updated 4/28/2005 2:52:07 AM ET 2005-04-28T06:52:07

President Vicente Fox accepted the resignation of Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha on Wednesday in what was widely seen as an attempt to defuse the legal conflict with leftist Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

In a speech marked by conciliatory language toward the mayor — Fox’s main rival and the leading contender in polls on the 2006 presidential race — Fox promised his new top prosecutor would take pains to avoid a political crisis over the case.

“The new attorney general will exhaustively review the case against the mayor, while seeking to preserve the greatest political harmony in the country,” Fox said in a televised address.

The government news agency Notimex said Fox would announce presidential counsel Daniel Cabeza de Vaca as a replacement for Macedo de la Concha, whose office brought the charges against the mayor in an obscure 2001 land case.

Fox did not name his nominee in Wednesday’s speech, saying only he would propose someone soon to the Senate, which must approve the appointment.

In the meantime, Cabeza de la Vaca was to assume control of the office in the role of assistant attorney general. In that role, he was replacing one of two assistant attorneys general who also resigned Wednesday.

Mixed record
On Macedo de la Concha’s watch, Mexico arrested a large number of top drug traffickers, but also suffered a prison crisis and prison escapes.

Macedo acknowledged his resignation was due to larger political factors.

“The country’s current situation required I resign for love of my country,” Macedo de la Concha said, while expressing satisfaction at the progress he had made in the post.

The leader of Lopez Obrador’s Democratic Revolution Party, Leonel Cota, said the group had demanded Macedo’s resignation and saw Wednesday’s decision “as a good signal.”

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