A candidate returns

The fact that the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) chose Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also known as AMLO, as its candidate for the 2012 presidential election, highlights the maturity of the leftist group. The Tabasco-born politician now has another chance.

The competition for the party’s candidacy between López Obrador and Marcelo Ebrard, the mayor of the Federal District, got resolved very efficiently. Ebrard generously stepped aside, when he could have disputed the poll results favoring his rival. This gesture speaks well of this politician-who still has the potential for a long career-and the party.

For López Obrador, this is an opportunity for a personal do-over to reach Los Pinos and finally become Mexico’s “legitimate president,” which he has mentioned so often after the controversial election that resulted in the presidency of Felipe Calderón of the National Action Party (PAN).

AMLO faces an uphill battle. According to the polls, voters have the most negative perception of him as a candidate, and his popularity is below that of Enrique Peña Nieto, the candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

There is a long way to go before the election, the PRI’s favorite has not been confirmed as the candidate and the governing PAN seems to be experiencing internal turmoil. Anything can happen.

This time around, López Obrador is the experienced candidate, although now he must beat the PRI and not the PAN. It is now up to AMLO to avoid falling into the traps of arrogance and messianic leadership that lost him support that might have led him to the presidency in the last election.

The socioeconomic challenges Mexico faces today are similar to the ones in 2006, although concerns about a lack of public safety and the power of drug cartels occupy everyone’s minds. We will have to wait and see how the Mexican people respond to López Obrador’s message in 2012.