Saturday April 3rd, Jong Groen! organised a training day for young candidates. As you may know, the coming elections on June 13th are the most important elections EVER for the Flemish Greens, because the Belgians vote both for the EP and for regional government. After the spanking we got last year at the federal elections (0 seats left in the Federal Parliament) we now have to defend our seats in the Regional and European Parliaments. Therefore it is very important that the young candidates are visible during the campaign to convince the young voters.
In the morning the Jong Groen! campaign was presented. Our focus will be on youth culture; no globalisation of rock festivals (the risks can be seen by looking at Clear Channel Communications Inc.), party policy (less burocracy to organise a party), affordable housing for young people and access to sustainable jobs.
In order to convince the young voters of the importance of these themes, we have to communicate with them. That’s why we did exercises on talking to potential voters. We learned from Johan Hamels (Groen! Party Secretary) that there are three types of voters: 5% already votes Green, these people don’t need to be convinced, the campaigner says he counts on them. 10% are potential voters and can be convinced. These are the people a candidate should focus on. We try to tell him in a couple of minutes why it is important to vote Green, paying attention to the person’s interests. How to introduce yourself, how to stand, where to hold your hands, eye-contact… 85% will never vote Green. They will probably be eager to discuss with you and waste your time. Ignore them!!
Another important part of any campaign is action. Max Kahlke introduced us to some of his great ideas for action. The first one took place in Easter. With 30 people, dressed in black we lay down on the beach forming the slogan “VERA ZOEKT” meaning “Vera searches”. Vera is the president of Groen! and she searches for 280.000 votes to keep Bart Staes in the EP. We stayed on the beach like this for 10 minutes so that the people on the street can see us. Then we get up, take the coast tram and move on to the next coastal town. Like this we planned to do the ENTIRE BELGIAN COAST !!! (65 km)
The campaign day was ended with a conversation with one of the Groen! founders Jef xxx and former Agalev Secretary Jos Geysels. They gave us some extra courage and motivation to go for this campaign.