16Political Communication and Government Relations

Barbara Myslik and Spiro Kiousis

Many countries around the world have recently made some unexpected political decisions, which were widely commented on by international media. The United States of America has elected a president who is a businessman and a former TV show host and who, before his own campaign, had very little to do with politics. Shortly before that, the citizens of Great Britain rejected their European Union (EU) membership. It was a decision made in a referendum, therefore enabled by a democratic process and yet surprising for many, who think of democracy as the least conflict‐prone or least controversial of political systems. Until now, the United Kingdom has been struggling with the aftermath of this decision, since apparently many voters didn’t necessarily understand what they were voting for or against (as indicated by the next day’s most popular Google search in the UK: “What exactly is the EU?”) (Beres, 2016). Another surprising election result within the EU family found many international commentators confused. In 2016, Poland, the fourth largest country in Europe and the only EU member virtually untouched by the 2008 crisis, as well as one of the steadiest and fastest growing of the new European democracies, elected its new leader based on his promise to “rebuild the country from its current ruin” (Kulish, 2012; Duval Smith, 2015).

It is important to remember that all of these events were preceded ...

Get Public Relations Theory now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.