Shaoshanian presidential election, September 2016
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The September 2016 Shaoshanian Presidential Election was a federal election in the Republic of Shaoshan with the purpose to elect the President and Vice President of Shaoshan. The general election took place on September 15th, 2016. Nominating contests for the Worker's Party occurred on September 6th, 2016, nominating party General Secretary and incumbent President Titus Smith and his running mate, Party Central Committee President and incumbent Vice President, Amy Wilde. The Feline Party nominated Pusheen the Cat after a narrow defeat of First Cats, Goldie and Twylie and the Olaf National Liberation Front nominated party leader, Sheriff Olaf Gustafsen. The two contended for the United Stuffed Animal Coalition (USAC) nomination on September 9th in which Pusheen the Cat won by a narrow margin with Gustafsen accepting the role as her running mate. On September 11th, Buster McCovey also announced his intention to run as a independent candidate for President.
The election has marred by a stuffed animal (or "Stuffy") uprising and invasion and takeover of the People's Palace, the Shaoshanian government house, over their denial of rights and apartheid-like suppression that spawned a referendum on September 7th. It was also preceded by a referendum that gave Smith autocratic power to rule by decree as President-for-Life, which was marred after months of inactivity and political turmoil. The September 7th referendum received 75% of the vote, nullifying the August 8th referendum which received 81% of the vote, paving the way for democratic elections. The vote was believed to be overwhelmingly carried by the large influx of Stuffy voters and citizens.
The campaign also is dominated by Smith's attempt to maintain his grip on power and a continuation of his regime while allowing for democratic concessions and the ideal of leading through benevolency and enlightenment. Initial polls, however, seemed to show Smith's performance at roughly 30%, tied with Olaf Gustafsen, compared to Pusheen the Cat who was receiving 36% of the vote. After the USAC Convention, projections showed Pusheen winning by 66% of the vote.
Incumbent President Titus Smith was announced as the Worker's Party candidate early on September 6th following a Party Congress. Smith's approval rating dropped following the Stuffed Animal Uprising in late August and early September after it was exposed that the government and media had suppressed their rights through an apartheid-like scenario. Smith's government responded with negotiations where they agreed to a referendum which, if passed by the consensus, would pave the way for elections on September 15th.
The Feline Party nominated Pusheen the Cat after a three way race between herself and the First Cats, Goldie and Twylie the Cat, the Stuffed Animal Coalition nominated their leader, Bob Minion, and the Olaf National Liberation Front nominated Sheriff Olaf Gustafsen. In a Coalition Convention on September 3rd the USAC nominated Gustafsen and Pusheen to contend for a run off election on the 9th. Pusheen the Cat won by a narrow margin and nominated Gustafsen as her running mate. They represented the Coalition against the ruling Worker's Party and against Smith and his regime.
Buster McCovey announced an independent bid for the Presidency on September 11th. He is a close friend of the President, Titus Smith, and a noted stuffy rights activist. He was considered a relative moderate.
Pusheen the Cat United Stuffed Animal Coalition leader and Stuffed Animal rights activist from Shaoshan City
Candidates Who Dropped Out
Olaf Gustafsen Sheriff of the Olaf National Liberation Constabulary, Leader of the Olaf National Liberation Front, Stuffed Animal rights activist and Olaf nationalist from Shaoshan City; conceded to Pusheen the Cat to take a position as her running mate instead.
Bob Minion Stuffed Animal Collective leader, Stuffy rights activist from Shaoshan City; conceded and endorsed Olaf Gustafsen following defeat in first round USAC elections.
Goldie the Cat Animal rights and Stuffed Animal rights activist, leader of the Feline Party, First Cat; conceded to Pusheen the Cat following defeat in Feline Party election. Twylie the Cat Animal rights and stuffed animal rights activist, deputy leader of Feline Party, First Cat; conceded to Pusheen the Cat following defeat in Feline Party election. </gallery>
Incumbent Titus Smith faced off against Pusheen the Cat and her running mate Olaf Gustafsen in a tight race for the Presidency of Shaoshan. Smith was campaigning to keep his regime and legacy of politics alive while the Stuffed Animal Coalition was attempting to galvanize their support for stuffy rights to pull off a landslide victory to claim power and make a change for the nation. Inspired by Stuffy successes in Juclandia, the Coalition campaigned on the grounds of an oppressed post-apartheid ethnic group against the autocratic regime of Smith who they considered corrupt. Smith struggled with Stuffy voters from the start, flexing his progressive and socialist ideals and his willingness to negotiate with opposition. On September 11th, Buster McCovey announced his bid for president, running as an independent with Bob Minion as his running mate.
The Pusheen/Gustafsen ticket ran on a shared campaign advocating the regulation of firearms (a mutual concession by the liberal Pusheen and the more libertarian Gustafsen), more rights for stuffed animals and toys, more autonomy for the Olaf snowmen community (which considers itself a nationality distinct from Shaoshan), strong police force, criminal justice reform, a universal national food program, and a standard minimum wage for citizens.
The Smith/Wilde ticket ran a left-wing nationalist and socialist campaign, running on the ideas of progressive reform such as low to no taxes, a nationalized minimum wage of at least $4.00 an hour and low spending while as well as negotiating stuffy rights and policing reform, limited gun safety laws and greater social equality. A central theme of the campaign was Smith's level of experience in micronational and Shaoshanian politics, something they claim their opponent did not possess. Of his opponents, Smith said "I will not have this micronation that has stood for a year and a half to fall into disorder by inexperienced politicians with a vendetta. I fear this nation will slip back into inactivity and political turmoil if I fail to win this election."
The McCovey/Minion ticket ran on a platform of progressive reform and stuffed animal rights. He believed that his knowledge gained from being a close friend of Titus Smith and learning how to run a nation and be a politician had earned him the qualities it takes to be a leader. He said he wants to make sure there is equality for all citizens and to do things the "right way". Many considered him to be a moderate compared to Pusheen or Gustafsen.
Most polls showed Pusheen the Cat polling slightly better than Buster McCovey. Right before election, the two candidates were rumored to be polling within 5 points of each other. The Smith campaign was shown to be polling at consistently. Final polls conducted by People's News showed Pusheen polling at 40% and McCovey at 35%.
At 8pm PDT on September 15th, the Central Electoral Commission called the race for Pusheen. In all, she won 21 votes to McCovey's 17 and Smith's 9, effectively ending the Smith regime. By 9pm, McCovey conceded the race a small speech, congratulating Pusheen and Gustafsen for their victory. In a post-election interview, Pusheen attributed her vicotry with the public loss of confidence in Smith's regime and attempts to attack and defame their integrity. Her inauguration as President took place on September 16, 2016, following a delay due to protests by the Smith camp.