09 APRIL 2003

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Leadership and efficiency: hallmarks of MLP’s final lap campaign

Week five of the electoral campaign sees the Labour Party aiming for government. Kurt Sansone analyses the workings of the campaign

The last lap of the electoral campaign has seen the Labour Party pander to voters on two distinct levels: mass meetings and public events for the party grass roots and colourful leaflets in every home for the undecided or middle-of-the-road voters.
The daily televised press conferences on Super One have been replaced with other ‘controlled’ events to try and ward off any final week mishaps with journalists even though Alfred Sant faired well in the tête-à-tête he had with Lou Bondi last Monday on Super One TV.
The programme showed that Sant was not afraid to face Bondi’s questions even if the Labour leader remained evasive on a number of issues raised.
The beginning of the week was characterised by the signing of the pact, a televised ceremony held in full glory at the Phoenicia. Sant and his deputies signed a notarial deed pledging to not contest the election in five year’s time if the MLP government does not live up to its promises.
Although the pact is not legally binding on either of the political leaders it was a good publicity stunt, which might have rung a bell with middle-of-the-road voters. It gave the Labour leadership a sense of credibility and sense of responsibility even if a similar stunt was pulled off before the 1996 election.
The event also gave the MLP campaign the necessary charge to face the last four days of campaigning after a slowdown experienced last week.
The leaflet campaign in households has also intensified. Colourful and to the point, the leaflets address various issues in a superficial way, which however leaves an impact on the reader. The ‘positive’ leaflets try to impart a sense of leadership and efficiency that will characterise a prospective Labour government. On the other hand, the ‘negative’ leaflets target the alleged corruption and tiredness that hounds the present administration.
The billboards have also been utilised in an unorthodox way. Instead of portraying the same message on all billboards, in the final week of the campaign Labour has opted to splash the various initiatives it intends adopting once in government on the different billboards. The different messages are blend but the fact that each billboard has a different message gives the impression that the MLP has a lot to do.
In the final lap of the campaign most of the negative billboards hitting out at the Prime Minister have been replaced with positive messages about Labour’s initiatives. The billboard campaign contrasts heavily with the one adopted by the PN, which seems to have stalled on the same message for over a week.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
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