Czech Green Party: Romani volunteers helping campaign in the streets
Hundreds of volunteers with the Green Party (Strana zelených - SZ) have taken to the streets of towns across the Czech Republic to familiarize voters with the party's program and introduce the Greens as a good choice for the October elections. Volunteers include the leaders of the SZ candidate lists, famous personalities, and citizens who want to support the Greens and have joined the voter turnout project at www.kampanjstevy.cz.
The Greens have more than 12 000 supporters and hundreds of volunteers throughout the country who plan to visit as many as 20 000 households during the campaign. A total of nine Romani men and women are running for the party in the early elections to the lower house of parliament.
Two of the Romani candidates are SZ members, while the rest are running as part of a collaboration with the Equal Opportunities Party (Strana rovných příležitostí - SRP). Green Party chair Ondřej Liška says he wants to bring the famous slogan "black, white, together we fight" ("černí, bílí spojme síly") into politics.
The voter outreach campaign is being rolled out in approximately 60 towns and villages in most regions of the country. As part of the "door-to-door" campaign, volunteers will visit as many as 20 000 households and work more than 5 000 unpaid hours.
"The Green Party is showing that it is not necessary to spend millions on billboards featuring election promises. In our campaign you can see that hundreds of volunteers have the desire to change things for the better, whether they are discussing the corruption of a dysfunctional state or unemployment with the voters. Most of our several hundred volunteers got involved thanks to the website www.kampanjstevy.cz, where more are continuing to sign up," Liška said.
The leader of the party's candidate list in Prague is also drawing attention to the dramatically different budgets of the various parties for their electoral campaigns, which the Green Party wants to change in the future by establishing a campaign finance cap. Dozens of Green Party volunteers took to the streets of Plzeň last weekend, including the leader of the candidate list there, Svatava Štěrbová, candidate number 2 Roman Černík, and candidate number 3, David Tišer, who is a Romani activist.
Groups of Romani volunteers have also been helping the party in the streets. "During this voter contact campaign we want to reach out to the voters affected by the topics for which the Green Party stands. Those include addressing the situation of socially excluded localities, efforts to lead citizens at risk of poverty out of social exclusion, and eliminating tensions between the majority society and Romani people," Tišer said.
During the testing phase of the door-to-door campaign, which took place two weeks ago in Pardubice, more than 30 volunteers visited a total of 3 000 households during several hours and spoke with approximately 500 people. "The volunteers who donated at total of 150 hours of their time during the Pardubice test found that about one-fifth of the households they visited answered the door. The reactions of the people who were willing to speak with us ranged from neutral to positive. A significant proportion of them wanted more information from us and were typical undecided voters. About one-half of them said they were considering voting for the Greens in these elections," said Bára Malá, the party's volunteer coordinator.
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