Halsberg Decides: High Presidential Election Coverage
[size=6]High Presidential Election FAQ, Presented by the HBI. [img]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-0EmPYKTqqcU/VXYRJF5uhdI/AAAAAAAABRg/nPpxqkcPrsM/s1000-Ic42/High%252520Pres%252520Candidates.jpg[/img][/size] [u] [size=4]When is it?[/size] [/u]12th September. Election day has only just been released to the public. Currently, the dates of Confederate elections are set by an independent committee, made up of figures from political academia. This committee aims for six year terms for the High President, however they are rarely exact and often decide dates which are inconsistent with previous elections. The Committee takes into account factors such as political stability, regional events and campaign equality, although in most cases reasons for deciding upon a specific date are rarely released to the public. Successive governments have faced calls for reform of this element of the electoral system, but little has been achieved.
[size=4][u]How do I vote and am I eligible? [/u][/size]To vote in Confederate elections, one must be a citizen of the Twelve Commonwealths and have resided in Halsberg for 8 years. The minimum voting age is 17. In order to vote, one must register, either online at their local authority website, or in person at a local authority office or post office. Alternatively, you can request a registration form to be sent to your home, again via your local authority. The deadline for postal or personal registration is 7 days before election day, with online being 2 days before.
When election day comes, all registered voters can vote at their local polling station, details of which will be emailed and sent through the post. In addition, online voting is being trialed for the first time in this election. You can request to be included in this trial at the time of registration. Voting shall be based around the Commonwealths, as in the past. Voters in each Commonwealth shall decide by popular vote who their Commonwealth supports as High President. The candidate with highest number of Commonwealths will be the victor. In the event of a 6-6 tie, the Senate of the Commonwealths shall cast the deciding vote. This will likely be the final High Presidential election this system is used, as all four main candidates have pledged to reform it.
[size=4][u]Who are the Candidates? [/u][/size] [size=3][b][u]Michael Solomon (UCP, Incumbent): [/u][/b][/size][size=2]Solomon has been High President since 2009, where he became the first Unionist and Conservative Premier since the party's foundation. Born and raised in Haligovina during the Golgosan Occupation, Solomon was inspired to join the newly created Halsbergian military when he left school. He rose quickly through the ranks, eventually assuming a leadership role. Much of his military activities remain classified, however some snippets of information have been made public, intentionally or otherwise. Its known that he served as part of a previously unknown unit of the Halsbergian Army, as indicated by his uniform in a photograph that came to light during the 2009 election campaign. Other than that, little is known about the man until the early 1980s, when he left the military and began a career in business. By the 1990s, he had become substantially wealthy and thought he would turn his hand to politics, becoming a Parliamentary Councillor. He accumulated influence and support within the UCP, eventually being elected its leader in 2007. Seen by many commentators as the UCP's saviour, he modernised the party, quietly severing its links to Christian organisations. He was instrumental in the party's shift away from social conservatism in the late noughties. After winning the High Presidency in 2009, he has overseen good economic times, although relations between the Confederate government and the Commonwealths are at an all time low. This was despite the creation of four additional Commonwealths last year. [/size][size=2] Solomon is seeking re-election on a platform of economic credibility, moral security and increased links with other countries.[/size]
[size=3][b][u]Raphael Stasney (Libertarian Coaltion) [/u][/b][/size][size=2]Stasney is seen as the main challenger for the position of High President, hailing from the second largest party in terms of opinion polls and Parliamentary representation. Becoming leader of the Libertarian Coalition only six months ago, he's had little time to reverse their decline. However, his personal popularity remains high and he's often portrayed himself as the “fun” man in politics. Will it be enough, however, for him to become both Head of State and Head of Government? The Libertarian Coalition has suffered in recent years, bearing the brunt of the political saturation that the New Left Alliance and the Independence Party have created. In the Parliamentary Council elections of 2012, they barely held on to their status as the Principal Opposition, with the Independence Party close behind. Originally from rural Sandvolg, Stansey worked as an astrophysicist at the University of Dellah for several decades, only becoming an elected official in 2012. He was responsible for the discovery of the Solar System's 13th planet, Minaj. Found in 1992 and roughly the size of Saturn's moon Titan, Minaj is the largest known object beyond the orbit of Serduchka, the 11thplanet. After being elected to the Parliamentary Council in 2012, Stasney put his name forward for the leadership election following Interim Leader Daryl Marston's death. Without much experience or influence within the party, he was originally an outsider candidate without much of a chance. But during the closing stages of the leadership campaign, he became something of a dark horse, soundly beating his closest opponent. Since taking over as leader, he has attempted to reverse the decline of the Libertarian Coalition, with mixed success. [/size][size=2] [/size][size=2]Accordingto Stasney, one of his key priorities as High President will be to increase openness and accountability, following rumours of Michael Solomon's activities in office. The leaked documents regarding “Research Facility 3” and other classified sites have given Stasney a boost, despite the government's repeated denials. Commonwealth Superiority will also be a main element of the potential High President Stasney, who claims that the UCP's centralisation of power in Thurston is part of a deliberate strategy to consolidate control of the country.[/size]
[size=3][b][u]Adelaide Fontaine (New Left Alliance) [/u][/b][/size][size=2]The founder and leader of the New Left Alliance has had ample time to prove her new party's muscle, having no representation in the Parliamentary Council or Senate. Rising from the ashes of the Social Democrats, Fontaine created the New Left Alliance in late 2012, hoping to capitalise on disillusionment with the Social Democrat party. Despite never having held any elected office in her life, Fontaine is able to seem very statesman-like and is known for her powerful oratory. Born in the Duchy of Roeburg into a privileged family, Fontaine is often accused of being a “champagne socialist” and has been trying to shake off this image since entering the public spotlight. After graduating, Fontaine relocated to Traken, where she embarked upon a successful career in TV broadcasting. After spending three years as the Head of Serials at the HBI, Fontaine left to work on a political career. Before the 2012 election, she had met with several Social Democratic grandees, convincing them to sign up to a contingency plan to form the NLA should the Social Democrats make as big losses as they were predicted. Within a few days of the disastrous result for them, where they lost all Parliamentary Council representation, Fontaine initiated her plan, dubbed “Plan F” by insiders. The New Left Alliance was created, with Fontaine as leader. Since then, she has become a loud voice within domestic politics, despite having no elected status. The NLA have won a not insignificant number of elected positions over the last few years, however none of which are at Confederate level. [/size][size=2] [/size][size=2]Fontaine says that her policy platform can be be described as “simply fair”. She and High President Solomon could not be further apart in terms of ideology, she claims, seeing Solomon and the UCP's record in office as nothing short of barbaric. According to her, the High President's consistent refusal to even discuss a Halsberg-wide universal healthcare system is her biggest gripe with the current administration, although the gradual rollback of the Confederate welfare system is close, she says. Not only does she advocate fairly orthodox left-wing principles, she is also sympathetic to the nationalist movements in various parts of the country. According to her campaign, Fontaine believes there should be a Constitutional Convention, where the all options, including independence for some regions, should be considered. Fontaine has also declared herself to be a feminist, and is seeking to introduce guidelines for businesses to have 50% of their executives to be women. [/size][size=2] [/size][size=2]Fontaine is riding high in the polls, all things considered, although hasn't yet managed to break through Stasney's ~30%. Should Fontaine prove successful in the election, she would become Halsberg's first female High President.[/size]
[size=3][b][u]Dalton Rackham (Independence Party) [/u][/b][/size][size=2]Senator Rackham has been leader of the Independence Party since the coup d'etat that toppled his predecessor, David Smith. Instrumental in Smith's downfall, Rackham succeeded him in April 2014 after a vote of confidence. Since then, he has steered the Independence Party towards a more social conservative platform, hoping to capitalise on the void left by the UCP. He maintains strong social positions against abortion, contraception and homosexuality, in addition to the traditional Independence Party tenets of Halsbergian exceptionalism and isolationism. His strong rhetoric on immigration, which he views as a negative influence, has seen him become a divisive figure in Halsberg. As leader of the third largest party in terms of Confederate representation, Rackham has seen his party's poll ratings fall drastically since their peak in 2013, although his personal approval remains high. Before becoming involved in politics, he was Head Teacher at one of Romanvorg's most prestigious private schools. He was known in educational circles as a strict, results-focused man, and was often accused by some of running his school like a military boot camp. In his book, [i]Core of Conviction[/i], Rackham credits Romanvorg's Lord President Jarvis Cochrane's attempts to curb the use of corporal punishment as the catalyst for his political involvement. He was arrested in 2002 when participating in a peaceful demonstration against Cochrane and was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment for attempting to sow dissident ideals. Upon his release, he moved to Thurston and became involved with the Independence Party, being elected to the Palace of Assembly and subsequently the Senate of the Commonwealths. As leader of his party, he has used his influence and media standing to lead the fight to advance democracy in all areas of the Confederacy. He calls the unelected governments of Golgosa, Advenschun and Romanvorg a “blight on our nation”.[/size][size=2] [/size][size=2] Ifelected, Rackham has pledged to abolish Advenschun's Eternal Guardian and Quorum of Twelve, along with Golgosa's Committee for the Preservation of Moral Integrity and Romanvorg's Lord Presidency. Apart from these significant exceptions, Rackham's policy commitments are the most conservative out of the four main candidates. He favours a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and abortion, and seeks to bring the Catholic faith the forefront of government. He advocates withdrawal from the European Union and an end to the vast majority of immigration to Halsberg. Under his plans, only 375,000 foreign nationals would be allowed to settle in the Twelve Commonwealths, a figure around 0.05% of the current population. Halsberg would also cease to be involved in any and all regional conflicts, with the exception of a direct attack on Halsbergian territory. Rackham has also pledged to investigate fully the extent of High President Solomon's alleged links to violent organisations across Europe, despite the fact polls show most voters regard these allegations as simple conspiracy theories.[/size][size=2] [/size][size=2] Those same polls show Rackham has some work to do; he is currently in last place out of the four main candidates. Its certainly possible however he may be able to tap in to the anger surrounding the ongoing regional tension, which Mr Solomon is seen to have stoked, and do very well in the election itself. While his social conservative platform may put off many, its undeniable his foreign policy is appealing to a large section of the Halsbergian public.[/size]
[size=4]Who Will Win?[/size] [size=2]Obviously we can't predict exactly what the results will be, but we do have opinion polls which give us a rough idea of where the candidates stand at the moment. Currently, the HBI's poll of polls shows Solomon just ahead of Stasney, but of course anything can happen in the run up to the day of the vote. The full poll of polls is below:[/size]
[size=3]SOLOMON: 32% STASNEY: 31% FONTAINE: 23% RACKHAM: 14%[/size][size=2] [/size]