Top 7 Visual Moments of Bulgaria's 2014 Election Campaign
Nobody has so far disagreed the run-up to the early elections held on October 5 was rather dull, with no specific acts of slander or smearing campaigns outweighing the whole infighting of the previous months.
Some election posters and clips managed to confront boredom, though.
Whether for being ridiculous, showing bad taste (or morals) or just causing grins - or even only containing strong messages - the videos and pictures below do have some contributions to the history of campaigning.
7. "It's time for you to go away"
"I am fed up with you," a boy declares in the beginning, naturally addressing the political elite. "It's time for you to go away," a choir-like group of members and supporters, of whom he is evidently part, shouts out loud then. Despite being short and simple, the message of Republika.bg, was of no help - the political party failed even to jump over the 1-percent threshold to receive state funding. I put the video in the list because it reflects the essence of the 2013 protests (at least for those who flocked spontaneously) and the desire of many Bulgarians to "get rid of the existing political class," as many citizens reiterate when asked by journalists or pollsters. Still, calling on politicians to leave is not enough.
6. "Marijuana, I love you so much, marijuana"
Glas Naroden (rougly translated as Vox Populi) is the party of singer Svetlyo Vitkov, known for the band Hipodil - a legend of the near future, equally loved and hated by many for its scandalous lyrics. The party did not officially embrace the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes and that for possession of small quantities at the very beginning of their campaign. Prior to introducing this line within their election program, a poster appeared in the streets with a cannabis leaf behind Glas Naroden's ballot number, 19:
The slogan in the poster is also curious: "Live Free, VOTE HARD", in an obvious reference to Bruce Willis.
The Greens and a few others also demand that cannabis should be used privately without legal restrictions for small amounts. They even had a video which the media regulator CEM banned after deciding it was offensive for public decency.
5. Infrastructure: a Key Weapon to Win Voters' Hearts
A number of infrastructure objects are shown here "before" and "after" GERB's term in office. Later comes the comparison between the two parties, with the screen split in two parts, one showing a facility during GERB's tenure and the improvements the BSP managed to make, as if it were a washing powder ad. This video shows Bulgaria's two leading parties are apparently obsessed with infrastructure, since just a year ago GERB came under fire from BSP over its colossal effort to repair roads and buildings, and now it is socialists who are seeking to show off with their record.
4. She's the man to do the job
As the video is nearing its end and Movement 21 leader Tatyana Doncheva, a staunch critic of all big parties, outlines her main priorities, a male voice appears: "Tatyana Doncheva - the only man in Bulgarian politics!" For months now, Doncheva has sticked to the point that she is the only politician having the guts to speak openly on Bulgaria's core issues. Now she will at least have some additional resource to work on that message in terms of public relations, since she also scored beyond 1 percent, as Vitkov did.
3. There aren't many leaders who can boast about songs in their honor
But the Chairman of nationalist party Ataka, Volen Siderov, is undoubtedly among the lucky few. Unfolding against the background of a slideshow with Bulgarian cultural and historic monuments, images of social misery and a patchwork of videos of one-time (or recent-time) political leaders, it culminates in a chorus pledging full loyalty: "Volen, we are with you!" It also shows memorable scenes of Ataka's demonstrations where Siderov meets cheering supporters.
To no-one's surprise the party also sought to restate what is describes as "nationalist rhetoric" through demands that US troops leave Bulgaria:
2. Use of children in campaigning was also a practice Ataka did not renounce
A kid pointing the future (obviously one involving Ataka) and an inscription "Homeland is waiting, enroll in Ataka!", can be seen in a photo posted on the party's website. Its T-Shirt reads, "Back Ataka, Save Bulgaria!"
The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) also used children in a video clip, but it was removed from TV air due to a CEM ruling.
1. Run wild!
A video containing the image above is available on the Novoto Vreme ("New Times") party's Facebook page.
"If they could vote..." a voice emerges as domestic sheep are grazing around. Then comes the urge written with capitals: "RUN WILD!" It might actually mean "GO NATIVE", since a single expression is used in Bulgarian for both things.
Just days after the elections, it seems that, apart from going wild, results and the ensuing deadlock leaves no better choice to voters.
What we failed to see in this campaign but did enjoy in others
Previous campaigns certainly offered more fun. Just two or three instances to remember.
Last year Svetlyo Vitkov was more creative for instance.
In the elections held May 12, 2013, he made it into Parliament, attracting protest vote and displaying his usual sense of humor.
However, his presidential campaign in 2011 was even better when, in an act of reality-show parody (mocking Farmer Wants a Wife, which was "Farmer Looks for Wife" in the local version) his slogan read "President Looks for Bulgaria).
What really raised eyebrows came from Ataka, though.
A banned video they used for the European Parliament elections on May 25 openly argued "Today the world is divided in two" at the beginning.
"Euro-Atlantic values and Orthodox Christian values," the video went on, creating a faultline between EU and Russia. The former category involved pedophilia, gay marriages, incest, NATO and "intervention". Orthodox values included traditions, family values and faith.
The clip called for supporting the latter.
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