Electoral Campaigns in the Process of Transition to Democracy in Romania after December 1989. Research Theme: Local Campaign for Mayor’s Office of Iasi, 2004 – The Construction of a Political Product | Nicolae LUPASCU
Abstract: This study aims to present the electoral campaigns in Romania after December 1989. Electoral campaigns are designed, at least in theory, to inform voters about candidates and to help them better understand their position on problems of the moment, the causes for which they stand up for and party affiliations. Knowing the candidates and being aware of their conceptions and actions, the electors can decide who to vote for, whether to adjust or not their electoral options or if there is a need of changing the political power. Unfortunately, electoral campaigns succeed only partially to achieve these goals, failing most of the time to inform the electors and help them to vote according to them. The construction of the political figure, the notoriety of the candidate, the credibility, the slogan, the media agenda versus the population agenda, are matters of discussion absolutely necessary for a suitable analysis, and we cannot create an image of coherency in the planning of a campaign or, even more specific, in the construction of a political product. After the first part, which is to some extent theoretical, in the second part I will put forward a practical study which in this case can only be the presentation of a fragment of electoral campaign. It is a fragment because the amplitude and complexity of approaching an electoral campaign with all of its elements would overcome the time allocated during this conference, this is the reason why I will analyze the electoral campaign through the construction of the political product. The research’s presentation consists of the local campaign for the Mayor’s office of Iasi, in 2004, considered through the national electoral context: the realization of the D.A. alliance between PNL and PD in the autumn of 2003, meant the beginning of the actual electoral struggle in Romania. If when the alliance was launched, in the autumn of 2002, the two parties were almost alike, around 10-12%, after one year, PNL rose to 18-20% and PD remained at 10-12%. In order to have a clearer image upon the political „market” of Iasi I have presented the first five „brands” (political parties) with their „the political products” (candidates for the position of Mayor) resulted from this campaign and, bearing in mind the criteria announced above, I found interesting the evolution of two candidates for the seat of Mayor of Iasi: Dan Carlan- Democrat Party (PD) and Relu Fenechiu- National Liberal Party (PNL). Finally, I was concerned with the construction of the political product of PD and PNL, and moreover, the logical conclusions of the scientific study.
Keywords: Electoral campaign, local elections, political product, USP (unique selling proposition).
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