|Date: 24 December 2017|
|Alex Hapsburg MP of the ANIP crosses the floor |
ANIP loses seat it won during recent election
Compromise removes appointed Reichsversammlung seat, restores ANIP representation
Hapsburg dismissed, replaced as Generalmememarschall-designate
The Hapsburg Defection was the decision by former Abeldane MP and former Generalmememarschall-designate Alex Hapsburg to cross the floor from his party, the Abeldane National Independence Party, to join the National Federalist Party. This triggered an extensive argument; his former party, led by Patrick Renwick, along with the Vorsitzender Thomas Merrell, Attorney General-designate Horatio Eden, Leader of the Opposition Newton von Uberquie, and a large proportion of the Reichsregierungskabinett supporting the ANIP's claim to the seat, while Michael Thomas Brazeau of the NFP contended that Hapsburg's decision to defect had no effect on his continued incumbency.
The Abeldane Empire uses a party-list electoral system; voters on election day select their favourite party from a list of all parties, and each party subsequently receives their proportion of the vote share in seats (or as near to as practicable), which the party leadership can name candidates to at their discretion. The public do not elect individual candidates under this system; their only choices are for parties. This makes it distinct from the executive portion of Abeldane federal elections, when the Vorsitzender and Stellvertreter - individual candidates - are elected by name.
In the federal election preceding the Hapsburg Defection, the Abeldane National Independence Party won four seats with 26.1% of the vote, and the National Federalist Party won three with 17.4% of the vote.
On the 24th of December, 2017, MP Alex Hapsburg, the Merrell administration's designate for Generalmememarschall, of the Abeldane National Independence Party announced his decision to defect from the Abeldane National Independence Party to join the National Federalists. This was immediately met with a public outcry calling for his resignation, on grounds that he had not personally been elected but that he had been chosen to hold the seat in trust by the party. He briefly tendered a resignation - which was later rescinded - though the Emperor released a decree allowing the ANIP to appoint a replacement for the seat.
Government MP Michael Thomas Brazeau - himself a member of the National Federalist Party - insisted that Hapsburg be allowed to retain the seat, calling attempts by the ANIP to appoint a replacement a "power grab", and a "threat to our constitutional monarchy". He threatened to issue a lawsuit in order to retain the NFP's seat, a threat he later rescinded, and called for an ethics investigation into whomever the ANIP chose as the replacement. He later accepted the ANIP's right to the seat, though maintained his call for an investigation and would ultimately renounce having said he supported the ANIP's claim to the seat, calling suggestions he had made any statement to that effect "fake news".
Following negotiations between Vorsitzender Merrell and the Emperor, the former of whom wanted to see Hapsburg dismissed from office and the latter of whom wished to see Hapsburg remain in post, Hapsburg was not restored to a position in the Reichsversammlung. After briefly considering appointing Hapsburg to the appointed seat of the Reichsversammlung as part of his imperial prerogative, the Emperor announced that the appointed seat would be remaining vacant and eventually abolished. Bilal Irfan was named by the ANIP as Hapsburg's replacement, and was ultimately appointed Generalmememarschall.
Hapsburg would later replace Michael Thomas Brazeau as MP for the National Federalists, following Brazeau's suspension from the party.
Hapsburg for his part viewed his reputation as having been damaged by the incident, and pledged to "repair the damage I have done to my reputation in the eyes amongst [sic.] the Abeldane people". He would later run for First Minister of Alexander in the declared executive election thereof.
- Abel to Dabel chat, 25th December, 2017 (accessed 27th December, 2017)