Event Reports

Political strategists meet for the E-lection Bridge in Colombo

by Torben Stephan
Social Media is growing very important for election campaigns in Asia and the Pacific, while populists increasingly take influence. This is the result of the E-lection Bridge Asia-Pacific in 2016 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where we held a three-day roundtable. We invited electoral campaign managers and strategists from twelve countries in the Asian and Pacific region.

The Media Programme Asia invited leading election campaign managers and political strategists for the fourth E-lection Bridge Asia-Pacific to Colombo to debate about their experiences made in current campaigns. The participants analysed results of the elections held in the last twelve months focussing on the question about the future challenges in their countries. This occasion underlined once more to which extent the political systems of the countries differ, while facing different stages of development.

On a panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Kristina Eichhorst, Coordinator for Crisis and Conflict Management of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, the participants had the chance to debate the rising populism in Asia and Europe with the CDU Federal Director Dr. Klaus Schüler. They also elaborated on possible answers for established democratic parties regarding the question on how to face this issue.

The lecture of Dr. Klaus Schüler attracted huge interest. He introduced practical examples from national election campaigns to illustrate the importance of strategic communication.

Furthermore Ben Guerin from the National Party of New Zealand held a workshop about the newest trends of political communication in the Internet.

This year’s E-lection Bridge garnered the participation of round about 20 campaign managers, consultants and strategists from twelve countries. For the first time the event welcomed participants from Australia and New Zealand. The wrap up of the event had participants invited to a meeting with the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Speaker of the House Karu Jayasuriya.


Torben Stephan