A political party from an Eastern European country that had not been in government for a decade feared that upcoming parliamentary elections would favor the two largest parties, making their platform and leadership potentially irrelevant. The majority of local media was being controlled by the larger parties which made it almost impossible for an alternate voice to be heard. They feared that in this climate it would be too easy for one of the larger parties to manipulate the electoral process and threaten the country’s reputation as a regional leader that embodied Western democratic values.
Engaging an international democracy community that did not view this country as a priority, and establishing the leader of the party as an important and respected voice in the future of the country and the region.
Blue Star Strategies created a plan to raise the profile of the coming election by placing it in the context of the countries recent NATO accession, and EU aspirations. At the same time, we worked to raise the profile of the party and its main candidate by highlighting their commitment to democracy and transparency. In essence, the party became the champion of this message.
This program required complex coordination between many moving parts in Washington, New York, Brussels, Vienna, and the country’s capital. The first step was an in-depth messaging session where our team worked closely with the political party’s communications team to identify key strategic targets and themes that would resonate with those targets and to craft both the messages as well as the vehicles to deliver these messages.
In this context, the firm facilitated a visit of the party’s leadership to Washington, DC and arranged speaking engagements at major think tanks, high-level meetings with U.S. government officials in both the Executive and Legislative branches, roundtable discussions with the leadership of major democracy NGOs, and press events with both leading U.S. and European media organizations.
To build on the momentum of this visit, Blue Star Strategies worked in Brussels to convey messages to the European Commission on Enlargement, European Parliament, and NATO. In addition, we worked in Vienna to convey messages to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and its member-state embassies as well as in the country’s capital to ensure that the waves of support going through the international community were also felt by the electorate.
In Washington, we continued to work with the U.S. government, think tanks, NGOs, and the media to ensure that none could ignore the upcoming elections or the candidates put forward by our client.
The two major results were (1) key officials from around the world began to pay attention to the election, and (2) as a direct result our client received many more votes on Election Day. With this margin they were then able to leverage his success into an influential role in the new government.
Specifically, our outreach had several tangible results:
- Three U.S. Members of Congress and a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State flew to the country after our client’s visit to observe the country’s preparations for the elections.
- The U.S. Senate passed a resolution acknowledging the challenges facing the election, and the U.S. Helsinki commission held a briefing to discuss the situation.
- The Secretary General of NATO visited the country in the lead up to the election.
- The OSCE pre-election reports began to reflect our client's specific concerns.
- Our client’s leading candidate was featured in major publicans such as The New York Times, Agence France Presse, Associated Press, The Tribune (UK), and EUObserver.
In The New York Times, our client’s leading candidate was identified before the election as a “King Maker.” True to this statement, when the government was formed, he became the sole Deputy Prime Minister, and his party was given three powerful ministries.