In 1994, with the victory of Jaime Lerner in the Paraná gubernatorial campaign, the 12-year cycle of political leadership of the PMDB in front of the Palácio do Iguaçu came to an end.
That year, PMDB did not have its candidate for state government. The strategy was to form a coalition with former governor Álvaro Dias, who had left the PMDB after his term as head of the Paraná Executive and allied with the PP. Requião resigned from that post to run for a seat in the Senate.
The strength of the coalition between the last two governors can be measured by the fact that the coalition won the two senate seats that were put in dispute, through the election of Requião and Osmar Dias, Secretary of State in the administration of Requião and his brother Álvaro Dias. .
Because of the respect he had as an architect and urban planner, Lerner was appointed mayor of Curitiba in 1971, at a time when the military regime had banned the direct election of mayors in major cities. Lerner was one of the founders and president of the Institute for Research and Urban Planning in Curitiba. Well evaluated as a mayor with innovative ideas in the area of urban planning, he increased his prestige and was re-appointed for another term as the head of the Executive of Curitiba in 1979.
With the re-establishment of democracy, Lerner joined the PDT, at the invitation of Leonel Brizola. In 1985, in the first direct election of the mayor of Curitiba after the end of the dictatorship, he ran for office with Roberto Requião and lost. In 1986, he was a candidate for vice governor on the ticket led by Alencar Furtado. After two defeats in the elections, he won a voluntary victory in the 1988 mayoral election, as he entered the race just two weeks before the election day, due to the absence of laws regarding election headquarters.
After another acclaimed term as mayor of the capital, Lerner prepared to run for governor of the state. To expand his influence in the North of Paraná, he created a feud with the deputy of the state Emília Belinati, from a traditional London political family.
After the 1994 election, Álvaro Dias took the lead and was seen as the favorite, reaching a 13-point advantage at the start of the decisive phase. Lerner, however, responded and won in the first round, with 54.85% of the valid votes, while Álvaro Dias finished with 38.55%.
Third place was Jorge Samek, councilor of Curitiba, PT gubernatorial candidate. He got 4.22%, far from the first two, Álvaro Dias and Jaime Lerner.
On the one hand, Lerner investigated the dispute between former governor Álvaro Dias and the state court, which took place during the 1988 strike. It seems that Lerner received good support and participation from the court.
On the other hand, in his election propaganda, Lerner allowed himself to be filmed drawing a new Paraná on the drawing board, reinforcing the image of a creative planner. His propaganda focused on the idea of unifying Paraná, showing two axes. The first was the strengthening of the road connecting ring; the second was the decentralization of the industrialization process, focusing on the capital cities of the integration ring.