Sunday, October 26, 2003

[ELECTIONS 2003] Billboard Wars

Weeks before the campaign has officially started, billboards were begun to be covered with political parties' propaganda posters.

Libra started by using its "Answer to All Important Questions" radio/TV commercial and putting faces of their leaders Jozo Radoš (Jozo Rados) and Goran Granić (Goran Granic) to remind voters of their party's mere existence. This poster turned into major fiasco after Granić announced his spectacular retirement from politics, enraged by Sabor legislation which was too anti-Hague for his liking (Croatian government is now forced to give any top secret documents to lawyers representing Croatian policemen and soldiers accused of war crimes).

LS, another nominal liberal party, is using "100% Liberal" slogan as the only meaningful content on their poster. This is mistake. Average voters cares very little of ideology, which is understandable, because political platforms of majority of Croatian parties look like carbon copies of each other. Using Ivo Banac's face would have been more effective – in snobbish intellectual circles he had something of a charisma of Račan's (Racan's) government's most eloquent and effective critic from the left.

HNS are, on the other hand, showing off with series of expensive but different posters (few parties can afford more than few different posters), promising all kinds of nice things when Croatia becomes member of EU. This might bight them in the back, just as their "200,000 new jobs" 2000 pre-election promise plagued them in past three years.

HSS has the worst possible of all posters – slogan "I Love My Country" is accompanied by the photo of young male fashion model in white sweater passionately stroking tree. You don't have to enjoy finding hidden homosexual contents in popular media to find particular irony in this – of all parties that have opposed gay rights legislation HSS was the most explicit. It wouldn't surprise me to find that the designer hired to create HSS poster is one of the "brothers" who used this opportunity to strike at "homophobic oppressors".

HDZ, on the other hand, waited with their posters. Their absence, however, only pointed towards anonymous posters with pictures of Pinnochio and present government's various unfulfilled 2000 election promises (lower petrol prices, lower foreign debts, new jobs etc.). It doesn't take genius to figure out that HDZ is behind this. And this is hardly surprising – HDZ strategists know that they can't win any votes and that they don't have any meaningful political platform. On the other hand, they have stable core of voters and the idea is simply to discourage government's voters with negative campaigning.

SDP, to a lesser degree, also has stable core of voters, so they, despite their pledge not to engage into negative campaigning (and official poster with "Yes! For Croatia" slogan) also took the effort of reminding people that HDZ getting back in power would be bad thing. Slobodna Dalmacija is equipped with flyers comparing 1999 newspaper headlines (unemployment, corruption, secret police stalking opposition parties) with those of today (new roads, thriving tourism season etc.).


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