Commission Elections 2015: Latest Coverage by Peter Clawson
The European Union is once again undergoing an election season that will bring fresh ideas and new leadership to the region. This election will also be a chance for Europeans to decide who they want to represent them and how they wish to build their own future. In order to help you make your decision, I will be bringing you the latest news, interviews, polls, and coverage of the 2015 August Commission elections. You will get to hear from the candidate themselves, as well as other experts and commentators. I will be sure to cover all sides of the political spectrum and bring all opinions to the forefront. I will be reporting from here, live in Europolis. Stay tuned.
Day One: Elections Called and Nominations Open
The election for Commission XX has officially been called, bringing an end to the incumbent Commission XIX. After serving two full-terms, outgoing Premier Commissioner Hitchens and Economics Commissioner Kligenberg will be ineligible for re-election. While technically not serving two full-terms, Commissioner Johnson has officially stated that she will not seek re-election in the upcoming campaign. It is widely expected that Commissioners von Cavill and Hunt will also not seek re-election either, as the pair almost found themselves impeached due to inactivity in the weeks leading up to today's Commission dissolution. It is therefore expected that Commission XX will be made-up of entirely new leadership.
Nominations for the upcoming Commission were called at 00:53 GMT this morning, and will remain open until that time on August 16th.
Now, let's take a look at the nominees who have declared their candidacy.
Day One: Nominations
Allison Grœner (Independent)
Hailing from the country of Harold I, the latest member state to join the European Union, this young and eager candidate was the first to announce her candidacy for the European Commission. Working as a tourist guide for ten years, and then as a reporting journalist for another five years, Grœner believes that she has the hands-on experience to make a better difference for her community. She has since plunged deep into a political career and now finds herself as the leader of the Liberal Party. Throughout her political career, Grœner has advocated for Harold I to join the European Union, to adopt the Euro currency, and to accept constitutional changes in order to legalize gay marriage. As a European Commissioner, Grœner hopes to reduce trade barriers between nations and aims to implement widespread adoption of a common currency. Grœner will be running as an independent.
Daniel Douglas (Independent)
Daniel Douglas, a Weissian business tycoon whose business origins lie within the adult film industry, became the second nominee to announce his candidacy for the upcoming Commission. Douglas is known to be the wealthiest person from the Weiss Isles and is reported to have a net worth of over 90 billion euros. He is the owner of the Douglas Group and its crown jewel: the New Girl Company. Douglas is also infamous for having 8 wives and many divorces so far in his lifetime. Despite this, Douglas is probably most known for his confrontational style of politics and his staunch conservative values. Douglas hopes to utilize his vast international business experience as a means to better-off Europe. Douglas seeks to limit the powers of the EU, despite supporting the principles behind both the Nuclear Weapons Act and the European Cannabis Act. Douglas has already stated that he does not wish to become Premier Commissioner and would rather serve as Commissioner for Internal Affairs. Douglas sees political parties as part of the political problem and will thus run as an independent.
Dr. Eilidh Whiteford (Independent)
Born as the only daughter to farmer parents, this Nicolezian doctor with humble beginnings became the third candidate to announce her nomination for the European Commission. Dr. Whiteford initially followed her parents' footsteps and became a farmer after graduating secondary school. After 15 years of hard work, she quickly found herself without work and no luck when the Nicolezian economy collapsed in 1989. The 1989 economic collapse turned Dr. Whiteford into a staunch anti-communist campaigner and painted the beginning of her vision to bring greater economic decentralization to Icholasen. After the fall of communism in Icholasen, Dr. Whiteford went on to attend University, earning a business degree, and was then elected as a member of the Royal Chambre des Délégués. During the time between her posts as an MP, Dr. Whiteford helped found the Part of June, a party dedicated to economic decentralization, and also managed to obtain a doctorate in Economics. Dr. Whiteford has since stepped down as an MP and has been working as an international researcher for the Party of June. Whiteford believes that her deep knowledge of the European Union and its political and economic systems will make her an outstanding candidate in the Commission campaign and that she intends to "advance autonomy, unity and liberty, with reform, reason and purpose". Dr. Whiteford will be running as an independent.
Dr. Juliet Couillard (S&D)
Dr. Couillard, a highly experienced and respected MP from Miraco, became the fourth candidate to join the European Commission race. Born to a middle class family in Montréal, Dr. Couillard moved to Mertz when she was 18 in order to pursue a degree in Public Affairs. After the completion of her undergraduate studies she continued her academic career and completed a Masters and Doctorate degree. She soon found a footing in the Miracan political scene, joining the Parti Socialiste de Miraco in 2001 and then earning a seat in the Miracan House of Commons. As an MP, she has been responsible for introducing the Universal Education Act as well as co-authoring the expansion to the Miracan Universal Healthcare act. Her dedication, in particular to the issues of healthcare, has since made Dr. Couillard a very popular figure within Miraco. Dr. Couillard's vast experience as an MP makes her a strong contender for the upcoming Commission election, where she aims to spread a message of hope in a Union that she believes is experiencing "growing fragmentation". Dr. Couillard most strongly advocates for the idea of returning the European Union to its original ideal of being "united in diversity". Dr. Couillard will be the first europarty-partisan candidate to join the Commission election and will be representing the S&D.
Dr. Suzannah Beech (S&D)
A decorated and well-renowned human rights activist from Framptonia, Dr. Beech has emerged as the fifth and final nominee heading into the first day of the Commission campaign season. After receiving a private education in her youth, Dr. Beech went on to receive a degree in Law and Politics from Harvard University which helped her kick-start her professional career as a solicitor. After winning a series of high profile cases, Dr. Beech eventually qualified as a barrister and quickly became well known for successfully challenging discrimination within the country. Dr. Beech's success soon led her to be be invited to chair a Parliamentary enquiry into institutional racism within Framptonia. The enquiry ultimately led Dr. Beech to stand for election as a Democratic Sociliast for State Parliament. Dr. Beech won election to State Parliament and went unto to serve as Secretary of State for Judicial and Constitutional Affairs. Dr. Beech was the leading negotiator during the entrance of Framptonia into the European Union. Dr. Beech now hopes to use her expertise a civil right campaigner to bring social justice to the forefront of European politics. Dr. Beech supports individual freedom over state intervention in social policy and will be looking to implement such a philosophy under a possible Commission tenure. Dr. Beech unsuccessfully contested as a candidate in the XIXth Commission by-election as an S&D and was defeated. Dr. Beech will once again be running as an S&D candidate.
Day One: Nomination Analysis
It is interesting to see how the nominees are shaping up so far. As it stands, with five nominees already standing for election on the very first day, we technically have enough to already form a Commission caucus. All five nominees are non-incumbent and have never served as Commissioners previously in their careers. More interestingly, three of of the candidates (Grœner, Douglas and Dr. Whiteford) come from countries that have never produced a European Commission candidate. This will be the first time a candidate from Harold I, Weiss Isles and Icholasen will be represented in the Commission elections. Also, those three candidates also happen to be independents. The only partisan candidates are Dr. Couillard and Dr. Beech, both of whom shall represent the S&D. As independents, Grœner, Douglas and Dr. Whiteford will have a better chance of pulling in support from across the political spectrum while a more crowded field of S&D candidates will have to fight for dominance in the left. It will be key for the S&D candidates not to distract each other and divide up their support.
However, with that being said, the candidates of Miraco and Framptonia possibly have an advantage going into this election season. Dr. Beech has previously already attempted to stand for election in the latest Commission by-election. Albeit that Dr. Beech was unsuccessful in her bid, it is expected that she will likely be able to capitalise on her past experience to build a more dominating presence in this current campaign. While Dr. Couillard has enever contested for a Commission seat herself, it is important to note that Miraco has previously produced a Commissioner in the form of Eloise Murray, an ECL Commissioner than was most memorable for being impeached from office for being too inactive.
Four out of the five candidates (Grœner, Dr. Whiteford, Dr. Couillard and Dr. Beech) have strong government experience as they have all served as state legislators at one time or another. Dr. Couillard and Dr. Beech, however, seem to stand out as the pair with the most government experience and a better understanding of public policy, clearly making them the strongest civil servants. Douglas most clearly contrasts the other candidates, as his experiences and skills are mostly tailored towards the business and trade side of things. Douglas also has immense international experience, with many of his businesses spanning across the European Union. Dr. Whiteford seems like the most well-rounded candidate, atleast in terms of skill and experience, with her political career being supplemented with a doctorate in Economics and her latest stint as an international researcher. While Grœner comes out as the obviously weaker and lesser known candidate, it is to be noted that she seems to so far be the most eager and hopeful candidate.
All in all, the candidates and their respective countries have virtually no experience in dealings with the Commission, and will perhaps bring the freshest face to European politics in a very long time. It is also interesting to see a continued trend in the amount of independent candidates. If this trend continues, we shall probably see not only a completely clean slate in terms of experience, but also in terms of political partisanship.
Day One: In The Press
Renata Kligenberg Criticizes Daniel Douglas As Being "All Flash and No Substance"
It seems that the Duchess of Kent and outgoing European Commissioner for Economics will not be holding her opinion back in this upcoming election season. In an interview with BBC: London, Duchess Kligenberg discussed what she would like to see happen in the upcoming Commission term and whom she would like to see lead it. Duchess Kligenberg pointed to the Nuclear Weapons Act as her prime area of concern, and stated that she hopes "whoever gets in will work to repeal the Weapons Act and replace it with a responsible, sensible plan for disarmament". While Duchess Kligenberg didn't give exact names of her favourite candidates, she did state that "the candidate pool has really wielded only two real contenders", possibly alluding to the two S&D (with whom she has been politically aligned) candidates currently on the field.
However, what was certainly clear, was Duchess Kligenberg's opinion of firebrand tycoon Daniel Douglas. "[...]That leads me to Mr. Douglas. What has he done besides be wealthy through questionable means...Europe needs someone with better credentials than I got rich once, so now I can run an entire region with complicated economic and political issues. I hope he proves me wrong in the debates, but I doubt he will."
This is certainly not a good opening endorsement to start off Daniel Douglas' campaign. Both Douglas and Duchess Kligenberg are successful business leaders, but it seems that the Duchess is less than impressed with his non-existent record as a statesman.
"He is all flash and no substance. If you're going to run for a political job of this magnitude, I would hope you had more experience than getting your initial fortune through the adult film industry. We need better politicians to excite people, and get them out to vote. Not questionable ones. Europe should ask themselves if they trust their politicians before voting for them."
As we learned in the Commission XIX election season, Duchess Kligenberg certainly isn't someone you want as an enemy. But, if there's one person willing to do it, you better expect it to be Daniel Douglas. We will soon be getting hold of Mr. Douglas and getting his side of the story.
That concludes everything from day one of the Commission Election live coverage. As always, I will continue to update you on the latest nominations, announcements and news as they happen.
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[size=4] Day Two: In The Press [/size] [b]Daniel Douglas Rebukes Renata Kligenberg's Criticisms[/b]
When I asked Commission candidate Daniel Douglas on what he believed of Duchess Kligenberg's critcisims she made of him yesterday on BBC: London, this is what he had to say:
"It saddens me that the Ms. Kligenberg fails to see the experience I have to offer to Europe. No doubt she believes the only way to govern is to spend spend spend, or that only a socialist commissioner is effective. She is part of the political problem, to think that just because you are rich that automatically disqualifies you is shameful really. I did not get rich once, I got rich hundreds of times. I have been the CEO of dozens of companies, some of which not even my own and all of them are success stories. The Union is not a country no matter how much of a federalit Ms. Kligenberg is, its an association of independent states. The only way to run an association is as an corporation.
I'm not a flashy guy, I am an outspoken guy. I have done things that few people will care to admit. I am for the ban of nuclear weapons I truly am, something that most people run entire campaigns on, but we can not be dictators. I want to be the Internal Affairs commissioner to actually fix the problems in our union, revisit issues many have chalked to be finished and work to get a consensus. Ms. Kligenberg is a hypocrite if anything, to call me a questionable candidate is only a reflection on herself. She runs a bloody fashion company, what leader skills do you get from that? I have dealt with pretty much every industry and trust me, that one is where you get the least amount of leadership.
I am not ashamed of where I started my fortune, New Girls defines the Douglas Group. We put forward a new generation of adult filming, and not its time for me to bring the ideals that I have put into my business model into this generation of commission leaders. If you want a commissioner who is going to speak out against hypocritical commissioners from a country which makes you reconsider the word "united" then vote Douglas. If you want a commissioner who is actually going to bring you reform vote Douglas. If I am elected and appointed Internal Affairs Commissioner I will work to reform the commission and europarties and bring about legislation for all of these within a week of the election.
It's time for a new Europe, and Ms. Kligenberg is from the old Europe and probably won't ever leave her dream land where popular leaders have a mini-coup in their own party in favor of some black man who I doubt their sudden generation of leadership abilities. Ms. Kligenberg comes from a problem country in the EU, and just wants to cause problems for the next commission. So I tell her this personally, shut up and take a backseat. The future is taking the wheel and there is no backseat driving."
[b]La Tribune Romanique Rallies Around Francophone Candidates Whilst Taking Aim at Douglas[/b]
Comments and opinions about the Commission candidates have not only sparked interest from fellow statespeople, such as Duchess Renata Kligenberg, but have also come from media outlets. The French language newspaper La Tribune Romanique, printed in Romain Icholasen, has endorsed fellow countrywoman Dr. Eilidh Whiteford and Miracan candidate Dr. Juliet Couillard. In French, La Tribune Romanique discussed how the pairing of Dr. Whiteford and Dr. Couillard - as the only French-speaking candidates in the race - would make a strong pairing together through their bonds of similar culture and language. Despite giving a short and simplistic view, La Tribune Romanique is indeed painting a picture of a wider phenomenon. Since Dr. Whiteford and Dr. Couillard are two candidates with a similar Francophone heritage and language, they are the most likely to gain the support of French-speakers across Europe, and even perhaps, most non-English speakers across the region. While the endorsement itself is not likely to change the final outcome of the Commission election, it may change how the candidates treat and confront the Francophone pair in the campaign season.
In a sudden and stark contrast, La Triubune Romanique then goes on to criticize Daniel Douglas as both "corrupt" and "good for nothing". While the newspaper has not provided much substance to bolster its claim against Douglas, it is perhaps a sentiment that stems from Douglas' latest comments regarding Duchess Renata Kligenberg.
[size=4]Day Three: In The Press[/size]
[b]Prime Minister Obama Joins The Crusade Against Daniel Douglas[/b]
During a interview on the popular British breakfast-news programme [i]This Morning[/i], Prime Minister Barack Obama publicly defended himself and Duchess Renata Kligenberg from the latest claims made by Daniel Douglas, whom has described the Duchess as a hypocrite without leadership abilities and the Prime Minister as "some black man".
Prime Minister Obama began the interview by defending the Duchess' record as a statesperson and hailing her as a "educated statesman in British and international politics" and noted that "she also was not only elected once, but twice to Europe". He then went on to dismiss Douglas' racially-charged claims against him, ""I am not surprised that Mr. Douglas has simply referred to me as a black man with no political credentials. It's the fact that he has already lost the argument that makes him lash out with irresponsible, racist claims".
It was then that Prime Minister Obama decided to craft his own offensive effort, and instead of attacking Daniel Douglas personally, decided to turn his wrath towards Douglas' home country. "But, again, when you come from a country like the Weiss Isles which has had a terrible record on civil rights, has two pennies to rub together, and is hilariously behind the rest of Europe, what does one expect?".
However, what perhaps summarizes the Prime Minister's opinions on the matter best, was his final words in the interview. "If you want someone who will run Europe like the impoverished, backwards Weiss Isles, you can vote for Mr. Douglas. Someone who, I might add, has been very vague about his own business let alone having no political experience. When someone has no political experience, all they can do is fall back on their character, which is ugly, close-minded, racist, and hilariously uninformed. If this man is elected, I highly doubt that he will ever be able to set foot in the United Kingdom."
Should Douglas be elected, and should he be granted the office of Internal Affairs, he may have a hard time pushing through his agenda with such staunch opposition coming from the United Kingdom. Despite this, it seems that the distaste between the Prime Minister and Daniel Douglas may have deeper roots, as it seems that the British Prime Minister also has problems with not only Daniel Douglas himself - but also issue with the Weiss Isles.
[size=4]Day Four: In The Press[/size]
[b]Couillard: "The Union Which Stood For Grounds To Discuss Common Policy Has Simply Become A Place For Tyranny Of The Majority" [/b] Dr. Couillard became the first candidate to discuss her policies and ideas in the ongoing Commission campaign after having a sit-down discussion with Sky News' Colin Brazier. During the interview, a calm and composed Couillard gave answers to a range of UK-related questions that began to piece together a picture of Couillard's political vision.
Dr. Couillard made a splash early into her interview when she was asked if the sovereignty of nations should be sacrificed in order to reap the benefits from greater socialist leanings.
Dr. Couillard bluntly agreed saying that, "Absolutely, I am a strong advocate for more socialist measures that will directly improve the lives of the every day Europeans". Dr. Couillard quickly clarified, however, that she would not support a federalized European Union. "Now, let me make myself clear in saying that I do not advocate for a sort of federal government that oversees the union because that would certainly not be in the interests of the European people and their governments. What I do advocate for is practical policies that will improve the day to day lives of Europeans, certain examples include the marriage recognition act. Socialism has a lot of these practical policies that we can implement."
While Dr. Couillard was successful in making sure her views of left-leaning politics and European federalization were made clear in the interview, she instead struggled to make clear as to where she stood on the issue of national sovereignty. Despite believing that socialist values would be more beneficial to Europe over national sovereignty, and despite advocating for both the Marriage Recognition Act and the European Central Bank, Dr. Couillard opposed the Nuclear Weapons Act saying that, "The act certainly violated the national sovereignty of the nuclear states, without improving the lives of anyone really."
Instead, Dr. Couillard believes that, "A much better and more elegant solution would be to establish a protocol on the safe use, production and disarmament of these weapons and to discuss disarmament with the nuclear states that are directly affected by any legislation."
While not openly stating whether she believed that the Council may have overstepped its jurisdiction, Dr. Couillard did go on to insinuate that the European Council may be out of order. "I'm a strong advocate of the original ideal of the union: 'United in Diversity'. It seems that the union which stood for grounds to discuss common policy has simply become a place for tyranny of the majority, this disenfranchisement of nations would undoubtedly lead to strained relations."
While the validity of Dr. Couillard's remarks may go on to divide lines, she does bring up a possible solution stating that she would, "hopefully reform the Europarty system to ensure fair representation of ideas, investigate new political structures in order to prevent this tyranny by majority."
As one of the only two party-partisan candidates running in the Commission election, it is surprising, confusing and also yet refreshing, to hear Europarty reform come out as one of her key pieces of policy change.
Dr. Couillard definitely made a strong showing in her first interview, but it remains to be seen if her complex juggle of national sovereignty and socialist policy is able to win over more than just the centre-left.
[size=4]Day Five: In The Press[/size]
[b]Whiteford: "Candidate Douglas Is Indeed A Toxic Individual"[/b]
Dr. Whiteford, only now joining in on the campaigning front, became the second candidate to bring her agenda to the forefront of British media. Sitting down with the BBC's Lyse Doucet, Dr. Whiteford wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty on the get-go.
With an opening question concerning controversial Commission candidate Daniel Douglas, Dr. Whiteford was not afraid to tell us how she truly felt. "Candidate Douglas is indeed a toxic individual. His remarks about the United Kingdom were only meant to make him stand out, even if it was in a negative way. I believe that I should try and make myself stand out because I am unique and will do a good job not because I am capable of making remarks on a talented man's skin colour and inflaming tensions in the region. I can see no position that he could occupy that would benefit this union, so no I do not think his campaign is legitimate."
Despite her strong feelings towards her Commission opponent, Dr. Whiteford was able to remain composed and managed to quickly dive into political discussion.
After Dr. Couillard struggled to articulate a clear stance of national sovereignty the day prior, Dr. Whiteford managed to capitalize on the opportunity and provided her view on the subject of national sovereignty. Believing that national sovereignty was a subjective, case-by-case issue, Dr Whiteford argued that, "Sovereignty is of course an important issue for me. But I think the greater good of the European Union needs to be observed. But, yet to an extent National Sovereignty needs to be respected and [...] there needs to be a compromise", further adding that "I would not want to see the greater good of this Union thrown under the bus because of alleged national sovereignty. An example of this is the European Cannabis act. I of course believe this act benefited the people of the European Union by stopping prohibition which was draining tax-payer money without results, and ergo it benefited the European people. Of course some nations thought it was an impediment to their national sovereignty, but clearly the greater good was established in that particular example. Of course I am not saying it was respected in every Bill, and therefore I will express my views on a case-by-case basis."
After giving a thumbs up to the European Cannabis Act, as well to the European Central Bank (as to which she branded a "successful venture so far"), Dr. Whiteford went on to also discuss economic inequality between European member states. Speaking from her own personal experience of viewing economic development in Icholasen, Dr. Whiteford stated, "Before my Party, the Party of June, came into office, Icholasen was one of those poorer countries [...] Icholasen knew that it was economically unsound and the people voted in a responsible government. We need to promote change in this region, we need to promote economic growth and most of all we need to promote prosperity for all nations and to reduce the gap. Likewise we need to keep our booming nations booming. I think it is in the interest of More Economically Developed nations to also seek this as well as I do because the Less Economically Developed nation's prosperity also means their prosperity. It is an issue that affects everyone."
Dr. Whiteford was able to knock the interview out of the park with relative ease, but still managed to leave much more to be desired in terms of answering controversial issues, like that of the Nuclear Weapons Act. With that being said, as an independent candidate, playing it safe could be the potential (and viable) strategy for Dr. Whiteford to clench the Premiership win.
[size=4]Day Six: In The Press[/size]
[b]Corelian Councillor Thinks He's REALLY Important[/b]
Dr. Jens Nørreport, the Corelian Councillor to the European Union, made a speech today in the Corelian Parliament pleading for his government to veto the popular vote for the Commission elections. Nørreport, who reportedly has "a lack of belief in any of the candidates standing to provide a successful commission", stated this in his address:
"The Commission elections are becoming a union wide ritual of flogging a dead horse that bit too much. We lack talent and ability in the current crop and with successive commissions failing to be active or indeed inspiring. The fact that we had to impeach two commissioners last term was more than a warning sign that reform is needed. To send a strong signal to Europe I urge that either the government abandon the vote or that citizens simply do not turn or spoil ballots in recognition of this dying institution."
Corelia Today, the leading newspaper of Os Corelia, has reported that it is unlikely that the Corelian government will actually follow through with Dr. Nørreport's boycott of the Commission elections, but reported that internal polling nonetheless shows a "distinct disinterest of participation from Corelian citizens. It is not clear how the Corelian public would be inspired to vote and if any candidate will manage to gain support."
And so, the support of the Corelian fishmongers are still on the table. If any of the Commission candidates are able to make a campaign pit-stop near the fishing isles, they could potentially (and easily) pull an extra vote to push them over the top in the upcoming polls. Don't try and campaign to Dr. Nørreport however.