Electoral publicity interpreted honestly: PFP. Series of IPN analyses. Elections-2014

Most of the election runners entered the campaign preceding the November 30 parliamentary elections with electoral TV videos, posters, slogans and advertisements. By definition, the publicity is biased, but in the election campaign it represents the type of information that the voters accept most often. That’s why IPN decided to launch a series of analyses entitled “Electoral publicity interpreted honestly” by which to contribute to developing the political culture, analyzing neutrally the subtleties of the electoral advertisements. The election runners are analyzed in accordance with their position in ballots.
In search of a niche

The People’s Force Party (PFP) is a new party founded in 2013, but at image level it seems an anachronistic party of the 1990s. Neither the emblem, nor the video clip shows something new. The main problem that this party will face is the lack of an electoral niche that it can occupy. Being a new party that is not involved in governance, the PFP can boast neither of accomplishments, nor of opposition merits. Officially, the party’s doctrine is Social-Liberal – an ambiguous combination for the Moldovan voters who are used to being able to easily differentiate between the left and the right. The failure of the Centrist Union is relevant in this respect.

The PFP is headed by Moldova’s former ambassador to the United States, political analyst Nicolae Chirtoaca. He is known, but not enough for being a driving force that will pull the party into Parliament. He also does not seem to have the ability to penetrate or grow as other leaders of new parties in the recent history (Filat with the Liberal Democratic Party (PLDM) for example). There is also the risk that the people will mix him up with Dorin Chirtoaca, of the Liberal Party (PL).

Regardless of the quality of its platform or team, the People’s Force Party does not seem to evidently target an electoral niche and counts rather on the large number of undecided voters who are not engaged in the right – left dispute or in the EU – Customs Union dispute. However, the PFP is a pro-European party, but more moderate than the PLDM or PL.

Emblem and slogan

The pro-European orientation of the PFP is evident from the emblem that contains a number of stars making reference to the European Union’s logo. The emblem probably contains too many elements: stars, the fist, laurel branches and two curved lines that symbolize the road, according to the party.  In a bulletin of the PFP, the emblem is explained in detail: the white background symbolizes the purity of the party’s intentions; the indigo makes reference to the ‘royal purple’ of the Byzantium; the curved lines show the road that the country and the party must follow; the three laurel branches represent justices, welfare and democracy, while the fist – power and unity. The PFP’s explanations are more complex, with many references to mythology, and are mystical in parts. But they do not have electoral potency as long as they are not known by most of the voters. Though we can say that the emblem contains too many elements, the fist anchors them appropriately.

The slogan is simple: “Patriotism. Responsibility. Prosperity”. We can say that it lacks coherence as it is not clear whom ‘patriotism’ refers to. To the members of the party? What about ‘priority’? Who is patriotic and who is prosperous? The fact that two elements of the slogan are presented without a context as a quality is not recommendable. A slogan without verbs and prepositions that would give it direction lacks life and energy and seems inert and static, with the exceptions being rare. Patriotism, responsibility and prosperity are surely commendable qualities, but they must be engaged in a different, more dynamic and convincing formula.

The force of the video clip

It’s ironical, but the People’s Force Party has a video clip that lacks force. As style, it is similar to the first video of the PLR and the video of the PPCD: Nicolae Chirtoaca gives a speech with a church and then a village in the background. The two backgrounds, which are two representative landscapes for Moldova, and the Moldovan spirituality suggest that the party is oriented to peasantry and traditionalism. “The elections of the end of this autumn will be a civic and political maturity test, a patriotism and sovereignty test and a wisdom and courage test,” says the leader of the PFP. Again, some of the elements refer to the voters, others to the election runners, while the third to the country in general. “We need a new, uncorrupted, professional and responsible government that can bring things to normality in Moldova, in a period of risks and opportunities”. It is evidently suggested that the current government does not have these qualities, while the PFP has them.

“The republic needs a healthy political force that would bring things in order and would clear the state institutions of thieves, corrupt elements, the mafia slaves and oligarchic elements,” said Chirtoaca. The message is similar to that of the PLR: the oligarchs seem to be the preferred target of the election runners. The PFP banks on the resonance of the expression ‘to bring things in order’ that attracts voters and suggests power, determination and managerial kills.

“The People’s Force Party comes with new, clean, courageous people who are real patriots able to assume overall responsibility for the nation and country. It is again ironical, but there are not many people in the ‘People’s Force’. On the posters and in the video, we see only Nicolae Chirtoaca, while the qualities he enumerates refer to an invisible collective entity and the voters are not provided with a support on which to fix them. They become lost immediately after they are uttered.

“We will bring the wrongdoings and abuses committed by the oligarchic groups to an end and will bring justice to Moldova!” says the leader of the PFP in continuation and ends by calling on the people to vote for the PFP, which is under No. 3 in the ballot. This promise could have been effective if it had been presented in a different way. Showing only Chirtoaca speaking monotonously during almost a minute, the video transmits no vitality and confidence. Another problem is that the video is dubbed and the video and audio synchronization is poor, which is annoying.  The poor quality is probably due to the shortage of funds, but such a video is not as costly as the video clips of the PLDM and PDM and effort could have been made to at least synchronize the image with the sound. The video could have been also shortened as it is boring to hear a speech during almost one minute.

Empty panels

The posters and online banners of the PFP are also poor in quality. Regardless of the symbolical value of the white, the white background gives the impression of a void that Nicolae Chirtoaca cannot fill. The lack of sufficient financial resources is evident in the video and in the outdoor publicity too. A sympathetic voter can understand this, but the lack of inventiveness cannot be pardoned. The PLR’s puppets and the PPRM’s apples are the most original ideas that add color. The PFP lacks completely such a color.

Note: This analysis refers strictly to the publicity of the election runners and does not aim to assess their quality. The bad products can have good publicity and vice versa, as the good products can have good publicity. Earlier, IPN made an analysis of the electoral publicity of the Democratic Party, which was published on November 6, of the Christian Democratic People’s Party, which was published on November 7, of the Liberal Democratic Party, which was published on November 10, and of the Liberal Reformist Party, which was published on November 11.

Eugen Muravschi, IPN

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