2017 Rainian federal election
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266 seats in the House of Councillors
|Turnout||67.26% ( 4.42%; 12,484,859 votes)|
In 2017 the Commonwealth of Rainier held a House of Councillors election Voting took place in all 266 constituencies of the House of Councillors. The date of the election was the 24th August, held three years after the previous election.
In May 2017 Prime Minister Andrew Clarkson requested to the Governor-General Margaret Carmichael to dissolve the House of Councillors on the 24th August 2017. The campaign began in July 2017 with the centre-right National Union Party, the senior party in the then coalition government with the economic liberal Democratic Party who were together defending a majority from the opposition centre-left Labour party. Other parties involved in the campaign included the left-wing Green-Left Movement and right-wing Reform party.
The incumbent Clarkson government had suffered from low polling in its second term especially following the Cash-for-Votes scandal, leading many to see the Labour party, led by Alexander Llewellyn, to be seen as early front runners. However a strong challenge from the right-wing populist Reform Party under Wayne Faulkner led to many to discuss the possibility of the retention of a right-wing government of the NUP and Reform, despite worries that the Reform party was to extreme.
The election saw a landslide for the opposition Labour party, whose 138 seats and 44.74% share of the vote being the highest since the 1999 election. The NUP in comparison suffered its worst defeat ever with its seats dropping from 126 to 74 and getting only 25.95% of the vote. The NUP's coalition partners, the Democratic Party, saw a collapse in support retaining only 6 seats. In contrast the Reform Party achieved one of the best results for a third party since the 1957 election getting 40 seats and 18.85% of the vote. The Green-Left Movement gained three seats.
Following the election Llewellyn announced his intention to form a majority government whilst both Clarkson and DA leader Jon Hatfield who lost his seat announced their intentions to resign.
- 1 Electoral process
- 2 Background
- 3 Issues
- 4 Parties standing
- 5 Campaign
- 6 Endorsements
- 7 Opinion polls
- 8 Results
- 9 Aftermath
Rainier has since 1930 used an supplementary member system. 118 members of parliament are elected in single-member districts whilst 148 are elected using regional party-list proportional representation closed lists. Seat calculation is conducted via the d'Hondt method.
|30 June||Prime Minister Andrew Clarkson announced his intention to hold an early election.|
|2 July||Governor-General Margaret Carmichael approves of the Prime Ministers request to hold an election.|
|4 July||Formal dissolution of the House of Councillors; start of campaign period.|
|28 July||Last day members of the public could register to vote.|
|1 August||Last day in which members of the public could apply for proxy voting or postal voting.|
|18 August||Last day for candidates to file nomination papers.|
|24 August||Polling day|
|31 August||New House of Councillors Assembled|
Since the 2008 House of Councillors election the National Union Party under Jennifer Redford (2008-2011) and Andrew Clarkson (2011-2017) has held government, with a majority from 2008 to 2014 and in a coalition with the Democratic Alternative where they had to deal with the economic fallout stemming from the Great Recession. The previous red-green government of Gerald Ruben (2004-2008) had responded to the recession with economic stimulus whilst undertaking some belated welfare cuts and privatisations. The Clarkson government moved away from stimulus to undertake austerity. This included a far-reaching privatisation programme and a series of unpopular spending cuts.
The 2014 election was widely seen as a close race between the NUP and Labour, as economic growth returned albeit at a sluggish pace. The election saw Labour however fail to make serious gains as the NUP retained most of their seats, albeit with the DA losing much of theirs. Clarkson thus continued as Prime Minister albeit on a smaller mandate.
A crash in oil prices in 2014 however saw the economy enter a technical recession causing the government to approve of more spending cuts. This alongside the election of new Labour leader Alexander Llewellyn resulted in a fall of support for the government. This was observed in several provincial elections - in 2015 Labour under Rachel Notley defeated the Albertan National Union party which had won every election in that province since 1971. In 2016 Steve Bullock, the centre-left Premier of Montana won re-election with an increased majority as did the Labour premiers Kate Brown in Oregon and Jay Inslee in Washington in 2016. Most prominently in 2017 the centre-right provincial government of Christy Clark in British Columbia lost its majority and was ousted from office on the 29th June by a Labour-Green Left coalition.
In late November 2016 it came to light that the National Union Party had embezzled over £300 million ($180,690,236.70) in public finances over a period of five years to pay for various political party campaigns under the guise of using it to promote federal projections abroad. The NUP was able to do so due to loopholes in public finance laws that allowed them to redirect money from provincial to federal governments without declaring the total sum of money received to the federal government. The details of the embezzlement was leaked during the 2016 presidential election and quickly became known as the "Cash for Votes" scandal.
The Cash-for-votes scandal was the most serious Rainian political scandal in over a decade since the TriMet scandal and one the biggest corruption scandals ever in Rainian history. Despite calls for the Prime Minister's resignation and an early election Andrew Clarkson refused to resign stating he had no knowledge of the affair, blaming provincial governments for deliberately fudging public finances. As a result of the scandal the NUP recorded a sharp drop in popularity.
As a result of the scandal a cross-party investigation has been launched to investigate misuse of public finances with all major parties pledging to examine the issue.
Immigration and multiculturalism
11 parties were registered to run on the party list in the election and theoretically get a seat in the House of Councillors. However only five parties were expected to either win seats. All parties have top candidates which are seen as "prime ministerial candidates".
|Party||Ideology||Political position||Leading candidate(s)||2013 result|
|National Union Party||Conservatism, Economic liberalism||Centre-right||Andrew Clarkson|
|Labour Party||Social Democracy, Trade Unionism||Centre-left||Alexander Llewellwyn|
|Democratic Alternative||Social liberalism, Economic liberalism||Centrist||Jon Hartfield|
|Reform Party||National Liberalism, Right-wing populism||Right-wing||Wayne Faulkner|
|Green-Left Movement||Eco-socialism, Left-wing populism||Left-wing||Yvonne Palmer|
National Union Party
The NUP entered the campaign trailing the Labour Party by 20 points, being on average only 5 points ahead of the right-wing Reform party. Despite concerns over his personal unpopularity (with his net approval rating dropping to –34%) Andrew Clarkson fought his fourth campaign as NUP leader, hiring Lynton Crosby to serve as a campaign adviser. Clarkson launched the campaign on the 7th July in Calgary where he promised that a NUP government would ensure economic stability, lower general taxation and preserving "Rainian values" such as enforcing a niqab ban, cutting foreign aid and halving total immigration to Rainier. The campaign opening was seen as a move to the natavist right by some commentators being perceived as an attempt to appeal to Reform Party voters.
Under Crosby's direction the NUP increased their presence on social media spreading posts primarily criticising the Labour party and the possibility of a red-green coalition. The NUP's campaign cost £32,144,179 ($19,549,447.47), the highest of all campaigns.
On the 10th July Clarkson announced that once the budget deficit was eliminated the next NUP government would drastically increase infrastructure spending to modernise Rainier's transport systems. In the same speech Clarkson stated a NUP government would implement a points-based immigration system in regards to all migration and would hold a referendum on CAS membership if the CAS spoke out against such policies.
The NUP's manifesto was launched on the 14th July 2017. Some of the key campaign promises made included plans to introduce privatisations of the postal and telecommunication networks, cut income, corporation, capital gains and goods and services tax, eliminate the budget deficit by the next parliament, clamping down on benefit fraud, bring down net migration to below 20,000 and increase total spending on defence. As a result to economic slowdowns the NUP proposed austerity and increasing the export of "ethical oil". The manifesto stated that Rainier would take in no refugees from Syria and called for greater security operations against China including labelling it at as currency manipulator. The NUP also ruled out voting in favour of same-sex marriage but were ambiguous on whether they would hold a referendum on the matter. Whilst admitting global warming existed the NUP called for market based solutions to the problem and stated they would never impose a carbon tax whilst also defending the practice of fracking. The manifesto was said by the Daily Gazette as being the NUP's most right-wing to date and a victory for the "blue tories" in the party.
On the 20th July Clarkson stated that the NUP would preferably enter another coalition government with the Democratic Alternative and ruled out a German-style grand coalition with the Labour party. He did not however discount the possibility of a coalition with the Reform party.
The NUP campaign had several controversies. MP for Helena Dirk Bailey was criticised when at a town hall he called for a "final solution" against Muslims, causing Bailey to be removed as a NUP candidate. Minister of Industry and Development Thomas Pullen also caused controversy when he criticised women for "not giving birth enough", which were considered to be sexist comments.
Labour entered the election with a 20% lead over the NUP with leader Alexander Llewellyn having the highest net approval rating of all party leaders. As such they were widely seen as the front runners in the election.
The Labour campaign was based around the personal popularity of Llewellyn, with the campaign around him being described as "presidential" in character. The presidential nature of Labour's campaign was criticised especially by the NUP as focusing more on style over substance. The total spending by the Labour campaign was £25,779,140 ($15,678,357.91). Labour reportedly looked to their British counterparts 2017 campaign which had netted that party 40% of the vote as inspiration for campaigning and policy prescriptions.
Labour's first rally, held on the 5th July in Seattle emphasised the "social fracture" that had emerged under 8 years of NUP rule and promised to increase spending to ensure a "brighter future for young people". Llewellyn stated the party would take a "flexible approach" to eliminate the deficit intending to reduce it but not at the expense of investment Labour believed was necessary. Llewellyn also promised a pragmatic approach to economic policy, stating a Labour government would neither privatise nor nationalise any industry.
Labour was the first party to release their manifesto doing so on the 9th July. The manifesto promised to boost spending in education, health and infrastructure, eliminate tuition fees, reduce unemployment and build more affordable homes. Labour also confirmed it would raise the top rate of income tax and introduce two new tax brackets but reduce income taxation overall; they stated they would also raise the financial transaction and capital gains taxes and decrease corporation tax. In response to the economic slowdown following the 2010s oil glut Labour proposed economic stimulus and a diversification of the economy away from oil and gas exports. The manifesto also promised to pass same-sex marriage through parliament, legalise cannabis and limit immigration overall. Labour's environmental policy however was unclear - whilst expressing a desire to phase out nuclear energy and increase investment in renewable energy Labour neither committed to nor ruled out imposing carbon pricing.
The Labour manifesto also called for a reorientation in foreign relations, most prominently promote better relations with China and South Korea as well as re-examine Rainier's relationship with Saudi Arabia. However Labour also promised to maintain close cooperation with Japan and promote policies that would limit Russian aggression. Labour's manifesto was overall seen as a product of the centre-left of the party, with significant shifts to the left on education policy but a move to the right on immigration policy.
Llewellwyn stated Labour would be open to forming a red-green coalition with the Green-Left Movement or a traffic light coalition with the Green-Left Movement and Democratic Alternative. The only party Labour explicitly ruled out entering government with was the Reform party stating there were to many differences between the parties.
The Democratic Party after serving three years in government with the NUP had declined in the polls. Due to the low poll ratings before the election Democrat leader and Foreign Minister Frank Jackson resigned on the 12th March with Minister of Social Welfare and Labour Jon Hartfield replacing him on the 28th March. Hartfield promised to shift the party from a sole focus on economic liberalism to reconnecting with its urban base, shifting the party's social rhetoric to the left in order to appeal to democrat voters who were considering voting for the Labour party. Hartfield however defended the NUP-Democratic coalition as providing the country with fiscal discipline. The Democrats total campaign spending was £15,679,283 ($9,535,826.67).
The first rally held by the Democrats on the 6th July with Hartfield calling for a "unabashedly pro-consumer, pro-business" policy, stating the NUP only favoured big business and Labour's policies would damage the economy. Hartfield instead advocated for lower taxation, deregulation and privatisation as well as increasing education and healthcare spending. Hartfield suggested more PFI's as a solution to deal with raising health and education costs.
The Democrat manifesto released on the 19th July was a move to the right for the party that supported the legalisation of same-sex marriage and soft drugs, called for looser abortion laws and a more comprehensive law and order policy focused on rehabilitation for criminals. However the manifesto also saw a firm entrenchment of the DA's neoliberal policies they have promoted since their inclusion in the NUP government including lowering the capital gains and income taxes, privatising state-owned enterprises and ensuring a "bonfire of regulations".
The Democrats stated they would not enter a coalition with the Green-Left Movement and Reform Party but would be open to both joining a Labour or National Union led government. However the DA said they were closer to Clarkson's NUP than the Labour party.
The Reform party entered the campaign with the intention to become the largest party of the right, either leading a right-wing coalition or as the main opposition party. Previously a minor party stagnating wages, rising immigration and disillusionment with the mainstream parties led to the Reform party to strike a populist cord that resulted in their poll ratings to increase steadily over the last parliament. The Reform Party's campaign cost £17,920,215 ($10,846,274.66)
Under party leader Wayne Faulkner the Reform party endorses broadly a right-wing populist policy programme that retained the Reform party's small government, Template:Country data right-wing libertarian economic policies (such as supporting a flat tax, reductions in expenditure and privatising as well as endorsing social conservatism, in particular Islamophobia and opposition to immigration.
The Reform Party launched their manifesto on the 13th July in the city of Saskatoon. The Reform Party's 2017 manifesto called for tax cuts for lower income families, privatisation of sections of the welfare system based on the Chilean model and boosting spending on the military. The Reform party also pledged to lower the retirement age and reducing tuition fees for medicine & science by raising fees for humanities instead. In foreign policy the Reform Party's foreign policy supported Israel, promoted closer ties with Russia and taking a firm line against China.
On some other issues however the Reform party followed an orthodox line, calling for an end to "political correctness", advocating for a net migration target of zero by the end of the next parliament and outright banning immigration from Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan, opposing same-sex marriage, restricting abortion rights, opposing legalisation of soft drugs, clamping down on the sale of porn and endorsing the appellation of Rainier as a Christian nation. The Reform party also challenged the scientific consensus on global warming saying the 2010s oil glut had not affected the economy adversely and that more oil drilling was needed.
The Reform Party stated they would not fundamentally oppose a coalition with either of the main two parties, singling out the Green-Left as the only party they were unwilling to work with. They did however demand that any prospective coalition must promise to substantially limit immigration and allow the Reform party to take the post of Prime Minister.
The Green-Left Movement went into the election to increase their seat share and form government with the Labour party in a red-green alliance as occurred from 2005-2008 under Gerald Ruben. The Green-Left's campaign was the least expensive of the major parties spending £9,175,566 ($5,572,093.28) due to the fact that the Green-Left Movement only takes individual donations and public funds for political parties.
The Green-Left Movement launched their campaign on the 3rd July when leader Yvonne Palmer pledged that in government the Green-Left Movement would fight for environmental policies (such as greater use of renewable energy, the ending of the "myth of ethical oil" and a phase out of nuclear energy) and pro-worker policies (such as more rights for trade unions and raising the minimum wage). Palmer stated the 2010s oil glut had damaged the Rainian economy moreso than help it and that as a result Rainier should diversify its economy away from oil production for economic and environmental reasons.
The Green-Left Movement's manifesto was released on the 11th July. Described by the Daily Gazette as being an approval of "tax and spend" the manifesto called for increases in the top rates of income tax, capital gains, financial transaction and corporation tax and the imposition of a carbon tax. They also proposed eliminating tuition fees, increasing spending on education, welfare, healthcare and infrastructure, re-nationalising sections of the health sector that is privatised, and clamping down on tax evasion. The Green-Left Movement also called for the legalisation of same-sex marriage and soft drugs, combating Islamaphobia and maintaining Rainier's policy of multicultralism. In terms of foreign policy, the Green-Left Movement called for a "human rights based approach" working with countries such as Canada and member states of the European Union to promote human rights abroad and severing ties with Saudi Arabia. They also called for the recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state and disavowed military interventionism. Despite calling for a more human rights based approach Green-Left said they would also seek to mend relations with Russia which had been poor under the Clarkson government. The Green-Left Movement also promised to reduce carbon emissions and redirect subsides from the fossil fuel industry to renewable energies instead.
The Green-Left Movement stated they would not enter coalition nor provide supply to the three parties of the right (National Union, Reform and DA) and would only support a Labour government if they were given significant policy concessions on areas such as the economy and the environment.
The Green-Left Movement entered some controversy when one of its candidates, Brittany Rudd, called Israel an "apartheid state". NUP leader Andrew Clarkson criticised the Green-Left Movement for tolerating antisemetism and called for the parties public funding to be stripped from it.
|Rainian general election debates, 2017|
|Date||Organisers||Moderator(s)||Present Surrogate Non-invitee|
|National Union||Labour||Democratic Party||Reform||Green-Left|
|20 July||NTV||Mary Horn
|11 August||MNTV||David Snow||P
|18 August||RTVR||Joan Prebble||P
|Daily Gazette||Labour Party||Endorsed a Labour majority government.|
|Economic Times||National Union Party||Endorsed a NUP-led government and encouraged anti-Labour tactical voting.|
|Global Observer||Labour Party||Encouraged anti-Reform tactical voting.|
|Vancouver Star||Reform Party||Called for a Reform party victory.|
|24 Aug||2017 election result||24||44||3||19||5||3||20|
|17 Jul - 18 Jul||Election Forecast||24||44||2||18||5||3||20|
|24 Jun - 25 Jun||Election Forecast||22||49||3||17||3||4||27|
|17 May - 18 May||Yougov||25||45||3||19||5||3||20|
|14 Apl- 15 Apl||Yougov||26||44||3||18||4||2||18|
|3 Mar - 4 Mar||Yougov||27||40||3||18||4||3||13|
|19 Feb - 20 Feb||Huddlesfeild Polling||30||37||3||17||6||2||7|
|13 Jan - 14 Jan||Yougov||30||36||3||18||5||3||6|
|21 Dec - 22 Dec||Yougov||25||45||3||18||3||2||20|
|7 Nov - 8 Nov||Yougov||29||40||3||17||4||2||11|
|15 Oct - 16 Oct||Yougov||30||36||3||18||4||3||6|
|20 Sep - 21 Sep||Yougov||33||35||3||17||3||3||2|
|4 Aug - 5 Aug||Yougov||38||39||3||7||4||4||1|
|16 Jul - 17 Jul||Yougov||35||34||5||10||6||4||1|
|12 Jun - 13 Jun||Yougov||34||35||5||9||7||5||1|
|15 May - 16 May||Yougov||35||35||5||10||6||4||Tie|
|24 Apl - 25 Apl||Yougov||34||37||5||8||7||5||3|
|17 Mar - 18 Mar||Yougov||33||36||3||10||8||5||3|
|11 Feb - 12 Feb||Yougov||35||36||5||8||6||5||1|
|23 Jan - 24 Jan||Yougov||35||36||5||9||6||4||1|
|17 Dec - 18 Dec||Yougov||38||38||3||10||3||3||Tie|
|12 Nov - 13 Nov||Yougov||35||34||3||9||5||5||1|
|2 Oct - 3 Oct||Yougov||34||35||4||10||7||4||1|
|24 Sep - 25 Sep||Yougov||34||36||3||10||3||5||2|
|16 Aug - 17 Aug||Yougov||31||38||3||10||7||6||7|
|20 Jul - 21 Jul||Yougov||35||35||3||10||7||5||Tie|
|4 Jun - 5 Jun||Yougov||31||36||4||12||7||4||5|
|17 May - 18 May||Yougov||31||36||4||11||7||5||5|
|23 Apl - 24 Apl||Yougov||32||38||3||10||6||6||6|
|14 Mar - 15 Mar||Yougov||37||38||4||10||3||4||1|
|22 Feb - 23 Feb||Yougov||40||40||4||5||4||4||Tie|
|17 Jan - 18 Jan||Yougov||34||39||4||6||6||6||5|
|7 Dec - 8 Dec||Yougov||40||37||4||3||5||5||3|
|25 Nov - 26 Nov||Yougov||39||38||4||5||5||4||1|
|23 Oct - 24 Oct||Yougov||40||37||5||4||5||3||3|
|20 Sep - 21 Sep||Yougov||37||40||4||5||5||4||3|
|13 Aug - 14 Aug||Yougov||35||43||4||7||5||1||8|
|27 Jul - 28 Jul||Yougov||35||43||4||7||5||1||8|
|6 Jun - 7 Jun||Yougov||37||40||4||7||5||2||3|
|9 May - 10 May||Yougov||37||38||5||8||5||2||1|
|13 Apl - 14 Apl||Yougov||37||35||5||8||6||2||2|
|2 Mar - 3 Mar||Yougov||37||34||5||8||6||1||3|
|22 Feb - 23 Feb||Yougov||39||34||6||8||6||2||5|
|12 Jan - 13 Jan||Yougov||41||34||4||10||6||2||7|
|12 Dec - 13 Dec||Yougov||42||32||5||10||6||3||10|
|29 Nov - 30 Nov||Yougov||42||33||5||10||6||3||9|
|15 Oct - 16 Oct||Yougov||41||32||10||9||5||1||9|
|20 Sep - 21 Sep||Yougov||43||32||9||7||5||1||11|
|29 Aug - 30 Aug||Yougov||44||32||10||7||5||1||12|
|28 Aug||2013 election result||42||35||7||6||5||4||7|
|Parties||Election Forecast||Huddlesfeild Polling||Yougov|
|Result||Labour Party Majority||Hung parliament
Labour Party plurality
|Labour Party Majority|
Preferred prime minister
An exit poll was released at 10PM when the last ballot was cast. The poll confirmed pollsters predictions that the Labour party would get over 40% of the vote and that the NUP would suffer large losses.
|National Union Party||72||48|
The election saw a landslide victory for the opposition Labour party, which achieved 43.94% of the vote and 138 seats - its best result since 1999. Labour performed especially well in the coastal provinces of British Columbia, Oregon and Cascadia almost sweeping the city of Seattle.
The National Union Party recorded its worst result ever in its history, getting only 24.34% of the vote and 74 seats. The Democrats also suffered massive losses with its parliamentary representation being cut in half.
The Reform party meanwhile achieved its best result in it history, winning a majority of votes in Idaho and becoming the third largest party with 18.85% of the vote and 40 seats - the best result for a third party since the 1995 election.
The Green-Left Movement saw a small drop in its share of the vote from 4.99% to 4.87% - however it gained three seats. The collapse of the Democrats meant Green-Left went from the fifth to fourth largest party in the House of Councillors.
The NUP's vote share was the worst for a sitting government in over 20 years, being lower than Labour's 27.80% in 2009 but ahead of the NUP's 1996 vote share of 25.99%. Labour's 5 million votes were the most received by a party in Rainian history.
|National Union Party||3,705,506||29.68%||39||3,039,294||25.95%||35||74||-52|
Following the election Labour leader Alexander Llewellyn hailed the result as proof that the electorate endorsed change in a progressive direction and stated Labour was "ready for government". Labour's majority meant that on the 31st August when parliament reopened Llewellyn was duly elected prime minister forming a cabinet consisting entirely of Labour ministers. A new speaker, Diane Kwong of the Labour Party, was also inaugurated as her predecessor Harris Northcoate had stepped down as a member of the Councillors prior to the election.
Party leadership changes
Following the announcement of the election results Clarkson announced his immediate resignation from the post of National Union Party taking responsibility for the defeat. The NUP subsequently named Mary Towers as interim leader until a leadership election could be held. Democratic leader Jon Hartfield also announced his resignation - only a single Councillor, Damian Foot, put his name forward for leader and so was appointed in an uncontested ballot. Template:Elections in Rainier