MEXICO CITY: PR played a pivotal role last month in helping Francisco Labastida win Mexico’s first-ever major-party presidential primary.
MEXICO CITY: PR played a pivotal role last month in helping
Francisco Labastida win Mexico’s first-ever major-party presidential
Labastida, an economist and member of current president Ernesto
Zedillo’s cabinet, hails from Mexico’s ruling party, the Institutional
Revolutionary Party (PRI). In July’s presidential election, he will be
pitted against Vicente Fox of the conservative National Action Party and
Cuauhtemoc Cardenas of the liberal Democratic Revolution Party.
Pollster Stan Greenberg, who advised Labastida in the weeks leading up
to the primary, said that the victory could largely be attributed to a
PR strategy that reflected the values PRI primary voters were
When the campaign started, Labastida appeared to be lagging behind
Roberto Madrazo, who staged an American-style negative advertising
campaign. But while Madrazo’s campaign techniques drew the attention of
the news media and politicians, it didn’t impress voters.
Sensing this, Labastida reoriented his campaign approach to focus on
positives, placing particular emphasis on character. He separated
himself from the old, scandal-tainted PRI by identifying with reformist
Luis Donaldo Colosio, a presidential candidate who was assassinated five
Greenberg contended that adhering to a less-flashy PR and advertising
scheme helped Labastida climb steadily in the polls, culminating in a
landslide victory. The economist was also helped by support from leading
The party itself was a major beneficiary of Greenberg’s PR strategy.
Polls indicated that PRI improved its standing with voters during the
campaign, and it will likely continue to project a more open democratic
style. Labastida emphasized this, saying that his nomination signals the
birth of a ’new’ PRI and that he hopes his approach will carry over to
subsequent primaries and elections.