OPINION

Voter behavior

History demonstrates that voter preferences do not express gratitude for the past but rather hope for a desired future. And the question is: Where are these hopes grounded? In other words, what prompts someone to vote for one party or another? The election platform of each party seems to play a subordinate role. First, because the platforms usually contain nothing but vague and non-specific promises… And second, because these days it is difficult to find a visionary platform. Big choices (war or peace, socialism or capitalism) are not on offer anymore. The range of options has shrunk and big decisions are made at an international level while there are only minor differences between the various programs… The similarity and the incredibility of the parties’ election platforms inevitably place emphasis on the personal factor – most crucially, the party leader. This is normal in a political system in which (particularly since its modification 20 years ago) both the Constitution and political practice assign a great deal of power to the prime minister – so much depends on the premier that, as a result, his or her personality plays a central role. A leader is evaluated on the basis of his performance as prime minister or as opposition leader. In both cases, a politician is judged by his broader presence in the political, social and professional spheres. This is probably the most essential criterion and this is why voters’ preference is often personified…