2019 Surmontese legislative election

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2019 Surmontese legislative election

Drapeau du Surmont.png
← 2017 8 June 2019 Next →
Turnout93.8% ( 1.2%)
Party Leader % Seats ±
Conservative Party Dominic Robert 33.3% 5 -1
Democratic Party Sabine Dujardin 26.7% 4 -1
The Greens Louis Fray 14.0% 2 -1
People's Party Pierre Eysseric 12.7% 2 New
Christian Social Party Hélène Lozé 7.3% 1 New
Reform Party Pierre Fabricant 6.0% 1 0
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.
Prime Minister before Template:Delink after
Sabine Dujardin
Democratic
TBD
TBD

Legislative elections were held in the Principality of Surmont on 8 June 2019. All 15 members of the High Court (the legislature of Surmont, despite its name) were elected. The elections directly effect the appointment of a further 5 Officers of State, whom are appointed by the Prince of Surmont on advice of the leader of the party (or coalition of parties) that wins the most seats.

Background

At the 2017 legislative election, a narrow majority was won by the Democratic Party and The Greens, colloquially known as the "Red bloc" (French" Bloc rouge). They gained 8 seats in the High Court versus 7 seats for the remaining parties, all belonging to the "Blue bloc" (Bloc bleu). Two days later, Sabine Dujardin, the leader of the Democratic Party, became Prime Minister, when the Democratic Party formed a coalition with The Greens.

Electoral system

Of the 20 members of the High Court, 15 are elected by the D'Hondt method of proportional representation. In addition, 5 Officers of State – who have all the rights and privileges of elected members – are appointed by the Prince of Surmont; although, by convention in recent years, these are almost always on advice of the leader of the largest party or coalition of parties in the newly elected High Court.

According to the Lois générales (“general laws”; in effect the constitution) of Surmont, the High Court automatically dissolves 24 months from its first sitting following the previous election unless the Prime Minister requests an early dissolution. An election must then take place within 15 working days of the dissolution of the High Court and Election Day by law is always a Saturday. As the previous High Court was elected on 10 June 2017 and convened for the first time 2 days later on 12 June 2017, the current High Court would have automatically been dissolved on 12 June 2019 with Saturday 1 July 2019 being the latest legal date upon which an election could be held. As it happens, however, Prime Minister Sabine Dujardin chose to request an early dissolution. The Prime Minister is able to call the election at any date, provided that date is no later than 24 months and 15 working days from the previous election, and this is often cited as a tactical advantage for the sitting government, which can call an early election when polls are favourable.

For a new party to become eligible to participate in the election, they must be supported by a number of voters corresponding to 1/15 of all valid votes cast in the previous election. A new party registering to contest the 2019 elections required 2 voter declarations to participate.

Participating parties

All 4 parties currently in the High Court are contesting the election. In addition, two other parties have gained ballot access. The number of parties is the highest since 2009 (the High Court's inaugural election), where 6 parties participated and is only surpassed by the 2011 elections with 7 parties.

Surmontese parties contesting the election
Party Leader Last election
Conservative Party
Parti conservateur
Dominic Robert 35.3 % 6 seats
Democratic Party
Parti démocratique
Sabine Dujardin 29.4 % 5 seats
The Greens
Les Verts
Louis Fray 23.5 % 3 seats
Reform Party
Parti réformiste
Pierre Fabricant 11.8 % 1 seat
People's Party
Parti populaire
Pierre Eysseric Did not contest
Christian Social Party
Parti chrétien-social
Hélène Lozé Did not contest

On 30 May 2019, the People's Party became eligible to contest the election followed by the Christian Social Party the following day. No other parties secured enough support to acquire ballot access by the 1 June 2019 deadline.

Campaign

Pre-election statements

Pierre Eysseric, a former of the Reform Party who lost his seat at the previous election, announced in October 2018 he would be forming a new right-wing populist party. He announced in January 2019 that his new party would be called the People's Party to “preserve and promote Surmont” and that it would be open to working with either bloc in the High Court. Whilst the leadership of the Democratic Party remained open to the idea, The Greens leader, Louis Fray, immediately ruled out any alliances with Eysseric and his party.

In April 2019, Dominic Robert, leader of the Conservative Party, stated that if they were to win the election, they wished to form a single-party government led by Robert; i.e. not as a coalition government with the Reform Party. Whilst the party stated this was done in order to pursue traditional centre-right issues (the Reform Party being economically left of centre), it was also suggested that it may be a signal that the Conservative Party is open to working with the People's Party. Eysseric said the following month he was willing to work with the Conservatives but added that concessions would be expected.

Shortly after the election was announced, Democratic Party member Hélène Lozé announced she was forming her own political party, the Christian Social Party. The aim, she said, was to “merge tradition with a new direction”.

The same month The Greens repeated a threat from January to leave the “red bloc” if the Democratic Party considered working with the People's Party and expanded this to include the Conservative Party. However, Fray added he was happy to work with the newly form Christian Social Party.

Platforms

The incumbent Democratic Party-led “red bloc” sought constitutional reforms to replace the Officers of State, who are currently appointed by the Prince at his discretion, with a Council of Ministers elected by the High Court. Democratic Party leader, Sabine Dujardin, clarified later that any Council of Ministers would still be formally appointed by the Prince of Surmont but would be answerable and accountable to the High Court.

Whilst The Greens supported the Democratic Party's proposed constitutional reforms, leader Louis Fray went further, suggesting those reforms should form a “transitional step” and that his party would prefer to see Surmont transition to a republic with an elected head of state. Asked when this should or would happen, Fray only answered “eventually”. In addition, The Greens were campaigning on banning single use plastics from Surmont and a greater push for “green micronationalism” in the wider intermicronational community.

The Conservative Party of Dominic Robert opposed the constitutional reforms of the Democratic Party and labelled the idea a “parliamentary power grab”. The Conservatives instead focused on establishing and building ties with other micronations and the possibility of forming or joining intermicronational organisations. Their usual junior “blue bloc” partner, the Reform Party, campaigned largely around the issue of establishing an economy for the micronation.

Of the two new parties in the campaign, the Christian Social Party largely sought to bridge the gap between the Democratic Party and Conservative Party on constitutional reform but confirmed it generally favoured reform over the status quo. Meanwhile, the People's Party campaigned for greater direct democracy taking particular aim at the High Court and saying, in an ideal world, there would only be “the people and their prince”. It is strongly opposed to monetisation of micronations.

Results

The results were officially announced by the Chief Electoral Officer on Sunday 9 June 2019. Overall, all the parties with representation in the previous High Court lost votes, with three of the four parties losing seats. The election was considered a particular upset for the “red bloc” as it lost the majority it was widely expected to hold onto.

In total, the Democratic Party, The Greens and the Christian Social Party won 7 of the 15 elected seats – a single seat short of a majority. The “blue bloc” was more informal going into this election but nevertheless also lost seats with the Conservative Party winning 5 seats (down 1) and the Reform Party holding onto its sole seat, reducing the bloc to 6 seats.

The two new parties contesting the election, the People's Party and Christian Social Party, both won seats with the PP winning 2 and CSP winning 1. Unlike the Christian Social Party, and despite widespread speculation to the contrary that it would join the “blue bloc”, the People's Party did not commit to working with any particular bloc, instead saying it would work with whoever was willing to implement its platform.

e • d 2019 Surmontese general election
Parties Results
% ± Seats ±
Conservative Party 33.3% -6.7% 5 -1
Democratic Party 26.7% -6.6% 4 -1
The Greens 14.0% -6.0% 2 -1
People's Party 12.7% New 2 New
Christian Social Party 7.3% New 1 New
Reform Party 6.0% -0.7% 1 0
Total 100% 15

Government formation

The incumbent “red bloc” government lost its majority and attempts to find alternative coalition partners thwarted by The Greens leader Louis Fray repeating his pre-election threat to leave the bloc if it worked with either the Conservative Party or the newly elected People's Party. As a result, on 11 June, Prime Minister Sabine Dujardin announced her government would resign, clearing the way for the “blue bloc” to try and form a government.

Later that same day, Prince Étienne appointed Conservative Party leader Dominic Robert formateur (French: “one who forms a government”), considered an informal precursor to becoming prime minister (every formateur has gone on to be appointed prime minister). Prior to the election, Robert announced his party would seek to govern alone, relying on others for confidence and supply only. However, on 14 June he announced this may not be possible citing People's Party and Reform Party demands.

Although the role of formateur is not specifically mentioned in the Lois générales, a period of no more than 15 working days is allocated for a government to be formed after an election. If none is formed by that time, the Prince of Surmont – using his royal prerogative – decides whether to: 1) appoint a new formateur; 2) appoint a caretaker government or; 3) dissolve the High Court and hold new elections. To date, all government formation talks have successfully concluded before the 15 day period.