Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who came up short five years ago in Mexico's closest-ever presidential election, will represent the left again in the 2012 contest after prevailing in a nationwide survey of supporters of leftist parties.

The poll, carried out Nov. 4-6 by the firms Nodo Investigacion y Estrategia and Covarrubias, showed López Obrador with an advantage over MexicoCity Mayor Marcelo Ebrard.

"I accept and heed the results of the surveys," Ebrard said Tuesday, stressing the need for a broad leftist front in next year's general elections.

The left divided would just go to the precipice, and I won't be the one who divides it.

- MexicoCity Mayor Marcelo Ebrard

López Obrador, 58, praised Ebrard and immediately accepted his recommendation to forge a coalition to build "a social and democratic state, pluralist and inclusive."

"Marcelo is giving us a lesson as a human being and as a politician," López Obrador said.

"The left divided would just go to the precipice, and I won't be the one who divides it," Ebrard said. "The future of the cause is before and above personal desires ... I wish López Obrador the greatest of successes and he knows that he can count on my support and solidarity"

López Obrador, himself a former mayor of the capital, is a veteran of the main leftist party, the PRD, which was formed in the late 1980s by disgruntled members of the then-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

He lost the 2006 presidential contest by 0.5 percent of the vote to Felipe Calderón, standard-bearer of the rightist PAN.

Claiming fraud, López Obrador demanded a full recount, but election authorities agreed to review only a small percentage of the ballots and the top electoral court proclaimed Calderon the winner, even though judges acknowledged that PAN incumbent Vicente Fox's efforts on behalf of his party colleague had violated the law.

López Obrador's supporters occupied parts of downtown Mexico City for months after the election and the candidate subsequently held a massive rally in the capital where he declared himself the country's "legitimate president."

The PRI, which held the Mexican presidency from 1929 until Fox's victory in 2000, is heavily favored to retake the highest office in next year's elections.

The PRI is expected to nominate the telegenic former governor of Mexico state, Enrique Peña Nieto, who currently enjoys a wide lead in the polls over López Obrador.

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