Sanctus – At 10:00 this morning, Ethan Ringrose was elected by the House of Deputies to be Sanctaria’s new Chancellor. It follows on from his Democratic Left Party winning a plurality of seats in last weekend’s general election, and it sees the party entering into a full coalition agreement with Josephine Chari-Jones’ Green Party. He travelled to Eagleston Manor with his family shortly after the vote to receive his seal of office from his one-time political opponent, President Katherine Saunders.
Returning to the House after the formalities, at approximately 11:30am Ringrose then announced to MPs his nominees for cabinet. His nominees have been sent to the Senate where combined the DLP and the Greens have 20 of 40 votes; 2 of the 3 Independent Senators have already said they would accommodate the coalition’s nominees for government and pass them through the body, providing there were no obvious disqualified candidates.
His nominees come from across both parties and include previously serving cabinet secretaries, and brand new talent. He has, as has previous DLP Chancellors/Prime Ministers, also included the socialist wing of the party in his appointments. It’s understood that he and Chari-Jones, who becomes the first Green, and the first black, Vice Chancellor, had agreed the portfolio splits yesterday, with each party leader deciding who in their parliamentary party would get the jobs.
Ringrose also announced there would be portfolios switching between departments, as is normal, and that he would be abolishing or merging some departments created by former chancellor Charlene Hendry back in 2018 to “reduce bloat, particularly as many federal functions have been devolved to state governments”.
Josephine Chari-Jones (GP) – Vice Chancellor and Secretary of State for Infrastructure
Chari-Jones becomes Vice Chancellor, as previously mentioned, and also gets the heavy hitting Department of Infrastructure, eschewing the more prestigious posts given to the deputy head of government like Foreign Affairs or the Treasury. It’s understood that Chari-Jones wanted this department as it deals with the two policies she believes the Greens can have a real impact on: housing, and transport.
Ben Jackson (DLP) – Secretary of State for the Treasury
One of the most lauded performers from Hendry’s government, Jackson gets a big move from the Department of Devolution and Governmental Affairs to the Treasury. Jackson proved during federalisation that he has a head for numbers and an attention to fine detail, so this seems like a pretty safe pair of hands, especially as former Treasury Secretary and Vice Chancellor Niamh Winters had already announced she would head to the backbenches. Jackson doesn’t seek the limelight, and gets on well with his colleagues, so this is a move that makes sense.
Kathryn Stewart (DLP) – Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Former Homeland Security Secretary Kathryn Stewart has been tapped for this prestigious role – as Foreign Secretary, Stewart will now be focused on diplomacy and international aid, as well as building Sanctaria’s relationships abroad. Stewart was tapped for this role, likely because Homeland Security was promised to another, but equally because in her previous role she built up a lot of goodwill and good rapport with foreign governments around the IDU. It’ll also be a signal to Huenya and her allies that Sanctaria still stands opposed to Xiomeran aggression in the region.
Nicola Allman (DLP) – Secretary of State for Homeland Security
Deputy Leader of the DLP, this is the job Allman finagled out of Ringrose in return for pledging her, and her followers’, support for him in the recent DLP leadership election. Allman has a huge interest in the defence forces, and in defence policy, and is a former member of the Sanctarian Defence Forces too. In this role, she will also be responsible for immigration and border policy, as well as oversight of the Sanctarian Intelligence Service – definitely a big job for an as of yet untested politician.
Xander Morgan (DLP) – Secretary of State for Justice & Equality
The Glorionis MP makes a return to cabinet under Ringrose in the important Justice brief. Responsibility for equality also returns to this department, having been a part of it from 1993 until 2018. Morgan is a seasoned politician, and had a good stint in Infrastructure the past five years. In this new role, Morgan will be responsible for prisons and police, law reform, and all matters relating to equality and anti-discrimination too. A change from dealing with roads and housing, but it can be no less controversial at times.
Jeff Whitehouse (DLP) – Secretary of State for Business, Industry, and Trade
Though most recently he was Government Chief Whip, former Chair of the House Select Committee on Business, Industry & Trade, Aquitanium MP Jeff Whitehouse is tipped by Chancellor Ringrose to head up the government department of the same name. Whitehouse showed a lot of portfolio knowledge while chair of the house committee, and also importantly, represents a state which, though strongly DLP, doesn’t have any cabinet members, and didn’t for the last five years either. Some in the DLP wondered if this contributed to a stronger than usual Green vote in the state, potentially costing the DLP their majority. Ringrose is hoping that Whitehouse in this role, which typically generates a lot of positive headlines, will help the DLP. Responsibility for labour and employment have also been moved back into this department.
Ann Ramirez (DLP) – Secretary of State for Health
Veteran socialist DLP MP, and Equalities Secretary in the last government, Ann Ramirez returns to cabinet under Ringrose to head up the Department of Health. Definitely a promotion from her last stint in government, this is a surprising one, as Ramirez had not only stumped for Ringrose’s leadership election opponent Amanda Thomas, but was slated to be her Deputy Leader had she won. It’s understood that Ramirez was keen to succeed retiring Health Secretary Linda Kelly in this department, as she has an interest in the portfolio, so it’s interesting to see Ringrose concede it to her; it could be he wants harmony between the moderate and socialist wings of the party.
Amanda Thomas (DLP) – Secretary of State for Social and Family Affairs
Speaking of Ringrose’s leadership opponent, Thomas returns to cabinet, and this time, like Ramirez, in a brief she reportedly wanted. It was thought the Greens would get this, but it appears Thomas’ tenacity has borne fruit for her once again. Ringrose announced he would be merging the Families and Youth Department back into the Social Welfare Department where it had sat for many years. The Minority Affairs portfolio from the Equality & Minority Affairs department has also been moved here. Thomas’ background in Community Affairs has given her a lot of life experience to bring to this department, it’ll be interesting to see how she performs.
Topher Jarrett (GP) – Secretary of State for Energy, Renewables, and Natural Resources
Greens Deputy Leader Topher Jarrett is appointed Energy Secretary in a move that is not considered surprising. It is believed he wanted the Health portfolio, given his background in medical science, but the DLP did not concede that brief to the Greens during negotiations. Jarrett is strong on energy policy, and is, crucially, one of the few Greens in favour of nuclear energy, which is probably an additional reason he is in this portfolio and not another of his party colleagues.
Noah Cameron (DLP) – Secretary of State for Education and Research
Merging the Science, Innovation, and Technology Department back into the Education Department, Ringrose has tapped Noah Cameron from Novum Limium to be Education Secretary. A young and relatively new MP, he was elected for the first time back in 2018, this is a big jump from the backbenches for someone who Ringrose sees as a rising star in the party. An excellent communicator, and with a known interest in technology, this could well be the big break Cameron needs if he succeeds.
Mikayla Paget (GP) – Secretary of State for Agriculture and Rural Affairs
Green MP from Galvium’s 9th canton, a mainly rural canton, Mikayla Paget gets the nod to this wide-ranging portfolio. From ensuring support to rural communities, many of whom cross state lines, to food production standards, to farm safety, it’s a big role for a relatively untested MP. Though an MP since 2013, Paget has been a junior spokesperson in the third, and later fourth, biggest party; she hasn’t had much publicity, or much airtime in media, so how capable she will be is up in the air.
Mélina Terrell (GP) – Secretary of State for Climate Change and the Environment
Another portfolio where it was under no doubt the Greens would take charge, this time Climate Change and Environment goes to longstanding Green MP, and former Deputy Leader, Mélina Terrell. Terrell, along with most other Green MPs to be fair, have often asked questions on these portfolios in parliament, and as Deputy Leader she often represented the party in debates on climate change on television or radio, so we have some idea of her approach and viewpoint. Not quite as dogmatic as her fellow Green MPs, Terrell does take a much more civil approach to how we convince people to reduce reliance on plastics, and convert to electric cars etc – it’s clear from her appointment the government is serious about actually convincing sceptics and those unsure, rather than preaching at them.
Tony Shortridge (DLP) – Secretary of State for Culture, the Arts, and Heritage
Dubbed the Ministry of Fun, the Department of Culture, the Arts, and Heritage remains unchanged in Ringrose’s government, but succeeding Amanda Thomas in this brief is Novum Aeternum MP Tony Shortridge. Another one of the 2018 intake, Shortridge has had some media exposure, and has served on the House subcommittee for Sport, but otherwise is pretty untested and, outside of his canton, virtually unknown. It’s understood he was a supporter of Allman in the DLP leadership election before she dropped out, so it’s possible the two are friends and she advocated for his inclusion in cabinet. It’s definitely the most wildcard of all the appointments, particularly when key Ringrose allies could have been promoted instead.
Also attending cabinet, but without a vote, will be Sanctus MP Sam Briggs who will be Government Chief Whip. Pontifex based lawyer Doreen Hegarty has been announced as the new Attorney General.
The Departments of Labour & Employment, Equality & Minority Affairs, Families & Youth, Devolution & Governmental Affairs, and Science, Innovation & Technology have all either been merged with other departments, or been abolished and had their portfolios distributed to other departments; for example, now abolished, the Department for Devolution has seen much of duties returned to the Chancellery, such as intergovernment affairs, relationships with state governments, and the civil service oversight, while reform has been sent to the Department of Justice.
The Senate committees responsible for each nominee will meet until 10pm tonight to grill the proposed cabinet members, with the full Senate having a vote sometime before 11pm to confirm them. President Saunders has said she will be on standby to officially appoint government members once confirmed and give them seals of office.
JOEY SESSIONS, Political Editor