PARIS: French prime minister Lionel Jospin, who is set to challenge
Gaullist Jacques Chirac for the presidency in April's elections, has
picked Euro RSCG PRO Nathalie Mercier as his chief image consultant.
Mercier has formerly acted as communications adviser to a number of
political candidates around the globe.
She recently advised the Mauritian prime minister in his unsuccessful
campaign, and was the top communications adviser to Senegalese president
Abdou Diouf, who lost two years ago to present head of state Abdoulaye
As part of socialist Jospin's campaign team, she will work alongside
PROs Yves Colmou and Marie d'Ouince.
Industry speculation is that a final major PR appointment to Jospin's
campaign team will be made soon, with one source suggesting that veteran
French communications adviser Jacques Seguela, one of the founders of
Euro RSCG, is set for the role.
Seguela was the principal architect of Francois Mitterrand's electoral
victory in 1981 against Valery Giscard d'Estaing.
Jospin's fellow presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Chevenement announced
the appointment of his official campaign spokesman, Michel Suchod, late
last year (PRWeek, 23 November 2001).
The presidential elections are to be held on 21 April and 5 May this
Neither Jospin nor Chirac have officially announced they will stand in
the forthcoming elections, but a battle between the two is seen as a
Jospin, who came to power in 1997, has been backing proposals to tighten
French custody procedures in a move to prove his crime-fighting
credentials ahead of the elections.
Last week, Jospin said his government would seek to pass new measures
extending police powers of detention of suspects by the close of
parliament next month.