Citizens’ tailored EU elections?

In order to motivate citizens to get out and vote, to inform all stakeholders of the electoral process, as well as to improve democratic standards, in the wake of the election for the European Parliament on the 25th of May 2014., GONG will organize a series of activities aiming at the positive impact of the campaign that will be held this spring.

Whilst in the first Croatian election campaign for members of the European Parliament, in the spring of 2013, the prevailing communication mainly dealt with salaries of the representatives and discriminatory messages of some candidates, GONG believes that it is now necessary to stimulate meaningful discussion on substantial issues in the domain of the European Parliament.

Therefore, throughout April and May, GONG will organize five targeted local public consultations across Croatia on specific topics characteristic for a particular area, such as the quality of democracy, protection and promotion of human rights, protection of public goods and economic and financial policy. The goal is to bring elusive European policies closer to the citizens and allow them the opportunity for their voices to be heard, seeing as now the policy framework of the European Union represents a framework that affects Croatia as well.

Conclusions from local consultations will be formulated as the requests of the Platform 112 – coalition of CSO’s for rule of law, which will be presented to the electoral candidates for disclosure. The culmination of the campaign for the EU elections is expected on 19th of May in Zagreb, when GONG will organize a national debate which will face Croatian candidates for members in the European Parliament.

To enable citizens to make informed decision on how and whom to vote for, GONG will post the election calendar, various guides explaining how to exercise citizens voting rights and educational journalism authorial texts on its website. Furthermore, during April GONG will publish an informative video clip and will encourage citizens to: engage in discussions, post their comments on the election campaign and report any irregularities on social networks.

Although GONG will not observe the Election Day at the polling stations, it will monitor electoral procedures and the work of relevant institutions such as the State Election Commission. Through the initiative of the NGO coalition ALTER-EU, GONG will promote higher standards for transparency in lobbying demanding that candidates “stand-up for citizens and democracy against the excessive lobbying influence of banks and big business”. In collaboration with “Center for Peace Studies” GONG developed a methodology that will monitor a potential hate speech of political options and interest groups in the media during campaign for the EU elections. Likewise, GONG will participate in roundtable discussions within the Information Office of the European Parliament’s campaign “Act, React, Impact”.