Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Doorstepping Seen as Key Campaign Method

Candidates in the forthcoming Kyrgyz presidential election are focusing on meeting potential voters rather than on media appearances.
As Ulukbu Amirova reports, the personal touch seems to be working especially well in the south of Kyrgyzstan, where electioneers are going door to door to build support for their candidates.

Direct contact is important here, and one campaigner said she would spend up to half an hour in any given household discussing issues over a cup of tea. In turn, local residents told IWPR they knew and trusted this woman and were therefore happy to lend their vote to the candidate she was backing. At the same time, some doubted that any of the candidates would live up to their election pledges.

Toktaim Umetalieva, the only female candidate standing against incumbent Kurmanbek Bakiev, said that in her experience, word of mouth was a cheaper and more effective way of campaigning in small towns than putting up posters or arranging public meetings. Media appearances have more impact in the cities.