The dominant figure on the Mexican left for a decade, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said here Monday that the new party he plans to launch will aim to become the "moral benchmark" for politics in the Aztec nation.

Lopez Obrador, who barely lost the 2006 presidential election and attributed his second-place finish in this year's vote to corrupt machinations by the victorious PRI, spoke at the opening of a congress of his National Regeneration Movement, or Morena.

Founded almost two years ago as the former Mexico City mayor geared up for his second presidential bid, Morena is now in the process of applying for formal registration as a political party, which would make the organization eligible for government funding.

Though he was one of PRI renegades who established the nominally leftist PRD in the late 1980s, Lopez Obrador quit the party in September.

The current PRD leadership is significantly to the right of the 59-year-old Lopez Obrador.

Morena will be a party that fights against "the vices of traditional politics" and strives to end the "authoritarian and corrupt regime," he said Monday before nearly 1,700 delegates from across Mexico.

"Our goal," he said, "must not be that Morena become a mass party, a single, totalitarian party, but rather one of exceptional men and women."

The Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which governed Mexico from 1929 to 2000, is set to return to power Dec. 1 after 12 years in opposition.

During its long reign, the PRI relied mainly on patronage and control of organized labor and the mass media, though it was not above resorting to outright vote-rigging and even violence. EFE