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article imageMacron's campaign guru eyes Brazilian election

By AFP     Feb 2, 2018 in Politics

The campaign gurus behind Emmanuel Macron's rise from the margins to French president have arrived in Brazil to see if they can pick -- and help make -- another winner.

Brazil holds presidential elections in October. Just as during France's earthquake election last year, voters are in a rebellious mood and looking for a way beyond the status quo.

The leading candidate, leftist former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, faces possible prison, while second place is entirely up for grabs.

And Guillaume Liegey thinks a Macron-style campaign could produce a surprise winner from the center.

"I believe we can import (the campaign) to Brazil," he told AFP after a second visit to the country.

Liegey is part of the three-member, startup consultancy LMP, which crafted Macron's emergence as an electoral force at the head of a brand new centrist party that pushed aside long-established rivals.

Similarities between France and Brazil include "a high level of hostility toward the political class, big parties that have trouble adapting, and the same (public-private) campaign finance system," Liegey said.

For now, LMP says it has no one signed up.

Brazilian media have already linked LMP to one outsider, television presenter Luciano Huck, who in the latest Datafolha poll scored eight percent in a first round of voting.

Huck himself has yet to declare his candidacy and he has no party, but expectations are high that he will enter.

Liegey says he has "no contract" with anyone and while he'd be open to an approach from Huck, "there are also other candidates."

LMP is looking for "a candidate who's a little new, or someone there who wants to run a bit of a different campaign," the strategist said. "We're ready to work with any party or candidate... able to run a big national campaign."

Recalling how Macron's ratings only reached 10 percent nine months before his election victory, Liegey said: "We forget how complicated it was in France before Macron's victory."

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