Macedonia has gone through turbulent times over the last two years. In 2014, after early national elections, the majority of opposition parties decided to boycott parliament because of numerous violations during the elections, combined with a lack of willingness by the ruling party VMRO-DPMNE to maintain a political dialogue with the opposition. The resulting political crisis only deepened when in 2015 the opposition exposed a large scale governmental wire tape-scandal. Political tensions have been running high since. Several protests have been organised by civil society and the opposition against the government, the latest in the spring and early summer of 2016 – also known as the Colour Revolution. The EU has brokered a number of agreements between the government and opposition, which included the organisation of early elections – now finally scheduled in December 2016.
Campaigning in such challenging circumstances is not an easy thing – therefore VVD International was happy to support the LDP in its election preparations. In the weekend of 14 to 16 October VVD trainer Kamran Ullah and International Officer Anika Snel travelled to Mavrovo, one of Macedonia’s beautiful national parks, for a training session on election campaigning and political positioning with the party leadership of the LDP. The training brought together a group of dedicated and motivated liberals, ranging from the LDP’s Executive Board to ambitious youngsters from the LDP youth movement LiDeM, from tried and tested campaign veterans to the newly established LDP Women’s Forum, and the top notch of LDP’s local branches.
Goals of the training were the development of concrete campaign messages and defining target audiences, defining methods to strengthen the voice of the LDP within their elections coalition with the social-democrats, and to discuss the first steps of setting up a permanent campaign. A party’s campaign starts the day after the elections after all!
The weekend proved to be most enervating, with a good working atmosphere and many interesting ideas from the LDP itself for their election slogans, concrete target audiences and different campaign means. Good discussions were held on the relevance of social media in modern campaigns, as the importance of direct contact with voters, though canvassing and street actions. The workshop proved to be a valuable set-up as well for the LDP regarding the question how to position the party within the current election coalition, and perhaps more importantly, how to strategically position the LDP in the opposition or, hopefully, a government coalition after December 11th.
All in all, it was an inspirational weekend and the VVD would like to thank our implementation partner the Friedrich Naumann Foundation South-East Europe for its organisational support. We wish the LDP best of luck during with their campaign and E-day on December 11th 2016!
Curious about the election campaign of LDP Macedonia? Check this small video that the LiDeM group from Bitola made, demanding for change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6qrLQQch-w