Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon could become Mexico's version of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva if he is able to make a successful run for the presidency in 2012 or 2018, Mexican journalist Alejandro Paez Varela said in an interview with Efe.

"Lula does not operate with an ideology of 'everything for the state,' but with a more liberal one, while consolidating the work of the state as a private enterprise," the journalist said.

Paez Varela has just written a biography of Ebrard, who was born in Mexico City in 1959, titled "Presidente en espera" (President in Waiting).

The biography, which was published by Planeta, is being marketed as "a portrait in black and white" of Ebrard, who runs the Federal District's government and is a member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, Mexico's most important leftist political party.

Ebrard, a politician who represents the "progressive left" in Mexico, "could easily walk from the center toward Lula's position," Paez Varela said.

There are many similarities between the men, such as their intense focus on public works projects, which have created work in the short-term for "the lowest classes" in Mexico City, as well as improving infrastructure in the long run, the author said.

The second way in which the two politicians are alike is in how they handle public safety issues, Paez Varela, director of content for a Web site and deputy editor of the El Universal newspaper's Dia Siete Sunday magazine, said.

"There have been strategic blows by Ebrard during this time (he took office on Dec. 5, 2006) that, although they have been criticized, ended up reflecting a policy of 'Don't come into the city because I'll go after you,'" Paez Varela said.

The mayor's policy has allowed Mexico City to have good levels of security, compared to other cities in the country, the journalist said.

Ebrard has the virtue of "being a man who moves between the left and the center," allowing him to "position himself as an alternative for governing Mexico and bringing together the many groups that have been fleeing radicalism," including business leaders, Paez Varela said.

Being a centrist, however, could put the mayor in an "uncomfortable" position, costing him "many votes from the radical left and right," the author said.

Ebrard can wave his success running Mexico City before potential voters as a trophy since he has turned the capital into "a sanctuary at this disastrous time (from a public safety standpoint) that we are living in," Paez Varela said.

"The left is terrible at selling itself politically, absurd and dumb, and it shoots itself in the foot, but at the same time, when it gets its turn to govern, it can do it, and the capital is there to prove it," the author said.

Ebrard will be "an active figure on the political scene over the next decade," Paez Varela said.

His political godfathers are Manuel Camacho Solis and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, both former presidential candidates and, ironically, the latter is a rival in the race for the PRD nomination in 2012.

The PRD's candidate will probably be determined in "an election open to the public" in coming months, Paez Varela said.

"The country is going to ask them for a transparent election ... If for some reason the selection process gets rough ... the left is just going to sink," Paez Varela said.