By National Political Correspondent Han Min-ji
HWAGANG: Following Prime Minister Jan van Deventer’s outburst during yesterday’s Question Hours, a no-confidence vote in Haesan’s Chamber of Deputies has led to the collapse of the governing coalition. The vote passed 321-74, with 43 members of his own Liberty! party voting against him, probably hoping for some kind of shield against any upcoming political fallout. While it was expected there would be a no-confidence vote if a budget proposal failed ahead of Monday’s critical deadline, public antipathy had reached such highs after yesterday’s televised performance that the vote was expedited.
According to the Constitution of Haesan, a five-week election period will start tomorrow at noon Central Haesan Time. Parties will have two weeks to field candidate slates and file the requisite paperwork in all provinces where they wish to appear on the ballot, followed by three weeks of fierce campaigning and inter-party debates. Following Haesanite tradition, May 26th, Election Day, will become a national holiday to allow maximal voter participation.
Political experts are left puzzled by van Deventer’s live meltdown yesterday, but those close to the former Prime Minister say that his remarks mirror what he truly believes. A close aide told the Times-Courier that “Jan [van Deventer] felt pressured on all sides. [President Kim] I-seul seemed to not be on board with many of his key campaign promises, and being locked out of the Chamber of the Commonwealth meant constant compromises. He knew [the key budget vote on] Monday was likely the end anyways, and wanted to go on the record and speak his mind for once.”
Day-to-day legislative operations, including drafting a stop-gap budget, will now be carried out by the Chamber of the Commonwealth. Likely, this will mean a Lib Dem/Free Dem/Moderate coalition will be nominally driving the process, but in practice these sort of temporary measures generally pass with some kind of consensus compromise.
Now, the power is again passed back to the voters as they vote for the third time in two years, following the September 2021 Presidential/Commonwealth elections and the January 2022 Chamber of Deputies election following the resignation of Choi Da-yeon. After years of relative political stability, this is the highest level of electoral uncertainty that most Haesanites have experienced in their lifetimes. With the historically powerful Free Democrats still reeling from the Seollim bribery scandal and current coalition leader Liberty! expected to drop heavily following their failed government, the outcome of this election is truly unknown.