About this blog
A blog dedicated to the examination of communications in election campaigns, with a focus on posters
Monday, June 15, 2009
Several Irish commentators are opining that an election poster in support of one Mannix Flynn is an interesting one—at least in Dublin. Ann Marie Hourihane, writing in the Irish Times, wrote that the Flynn poster stands out in a sea of mediocre designs:
"Mannix Flynn is standing for the local elections, and his poster was recommended to me by a visually literate friend as a work of art. Its background is an acid yellow-green. It has a little lettering in shocking pink. The background to the candidate’s name is a dirty turquoise and the words Mannix Flynn are rendered in a dark burgundy. It looks sharp. It is retro, but it looks new. I know of one young woman who is going to vote for Mannix Flynn on the basis that his poster is cool. In the land of the disembodied and grinning heads something new, and very good, can be done with a format which is staggering with weariness."
Flynn is a writer and actor, who ran for the Dublin City Council in the June 5th elections, and won as an independent.
You can check out Flynn's Web site, which has a music video supporting him, among other things.
Flynn should make sure that his posters are taken down though, since even independent candidates can be fined heavily for leaving them up under a 1997 law.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Elections for the lower house of the Indian Parliament, the Lok Sabha, concluded on May 16.
The voters gave the ruling moderate-left Congress Party, led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a great victory over the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Congress Party coalition won 262 seats in the 534-seat parliamentary body; the BJP-led coalition only won 157. (Click here for the results.)
According to Rama Lakshmi, writing in The Washington Post: "For the first time since 1996, India will have a coalition government that is not fragile and unwieldy and that has a relatively strong center. The outgoing coalition government...was sustained by a handful of communist parties that eventually withdrew support over a controversial civilian nuclear agreement concluded last year between India and the United States."
$3 billion was spent on the campaign—about $600 million more than was spent during last year's presidential campaign in the United States, reported The New York Times. Of course, much was expended on TV spots and newspaper ads, but text messages were also sent to many of the 400 million cell-phone users, and priests were even hired to perform rituals in support of candidates and parties. One medium that was used less than in the past was posters, since India's election commission issued a ban on their display in public, if permission has not been granted to put them up, according to The Times. Web sites were also evident—with the BJP emulating Barack Obama's online example.
Previously, posters were rated as the fifth most important medium in campaigns by Indian campaign managers, behind rallies and daily newspapers, public television, and radio, but ahead of private television, direct mail, and magazines. For more on Indian politics and posters, see a previous blog entry and the book, Posters, Propaganda, and Persuasion in Election Campaigns Around the World and Through History.
Monday, June 8, 2009
There are anti-immigrant parties in many European countries, including Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, and Switzerland (see previous blog entries from March 7, 2009 and December 14, 2008).
The elections to determine members of the European Union (EU) Parliament were just held in 27 nations, with the center-right European People's Party coalition emerging with the most seats.
One party that did particularly well was the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV). The PVV's platform calls for an end to immigration from non-European countries and opposes the admission of Turkey to the EU. In the 2006 elections for the Dutch House of Representatives, the PVV garnered only about 6% of the vote, but in this year's EU elections, it gained 17% (second only to the ruling Christian Democratic Alliance), giving the party its first four seats. In his "victory" speech, PVV leader, Geert Wilders stated: "The Netherlands is waking up from a long leftist nightmare. A nightmare of crazy high taxes, crime, lousy care, headscarves and burkas, of pauperizing, of mass immigration and Islamization...."
Other anti-immigrant parties also did well: the Italian Northern League won 10% of the vote (an increase from it's 8% in the 2008 general elections); the British National Party won its first two seats, with about 8% of the vote; Austria's Freedom Party won 13% of the vote (more than doubling its share); Hungary's Jobbik (For a Better Hungary) Party won 3 of 22 seats, with 15%—doing better than the Socialists; the Danish People's Party also won about 15%. British National Party Chairman Nick Griffin (who was elected to the EU Parliament over a Labourite) said: "We do say this country is full up. The key thing is to shut the door."
The biggest winners, according to the Financial Times of London, were the center-right parties, led by Angela Merkel of Germany, Nicolas Sarkozy of France, Donald Tusk of Poland, and Viktor Orban of Hungary, all of whose forces did much better than their Socialist (and other) opponents at the polls.
The EU Parliament is elected every five years. The body has power of legislation that affects environmental, consumer, and transportation matters, as well as joint control (with the countries' legislatures) over the $182 billion EU budget. The turnout in the elections, however, has also been going down, from a high of 62% in 1979 to 43% in this year's elections.
Other sources: Coming Vote on Assembly Elicits Shrugs in Europe/NY Times; Dutch Anti-Immigrant Party Emerges as Big Winner in EU Elections/TimesOnLine; Election Results Across Europe/BBC News; Results of the 2009 European Elections; View from the Right