The slogans of 2007 elections for Bulgarian deputies in the European parliament [16 May 2007]

The slogans of 2007 elections for Bulgarian deputies in the European parliament The slogans of 2007 elections for Bulgarian deputies in the European parliament

It is the last week of the election campaign for Bulgarian deputies in the European parliament. Electoral behavior experts argue that it is precisely the period in which the hesitant voters make their choice, and this choice is rather an emotional one than is a result of rational interpretation of the party political programs. A considerably big part of what politicians want to tell us is hold in the campaign slogans. The slogan is a definite short appeal to the voters, up to the requirements of corporate advertising, which aims to stick in the audience’s mind and to provoke in affective way certain political behavior. In this paper we will make an attempt for a short comment over the prominent slogans in the election campaign. Our interest is stressed upon the emotions and associations that the images used in the massages produce, the motivation behind the choice of a certain message and the audience they are directet to.

National Movement Simeon II ( NMSS )
“The European Face of Bulgaria”

The stress is on the toponymy Bulgaria but there also exists the European dimension. The face refers to what is visible, representative and prestigious / Europe knows us/. The slogan induces the voter to recall the role the party has in the process of euro integration. At the same time, the party directly advertises itself trough description of its own corporate image and that is an expression of the desire to impose a definite, European identity. As in the case of PES the slogan is directed to the broad audience.

Movement for Rights and Freedom ( MRF )
“Reason Wins”

It is an appeal for composure, rationality and a choice which is empty of emotionality. It stimulates the recipient to identify itself with a positive psychological characteristic as rationality ( Those who are rational will understand us and will win). The slogan could be interpreted as a counterpoint to the emotional way the party is perceived by the broader part of Bulgarians. The is a direct naming of the win which suggests a sense of contest and confrontation / mobilizing functions /, and at the same time it represents self confidence and superiority. By the lack of national / Bulgaria / and civilization / Europe/ symbolic attributes universality of the message is possibly aimed together with reducing the risk of contradictory analogies. The audience of such a slogan breaks the limits of the traditional electorate.

Order, Low, Justice (OLJ)
“For the Medics in Libya. Against the Political Mafia”

It is a highly emotional message. Here we find identification with a popular media and social cause /medics in Libya/ which aim obviously is to popularize party’s image. There also is an aspiration for showing a distance from the political elite and for creating a sense of a political alternative. The use of the popular political image of “political mafia” aims to provoke negative emotions. The Slogan is directed to so called “negative/protest vote.

Platform European Socialists ( Bulgarian Socialist Party, Movement for Social Humanism)
“Europe for You”

The abbreviation of the coalition /PES/ is an allusion to the abbreviation of Party of European Socialists and impresses a transnational political affiliation. It is possible that campaign advisers have seek for a counterpoint to the stable image of the “unreformed communist party”. The stress on Europe indicates that this toponymy is used to connote something desirable, an ultimate goal and in this sense it has a value substance. The slogan sounds like a direct offer / We offer Europe to you / and thus projects a sign of high self-confidence. The address is to everyone personally / for you/ and is used to “narrow the gap” between the communicator and the audience and to provoke a sense of trust. The slogan does not segment the audience.

Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB)
“For Strong Bulgaria in Europe”

This slogan contains of two names, but the stress is on Bulgaria. It seems that the name Europe does not have a value connotation but is mostly a mark of a certain political territory. At this point, the difference with PES’s slogan is obvious. Although it does not segments the audience, the slogan is an appeal to the national patriotic sensibility. “Strong Bulgaria” is a part of the corporate name and by its use it is probably aimed mainly a demonstration of self confidence and strong identity.

Coalition Bulgarian Social Democrats
“Your Voice in Europe”.

Here we find again the use of the toponymy Europe and its meaning is somewhere between the one in PEs’s and DSB’s slogans. the name Europe here is a bearer of positive value identifications, but the stress is on the ability and the desire for political representation of any individual citizen / Voting for us will make your presence in Europe/. Unlike DSB, the suggestion of significance is at individual level. It is again an address to everyone personally which aims to “narrow the gap” between the communicator and the audience and to provoke a sense of trust. The corporate identity is missing and this fact opens the slogan to broad circles of the audience.

Union of Democratic Forces / UDF /
“Look Ahead. It is Worthy”

The slogan directly invokes associations of perspective, it seeks to inspire optimism. At the same time it sounds like an appeal to audience experiencing a kind of disappointment. The allusion with the popular refrain from the UDF early song “Raise your eyes, look at this world…” makes us thing that in this case it might be a matter of reminding. The lack of the European context shows that the main aim is self presentation. It is an appeal directed mostly to the “old UDF” electorate.

Union of Free Democrats (UFD)
“Sofianski Knows How”

This is a slogan that personalizes the leader of the ticket. It reveals a motivation for a “majoritarian voting”. It relies on the supposition that the image of the former major of Sofia is well distinguished and this somehow limits the potential audience of the message. the Slogan seeks to provoke associations with competence and expertise.

Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (CEDB)
“We are Stronger with You”

Unlike PES, CBSD, and UDF the appeal here is directed to the many /with you/ which brings a feeling of belonging to a big community. The message inspires self confidence and political strength / Join us , we are strong/. This is a slogan that does not contain the contextual specifics of the elections. Like in the cases of UDF and MRF, the European symbolic is missing. For a party in its political youth the stress on
self presentation is easy to explain. Thus constructed, the slogan is directed to the broad audience

“ Enough of Turkish Yolk, We are Europeans not Anatolians”

It is another emotionally strong message which is based on the recall of a painful national experience /Turkish yolk/. The mobilization is performed by the provocation of negative emotions. The slogan is constructed trough contradistinction of identities / Europeans vs. Anatolians/ and thus reproduces some kind of the Bulgarian nation revival pathos which corresponds with the corporate image of the party. It is interesting here that the term used is “we are Europeans” /not what one might expect “we are Bulgarians”/. This makes the message communicative for audience out of the traditional party affiliates.

Strahil Deliyski

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