Mexican President Vicente Fox can't run for re-election this July. But there are three top candidates: Lopez Obrador, 52, a former PRI-ista who later joined the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party and led anti-government demonstrations on the oil platforms of his native Tabasco state. He was also mayor of Mexico City from 2000 to 2005 (with an 80 percent approval rating).
Felipe Calderon, 43, is a lawyer with a master's degree from Harvard University and served as his party's president at the age of 34. He was the Fox appointee in charge of pushing the president's reforms to Mexico's outdated energy sector, which ultimately stalled, but supporters say he would be a better deal-broker than Fox.
Roberto Madrazo, 53, is an avid marathoner and son of a PRI stalwart. He defeated Lopez Obrador in a bitter, protest-marred contest to be Tabasco state governor in 1994, so this year's race has elements of a personal feud.
Two other candidates from far smaller parties are in the race. One is Patricia Mercado, a feminist running with the Alternative Party, and the other is Roberto Campa, a former PRI leader running with the New Alliance Party.
Who can fill Fox's botas? Will we finally see an immigration fix? Stay tuned.
(Source: "Reform, stability vie in Mexican race - Disappointment with Fox may feed desire for order, not change" by Hugh Dellios, Tribune foreign correspondent. Published January 19, 2006.)