Sanctus – The Democratic Left Party romped home in both by-elections in Sanctus last night, surprising even pundits who expected the Greens to take the 2nd canton. The success, which sees former Ambassador to the World Assembly Dr. Bethany Greer now join the House of Deputies, will likely further enflame the idea that Chancellor Ringrose may call an early election to capitalise on DLP support.
Although the Sanctarian Conservative Party handily won both cantons in the 2022 general election last year, the arrests and recent charges of the former officeholders collapsed the vote, with many SCP members not even bothering to turn out. Green Party support too has fallen, in both cantons, and though the Greens were expected to take the 2nd canton, that was not to be, with the DLP coming in with 5% more votes in first place. Nikos Papadopoulos will be the new DLP MP from the 2nd canton, with Greer taking the 14th canton formerly held by Kate Cruz.
There was a sigh of relief across the DLP last month when Ringrose decided to go ahead with the by-elections instead of the rumoured early general election, but the runaway success of the DLP last night will do the opposite of putting paid to those rumours. Although the DLP-Green coalition have been working well over their first year, Ringrose has made no secret of his desire to be governing alone. On the other side of the fence, the decline in Green support will worry leader and Vice Chancellor Josephine Chari-Jones who has been, in the minds of many Green supporters, been under-performing since coming into government.
Greer and Papadopoulos will sign the Members Register today and formally take their seats in the House of Deputies and, importantly, increase the majority of the coalition government. While Papadopoulos, a former DLP staffer, will mostly continue his low-profile work in the backbenches, talk now has turned to what Greer will do, with it being unlikely that Ringrose will allow a well-known name and talent simply sit on the backbenches and do nothing. A seat on the foreign affairs committee could await if Ringrose is able to convince some of the older DLP members to make way.
AHMED PATEL, Political Correspondent