In the city of El Alama in the governorate of Setif (east of Algiers), Abdelhafid Bakis, lawyer and professor of private law, chose to go down to the largest commercial district in the country, to meet with merchants and citizens as part of the field campaign activities that he is running as an independent candidate, within the list of “Algeria Development Youth”, Parliament elections scheduled for June 12.
There, he preferred to listen to the concerns of major merchants, importers and moneymen, instead of inviting them to give them a sermon in an air-conditioned hall, so he had the opportunity to feel the pulse of the street directly and know the challenges of this segment of citizens.
They elaborated on the challenges of foreign trade and import in the time of Corona, which led many of them to bankruptcy. They also raised the problems of tax inflation and bank debts for loan holders, demanding exemption.
Bakis said, in a statement to Al Jazeera Net, that he preferred direct contact with the voters, believing that the parliamentary work is on the ground, and the citizen needs someone to come down to him to hear his concerns and then take care of them.
He saw that the speeches of the halls unilaterally repel people, and are no longer useful for propaganda, due to the reluctance of citizens in the first place, which made them resemble a deaf dialogue amid hollow cries.
For his part, pharmacist Erawan Muhammad Taqi al-Din, an independent candidate on the “Algeria elites” list from Ain Temouchent governorate (west of the capital), chose to go to the stadiums of popular neighborhoods, where their pioneers participated in the ball game over the green rectangle.
He took advantage of the state of alienation from the parties’ candidates, to instill confidence on the ground between the candidate and the citizen, which had been lacking as a result of wrong practices, and he closely felt his daily problems, as he put it.
This is the same propaganda method used by activist and doctor Taher Ghawar, the independent candidate in the “Success List” for the governorate of Oum El Bouaghi (east of the capital), as he focused on local tours to public spaces, foremost of which are sports spaces, in the hope of attracting fans and symbols of stadiums.
He also held many interviews with notables of the region and representatives of NGOs to exchange views on the urgent development needs of the governorate
These moves show that the independent candidates have decided their competitive order by betting on field activity, by going to cafes, markets, and various public places, to target the silent bloc, instead of holding traditional gatherings inside closed halls, in the manner of party leaders, not even relying on virtual propaganda.
They believe, in statements to Al-Jazeera Net, that the party gatherings are in fact nothing but a “self-discourse” between the leadership and its militants, recruiting for it with great potential without actual feasibility in persuading voters from outside the organizational framework.
As for not focusing on social networking sites, they believe that the blue astronauts are generally not interested in the elections in Algeria, that is, they belong to the boycott youth group under the influence of political activists, and therefore there is no point in wasting time with them.
It should be noted that the number of independent electoral lists in this entitlement amounted to 837 out of a total of 1483 lists participating in the June 12 elections, which did not happen in the history of the Algerian elections.
The authorities also decided for the first time to support young independent candidates with 300,000 Algerian dinars, equivalent to two thousand dollars for each candidate, to cover the expenses of the electoral campaign.
In his interpretation of the behavior of the independent candidates and the extent of the importance of the field campaign in the Algerian elections, Taher Amara Al-Adgham, professor of media at El-Oued University, believes that their lists often do not have the capabilities of organizing and mobilizing, nor material capabilities such as parties, so they resort to direct meetings, because they are the most guaranteeing alternative to the arrival of the message and win over voters.
He explained, in a statement to Al-Jazeera Net, that some lists are apparently independent, but they are clan-based, and then try to reach their supposed supporters through direct meetings in clan gatherings and branches, and family visits for the candidate or his family members.
There is also a party candidate, but behind him is a clan. He contributes to party gatherings with the list, and then communicates with the clan on the ground and in the family, through meetings and visits that are closer to spontaneity, as he described it.
He stressed that direct meetings are highly effective, and in previous electoral experiences, candidates reached Parliament by intensifying them, and others came close to reaching with efforts focused on individual contacts and field interviews.
He added that the state of reluctance and apprehension among citizens makes this propaganda necessary, as there is no rush and competition to participate in party gatherings, as attendance is mostly limited to party members, their families and those very close to them.
Preference for parties
On the other hand, political analyst Fateh Qard said, “The candidates of the independent lists are focusing on direct action and intensifying contact on the ground to dialogue with the citizen about electoral hesitation due to desperation to change their situation for the better.”
He stressed, in a statement to Al Jazeera Net, that the electoral festivals have a weak influence in modifying the citizen’s conviction, especially that they mostly include party fighters, who are mainly supportive, but their organizers aim to achieve influence on the rest of the competitors by showing the necessary glamor and achieving electoral dazzle.
However, it cannot be certain, as the former parliamentarian adds, that independent candidates will be in better condition in terms of results on polling day.
The analyst justified his foresight by the complexity of the electoral system, which gives preference to traditional and large political parties whose structures are spread and whose representatives are distributed in governorates and municipalities in a larger and broader way than independent lists, which enables them to overcome the threshold obstacle estimated at (5%) of valid votes.
The other reason is that political party candidates do not neglect the field work that they do without the support of their party leaders, and they are more convincing if they are elected and have previously achieved success and achievement in their management of local affairs or their previous parliamentary performance, as he put it.