Overview

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.

Challenges

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.

Strategic Recommendations

Blue Star Strategies, LLC 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, Blue Star Strategies, LLC professionals raised 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.

Program Highlights

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 Blue Star Strategies, LLC’s team of experts worked closely with the party’s own communications team to recognize key strategic targets, identify the themes that would resonate with those targets, and 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, round-table 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 LLC worked in Brussels to convey our messages to the European Commission on Enlargement, the European Parliament, and NATO. In addition, the firm worked in Vienna to convey our messages to the OSCE and all of 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 no one was ignoring the upcoming elections, or the candidates put forward by our client.

Results

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. Congressman 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 the specific concerns Blue Star Strategies, LLC and our client brought to their attention.
  • 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 The EU Observer.

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.