14 Feb 2011

Stop Voting for Corrupt Politicians

“Our initiative was designed to significantly reduce the number of votes for two major parties which were governing for the past 15 years in the Czech Republic. We were quite successful – both these parties dropped from over 30% in poll estimation to around 20% in real votes. Their failure in the elections triggered substantial changes inside of both those parties.”

David Seibert, leader of the “Replace the politicians!” campaign

Within the sample of countries included in our analysis the Czech Republic is perceived to be one of the least corrupt, with a Corruption Perception Index that ranks fifth in the region in 2009. That does not mean that civil society organizations should start congratulating each other on the great job they have done. All the contrary. “Replace the politicians!” was needed to bring citizens to vote and make them understand the importance of their choice in changing the bargaining leverage between the two major Czech parties and possible smaller and less influent opponents.

What made “Replace the politicians!” the most influential civil society campaign in the Czech Republic during the past elections? In the words of David Seibert, the leader of the group conducting it, two routes of reaching the audience were taken. One driven by the general public promoted through happenings and advertising. However, the critical success factor was convincing 12 publicly known respectable figures. Their profiles are very different, such as different audience targets would be reached. Famous Czech writers, singers and actors spoke for this initiative. Without it media would not be interested and the attention of general public would have never been caught.

You can read more about this initiative (in Czech) on its website.