INTERNATIONAL: PROs bid for Brazil's election work

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazilian public affairs practitioners are battling

for the multi-million pound presidential campaign accounts up for grabs

ahead of next year's election.



Brazil is set to elect the successor to President Fernando Henrique

Cardoso - alongside state governors and congressmen - in October

2002.



Candidates are already putting together campaign PR teams and enlisting

external communications advisers.



Industry speculation suggests candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, head

of the left-wing party Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT), will sign up

political PR specialist Duda Mendonca.



Mendonca has already produced two 20-minute long TV shows for PT and is

understood to be putting together a team and campaign headquarters in

Sao Paulo.



Mendonca has run several campaigns for former Sao Paulo state governor

Paulo Maluf, a right-wing politician and traditional political rival of

Lula and PT.



'In the past, PT wouldn't hire someone not affiliated to the party's

views. But the party understood the importance of having the best

professional, regardless of his political standing,' said a PT

official.



The most wanted account is the PR campaign for the Government's

presidential candidate, which market insiders estimate could be worth

£5.3m.



However, the government coalition must first choose a candidate, a

process which may take as long as four months.



The current leading candidates are health minister Jose Serra, Ceara

state governor Tasso Jereissati and Maranhao state governor Roseana

Sarney.



Communications specialist Nizan Guanaes, who headed President Cardoso's

successful campaigns in 1994 and 1998, is said to be the favourite of

both Jereissati and Sarney.



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