Mexico City - Mexico's electoral authorities described as a "mistake" on Monday the fact that a voluptuous model took part in the first televised debate among the country's presidential candidates.
Argentine-born Julia Orayen, featured in Playboy magazine in 2008, was on camera for a few seconds during the debate on Sunday as she carried an urn to distribute speaking turns among the candidates.
The model, dressed in a long, low-cut white dress, caused a stir.
Organisers apologised to candidates and citizens alike for the distraction.
'Who was that aide?'
Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute said it had requested from the production company someone who was dressed soberly and formally.
Far from deserving such a description, the young woman became a hit on social networks, ahead of the four candidates' proposals.
"Now, let's get to the important business: who was that aide?" someone wondered on the internet.
"I insist: the best thing (about the debate), the aide," former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castaneda said on Twitter.
The candidates were also struck by her presence. Gabriel Quadri of the liberal New Alliance Party appeared to look at the young woman's curves with great interest.
"She made me a little nervous. It's impossible not to focus your attention on a woman as spectacular as a 'playmate'," he admitted later with a smile.
Quadri debated three other contenders for the 1 July election: Josefina Vazquez Mota of the conservative National Action Party; Enrique Pena Nieto of the centre-right Revolutionary Institutional Party and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the left-wing Party of Democratic Revolution.
Vazquez Mota said she did not rule out that the woman's presence has been planned to distract attention from the issues in debate.
"I thought it was not in accordance with the seriousness, the importance a debate must have," she told Mexican radio.
The winner of the election will succeed Mexican President Felipe Calderon in December. Mexican law allows one term only.
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