All the electoral contenders competing in the presidential elections of November 1 say that they want to be elected President. Besides the made promises, the candidates resort to all kinds of practices so as to appear more convincing before the voters and these put the stamp “Voted” against their names on the ballot. IPN News Agency contacted a number of experts and asked them to analyze the behavior of the eight aspirants for the office of President, in the order in which they were registered, and the actions to which they resort to build a favorable image: No.1 Renato Usatyi, Our Party’s candidate.
Political commentator Ion Tăbârță said Renato Usatyi, in his traditional style, uses a simple language clear to the people, with particular expressions and metaphors that catch voters’ attention. These are political technologies and such an approach was adopted on purpose. However, we must admit that this is a natural trait of Renato Usatyi. This type of humor is inborn and cannot be acquired no matter how hard a politician can try by using political technologies.
“If we compared the present time and the situation four-six years ago, when he emerged as a politician, we can say that he became more mature from political viewpoint. He continues to use that eccentric, populist language, but the suburbanism element disappeared somehow. Initially, it was rather a suburban language of a neighborhood boy, but now that feature of maturity appeared. He became more refined and temperate. Even if he further uses this language, he seems to be more sober. This dose of maturity is a trump card,” stated Ion Tăbârță.
Renato Usatyi does not have a clear ideology at present, even if he initially appeared as a politician of the left, with clear authoritarian elements. “Currently, he tries to cover all the voters - of the left, of the right, the disappointed ones. In political theory, this is called “catch all”. Earlier, his voters were clearly of the left. Now he may have sympathizers also among a part of the voters of the right-center,” explained the expert.
Ion Tăbârță also said that the leader of Our Party comes with a momentary diagnosis of the problem. He does not have an institutionalized, long-lasting project. This was visible when he disappeared from the country and didn’t become involved in the campaign. His project was partially to the limit. And it’s clear why as his party didn’t pass the election threshold and didn’t win a seat in Parliament at least in constituencies. Later, he returned and his political project gradually moves up in the voter preferences.
“This is an almost personalized project. It comes to diagnose what’s happening in Moldovan politics. He tries to obtain some trump cards as a result of his activity at the Bălți mayor’s office, says that this is the most transparent mayor’s office and twins his town with Romanian towns. Yes, there are populist aspects, but these are moves on the right that he characterizes as pro-European policies,” said Ion Tăbârță.
“WatchDog.MD” expert Valeriu Pașa noted that Renato Usatyi has an impressive online advertising campaign. “They probably worked with sociology, which shows that many of his potential undecided, centrist voters inform themselves through the Internet and, as far as we can see from online polls, he stands well indeed. Among the Internet consumers, I think his rating is twice higher than the national average. That’s why he uses advertising considerably. And he uses simple slogans, some of which were copied from the campaign of the President of Ukraine Zelensky. Besides, he is active through live broadcasts and uses a lot of instruments on the Internet and meetings at the local level. In particular, he targets the areas where he has more potential voters and where his party is represented well in the local bodies, in the north and in the south, especially in district centers, where the concentration of his voters and potential voters is higher,” explained Valeriu Pașa.
According to him, the leader of Our Party continues to exhibit his classical style that he tempered somehow. The politician is no longer as populist as earlier, as in 2014 for example, because he probably gained experience and he is an experienced politician indeed. He positioned himself closer to the center, the social agenda and the domestic anti-President Dodon policy. So, he tries to attract more voters who were disappointed by the incumbent President and also former voters of the Democratic Party, attempting to also attract sympathies from among the undecided, disappointed voters of the right – classical pro-Europeans voters.
“As to his generosity gestures, they are much fewer than in 2014-2015. And we remember those very expensive concerts staged on different occasions and without an occasion, very generous donations in the election campaign. These persist, but to a much smaller scale. The amount he affords to spend in these elections is yet much lower. He does not use soe many banners compared with the previous elections, which are very expensive. It is seen that his budget is limited and he probably decided to spend more rationally,” stated Valeriu Pașa.
Media expert Aneta Gonța said the monitoring reports on ten TV channels and 12 online media publications compiled until now, in the electoral period and campaign, by civil society show that Renato Usatyi, in general, does not appear massively on TV or in the online media – appearances that would clearly indicate concerted actions and tactics aimed at building a favorable image. Most of the articles in which the Our Party’s candidate appears as a protagonist or as a source are about the start of his campaign and particular electoral actions.
“Renato Usatyi most of the times uses all kinds of accusations against his opponents in his style that became tiresome already during his political career. However, at least up to this stage of the election campaign, the candidate didn’t appear in the media in an excessive way. He migrated more to the online sphere and banks primarily on other forms of communication than the traditional, media one. At the same time, the media outlets that cover his activities present him mainly in a neutral context, by strictly depicting his actions. But the media institutions affiliated to the PSRM, which support independent candidate Igor Dodon, disfavor him and partially devote greater attention to him. Usatyi is often attacked and labeled negatively without being offered the right of reply. In this regard, Renato Usatyi can be regarded as a media victim of a number of institutions,” stated the expert.
Aneta Gonța also said that the modesty in his appearances in the media can be due to the general communication strategy adopted by the candidate, who prefers to focus on other elements considered important. He does not want to be taken by surprise by particular questions in debates and thus keeps a particular position in polls and voter preferences. During the last two weeks of the election campaign, Renato Usatyi’s tactic could change and his appearances could become more frequent and spicy.