06 May 2009

Ebrard says he'll work with Calderón on flu

The News

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said Tuesday that he would continue working with President Felipe Calderón during the flu outbreak, but cautioned that future cooperation with an administration he considers to have been illegitimately elected would be limited.

On Monday, the left-wing mayor stepped into Los Pinos for the first time since he and Calderón both took office in December 2006, attending a meeting on the flu with the president and the nation's 31 governors. Unlike his counterparts, Ebrard wore a face mask and gloves.

Ebrard - who has faced criticism for putting partisan interests and loyalties to Andrés Manuel López Obrador ahead of the needs of the capital, among other things - defended his trip to Los Pinos.

"What I'm doing is being responsible with respect to my role as head of the Mexico City government," Ebrard told El Universal. "It's clear that in many areas we [already] have been seeking relationships [with Los Pinos]."

Most pundits welcomed the thawing of relations, however. El Universal columnist Ricardo Alemán simply suggested such a diplomatic move should have come sooner. "The Mexico City mayor acted as he should have acted since the beginning of his government: as a statesman," he wrote on Tuesday.

Ebrard previously appeared at a security summit last summer with the president and governors. However, he has largely skipped any joint appearances with President Calderón.

Ebrard has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate for 2012, but has downplayed those suggestions. His most probable rival for the PRD nomination, López Obrador, told W Radio on Tuesday that "whoever is in the best position" would be the candidate. López Obrador used the radio interview to criticize Calderón for lacking a flu outbreak strategy and "arousing fear."

López Obrador also announced plans to campaign for his preferred candidates this week in Tabasco and Chiapas. Spokesman César Yañez said the events would be low-key - and not involve large crowds, as per Health Secretariat recommendations.

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