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How are "los chilangos" - as Mexico City residents are known - likely to vote in theMarch 21 plebiscite on whether their city leaders should be elected?

The vote is being organized by a coalition of private citizens and five political parties. City residents will be asked if they agree that Mexico City should become one of Mexico's states; whether the municipal government should be elected by a universal, secret ballot; and if the city should have its own legislature.

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In March Este Pais, a monthly magazine, will publish results of two recent polls which suggest Mexicans do not want Mexico City to become the 32nd Mexican state, but that city residents do want more direct participation in their local government.

Forty-eight percent of those polled in five cities nationwide want Mexico City to remain as it is now, the country's "Federal District." Thirty-seven percent would like to see Mexico City become a state.

Another poll, conducted solely in the city, showed an even higher percentage (62 percent) do not not want the city to convert to a state. But there is a desire for greater democracy as evidenced by the results of the other two questions to be voted on in the plebescite, the poll found.

Sixty-seven percent of Mexico City residents polled want a local government elected by secret ballot. And 67 percent want Mexico City to have its own legislative body.

But whether politicians are elected or appointed, citizens' confidence in their ability to resolve city problems do not seem to vary much.

When asked if electing the mayor or electing the local delegates would likely improve city management, the majority (57 and 58 percent) say things would stay the same.

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