Thursday, December 18, 2014

running for president

Tiny, black suited, with her brown hair tied in a pony tail, Monica Macovei stepped firmly towards the conference room of her campaign headquarters. Television cameras and reporters were waiting as she was about to officially announce her presidential candidacy and political programme.
It was October 2014 and each of the 14 candidates had one last month to convince the people to elect them as the new President of Romania. Monica Macovei ran as an independent, no party structure behind her. For the past month, she and her staff, mostly volunteers, had been working to raise the signatures needed for her candidacy to be accepted by the Central Electoral Bureau. With over 300.000 signatures, she was in the race.
Without the financial backing of a political party, her campaign was funded solely through individual donations. What it lacked in grandeur of the two other main candidates’ campaigns, Victor Ponta and Klaus Iohannis, it made up in authenticity and genuineness.
Her campaign around the country reached mostly the big cities and a few of the smaller ones. Her visits looked more like a stroll around the city and one on one conversations with whoever recognised her and wanted to talk rather than the typical political rallies. Her nights were spent in the back of the Renault Scenic that served as campaign car. One could even say that her campaign was fought more online, on Facebook. More and more people were changing their profile photo to the stylised letter M that stood for her campaign logo. And her message was focused on justice and the fight against corruption.
Monica Macovei did not make it in the second round of elections. She scored 4.44% which placed her in the fifth position. But, as she announced after the exit polls, her fight is not over. She intends to create a NGO that should eventually turn into a political party and take her campaign programme further.

For over a month and a half and more than 4500 km on the road I followed Monica Macovei’s campaign for Decat O Revista’s project covering the Romanian presidential elections this fall.

No comments: