DRP leader to challenge for Mexican presidency

The new head of Mexico's third strongest left-wing party is expected to be a pugnacious provincial leader who gained popularity by blockading state-owned oil wells and mobilising anti-government protests. Under Andres Lopez Obrador, the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) is expected to challenge President Ernesto Zedillo to speed the pace of democratic reform or face more unrest.

Mr Lopez Obrador, from the oil-rich Gulf Coast state of Tabasco, held a commanding lead for the presidency of the 1.3-million-member left-wing party. It was founded in 1987 by an assortment of former communists, socialists and other left-wingers as well as several leaders of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, who broke away to protest at corruption and repression. Mexico City - AP