Mexico City is getting a new status.

Long considered an administrative district run by the central government, the city of 8.85 million will now be considered almost a state in itself.

The measure signed into law by President Enrique Pena Nieto on Friday marks the latest stage in the city's long, somewhat equivocal relationship with the rest of the country.

Many people still refer to the city simply as "Mexico." For decades, it was known as "the federal district."

Under the new status, the city's borough leaders will become mayors.

The current mayor has near-governor status. His new role is one of many things to be determined by a special assembly.

The city was run by the central government until 1997, when residents were allowed to elect their leaders.