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FILE PHOTO - Jaime Rodriguez Calderon, governor of Nuevo Leon state, speaks during an interview with Reuters at the Government Palace in Monterrey, Mexico, December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The governor of Nuevo Leon, a prosperous state in northern Mexico, requested a leave of absence on Wednesday to run as an independent candidate for president next year.

Jaime Rodriguez, known as "El Bronco," wrote in a post on Twitter that he had asked the state's congress for permission to take a six-month leave of absence.

"I want to change Mexico so that the citizens together make history," he wrote in Spanish. "While this is being decided, I will continue working as every day."

Diana Adame, a spokeswoman for the state of Nuevo Leon, said the governor expects to hear back from Congress in the next few days.

Rodriguez still needs more signatures across 12 states to become an independent candidate, having reached the goal in five, according to the electoral regulator INE.

A poll by Parametria published by Reuters on Tuesday showed just 2 percent of people said they would vote for Rodriguez, though other polls have put it at around 4 percent.

(Reporting by Christine Murray and Julia Love; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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