Queen Aiyisha signs Royal Decree 00212.23, certifying Sunday June 11th as the next Election. The largely symbolic gesture is a representation of the Queen’s ceremonial responsibilities in our Parliamentary Democracy. The Doatian Election Moderation Committee (DEMC) had set the date of the next election 6 months ago, but tradition dictates it must be certified by the Queen before the first ballot can be counted. Early vote counts will begin being counted this evening. She addressed the nation at the time of the signing…
“It is my honor as Queen of the Republic of Doatia to usher in the next round of elections. The peaceful transfer of power and the rule of law are ideals all Doatians hold dear. Here’s to an election which will reflect the will of the people, and lead to additional historic accomplishments, economic prosperity, the preservation of our Republic, and improvement of the lives of the citizens of Doatia.”
In her briefly televised address, the Queen went on to say…
“Democracy is what binds us together. Doatia, the land of the refugee, is a melting pot community. People of all backgrounds, creeds, religions, sexualities, races, and nationalities call Doatia home. And it is the collective responsibility of all Doatians to ensure our nation remains a safe, secure, and welcoming place. It is in this spirit, that I have formed a special taskforce, consisting of Minister of Foreign Relations Gloria Danato, Minister of Domestic Affairs Charlie Brians, several career diplomats, representatives from the Migrant Support Service (MSS), the Director of the Doatian Citizenship Administration (DCA) Michael Calhoun, and my son and Royal Liaison to Human Rights and Dignities Prince Alsheer, to look into how Doatia can better support our neighbors in Caxcana, as many nearby nations struggle with civil war, authoritarianism, and other significant threats to humanity.”
The Queen’s address comes at a tumultuous time for the region, as many of our neighbor nations struggle with a multitude of issues which have culminated in an international migrant crisis. Minister Brians has submitted an Emergency Budget request from the taskforce to the People’s Chamber, requesting 118 Billion Dao to build a new refugee processing center, increase MSS personnel present at the border, aid in the expedited settlement of incoming refugees, and construct 25,000 new refugee housing units (11,000 in Hunaq, 5,000 in Fairlawn, 5,000 in Greensville, and 4,000 in Huntswitch)
The Elections offer the more liberal parties, such as the EJP (Enviromental Justice Party) and PLP (People’s Liberation Party), which lost their coalition majority in the Chamber 4 years ago, to redeem themselves. Many experts and strategists blame the devastating state of the Doatian economy for the liberal coalition’s loss last cycle. The Conservative Party, under leadership of Chair Rebecca Louz, campaigned on transitioning the Doatian economy from Democratic Socialism, and return to capitalism after 50 years. After their narrow victory and Louz’s accension to Chancellor, the CP have deregulated the manufacturing sectors of the economy, privatized Utility (Electric and Water) distribution, repealed the carbon tax, cut the large corporation tax rate from 40% to 26%, repealed nearly all of the Ministry of Education’s higher education grants and subsidies, and repealed the minimum wage. The party justified the move by promising that a more free market will lead to more jobs, more businesses, and a healthier market overall.
While the number of jobs in the nation went up and unemployment dropped, the average income of Doatian’s dropped significantly from 78,000 to 46,000.
8 years ago, Rebecca Louz was elected leader of then-party “The Freedom Party”, sporting a more libertarian form of government. That year, her party contested 10 seats and won none. The PLP and EJP had maintained a coalition government for nearly 5 decades, successfully removing capitalism from the fabric of the nation. Their opposition, the CC (Christian Coalition) and CPA (Conservative People’s Alliance) hadn’t won more than 30% representation, together, in the Chamber in 30 years. After those elections in 2015, the CC dissolved after a Federal investigation into their Finances by the DIA (Doatian Investigation Agency). Party members implicated in their crimes were arrested or resigned, and the seats remained open until a special election.
The Freedom Party, in what seemed like at the time to be a total miracle, gained each of the CC’s former seats. Taking advantage of their new leverage, they merged with the CPA and formed the Conservative Party.
Fast forward 4 years. A fraction broke off from the EJP-PLP Coalition, denying the coalition their majority. The fraction has recently registered as a new party, the DN (Doatian Nationalists) which will be able to contest seats in the Chamber for the first time this election. After several votes of no-confidence, all of which weren’t successful, and gridlock concerning the new budget which resulted in a 90-day government shutdown, the CP rose slightly in the polls. This was shown when 2 EJP seats, vacated by a death and a resignation, in historically liberal districts were won by CP candidates in their respective special elections.
Then catastrophe struck!
A global recession led to a severe recession in Doatia. State-backed utility industries failed, causing the governments credit rating to drop and interest rates to rise. Then, a series of forest fires and mudslides wiped out 2 large manufacturing plants, costing 4,000 lives and 535,000 jobs. Finally, an unexpected migrant surge in Hunaq led to a homelessness crisis, which in a number of months led to about 700,000 homeless people living on the streets.
Then came the riots.
In response to the economy, migrant surge, increased crime, falling wages, and rising utility costs, millions of Doatians poured into the streets. What started as nationwide peaceful demonstrations went dark fast. Queen Aiyisha scheduled a televised address outside her palace at Doa Circle in Doatia City (Capitol) during the demonstrations, to show her support. Thousands surrounded the circle, anticipating her address. During her speech, someone in the crowd fired a gun in her direction. Although unharmed, she was immediately escorted away by the royal guard. The crowd began to scatter, leading to mayhem in the circle. Several members in the crowd supportive of the Queen charged at the gunman and killed him. Remaining protestors left the palace, but continued to demonstrate around the capitol, with hundreds of other demonstrations in solidarity across the nation.
Rumors began to circulate online that the Queen had been killed during the attempted attack, which led to riots across Doatia. Despite the Queen immediately releasing a televised address contesting the rumors and proving her survival, riots continued undeterred. Under strict orders to prioritize de-escalation, police and security forces set-up checkpoints, put up fences, and secured federal and historical buildings. Then-Chancellor Keauna Neal declared a state of emergency, issued curfews, locked down the borders, airports, docks, harbors, and train stations, and sent medics into crisis centers. Most cities regained order overnight, but other urban centers took nearly a week to restore order and the capitol took 12 days for order to be restored.
Elections were held about 4 months later, and the CP won a narrow (+2) majority.
The EJP-PLP coalition are running under a combined agenda, with some party members talking about a merger. The hang-up is mainly regarding two policy disagreements between the two parties. The EJP wants a 10-year plan transition to a fully green economy, banning pollutants, harmful chemicals, fracking, gas-powered vehicles, expanding free public transit, investing in fully electric vehicles, and upgrading the nation’s infrastructure to reduce our carbon footprint. The PLP wants the same goals, but on a 25-year timeline. The other disagreement surrounds reparations to the 7 indigenous communities of Doatia, the Cucaway, Mushiki, Gungi, Detyik, Scilipi, Quiwae, and Nurdai. Each community is entitled to a representative in the Chamber, and for the last several decades, their representatives have consistently been EJP members. The EJP has endorsed a policy proposal authored by Gungi Representative Valina Hapstal, which would pay out direct payments to indigenous people of 2000 Dao, invest 150 Billion Dao in developing indigenous industry and economies, invest 300 Billion Dao in social services, housing, and healthcare, and afford every indigenous person with mortgage tax credits towards the purchase of property or a home. The PLP is divided in reparations, with the progressive wing of the party supporting the EJP proposal, the centrist block of the party sporting a third alternative, and the tiny remaining block of social conservatives, most of which left the PLP and formed the Doatian Nationalists, denouncing reparations as “modern-day racism”
Where the EJP-PLP coalition can agree is with the agenda leaders from both parties agreed to a few months ago. Restoring and raising the minimum wage, improving the nation’s universal healthcare system, making community college free and all college debt-free, expanding affordable housing and rent controls, expanding paid maternity leave from 6months to 12 and paternity leave from 2weeks to 3months, invest in replacing all aging public schools within 10 years, invest 600 Billion Dao over 10 years in addressing the climate crisis, increasing regulation of the recently-privitized utility industry, and banning traffic stops and police chases that aren’t essential for public safety.
The DN’s agenda has only three points: repeal the income tax, expel all foreign-born citizens and residents, and ban gay marriage. They say the latter two hurt the “traditional Daotian family” and the first prevents “breadwinners from caring for their families”.
The CP’s agenda is to continue the “path to Loazism (named after Rebecca Loaz), with the party committed replacing the income tax with a flat tax, shutting down the Doatian border and increasing border security, additional cuts to the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Welfare, Ministry of Labor, Ministry of justice, and abolishing the Migrant Support Service (MSS); which assists migrants with obtaining citizenship, housing, healthcare, resources, education, jobs, language courses and other services such as settlement and relocation. The CP also wants to privatize the telecoms and transportation industries.
Polls indicate another right race, with no coalition or party having a clear path to a majority.
Millions of Doatians have already voted, and millions more will head to the polls tomorrow.
So, to say tomorrow’s elections will be consequential is an understatement.