>Lithuania: Who wants to be… Prime Minister?


Over at Pozorblog Kevin Deegan Krause has a whimsical and pointed commentary about the vacuous but brilliant election campaign of Lithuania’s National Resurrection Party (Tautos prisikėlimo partija), run by a TV presenter Arūnas Valinskas, who hosts the local franchise of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The TPP’s advertising mix of clean up, calls novelty and anti-establishment ‘kick the bums out’ billboards, Pozobrblog notes (and illustrates) – which propelled it into parliament and into government last year – is a near perfect illustration of the rise of what my SSEES colleague Allan Sikk calls ‘newness as project’ in the Baltic and beyond – the rise (and fall of) new disposable, use-and-discard parties, who’ve taken the notion of parties as a public utlity (an expression used by Ingrid van Biezen in relation to the increasingly detached, statecentric nature of moden party organization) to its logical end. Parties are as about as programmatic or as permanent as the mobile company: funkiness, celebs, a certain brand identity, but basically the same product at the same price.
I can to get through WordPress’s reader registration procedure to comment, directly dirctly at Pozorblog but it occurs to me is that such funky new post-modern parties still require a very basic old style factor to produce and splash high quality advertising: money. Although celebrity and media savvy might, I supposed compensate, for hard cash to some extent, the real story might be rise of various pocket sized Baltic Berlusconis, each getting their fifteen minutes of … power.

It’s also interesting to think of how and why such projects have failed in some contexts: Vladimír Želeny’s Independent Democrats’ party in the Czech Republic , for example, had similar ingredients, but scrapped a couple of MEPs in 2004 (one an ex-newsreader, one the media mogul himself) then pretty disappeared from sight until VŽ poached the Libertas.cz trademark.

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