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Mexico foreign minister to quit to seek ruling party presidential ticket

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By Dave Graham

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, one of the leading contenders to be the country’s next leader, said on Tuesday he will resign next week to focus on winning the nomination of the ruling party for next year’s presidential election.

Ebrard, a former mayor of Mexico City, is competing to succeed President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as the standard-bearer of the leftist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) which now dominates national politics.

“I have resolved to request and present my resignation from the foreign ministry as of Monday, June 12,” Ebrard told a media conference in the capital surrounded by enthusiastic supporters.

Known as a savvy political operator and more socially progressive than Lopez Obrador, Ebrard reiterated his belief that all MORENA presidential contenders should leave their posts to ensure a fair process.

Polls show that Ebrard is one of the leading contenders to succeed Lopez Obrador, who by law can only serve one six-year term, though most recent surveys have tended to give current Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum a slight edge.

The presidential election takes place in June 2024.

MORENA will pick its presidential nominee by a polling process, though details have not been finalized.

MORENA is heavily favored to win the presidential contest, propelled by Lopez Obrador’s popularity.

The party won a resounding victory on Sunday in a governor’s race in the State of Mexico, the country’s most populous region, which had for nearly a century been a stronghold of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

The preliminary 8-point margin of victory for MORENA in the closely-watched contest will add the state to 21 others – out of 32 total – currently governed by the party.

(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Anthony Esposito and Gerry Doyle)

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