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.