This Sunday (24-5-2020), Sabioveronese citizens in the Southern territories will head to the polls to elect the 6th parliament, in the eleventh overall election since the establishment of the Sabioveronese democracy. Now, at The SiV Phonograph we want to lay out all the basics to understand the upcoming contest, and give our view of the current situation and what awaits the nation in the times ahead.
The election is to be held a week later than originally established, after a decision by the Electoral Commission to push back the suffrage in order to allow registered voters residing abroad to send their postal votes in time, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns mandated across the world.
As is the case around the globe, the pandemic has become one of the main contention points in the electoral cycle. The Democratic Party government led by Apollo Cerwyn issued a statement on March 16 confirming Sabia and Verona’s “business as usual” position, as plush toys can’t get sick from a virus. The position was harshly criticized by the Liberal opposition, spearheaded by former PM Shounn Virny.
But coronavirus and the immonological status of plushies isn’t the only hot topic in the final rounds before the election. The so-called Northern question, sparked by education secretary Soraya Hreti’s explosive op-ed in the Phonograph back in November, has paved the path for a months-long discussion at the heart of Valtirian society on the issue of what to do with the Northern regions, which have been de facto inaccessible to the Sabioveronese state since stage II of Haronos, in late 2015.
The Electoral Commission has indefinitely postponed elections in the North and the in March the government set up a special parliamentary commission to decide on how to proceed in Sabia, Verona and Lycem, the Kingdom’s Northern territories. The government has already committed to adhering to the commission’s verdict, which was due to be heard last week but was controversially postponed until after the elections.
Virny’s liberals have found a tough contender in Apollo Cerwyn, who, after years of experience as leader of the opposition himself, knows a thing or two about anticipating the next source of criticism and take care of it before it can be properly exploited. The Democrats’ longstanding aversion to territorial expansion has played no part in shaping the government’s policy toward Doga Runann, which the Liberals could have easily taken as a merit of their own (it was, after all, their own ambition), as the PM has swiftly moved to work toward the integration of the Kingdom’s newest territory through visits and a series of laws.
This doesn’t appear to be an isolated case, as Cerwyn has turned every possible crack in his government into a moment to shine through expert statesbearship.
Where a liberal or artist government would have rushed to placate dissent within their ranks at the first public show of disagreement (like Virny did when he commanded the rocky ship that was the 2016-17 coalition government), with his response to the Northern question Cerwyn has embraced and defended the “plurality of views” in his government and channeled the ensuing social debate through the existing institutions of the state, setting a precedent for the discussion of difficult social topics in Parliament.
Likewise, the Democratic government’s openness to impose positive change (with or without support from the Opposition) has given the Kingdom its first fully gender-neutral constitution, its first cabinet with equal male, female and non-binary representation, and a renewed commitment to the protection of LGBT+ rights.
Sabioveronese voters are not blind to these achievements. The last three TID polls have shown the Democrats leading by considerable margins, with expected majorities both in Alios and Gonn. And they are not alone.
For the first time since 2013, The SiV Phonograph is officially endorsing a party ahead of general elections in Sabia and Verona. The Liberal party has done a good job of presenting its manifesto and beliefs, and no one can deny Shounn Virny’s good work in Parliament. But after two years in the Opposition benches, the Democrats have shown they are capable of steering Sabia and Verona in the right direction, all whilst dealing with some of the most complex debates in Valtirian society since the days before Haronos. Apollo Cerwyn has proven his worth, as have the Democrats.
So to all Sabioveronese voters: we can’t tell you what to vote, but we can tell you what we think, and we think your vote this Sunday should be Democratic Party red.