Democracy‌ ‌at‌ ‌Play‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Union‌ ‌of‌ ‌Democratic‌ ‌States

Democracy‌ ‌at‌ ‌Play‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌Union‌ ‌of‌ ‌Democratic‌ ‌States
By: Isles (a.k.a. British Isles and Commonwealth Realms, Guest Writer

The months of September and October 2020 were a time of elections for the Union of Democratic States (UDS). The Senate had dissolved after its two-month term came to an end on 30 September 2020. The Office of the Chairperson of the General Assembly was also being vacated at the same time. The Office of the President was also going on the ballot in the last week of October 2020. So, elections became the word being uttered in the corridors of the discord, forum and regional message board.

The Senate Election of September 2020
The last week of September 2020 was dedicated to the Senate Elections. The candidacy form was released on 25 September 2020, on 2200 hours Eastern Standard Time (EST). All citizens of UDS were eligible to run. The citizens could fill up the forms to run for elections in the next 48 hours. Then, the candidate could campaign, following appropriate rules as coded by the Chancellery. The election would run starting from 30 September 2020 at 2200 hours EST, for a period of 48 hours. A total of nine citizens signed up to run in the elections; British Isles and Commonwealth Realms, Brittalia, Dawnsland, Drawception, Glaciosia, Isansland, the Kingdom of Sacento, Nuevo San Miguel and Waroklion.

The candidates posted their campaigns on the forum. Isansland stood for conservatism, called for a peaceful revolution, and proposed getting rid of all unnecessary laws and rights. Waroklion promised to uphold the constitution of the Union, to do their duties to their best, and to speak the truth. However, at first Waroklion didn’t have any specific proposal or policies to bring into the Senate. But by answering questions posed by citizens, Waroklion revealed that one of their policies was to propose legislation for a monthly executive report.They also supported reforming the General Assembly, which they believe is the best way to run the Union despite its current state. British Isles and Commonwealth Realms proposed to amend the Senate Rules and Procedures to bring lapse and reintroduction of bills, setting up a committee to enact Regional Symbols Act, abolish the General Assembly, and promised to address citizens’ issues and bring their proposals to the Senate. Dawnsland promised to stay active and aid citizens, support abolition of the General Assembly, and amend the Senate to accommodate more Senators. The Kingdom of Sacento promised to increase World Assembly membership, get citizens more involved in the government, and ensure that the democratic process is transparent and fast. Glaciosia, a former Senator, did not run in the last Senate elections due to constitutional limitation which forbids more than two consecutive terms. This time around, they promised to finish and pass the Judiciary Act, finish the law format, redraft the Definitions Act, amend the Citizenship Act and Criminal Code Act, and establish a structure to plan for the Union’s Fifth Anniversary. All other candidates did not post any platforms.

The voting began as scheduled, via Google Forms. It was a preferential vote, where the voters indicate their preference of the candidates,in the decreasing order of likability. The results (they can be found here: [Report] September Senate Election) were declared on 4 October by the Chancellery. The results were as follows; Glaciosia (3.67), Nuevo San Miguel (4.93), Brittalia (4.30), British Isles and Commonwealth Realms (4.93), Waroklion (5.19), Drawception (5.39), Dawnsland (6.30), the Kingdom of Sacento (6.67), Isansland (7.41), and Re-open Nomination (7.67). The five candidates who got the least points won the elections. Soon after the results were published, the Senator-elects were sworn in by the Chief Justice of the UDS Supreme Court. The Senators, in their first act, elected Nuevo San Miguel as the Speaker of the Senate.

The Chair Election
In the first and the second weeks of October 2020, the Union held its election for the chairperson of the General Assembly. This office falls vacant every four months. The last chair relinquished office on 30 September 2020. As such, the Chancellery distributed candidacy forms for the position on 5 October 2020, accepting forms from midnight EST for the next 46 hours. The elections would run from 9 October to 11 October. The time between the end of filing nominations and the beginning of elections was allocated for campaigning. Only two people ran for the position; Davinmark, an experienced UDS citizen, and The Noble Thatcherites, founder of the Union and Chancellor. The UDS Constitution allows for Chancellors to run for any post, but they must not conduct the election in which they are themselves a candidate. Therefore, The Noble Thatcherites removed his Chancellor hat for the duration of this election. The election was instead facilitated by Khevo, the other Chancellor.

The Noble Thatcherites posted their campaign (it can be found here: Thatcher For Chairperson) in this election. His campaign can be summed up in his own three words; Visibility, Leadership, Commemoration. He promised to make the General Assembly more visible onsite, i.e., “notify and promote General Assembly votes to the public by means of onsite polls, region-wide telegrams, world factbook entry updates, regional message board posts, and discord announcements”. On the leadership front, The Noble Thatcherites promised to be impartial and faithful towards existing law and rules of the chamber, and promised to appoint a Deputy Chairperson. He has experience in many-a-leadership roles; he has served two terms as Prime Minister (under a previous constitution), and three terms as Senator, of which in one term he also served as Speaker. He pledged to apply the same fortitude and conviction that he brought to these roles to the Chair of the General Assembly. Union Day, which commemorates the day when the UDS was established, is on 18 December 2020. Since the Union Day will fall in the middle of a chairperson’s term, whosoever gets elected would play a serious and an important role. To that end, The Noble Thatcherites promised to create a Union Day Committee, by an act of the Legislature. He also shared a draft of said legislation. Davinmark, in their own words, "We need to ensure that people are brought into power for change. I respect the Chancellor, but his office duties are enough. Let us elect a new person for Chairperson, not continue to bask around in one spot, support me for a stronger GA. I have the experience needed to take the Union forward legislatively".

The election began on 11 October 2020, at 2200 hours EST, via a regional poll. The election was initially delayed by 48 hours; however, the elections nonetheless went smoothly. The results were visible in real-time on the region’s home page, and they were surprising. The voting began with The Noble Thatcherites leading the polls. Then, as time went past, the polls actually went towards RON. RON, or Re-open Nominations means what it says on the box. The voters began leaning towards RON, first over both the candidates. Eventually, when polls closed on 13 October 2020, The Noble Thatcherites emerged with the most votes, and Davinmark with the least. RON was in the middle.

The elections turned dramatic. Davinmark declared they were standing down from the elections. Their concern was that the Union wants the “Head of the Union to have control over the Business of an institution that is supposed to be independent from the Executive”. Their remarks were denounced by many citizens, citing the fact that The Noble Thatcherites was neither part of the Executive, nor were any of the offices that he occupies intersected with any branch of the government. Another citizen, Nova Blazeville, wrote an opinion piece, expressing their reasons for voting RON. According to them, the elections were illegal. Why? Because they were delayed. A heated debate followed on this issue.

The Noble Thatcherites won 63% of the votes, and Davinmark received 13% of the votes cast. 24% of the voters rejected both candidates and voted to re-open nominations. The Noble Thatcherites was victorious and was sworn in by the Chief Justice as the Chairperson of the General Assembly (the results can be found here: [Report] October Chairperson Election).

The Presidential Elections
The term of Phoenix Coalition as President of the Union came to an end at the end of October. As per the law, he was limited to two consecutive terms. The Chancellery notified the Union and released the candidacy forms. The citizens could file their nomination papers to run for the elections till 2200 hours EST on 29 October 2020. The period of campaigning for candidates was for the next 48 hours. The polls would open on Halloween Night, at 2200 hours for the next 48 hours, till 2 November 2020.

There was just one candidate, Druing. They were the Minister of Foreign Affairs under Phoenix. It was under their leadership as Minister when UDS signed a treaty with UDS’s allies. They chose Glaciosia as their running mate for Vice President. Glaciosia, at that time, was serving as a Senator. There were two other candidates, but those were only joke campaigns.

Druing posted their campaign, “Always a Candidate, Never a Brick” (it can be found here: Druing for President - Always A Candidate, Never A Brick). They described in their campaign, their experience in the Union. Druing has served as a Senator and a Minister. They were nominated by President Phoenix for Minister of Foreign Affairs and were confirmed by the Senate. They describe their accomplishments on the world (NationStates) stage, representing UDS. They also discussed their running mate Glaciosia’s many achievements and their role in the development of the Union. Druing promised to “encourage the revival and healthy growth of the region’s participation in the World Assembly”. They also “anticipate the continued growth of (UDS) Foreign Affairs … opening diplomacy and bringing regions together”. They also expressed their support for “our Culture with their many ongoing projects such as Unioncraft and Game Nights”. For the Ministry of Defence, Druing backed their mission to liberate, defend, and detag, alongside friendly military powers with mutual aims”. They declared their “wish to continue and bolster the Ministry of the Census’s work to diligently process citizenship applications and recruit new nations to the region”. For the Ministry of Justice, they expressed that everyone will be pleased with their picks for their administration. Druing called the Phoenix Administration as a “high bar for anyone, let alone me”.

“I place my full trust in the Cabinet I have envisioned, to keep the Union running for the one term I want to take, to try and ensure that when we leave the Phoenix’s nest, so to speak, we don’t just fall and crash.” - Druing

The election ballot was delivered to the citizens on 31 October 2020 at 2200 hours EST. Since it was a secret ballot, the results would come only at the end after all the votes had been counted and finalised. And predictably, Druing won with 53% vote, a majority. The remaining 47% went to the joke campaigns and RON. Druing and Glaciosia were sworn in by the Chief Justice as the President and the Vice President respectively (the results can be found here: [Report] October Presidential Election)

In their inaugural address (it can be found here: Opening Address), Druing pledged to uphold their sacred duty to their region. They thanked the citizens for their participation in the elections. They also thanked the citizens for blessing them “with this grand opportunity to better the region and prove my worth”. Druing thanked their predecessor, Phoenix Coalition “for the great work they have done as a citizen and President”. They ended their address by imploring the citizens to not stay silent. “If you have something you want to do, go for it”. They thanked the citizens again, and promised to show “that my Presidency is not the beginning of the end, but rather the opposite; the end of the beginning”.

The UDS has had rather a busy few weeks, with all the elections. A Senatorial Election, followed by a Chair Election, and furthermore followed by a Presidential Election, all of this while the preceding agency is conducting its responsibilities. The UDS dedicated three weeks to the elections, and the Union’s Discord and RMB were filled with election news. Democracy was at play.