Mexico leftist Lopez Obrador has heart attack but is improving

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 03, 2013 1:59 PM
Mexico leftist Lopez Obrador has heart attack but is improving

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who was runner-up to President Enrique Pena Nieto in last year's presidential election, is fine after being admitted to hospital with a heart condition, his spokesman said on Tuesday.

Lopez Obrador has been spearheading protests against Pena Nieto's push to open up the state-controlled oil sector, a central plank of the president's wider economic reform drive.

Cesar Yanez, a spokesman for Lopez Obrador, said the 60-year-old former mayor of Mexico City had experienced pressure on his heart and was being attended by doctors.

"Everything is fine," Yanez said.

A fiery orator and leader of the Mexican left, Lopez Obrador's closest brush with the presidency came in 2006, when he was narrowly defeated by conservative Felipe Calderon, and spent much of the next six years saying he had been robbed of victory.

Lopez Obrador made the same accusation against Pena Nieto last year and has sought to build a popular front against the energy reform, claiming the president wants to sell off Mexico's assets by luring foreign capital into the oil industry.

The reform is due to be debated in Congress in the next few days and is expected to pass before Christmas. Lopez Obrador has sworn he will work to undermine any contracts between the government and private oil companies.

Since losing to Calderon in 2006, when his protests against the outcome brought much of the capital to a standstill for weeks, the silver-haired Lopez Obrador has kept up a hectic schedule, touring Mexico in a state of near-permanent campaign.

Days ago Lopez Obrador vowed to form a human circle around Congress to protest against the energy reform.

However, recent protests have failed to muster the scale of support he achieved in 2006 when hundreds of thousands took to the streets of Mexico City on his behalf.

(Reporting by Simon Gardner; editing by Jackie Frank)