan Etchaleco

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