THE RISE IN POPULARITY OF THE LITHUANIAN POLITICAL PARTY DRASOS KELIAS
Keywords:Political party, elections, ‘single issue’ political party, collective thinking, institutionalization of political party
This article examines the genesis of a new Lithuanian political unit, the Drasos kelias party, which was created in 2012 and successfully participated in the 2012 Lithuanian parliamentary elections, reconstructing it in three stages based on the analysis of news portals. Reconstruction of the first stage is based on the competing “conspiracy versions” (two different interpretations of the unsolved criminal story in the news media) in 2009- 2010. Two archetypal characters (criminal and/or hero) were sought in the interpretation of the two aforementioned versions. Agenda setting and media framing theories were used as explanatory theories. The second stage (2011-2012) is reconstructed through further analysis of the news portals as well as through the analysis of some additional research from the interviews and focus group discussions. This data allowed us to retrace the logic of collective thinking. This logic of collective thinking contributed to the formation of a continuous “single issue” protest community which was united by the slogan “do not hand the child to a paedophilia clan”. This group of people constantly hindered the governmental institutions from the implementation of the court decision to hand the child to her mother, and over a long period of time its protest arguments expanded from “not handing the child to her mother” to protests against the entire Lithuanian legal system. Further, the third stage associated with formal institutionalization of political party and its rising of popularity among the voters in the 2012 Lithuanian parliamentary elections is analyzed. The analysis stresses the importance of social and personal networks for the regional dispersion of party election results.