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QeC-ERAN Conference Lionel Zetter. Trainer – Professional Qualifications Lionel Zetter’s professional qualifications include: Former Chairman of Government.

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Presentation on theme: "QeC-ERAN Conference Lionel Zetter. Trainer – Professional Qualifications Lionel Zetter’s professional qualifications include: Former Chairman of Government."— Presentation transcript:

1 QeC-ERAN Conference Lionel Zetter

2 Trainer – Professional Qualifications Lionel Zetter’s professional qualifications include: Former Chairman of Government Affairs Group Former President Chartered Institute of Public Relations Director Enterprise Forum Director ComRes Vice President Public Affairs Asia

3 Trainer – Political Qualifications Lionel Zetter’s political qualifications include: Former researcher, House of Commons Former staffer, Conservative War Room Former Conservative Association Chairman Former General Election Agent Parliamentary Candidate 2005 Author – Lobbying, the Art of Political Persuasion Author – The Political Campaigning Handbook

4 European Parliament Elections A tale of relentlessly declining turnout: 1979 (first direct elections) 63% % % % % 2004 (last elections) 46%

5 Respondents expressing a certainty to vote in the 2009 European elections... and turnout at the last general election

6 United Kingdom Netherlands

7 A protest vote? Performance of minor parties in European elections as compared to national elections British Independence Party French National Front Polish League of Families Swedish June List

8 Challenges we face in halting decline There are a number of reasons why turnout has been declining in EP elections: Lack of empathy between voters and European Parliament (EP) Lack of understanding of the importance of the EU and of the role of the EP Lack of senior figures in EP, and absence of name recognition Complex and impersonal electoral procedure Treatment of EP elections as ‘secondary elections’ by the electorate General decline in turnout in all elections in European nations

9 Particular challenges amongst young people and migrants There are particular problems associated with ensuring electoral participation by young people and migrants: Young people are generally more apathetic, and less likely to engage in the electoral and democratic processes More academic career and family pressures on young people than ever before Candidates are generally white middle aged men who younger voters, female voters and ethnic minority voters find it hard to relate to Many migrants are still unaware that they are allowed to vote in EP elections in their country of residence Many party workers are also unaware that migrants are allowed to vote in EP elections, and they do not bother to urge them to vote

10 Official bodies involved in boosting turnout Whilst official bodies obviously cannot take a party political stance in any elections, they can be involved in increasing awareness. Official bodies with a role to play include: National governments of member states Regional, local and city governments Local forums for developing democracy Embassies and Consulates EP and EC offices in the members states

11 The role of official bodies in boosting turnout There are a number of measures which EU, national, regional and local bodies and can take in order to try and ensure greater participation in EP elections: Education: If the general public had a better idea about the vital role which the EU plays, and the key role which the EP plays within it, they would be more likely to vote. Publicity: There should be much greater publicity about the elections – when they are happening, who is entitled to vote, and how they can go about voting.

12 The role of official bodies in boosting turnout (ctd.) Reform: The reforms to the way in which the EP operates and the way in which MEPs are remunerated should be publicised more widely. Alternatives: It should be pointed out to the electorate at large that a low turnout helps fringe parties of far right or even neo-nazi candidates. Voting methods: People should be offered a range of methods with which to cast their votes. Timing: The timing of elections should be uniform across the EU, and maximum time should be made available for them to vote in.

13 The role of Non-Official Bodies (NGOs) in boosting turnout Apart from political parties there are a wide range of organisations who can be joined forces with in order to maximise turnout – especially amongst young people and migrant groups: Further and higher education establishments Youth clubs and youth groups Local trade and regeneration groups Faith groups and their associated networks Expatriate groups Cultural groups

14 The role of literature in boosting turnout During the course of a campaign literature plays an important role in raising awareness about the elections. The types of literature may be: Leaflets from EU, national, regional, local and city authorities telling the electorate when an election is taking place, and how they can register their vote Party political literature going to all electors introducing a party’s candidates, and highlighting their policies Targeted literature going to particular demographics of potential likely supporters Targeted literature going to known supporters of political parties, urging them to vote Leaflets, letters and other literature can either be posted, or hand delivered

15 The role of the traditional media in boosting turnout Traditional media has always been used in election campaigns – newspapers, magazines, radio and television. Traditional media can be used by: Placing advertisements, where the law allows, and where resources permit Getting activists to write in to national and local newspapers and magazines Getting activists to phone in to radio and TV programmes, or apply to be in the audience for political programmes Issuing press releases which might be picked up by national or local newspapers, magazines, radio or TV broadcasters

16 The role of new media in boosting turnout Increasingly new media is being used in election campaigns – as exemplified by Barack Obama’s US Presidential campaign. New media tools include: Websites and microsites RSS feeds off of websites Social networks such as Facebook YouTube for posting clips Blogs by candidates and commentators Twitter for immediacy

17 The role of events and stunts in boosting turnout In order to add a bit of interest and excitement to campaigns a number of events and stunts should be considered: Traditional ‘hustings’ meetings featuring a range of candidates from different parties ‘Circussing’ events in areas of high density – shopping streets and malls, outside of colleges and universities Street stalls, booths and stalls at cultural, arts and sporting events Music concerts along the lines of ‘rock the vote’ Handouts – including hats, T shirts, and balloons The appointments of ‘champions’ representing young people and ethnic and national groups

18 The role of political parties in boosting turnout Whilst national, local, city and regional authorities can boost awareness about elections, the political parties play a vital role in boosting turnout because: They have the experience of running campaigns and getting their vote out They have identified their supporters from previous campaigns, and by canvassing during current campaign They have the professional and voluntary workers to deploy on election campaigns They have developed techniques for identifying their supporters, and for getting them out to vote on polling day(s) They have sophisticated software to identify supporters, send them election literature, and knock them up on polling day(s)

19 The core of techniques of political parties The core techniques of political parties include: Leafleting – hand delivering political leaflets Mailshots – targeted letters delivered by post Circussing – parading through areas with high densities of people Loudspeaker vans – driving around broadcasting pleas to vote Canvassing – knocking on doors and asking people which way they are going to vote Knocking up – knocking on doors of known supporters and urging them to get out and vote

20 Conclusion To re-iterate, we have discussed: Declining turnout, and reasons for it What can be done to reverse that declining turnout The role of official and non-official bodies in boosting turnout The use of traditional media and new media The use of events and stunts The role and techniques of political parties

21 Thank you Any Questions?


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