2022 Elections: A fine day for Grimwald and his friends. For others? Not so much.
by Janice Kyou - April 14, 2022
Image: Greenwich Grimwald speaking to the public in his election campaign, February 24th, Hunnicutt. (original source)
The election season commenced in Elthize, with millions going to the polls to vote for candidates and parties. Held between April 1st to April 8th, the elections saw nonsignificant, but not unnotable changes for President Greenwich Grimwald, incumbent since July 2014, and the ruling coalition. One would probably think there would be more grand changes across the board, as this election season was easily the most heated and controversial in a very long time, with intense debates about the country's ascension to the European Union, its internal affairs, and its adoption of the EMU, short for European Monetary Unit, a common currency for various nations across the European Union.
The incumbent president Greenwich Grimwald, his party The Third Option and the other two parties of the ruling coalition, New Democracy and The Nationals, the latter of which changed their name from Liberal Democrats in September 2019, fully supported the Elthic ascension to the European Union. President Grimwald claimed that the country "has nothing to lose and everything to gain with joining the EU". He also created the temporary position of Ministry of Membership to the European Union, which is expected to be abolished by the end of June at the latest.
The Labour Party and The Greens remained neutral, instead proposing a nationwide referendum to decide on EU membership, while For The People, Future Together / Socialist Alliance and the communist party Crimson opposed membership. The isolationist far-right party For The People stated that the European Union would destroy the Elthic economy and "put Elthic society into unstoppable decay", while FT-SA and Crimson opposed the EU as a principle for their anti-neoliberal stance.
Regardless, Elthize’s membership in the European Union was confirmed on April 14th. Following the European Accountable Council Act, the first-ever councillor elections were done on April 18th, with Liam Zachary, candidate of The Third Option and New Democracy and the third Minister of Membership to the European Union, winning the election with 35,9% of the vote. Nolan Brunson of the Labour Party and The Greens came second with 30,1% of the vote. Independent candidates Tara Dianne and Alexander Clarke came third and fourth, getting 10,3% and 9,4% of the vote respectively. National candidate Devon Albert came fifth with 8,5% of the vote, while Leon den Hollander, the joint candidate of FT-SA and Crimson came sixth with 3,3% of the vote.
Taxation was another heated topic this election season. The Labour Party, The Greens, FT-SA and Crimson rallied for a progressive tax rate, something which Grimwald heavily opposed. However, the coalition didn't completely back Grimwald this time, with The Nationals supporting the idea and New Democracy opposing it. This is possibly the reason why inside the coalition there was a shuffle in seat count between the two parties: The Nationals won ten seats at the National Assembly and four seats in the Senate, while New Democracy lost ten seats at the National Assembly. While New Democracy didn't lose any seats in the Senate, The Third Option lost three seats there, possibly also connected to this issue. The People also opposed progressive tax rates and asked to join the ruling coalition, something Grimwald didn't accept.
The adoption of the EMU was a large issue, too. On January 1, 2021, President Grimwald announced that he would make EMU legal tender alongside the florin, obtaining a “shared circulation status” by the Treaty of Finisterre. Grimwald stated that this move was made to improve relations and trade with Leagio, however, its legality has been questioned by the opposition. Recent polls show that around a quarter of Elthize opposes the adoption of EMU, about a third, supports its adoption, while the rest either did not know or refused to answer. Regardless, many businesses in Elthize accept the EMU today.
Overall, in legislature elections, the ruling coalition successfully kept their majority, winning a seat in both Senate and the National Assembly.
The Third Option got 29,2% of the vote in the National Assembly elections and 29,9% of the vote in the Senate elections, getting 73 seats in the Assembly and 30 seats in the Senate respectively.
New Democracy got 15,8% and 15,6% of the votes in the legislature elections, which translated to 40 seats in the Assembly and 16 in the Senate. The Nationals, the biggest winners of this election, got 5,9% and 6,1% of the votes, getting 15 assembly seats and 6 senate seats.
The Labour Party lead the opposition front by gaining 25,7% and 20,1% of the votes, getting 63 assembly seats, and losing one, and 21 senate seats. The Greens followed them, getting 9,1% and 7% of the votes, which translated to 23 assembly seats, gaining three, and 7 senate seats.
FT-SA got 4,4% and 3,4% of the votes, they got 11 assemblies and 3 senate seats, losing a senate seat on the way. For the first time in history, Crimson joined the Senate race, stopping their two-decades-long boycott of the institution. They got 1,4% of the vote and one senate seat. In addition, they got 2% of the vote in assembly elections, gaining five seats, two less than in the last election.
The presidency remained in Greenwich Grimwald’s hands, though it was a closer race than he would usually be comfortable with. He got 43,3% of the vote. The main opposition candidate, Matthew François, supported by Labour, The Greens and FT-SA, got 40,3% of the vote. Bernard Lee of For The People got a surprising 7,6% of the vote. Independent candidate Latifah Marques followed with 5,5% of the vote, and the Crimson candidate Alfred Phillips got only 1,3% of the vote.
In general, these elections were an utter disappointment for the opposition, expecting to boot Grimwald out this year, whose popularity had been steadily declining for a few years. Instead, the status quo remained. It is unclear what kind of path the opposition will take next, as it doesn't seem to be united as the ruling coalition.