INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Mexican prez race charts new PR territory

MEXICO CITY: Petty pre-election scuffles have tainted public perception of the three Mexican presidential candidates, leaving the country’s closest race for the presidency in 71 years up for grabs.

MEXICO CITY: Petty pre-election scuffles have tainted public perception of the three Mexican presidential candidates, leaving the country’s closest race for the presidency in 71 years up for grabs.

MEXICO CITY: Petty pre-election scuffles have tainted public

perception of the three Mexican presidential candidates, leaving the

country’s closest race for the presidency in 71 years up for grabs.



Most of the damage was inflicted during a nationally televised shouting

match on May 23 over details about a much-anticipated TV debate.



The three candidates (challenger Vincente Fox of the National Action

Party, Cuauhtemoc Cardenas of the Democratic Revolutionary Party and

Francisco Labastida of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party)

revealed their relative inexperience in front of the camera, delivering

unfiltered criticisms of one another and staring into space for long

periods of time.



The highlight - or lowlight - was a one-word spat between Fox and

Cardenas over the day the event should take place. ’Today!,’ one yelled.

’Friday!,’ the other responded.



The free-for-all was described by commentators and critics as historic

and unexpected in a country where races have traditionally consisted of

well-planned speeches and public rallies.



’This is a watershed election in Mexico, as the balance of power is

being challenged both in Congress and in the presidency,’ said Armando

Trull, VP of Cohn & Wolfe’s Hispanic outreach division. ’The old rule

book has been thrown out.’



The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has ruled Mexico since 1929,

but presidential candidate Labastida is currently running even with Fox

in polls. Fox is the first non-PRI presidential candidate in decades

with a serious chance of winning the election.



The increased importance of media coverage in the race has left

candidates looking for new PR tactics to reach the 14 million undecided

voters. Sources actively suggested that candidates have been seeking

advice from US PR pros.



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