Angleter Election 2018: Election Night Coverage

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    The theme music plays, over shots of the corridors of the Parliament House and clips of the candidates debating each other and campaigning. The title sequence closes with a shot of the Parliament House:

    John Bloom: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to Sirion TV's coverage of election night, 2018. I'm John Bloom. As we enter the small hours of the morning, our team will be all over the country, giving you the news as quick as it comes, as to who, exactly, you have elected to run this country for the next three years. Polls were open from 7am to 10pm today, and millions of you cast your votes up and down the country. Polls have shown a tight three-way race, but tonight we find out the results of the only poll that matters. But before we start, allow me to introduce you to the team who'll be bringing news, views, and analysis all through the night.

    [Camera cuts to a woman in front of a huge CGI map]

    Pauline Armeniakon: I'm Pauline Armeniakon, here to analyse this map, and all the results as they come in, and tell you what each result means for the overall result. I'll be predicting which seats could be switching, which could be staying, and which ones could be the ones to watch.

    [Camera cuts to a man sat at an empty table]

    Matthew Austell: Matthew Austell here, interviewing the big names from all the parties as they give their take on how the night's going for them. Tonight is going to pose a lot of questions, and we're going to get some answers.

    [Camera cuts to a man and woman sat around the table from JB]

    JB: And here's our resident psephologist, Robert Mamiconian from Canvassus, who'll be digging deeper into what the results imply; and Preet Khatter, who'll be looking at the political implications of what happens tonight.

    [Camera pans back to JB]

    JB: So we've conducted an exit poll in association with Canvassus, 12,000 people in 94 constituencies. Hopefully this will give us some decent insight into what the result could be, although, of course, this isn't the poll that matters and these things have been wrong before. But for now and for a good few hours afterwards, it's the best we've got. I'll also note that we've only got a popular vote exit poll this time, since Canvassus found that there were simply too many local swings and close races to be able to come up with such a projection, at least until we get some real results in. Anyway, here we go:

    JB: So, that's the Citizen Alliance, ahead, on 31%. The SDP close behind on 29%, and the Democrats a few points further back on 24%. The CSL on 13%, that's higher than they've polled throughout the campaign, and then Kilroy on 2% and others on 1%. What I can also reveal is that despite the lack of a precise projection for seats, we can predict that no party will have an overall majority in the Chamber of the Plebeians. I'm now going to go over to Robert Mamiconian for some analysis. Robert?

    RM: Thanks, John. This is certainly not what a lot of people were expecting, the SDP had usually been polling a few points ahead and usually on at least 32%, so to see them go second and below the 30% mark is a real surprise for them. The Citizen Alliance will be absolutely ecstatic with that, even if they do ultimately slip behind the SDP - if they're even in the same ballpark in terms of the actual results, then Emryc Isla has a real shot at becoming Prime Minister. The Democrats, meanwhile, I think their response will be 'could be worse', although that still spells the loss of a lot of seats. If they are the third party in terms of seats, then that means they could get to decide whether Sam Courtenay or Emryc Isla gets the keys to the Prime Minister's Office. And finally, the CSL - extraordinary performance for them, not just compared to the polls but also, especially, compared to how the Communists did last time. It all depends on where those votes are, and it's been really difficult for us to work out - if they do get a decent seat haul, then they could just be the ones to put the SDP over the line.

    JB: That's a very intriguing thought, and I should just compare these results to last time, subbing out Communists for CSL: if the exit poll is accurate, it's SDP down 9% on last time out, Democrats down 12%, Citizen Alliance up 10%, and CSL up 11%.

    RM: Absolutely. And it's easy to say, oh, it's the rise of populism on each side, from SDP to CSL and from Democrats to Citizen Alliance, but we haven't found that to be the case. There's all sorts of swings going on. There's a lot of SDP voters going to the Citizen Alliance, for example. There's liberal Democrat voters going to the SDP and even to the CSL. There's some Citizen Alliance voters going to Kilroy, as well. It's a real maelstrom.

    PK: What I find interesting is this thought of what happens if there is, as we're predicting, some form of hung Parliament, and it's very difficult to tell when we don't know what the numbers could be. If we say the SDP and Citizen Alliance are more or less neck-and-neck, then either the CSL have enough votes to bail out the SDP, but perhaps at the expense of Sam Courtenay - remember they think he should be locked up - or it's up to Sue Fareham and the Democrats. And they're a very divided party.

    JB: So you're saying the Democrats could go from 'that wasn't that bad', to a really crippling headache over who to support?

    PK: Exactly.

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    MA: Right, well, to look over that exit poll, we've got our first round of guests: it's Martha Lane from the Citizen Alliance, Terese Sponge from the SDP, David Wannock-Smythe from the CSL, and Irene Ulleries from the Democrats. Terese, let's start with you. What's gone wrong?

    TS: Well, I'm not sure anything's gone wrong yet. As you say, the exit poll isn't necessarily Gospel, there's a lot of variables involved, and it shows us very close behind the Citizen Alliance, so I'm still very much optimistic.

    MA: So you haven't quite kissed that majority government goodbye, yet?

    TS: Not at all. I think we've run a positive, issues-based campaign. I think we stood out for doing that, and I think that's what ultimately will win through.

    MA: Even though you've lost a significant chunk of your vote; I mean, even if you beat the exit poll, it'll be very surprising now if you hit 38% again.

    TS: Stranger things have happened, Matthew. But the fact is we're in a much more crowded political field now. A lot more competition, which is healthy, and it was also always going to be tough after three years of a government where we haven't been able to do all we wanted. I think tonight will prove we've given a good account of ourselves, and I fully expect to see Sam Courtenay back on the job tomorrow.

    MA: Martha Lane, are you expecting to see Sam Courtenay back on the job tomorrow?

    ML: Not at all, and I think if these results are accurate, then it's a really damning indictment of the SDP's time in office. This always happens with them, it happened in 2015 when they squandered a 17-point lead, and it looks like it's happened this time around - when you put the SDP and Sam Courtenay under the bright light of an election campaign, they're always found wanting.

    MA: So this exit poll, if it's accurate, is all about the SDP, then? It's not about yourselves?

    ML: Well, it is about ourselves, because we're the only real alternative not just to the SDP but also to the entire way of doing things in Angleteric politics. I think voters really connected with Emryc Isla, they saw he was different, one of them, and they voted for some real change.

    MA: Will you attempt to govern if you're the largest party? Is there a coalition on the cards?

    ML: We've been very clear that we don't do coalitions. If we are the largest party, then we'll expect a chance to govern and we'll leave it to other parties to decide whether they'll support our programme or prop up the elite.

    MA: That's a good question for you, Irene Ulleries. Are you going to support Emryc Isla's programme or Sam Courtenay's?

    IU: Well, we'll support our own programme, a-

    MA: What programme is that?

    IU: Oh, Matthew, you know we have policies. We want low tax, less red tape, less spending. We've gone back to Angleter's liberal-conservative roots in this campaign, and that, incidentally, is why that exit poll shows us a lot stronger than you all had us just a couple of months ago.

    MA: But it says you're on for third place, and that leaves you deciding between these two.

    IU: I wouldn't be so quick, Matthew. We could easily end up in second or even first place based on that exit poll, especially in terms of seats. I think by the end of the night we could be seeing these two coming to us, not the other way round.

    MA: David Wannock-Smythe, please tell me you don't think you'll be the largest party tomorrow morning?

    DWS: Ha, well, it'd be a very pleasant surprise. But I'm just over the moon at that exit poll. Unless it's way out, it really shows that the downtrodden people of this country are waking up. Our predecessors were at 2% last time, and now we're on course for the mid-teens. It's great news.

    MA: But what if you end up holding the balance of power? Are you going to put Concentration Camp Courtenay, as your co-spokesperson put it, back in the PMO?

    DWS: If we get into that situation, then we'll be guided in every action by the goal of holding the SDP to account and ensuring we get a genuinely radical government of the Left.

    MA: Do you see a role for Sam Courtenay in that government?

    DWS: We're focussed on action, not personality, but obviously we'd have quite a lot of concerns about trusting Sam Courtenay to get the job done.

    MA: Right, well, thanks all. We'll be back again shortly, but for now, back to you, John.

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    JB: I'm pleased to say we are now able to finally go to our first result of the evening. Palmyra Central have got ahead of everyone else once again, and they've counted the votes about 15 minutes quicker than in 2015, so that's good going on their part. Palmyra Central, very safe Democrat seat. Navdeep Khatkar running for re-election.

    [Screen cuts to Palmyra Central declaration]

    Returning officer: -deep Khatkar, Democratic Party, sixty-three thou-


    JB: Well, there's no surprise. Just wait briefly for the full results... and here we go:

    JB: So Khatkar's majority increased slightly, from 38,000 to a shade over 40,000. However, his vote share is down 6%, to 51%. Citizen Alliance up into second, up by just 5%. CSL up from virtually nowhere, from 2% to 15%, so they've gained 13% there. And finally the SDP, down to fourth, down 12%. Also a Kilroy candidate there who barely troubled the scorers. Robert - not what the exit poll was saying?

    RM: Sort of, sort of not. What we're seeing here is the SDP doing even worse than the exit poll would have predicted, and the CSL doing even better. But on the right, the Citizen Alliance increase is muted, and the Democrat decline also smaller than one might expect. Now there might, and I stress might, be reasons for that. Palmyra Central is a very affluent urban constituency in New Birmingham. It's not even remotely close to being fertile ground for Emryc Isla, and so I don't think they'll be too troubled at Citizen Alliance HQ over only gaining 6% there. Nav Khatkar is obviously also a former Prime Minister, founder of the Democratic Party itself, and so he has a very high personal profile. As for the left-wing parties, this is a relatively young and very liberal seat, and this does indicate that a lot of the progressive liberal vote, the so-called 'champagne socialists', might be making their way towards the CSL. But, of course, there's 496 seats left to declare, and only much later on will we be able to say with any certainty whether these swings are a local thing or more representative of the national mood.

    JB: Thanks, Robert. Very informative. Well, we've had the first; the dam is broken. Now we await the flood.

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    JB: OK, so Manbidge was competing with Palmyra Central to be the first seat to declare, so we've got Bill Thomas over there to have a look, but they've hit a problem, haven't they, Bill?

    BT: Yes, John, it's a recount. We'd got a result half an hour ago, but it's within 1000 votes, I'm told, between the Democrats and the Citizen Alliance, and so there is a partial recount going on. We'll be expecting a final result, if there are no delays and no further recounts, within about twenty minutes' time.

    JB: Thanks, Bill, we'll be eager to see the result there. Meanwhile, let's take a look at our map. Our lovely map of all the constituencies, which will be coloured in as the results come in. Pauline, you're in charge of that. How's it looking?

    PA: Well, only one result so far, and that's a blue speck in the middle of New Birmingham, for Nav Khatkar's seat in Palmyra Central.

    JB: Pauline, could you explain for our viewers why Neo-Venetia isn't on the map?

    PA: Er, well, I, er, that... is because there are no MPs being elected from Neo-Venetia, on account of its occupation by the separatist administration there. There aren't any Neo-Venetian constituencies to show, and that's why it's not been marked out on the map.

    JB: Right. That explains that, then.

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    JB: While we're still waiting for Manbidge, we can bring you a couple of results, both of which are good news for the SDP - Pauline?

    PA: Yes, so a couple of seats here where, if the SDP were on course to lose power, you might expect them to be in trouble. First, Ter Zor Diglath, out in Kerkesion, where if we had the sort of national swing the exit poll is predicting, the Citizen Alliance would be within a few percentage points of taking the seat. Here's what actually happened:

    Majority of just over 11,000 for Agatha Fort, which is roughly halved from last time, but better than what we might have expected from the exit poll. SDP down 3%, Citizen Alliance up 11%, Democrats down 6%. That's particularly good news for the SDP since last time there was a Traditionalist candidate standing, and this time there's a CSL candidate, so that might have been expected to be a drag on the left vote there. Now, here's another seat:

    Balbeck North East in the middle of Livan, where Aaron Muhammad has actually tripled his majority, more or less. Again, his vote is down, by about 6% - better than the exit poll - but Democrats down 9%, and Citizen Alliance up 7%. So two results there where the SDP are outperforming the exit poll, and also where the CSL are performing below that 13% mark, and in urban seats as we-

    JB: Sorry to interrupt, Pauline, but we do now have the result from Manbidge.

    [Screen cuts to Manbidge]

    Returning officer: I, the returning officer for the Manbidge constituency, declare that the total number of votes for each candidate was as follows:

    Abaza, Abdul Rahman, Coalition for Socialism and Liberation, twelve thousand, four hundred and seventy-seven.

    De Pforttenhelm, Albert, Traditionalist Communion, two thousand, one hundred and one.

    [Mild smattering of applause]

    Goddard, Esther, National Movement Robert Kilroy-Silk, Led By Robert Kilroy Silk, four thousand, nine hundred and ninety.

    Mellett, Alan, Citizen Alliance, Hashtag No Refugees, forty thousand, four hundred and fifty-two.

    [Cheering and applause]

    Saraffian, David, Democratic Party, thir-

    [Loud cheering and applause]

    JB: Did she say thirty?

    I think she said- yes. Right. Well, he's gone then. It's between the other two.

    Returning officer: THIRTY-NINE THOUSAND, FIVE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-THREE. That's thirty-nine thousand, five hundred and thirty-three.

    Shaw, Barbara, Social Democratic Party, thir-

    [Even louder cheering and applause]

    Returning officer: THIRTY-ONE THOU-

    JB: Well, there we have it. First gain of the evening, and it's quite a shocking one. The Democrats have lost a seat in Dayradestuna, and the Citizen Alliance are the ones who've picked it up. SDP a little way back there, as well. Pauline, some quick thoughts.

    PA: Well, Dayra is about as solid Democrat territory as you can get. This was their weakest seat here, but David Saraffian did have a majority of over 15,000 here before tonight. How did he lose it? Well, he's down 13% on last time, which is slightly bigger than the exit poll projected, and the Citizen Alliance are up 14%. SDP also down 7%.

    PK: That'll actually be a big disappointment to both the Democrats and the SDP. Both the other main parties wanted to take a Dayra seat off the Democrats, largely for the symbolic value of it, but the SDP probably went backwards further than they'd have liked given the effort they put in there. As for the Democrats, the psychological blow of this will be huge. It's interesting that this was probably always going to be a marginal seat considering the polling, and the Democrats could still have a much better night than they'd have expected a month or so ago on a similar swing to this - but still, a relatively good night for them compared to the polling is a massive step backwards compared to 2015.

    JB: So, 'that wasn't that bad' is coming up against 'that's still really quite bad'?

    PK: Definitely. They've got used to being in the 20s in the polls, but losing a large number of seats and probably ending up third overall - as will be the case if these results continue - will be a huge shock to them. Especially when Fortress Dayra has fallen.

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    JB: Results coming in slightly quicker now. I'll just go through some of them, all holds and no surprises. Goulon for the Citizen Alliance; Balbeck North West, Palmyra North East, and Palmyra South East for the Democrats; and Istvanfehervar North, Neomantua Castellar, Dionysias East, Dionysias Central, Damaszka Caffar Susa, and Palvar and East Bank for the SDP.

    That leaves us with 8 seats so far for the SDP, 4 Democrats, and 2 Citizen Alliance. 14 down, 483 to go.

    RM: The popular vote is also interesting. 35% for the SDP right now, 28% Democrats, 24% Citizen Alliance, 11% CSL. Now the seats coming in right now are mostly urban, and that's why the SDP in particular are doing well. The Democrats and the Citizen Alliance will both be looking towards the more suburban and rural seats that are slower to come in. But the CSL might have cause to worry - Palmyra might not be their area, and they've racked up a few good showings in Dionysias - 20%, 16% - but after that exit poll they could be forgiven for thinking that, over these first 14 seats, they might be doing a little better.

    PK: One thing I'll also point out with these results is that, especially in the SDP seats in the southwest of the country, you're seeing swings that are in line with the exit poll, but are absolutely nowhere near switching hands. The SDP are losing 10%, 12%, sometimes worse in some of these seats, and they're getting to the level where the Democrats were last time out. But then, the Democrats are taking a step down as well at the same time, usually also by about 10%. Things are changing, but they're sort of staying the same.

    JB: Pauline, is there a bit more colour in the map now?

    PA: Indeed there is John, starting to fill up, although, of course, still smaller seats geographically that are declaring.

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    PA: ...and with that we're up to 100 seats declared.

    JB: 100 up! And how is it looking, Pauline?

    PA: The Citizen Alliance are now running ahead, with 38 seats, followed by the SDP on 33, and the Democrats on 23. The CSL have racked up 5 seats, while Robert Kilroy-Silk has been returned in Yavur Central. And let's take a look at some of these Citizen Alliance gains, starting with two from the SDP - Einissa in Diglath, one of three Citizen Alliance gains in that province already, and Hulas Valley in Sham.

    So some fairly huge swings here, the Citizen Alliance had been third in both constituencies. They're up by 15 in Einissa and 12 in Hulas Valley. SDP down by 12 in both. Democrats down by 9 in Einissa and 14 in Hulas Valley. This really is exactly what Emryc Isla will want to be seeing. I'll also show you one gain from the Democrats, in Lower Gemayel in Livan.

    And that's Citizen Alliance up 15, Democrats down 14, SDP down 9. Again, another seat where they'd been quite a distant third last time out, and these are exactly the sort of seats they need to win if they want to have a shot at being the largest party at the end of the night.

    JB: I see. But it's not all plain sailing for them, is it?

    PA: Not quite. In fact, we've just had the result from Yavur Central, Robert Kilroy-Silk's old seat, where he was restanding. Now, this is the third time the Citizen Alliance have tried to take this seat; they've unseated the other Kilroy MP, Pete Gabitas, in Yavur North East - Eleanor Ross is the new MP there - but once again, Robert Kilroy-Silk has pulled it out of the bag with a majority of just over 1,000.

    And one of the other big stories of the night has to be the CSL and their shift towards a more young, middle-class voter base. We've already seen them go backwards in Mahin, they've also now lost Talfitt Hill, an old mining area, to the Citizen Alliance, but they've come out already with five seats. Let's take a look at Tadmoor, which used to be a Communist seat, went SDP in 2015, and plays host to both a large working-class community and a lot of students from the University of New Birmingham as well as young professionals and recent graduates.

    So Rita Sandhu BTFO there after one term, Salma Remington, the party's spokeswoman, in, and everyone else quite a way back. Certainly no Citizen Alliance surge in Tadmoor. I'll also point out that the CSL are up to three seats in New Birmingham now, with Asten Central and Palham Junction, both very young seats demographically, going to them.

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    JB: We're now going to go to Edessa North, where Emryc Isla's seat is declaring. Edessa North.

    Returning officer: -as follows.

    Anton, Muhammad, independent, two thousand, nine hundred and twenty-seven.

    Eriadu, Wilhuff, Coalition for Socialism and Liberation, sixteen thousand, seven hundred and eighty-eight.

    [Some cheering and applause]

    Isla, Emryc Paul, Citizen Alliance, fifty-eight thousa-

    [Very loud cheering, whooping, and applause, with some booing]

    Fifty-eight thousand, one hundred and seventy-fi-

    JB: I'm sorry to have to interrupt that. We'll be coming back to Edessa North a little later - we are expecting some delay before Emryc Isla speaks - but we'll give you the full results as soon as we can. We're going to Bostra-de-Sham, where Sam Courtenay's seat is declaring.

    Returning officer: -tenay, Samuel Robert, Social Democratic Party, sixty-three thousand, eight-hundred and ninety.

    [Loud cheering, whooping, and applause]

    JB: Think that's pretty decisive. While they're finishing up there, we can show you the results card from Edessa North:

    Quite a right-wing suburban seat, but a strong CSL presence. Wilhuff Eriadu is, I believe, the only Kaasian candidate running in these elections. Very obvious statement by the CSL, running him against Emryc Isla. But he's done well, come third, beat the SDP. Edessa is a university town, and there's no shortage of students and lecturers in this seat, even if they're nowhere near enough to dethrone the leader of the Citizen Alliance. Among the also rans, there, you've got someone who's renamed themselves 'Refugee Justice', presumably as some kind of stunt, and our good friend Transcensius, who's representing the A*S*C*E*N*S*I*O*N group, which I believe we are actually allowed to call a cult on TV. 

    PA: Well, maybe one of his nine voters can sue us. I have to say, though, last time he ran in Bickenhill and got eight votes, so there's an improvement right there.

    JB: What I would dearly love to know is where they find the other 41 people they need to nominate them. But anyway, we can now go to Sam Courtenay, after we've shown you the full results from his seat:

    Again, very safe seat, although his majority is slightly down on last time. Hortense Miller, for anyone interested, represents The Luddite Party: Solar Flares Can't Destroy Paper. They used to have seats in Parliament, but that was under proportional representation. Anyway, the Prime Minister - for how long, who knows?

    Sam Courtenay: Thank you. I'd first like to thank the returning officer, the volunteers, and the police officers who made sure we had an orderly election. It couldn't have gone at all, let alone gone as smoothly, without you, so I think I can speak for all the candidates when I offer you my thanks.

    I'd also like to thank the people of Bostra-de-Sham in particular for putting their faith in me to be their MP once again - I know it's hard, when your MP has a ministerial role and therefore has to spend more of their time away in New Birmingham, but I have never stopped fighting for this great town, and I will never stop fighting for you.

    And I'd like to thank the Angleteric people. It's early doors, as I'm sure you're aware - there's about 400 seats still to declare, I think - but I think it's clear that we're in a very strong position to form the next government, whichever form that might take. My door is open to anyone who wishes to work with me if that's what the Parliamentary arithmetic demands, and I'm looking forward to getting to work to make Angleter, and Bostra-de-Sham, an even better place to live.

    Once upon a time they said the SDP would never get back power. When we lost it in 1997, they thought we were gone forever. "Angleter's a right-wing country," they said. Then we proved them wrong. And then they said it's just an experiment, that after one term we'd be back in the wilderness, back where we belong, and we'd let the usual right-wing forces take the power back. Well, whatever happens over the rest of the night, I think we've proven them wrong again - the SDP is here to stay. And let me send a message to the conservatives, the libertarians, the nationalists - you underestimate our party, our movement, our people at your peril. Thank you.

    JB: Well, quite an upbeat speech there.

    PA: Very upbeat, very rabble-rousing in tone there, which is no surprise in that great SDP heartland, but what's interesting is he talked about "whichever form" the government would take, he talked about talking to other parties, he even just boasted about being "here to stay." It's about as close as you'll get at the moment to an admission that they're not going to get a majority government. And until about 11pm this evening that had been a very serious possibility.

    JB: He's also confident about forming a government, which indicates that they're expecting their fortunes to pick up somewhat, because right now that is far from certain.

    PA: Either that or he's been talking to the Democrats.

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    JB: Results coming in thick and fast now. I wonder if you could show us where we stand right now, Pauline.

    PA: Indeed I can, Joh-

    JB: Actually, hold that thought, Pauline, because we're just going to show the result from Phepson, in Quareytene, Sue Fareham's constituency:

    Returning officer: -ham is duly elected Member of Parliament for the Phepson constituency.

    [Loud cheers; Sue Fareham waves triumphantly to her supporters]

    JB: Well, she's in. What's the breakdown?

    [Wait of a few seconds]

    JB: Ah, here we are. 4,79- 4,796? Well. That's hardly a ringing endorsement, is it? That's Democrats down 7, SDP down 9, Citizen Alliance up 12, CSL up 8 having not run there last time out. Was this expected, Preet?

    PK: Sort of, I think is the right answer. The Democrats knew that on the sort of swings the election was promising, their leader's seat could be in doubt, so they did put a lot of resources into it, but the indication had been that they'd been getting more and more confident. But that's more than a bit too close to comfort for them there.

    RM: Preet's right, I think. On a flat national swing, this seat would've been right on the edge, like, virtually a dead heat. But it's not that; it's a seat where the Democrats have been piling in resources, and the Citizen Alliance generally seemed happy to let Phepson suck the Democrats' resources out of other competitive seats. I'm surprised that the majority's so small, but it was well within the realms of possibility, even on the exit poll.

    JB: OK. Let's hear from Sue Fareham, anyway.

    SF: -my deepest thanks for making this election run smoothly. I'd like to turn my attention now to my party. Democrats, we knew this would be a tough campaign. The polls had written us off totally, and it's a real testament to the strength and dedication of our activists, both here in Phepson and across the country, that so many of you kept coming out to campaign for us despite that. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. And the fruits of your hard work are being revealed tonight. In marginal seats like this, all over Angleter, great Democrat MPs are holding on against an onslaught of leftism and populism. The exit poll says we've done better than anyone would've predicted just a month ago, and so far the results seem to be reflecting that.

    I think it's clear by now that no one party will form a majority government. And how thankful we should all be for that. The only thing worse than the Courtenay-Isla alliance would be either Courtenay or Isla governing alone. I want you all to know that, as I expect there'll be a lot of talks in the coming days, I will keep the interests of the entire Democratic Party, our whole broad church, at the forefront of my mind. It's about making the most of this situation to preserve the free market, family values, a balanced budget, and individual responsibility - the principles that made Angleter great. My door is very much open, both to representatives of the other parties, to my fellow Democrats, and above all, to you, my constituents here in Phepson.

    It is such a privilege that the hardworking people of Phepson have seen fit to elect me as their representative for the second time, amidst a difficult set of national circumstances. Phepson is a wonderful community of ordinary Angleterics who believe in freedom and responsibility, and I am glad to be able to take their values - Angleter's values - back to the Chamber of the Plebeians for the next three years. I will do all I can to help rebuild the Angleter that people in Phepson and across this country showed their faith in when they voted Democrat today. Thank you very much.

    JB: Sue Fareham, there; and actually now we can go to Edessa North and Emryc Isla's victory speech, which follows on from all the Edessa seats being completed:

    EI: As ever, I'd like to thank the returning officer, the police, and all the volunteers whose commitment made this election go as planned. It's sometimes hard to imagine all the work that goes into an election - you just turn up and vote, or you campaign and you wait for the results - but none of it would happen without the hard work of dozens of people in each constituency across the country. It's a huge task, and it would be a crime to let it go thankless.

    It would also be a crime not to celebrate! Tonight we're seeing the true depth of the dagger that the Angleteric people have plunged into the heart of elite rule. It's gone right through it. To come from nowhere, literally nowhere, just two election cycles ago, to the single largest bloc tonight - certainly in terms of votes, and I'm confident also in terms of seats - is one of the truly great stories of people power. None of us were politicians. None of us were celebrities. None of us were exactly billionaires either. The Citizen Alliance has gone viral, and it's gone viral because it's got an authentic, clear message that people want. It's direct democracy. It's citizens first. It's no more DK war. It's no more political correctness. It's no more green lunacy. And yes, it's no refugees! NO REFUGEES!

    So I've already had about 12 billion missed calls from journos probably asking me what I'm going to do about negotiations. Well, I set a little answer machine message for them, which I think gets the point across. I've told them all the exact same thing! My only priority is getting those six policy points through. Whatever best achieves that is what our movement will be going with. It's that simple.

    Now, it's easy to get caught up in national politics. But the reason why the Citizen Alliance has made it so far is because it's a local movement, based on the dogged hard work of ordinary local people who believe in our message. I don't like to call them activists, because that's too political a word - to me, they're just dedicated citizens, doing something for the good of their community and their country. My heartfelt thanks go to them for getting myself and hundreds of other Citizen Alliance MPs elected tonight. Folks, this is your victory!

    But no amount of canvassing can swing an election by itself, because the final verdict belongs to the people of Edessa North. And I am grateful, so grateful, that you have given me the privilege of being your voice in the halls of power once again. The last three years of speaking up for Edessa North, helping thousands of constituents, regardless of which way they may have voted, and working to make this most beautiful part of Angleter's most beautiful city the best it can be, has been so enjoyable, and I am so excited to be returning for three years more of that rewarding work. Edessa North, thank you. And everyone in Angleter who took part in this great democratic process - thank you too. Tonight, we're on the very edge of something big, something new, and something very exciting indeed. Thank you!

    JB: OK, so, Preet, thoughts?

    PK: Upbeat addresses from both Fareham and Isla there, as you'd expect. Fareham is certainly not letting her own close shave, or the overall fact that the Democrats are haemorrhaging seats, get in the way of her message, which is 'we've overcome the odds'. I'm really not sure how that's going to go down among a party faithful who, let's remember, just a few years ago were sweeping all before them. It's already a divided party, and I sense there's going to be some real anger in the party at the fact that they've failed to arrest this constant election-on-election decline.

    As for Emryc Isla, it's interesting that he didn't make that much of a claim of victory. He said he was confident of getting the most seats, but he didn't say he expected to be, or deserved to be, or was going to be Prime Minister. I don't know if that's because the Citizen Alliance works on this sort of false modesty, this sort of 'yes, I'm a big personality, but oh no, it's not about me, it's about the ideas' sort of thing, but it's certainly intriguing.

    JB: Are Sue and Emryc going to be on the phone right now?

    PK: Possibly, but I suspect they'll be waiting until a bit later. Neither side, nor the SDP, or even the CSL, really know right now what cards the electorate have dealt them. They can't rush into negotiations when the facts on the ground could change radically in the course of a couple of hours.

    JB: Thanks, Preet. Now, Pauline. The map.

    PA: Yes, thanks, John. So we've now actually got 160 results in, so we're about a third of the way along.

    Now, as more of the urban seats are coming through, the SDP have retaken the lead in terms of seats, with 66 to the Citizen Alliance's 47. The Democrats are on 37, and the CSL are on 9. Kilroy still with just the one seat, and probably unlikely to improve on that.

    I'll point out a few of the more interesting individual results. Harran, there, in Maien, used to be Judith Gibbon's seat before her brief time as European Councillor - huge swing against the SDP there, and they've lost that to the Citizen Alliance. Remember there was a huge controversy there about there being no by-election after Gibbon quit. Grandmesnil, in eastern Maron, one to watch out for if the Democrats were in meltdown - well, they're not, so they've held that with a slightly reduced majority of just under 15,000.

    Now, Edessa Central and University. Ridiculously big swing and the CSL have taken that from the SDP with a majority of just over 1,500. And we're seeing this all over - CSL winning seats in young, relatively affluent, liberal urban constituencies. Brindley, in the heart of New Birmingham, taken from the Democrats. Neomantua Central, also taken from the Democrats. And perhaps most remarkably, Cernovcy North East, taken from the Citizen Alliance. The CSL appear to be taking votes even off the Democrats, which is all a real vindication of Salma Remington's strategy of focussing on the social issues, not the economic ones.

    JB: So the CSL have gone woke, and it's paying off?

    PA: So it seems, John. And just before you move on, I'll just point out that while the insurgent parties are making most of the headlines tonight, there are still some very competitive old-school SDP/Democrat races. Look at Lodey East - used to be an SDP majority of just over 5,000; now it's a Democrat seat with a majority of just 1,085. Same goes for Damaszka Paul Road, a Democrat gain against the SDP. And in the interest of balance, Kingswinford West used to have a Democrat majority of just 520, and now it's an SDP seat with a 13,000 majority.

    JB: That really goes to underline why this election has been so difficult to read. All sorts of different swings, different contests, and unexpected ones at that, all over the country. What's the popular vote right now, again?

    PA: SDP 32%, Citizen Alliance 29%, Democrats 24%, CSL 12%, Kilroy 2%, others 1%. But expect that to change as the more suburban and rural seats start to pile in later.

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    JB: Let's join Matthew Austell and see if he can draw some insight out of the politicians. Matthew, who have you got over there?

    MA: We've got Navdeep Khatkar for the Democrats, re-elected tonight in Palmyra Central; Fr George Guitmund for the Social Democrats, who's stepping down in La Croix St Leufroy but will, I'm sure, be pleased to see the SDP hold that seat; and we've also got Cajetan Norbert for the Citizen Alliance, who's also been re-elected in Digbeth. I'll start with Fr Guitmund - you're ahead now, will you still be ahead at the end of the night?

    GG: I'm growing more and more confident. The last hour or so we've picked up, we've even made some gains in Kingswinford, for instance, and I've actually been looking at the swings. It's a lot better now than we might have thought from the exit poll. In a lot of seats, we're only down by 6 or 7, and if you extrapolate from that, then we should be the largest party by votes and by seats.

    MA: But that's urban seats, and there aren't that many of them left. You've lost a lot of suburban seats and small town seats to the Citizen Alliance tonight. Does the SDP have a problem outside the big cities?

    GG: I don't think we do. Kingswinford isn't exactly central New Birmingham, we've held steady in Oldknow, in my own former seat of La Croix St Leufroy, and so on. There are different swings across the country, but I think we're demonstrating tonight that we're a party of the whole nation.

    MA: Cajetan Norbert, are the Citizen Alliance a party of the whole nation? You've been struggling to make headway in a lot of the main cities - just look at Cernovcy North East.

    CN: Of course we're a party of the whole nation. I'm very sad that we've lost Paul Harris in Cernovcy, he's been a great representative for that city and a great member of our team, but we're making gains all over the country. Frankly, Matthew, it's a bit bizarre for you to throw that question at me when I've been re-elected in Digbeth, in the middle of New Birmingham, we've got four of the five Asten seats, we've gained a seat in Damasz-

    GG: Where's your seat in Neolombardia, Cajetan?

    CN: George knows as well as I do that barely any seats in Neolo-

    GG: OK then, which one are you going to win?

    CN: Can you not interrupt?

    GG: Gladly, but you said Matthew's being bizarre, and I think it's a bit bizarre of you to say you're a party of the whole nation when you're nowhere in one of the biggest provinces.

    CN: If I were George I wouldn't be so sure about Neolombardia right now. We'll see.

    NK: I've got two words to say about Neolombardia: Lodey. West. That's it.

    MA: East.

    NK: That's what I said?

    MA: You said West. You've already got West, you've won East.

    NK: West, then.

    MA: Have the Democrats lost the working class, Navdeep, and if so, how do they get it back? I mean, you're in single figures in a whole host of urban constituencies, in New Birmingham, Damaszka, Dionysias, and so on. Why can't Sue Fareham's Democrats appeal to these voters?

    NK: Well, I think all parties have areas where they're weaker or stronger, a-

    MA: Not so extreme as you. Where do you find the SDP or Citizen Alliance on 7%?

    NK: But I would say the point is that we do have a broad appeal, we're winning urban seats in big and small cities, we're winning in suburbs, and we're winning in the countryside. Tonight is challenging; we knew it would be from months out. But people went around weeks ago saying we'd be annihilated, and despite that, we're very much still here.

    CN: Just about.

    MA: But what about the leadership?

    NK: Sue is our leader, and I don't expect that to change. She's led us through this campaign and we've made some ground from where we were a few months ago, and I think our party is grateful for that.

    MA: But you dropped that far under her in the first place.

    NK: We all know we've had some turbulent times in the last three years, we've gone through a few changes of leadership, and I think the stability that Sue's leadership has offered has now been welcomed by the party and, it seems, by many of the voters who might otherwise have been inclined to turn away from us.

    MA: You mentioned other past leaders - Maria Sakrakur, Levon Bagratian - is it not the case that the only person who can hold the Democrats together, and make them an electable force, is you?

    NK: No. We have great talent in our party, and this has never been a one-man venture. What we're seeing is the effect of, yes, some of the mistakes we made while in government for six years, and also a much more fractured political field.

    MA: Well, we'll see if we can get more answers from some more heavy hitters later on. Back to you, John. 

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