Green, creative and cheap? The Macedonian Green campaign

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For the recent local elections in Macedonia, DOM, the Green Party (Democratic Renewal of Macedonia) founded in 2006, ran on its own list and obtained promising results. Liljana Popovska, DOM’s leader and Member of Parliament shares with us some successes from the campaign: stay positive, original…and cheap!

Last March, Macedonian citizens voted in local and Mayoral elections: local councillors are elected under a proportional representation system and Mayors under a first-past-the-post system. That’s why DOM made the choice to run independently in the local council elections.

Four priorities of the campaign embodied by original street actions

campaign6DOM built its programme around four priorities: “Green Municipalities for a healthy life; Green economy and Green jobs; social justice and equal rights for all; tolerance, reason and cooperation”. A series of actions enabled DOM to promote their ideas in each of these areas by illustrating policies which would be implemented if DOM were to govern. “Green Municipalities for a healthy life” was a very important item as air pollution is a big historical problem in Macedonia from communist period and many local authorities are cash-strapped.

This priority was promoted by street actions using respiratory masks and bikes in order to promote eco-friendly transport as a way to reduce pollution. Liljana and local candidates also visited companies and met business leaders, who were responsible for much of the pollution, in order to raise awareness of the need for stricter regulation and greater respect for environmental principles. Other actions included distributing organic fruit and printing “Green menus”, which promoted at the same time healthy life, green economy and gender equality, as this point was emphasised during the action by encouraging men to cook.

DOM also had a catchy slogan: “Choose Green, Breathe freely”: it goes beyond the reference to health and included the respect of religious, sexual and cultural differences. It also means independent thinking and choosing an option other than the big parties. This outdoor mobilisation was reinforced by canvassing door-to-door, flashmobs organised by the youth wing of the party (MODOM), and intensive online campaigning.

A strategic communication based on social media and cartoons

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When your financial resources are limited, social media is the key to campaigning. It is a very practical tool because you see the results quickly: for example, when the number of likes of DOM’s page gained +3100 likes on Facebook in two weeks, it was the result of DOM’s emphasis on this medium.

DOM, helped by MODOM, used Facebook to share their events and news. 43 candidates had a Facebook profile, improving communication with citizens, helping them share information and event invitations, Liljana commented. DOM also used cartoons in order to introduce citizens to Green issues: it enabled DOM to diffuse a political message in a funny way with symbolic elements. For DOM’s leader, cartoons plus street actions contributed to highlighting the positive message of this campaign.

As a result, the campaign was really well covered by the media: feedback was positive and citizens acknowledged the relevance and originality of the campaign.

Promising results for DOM’s development

Running alone was a challenge for DOM but they managed to have 43 councillor lists (the third party in terms of number of lists), 777  candidates respecting gender-balance and women headed 30% of the lists. In term of electoral results, DOM received 25,000 votes and got 10 councillors elected, including two in the capital Skopje. Their vote increased by 45% compared to the last elections when DOM ran alone (2006).

Thus, this campaign enabled the party to have visibility and to influence the political agenda of the others big parties. It also benefited the party financially, because the electoral law of Macedonia finances parties according their most recent election results, and with an increase in membership. For Liljana, these results are also the consequences of long-term work by the party. They demonstrate that “Green ideas are an option and that this options has followers”.  Choose Green, breathe freely! 

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COMMENTS ARE CLOSED

  1. Albert Eckert 26/07/2013 at 19:54 | Permalink |

    Congratulations! Although “Choose Green, breathe freely!” is a unique way to translate green topics to the macedonian environment.
    Ten councillors elected cannot be called a break through – but this is an important step for visibility and further growth of DOM.