Alexandrian general election, 2000

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The Alexandrian general election of 2000 was held on Friday, 3 November 2000, five years after the previous election on 3 November 1995, to elect 624 Deputies to the unicameral legislature, the National Assembly. Under the leadership of incumbent First Consul Jean Carmicheal, the Social Democratic Alliance was re-elected to serve a second term in government with another landslide victory, returning 350 of the 357 seats won by the party in the previous general election, a net loss of 7 seats, though with significantly lower turnout than before - 55.3%, compared to 76% in the previous election.

There was little change outside Varennes and Ibelin, with most seats electing candidates from the same party as they did in 1995. Factors contributing to the Social Democratic Alliance victory were a strong economy and falling unemployment, as well as that Carmicheal was seen as having delivered on many key election pledges that it had made in the previous general election.

The Conservative Party, under the leadership of Roland Peletier, was still deeply divided over economic and social issues, with the party's policy platform shifted to a right wing focus. Peletier was also seriously hindered by a series of embarrassing gaffes and failed publicity stunts. Fallout from the Balladur Affair still plagued the party leadership.

The election was broadcast live on ABC, and presented by Bernat Croix, Phillippe Anglars, and Felisa Gautier.

Overview

The Alexandrian general election of 2000 was marked by voter apathy. Significantly lower turnout made this one of the lowest attended elections in Alexandrian history. Polling firms consistently predicted a repeat of the last election throughout the campaign, meaning a large victory for the Social Democratic Alliance and its "New Way Forward" platform. First Consul Jean Carmicheal also enjoyed very high personal approval ratings after keeping many of the key election promises made in the 1995 election. The Carmicheal Government had also moved quickly to address the Great Recession of 1995. The SDA only lost 7 seats.

The election saw more revelations regarding the Balladur Affair that rocked the Conservative Party. After their 1995 defeat, the party elected Roland Peletier as its leader. Peletier was the leader of a Conservative parliamentary group that was seen as more right-wing, shifting the party as a whole towards that direction. Peletier's working-class image appealed to many in the party that wanted to shy away from the Conservative stereotype. However, as investigations into the Balladur Affair continued, several of his appointed party officials were implicated in money laundering schemes and using campaign funds for personal expenses. The Conservative campaign, desperate to distance itself from the revelations, cleaned out most of the Conservative leadership, putting it at a deep disadvantage in talent and experience just weeks before the general election.

Electoral System

Alexandrian general elections are held following the dissolution of the National Assembly. All the Deputies of the National Assembly are elected. This was the first election after the passage in 1999 of the Assembly Fixed Terms Act, which set in stone the tradition of having Assemblies last five years but limiting ways in which an election can be called to loss of Assembly majority or by a two-thirds majority vote of the Assembly.

Candidates for each constituency are chosen by political parties or stand as independents. Almost all successful candidates are members of a political party. Each constituency elects one Deputy by the first past the post system of election. At the 2000 general election, there were 624 constituencies, thus 624 Deputies were elected to the National Assembly.

A party with an overall parliamentary majority (more seats than all the other parties combined) following an election forms the government. If no party has an outright majority, parties can seek to form coalitions. The largest party not in government forms His Imperial Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

Election Date

A general election must take place before each Assembly term begins. Since the maximum term of a parliament is five years, the interval between successive general elections can exceed that period by no more than the combined length of the election campaign and the time for the new Assembly to assemble (a total of typically around four weeks). The five years runs from the first meeting of the Assembly following the election.

The 2000 general election was held on 3 November 2000, with subsequent elections scheduled to be held every five years thereafter. First Consul Jean Carmicheal asked the Emperor to dissolve the National Assembly by Imperial Proclamation on October 2, 2000.

1995 Election Results

Main article: Alexandrian general election, 1995

File:1995election.png
Results of the Alexandrian general election, 1995.
Results of the Alexandrian General Election, 1995
Political Party Leader Name Seats Before Seats After Changes
Conservative Party of Alexandria Incumbent First Consul Matthieu Poiters 344 198 -146
Social Democratic Alliance Jean Carmicheal 233 357 +124
Freedom and Democracy Party Natalia Lopez-Villefort 18 25 +7
Christian Democrat Union of Alexandria Jean-Marie de St. Pierre 16 32 +16
Party of Varennes Bertran Tutusaus 10 5 -5
The Greens Madeleine Cortez 2 1 -1
Alexandrian Front Thomas Colbert 2 1 -1
Independents None 0 5 +5

Campaigns

Conservative Campaign

Roland Peletier became Leader of the Conservative Party after the resignation of the First Consul Matthieu Poitiers, as the party recovered from one of its worst electoral losses in Alexandrian history. The leadership race that Peletier won was contentious, dominated initially by Poiters's favored successor, Bertrand Barisart of Varennes. Barisart's campaign floundered after the release of the Balladur Affair Report in 1995 by an independent commission that incriminated Barisart in possible campaign finance fraud. In the weeks leading up to the convention race, internal Conservative Party polls showed that no candidate would have enough support to win at the upcoming convention. This forced the outgoing First Consul to change his endorsement in the race to Roland Pelletier. Pelletier was seen as untouched by the Balladur Affair, a self-made millionaire in real estate and construction. The independent commission's report did not find Peletier involved in the Balladur Affair. Barisart withdrew from the race and endorsed Pelletier with a rousing speech at the 1996 Conservative Party conference in Trois-Freres, Ibelin.

Pelletier employed several former staffers and officials into party leadership positions of the previous Poiters administration, indicating a willingness to work for common ground in the party. In the weeks leading up to the announcement of the election, Pelletier called a party convention in which the party ratified a new platform that many viewed as moving the party further to the right than any of the other party wings (prominently the former pro-Poitiers staffers and politicians that Pelletier depended on). On the first day of the 2000 Conservative Party conference in Los Santos, San Martin, explosive new revelations implicating more Conservatives in campaign finance fraud and money laundering led Pelletier, desperate to distance itself from the revelations, to clean out most of the Conservative leadership, putting it at a deep disadvantage in talent and experience just weeks before the general election.

Balladur campaign advisors sought to create a campaign that centered on Pelletier as the leader, making the decision early on to run a presidential-style campaign, to heavily contrast against Carmicheal. With the incumbent First Consul carrying commanding leads in almost every election poll, the campaign focused on highlighting Pelletier's personal story and some common party themes. Many donors and supporters of Peletier, however, preferred that the Conservative Party was more socially conservative, predominantly anti-marriage equality and anti-abortion.

Peletier campaigned as a reformer, but several gaffes on the stump and marketing stunts hurt him as he struggled to contrast with the First Consul, who was seen as more intellectual. Many also credit the weekly Saturday comedy show Alexandria Today's impressions and skits which lampooned Peletier with great effect.

Social Democrat Campaign

Support was strong for the First Consul and the Social Democratic Alliance throughout the campaign, except for the weeks leading up to the 2000 Conservative Party conference where polls briefly indicated that Conservatives could make gains with Pelletier enough to at least need a confidence and supply agreement from one of the other parties to continue in office.

The incumbent First Consul Jean Carmicheal was personally popular, having personally crafted the majority of the pieces of legislation that achieved some of his key campaign pledges. The Great Recession of 1995 hurt the party initially as the recession led to a large loss of jobs and the closing of factories across the Empire. Many industries were nationalized, and banks were forced by the Government to buy failing banks and consolidate to save the economy from total meltdown. Swift action by the Government and by the Social Democratic Alliance in the Assembly led to a dramatic midnight session of the Assembly where most of the economic agenda of the First Consul was enacted into law - tax reform, new infrastructure spending, and expanded social spending to reduce poverty. The economy soon recovered but left the government in debt through deficit spending. The establishment of a Universal College Grant for Alexandrian higher education students led to see great support from Alexandria's youth during the reelection campaign.

The Social Democrats' slogan was "For A Better Alexandria", running a campaign that centered around the accomplishments of the Government and the personal popularity of the incumbent First Consul. During all of the leaders' debates during the election, Carmicheal delivered strong wins that boosted his popularity in the weeks leading up to the election.

Christian Democrat Campaign

Aiming to build on its previous historic gains in the last election, the Christian Democrats adopted an aggressive campaign from the beginning to attack vulnerable Conservative and SDA seats in Varennes, Ibelin and San Martin. Led by Jean-Marie de St. Pierre, the party campaign on a platform that was centered around some strong social conservative planks like opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion. However, the party won great success with its economic message, which involved protectionist economic measures and a proposed border tax to fund greater social spending and infrastructure spending. The party even attempted to go after the Greens' vote with a focus on investments to power Alexandria from renewable energy sources and a carbon tax proposal to fund education and a transition to new energies.

Free Democrat Campaign

Natalia Lopez-Villefort led a campaign that also aimed to target vulnerable Conservative seats in areas where they were second place. The campaign was able to flip one seat from the Conservatives, but an unexpected win was when the campaign capitalized on a last-minute surge of support in the seat of Alcantara in San Martin - a seat that traditionally had been held by the Social Democrats. With a focus on vulnerable Conservative seats from other parties that had larger campaign fundraising, the Free Democrats were not able to make significant gains. However, on all of the seats they held, their majorities grew.

Party of Varennes Campaign

Led by Alexandre Capdevilla, the Party of Varennes ran a well-organized and funded campaign. Capdevilla, a prominent millionaire in the province, even donated much of his own money to fund the campaign's growth in the province. The campaign, however, was rocked in the days leading up to the election when one of the party candidates, Susanna Marti, was embarrassed after a survey asking what she would need in the event of a nuclear attack was revealed. Her answer was that she would bring "her favorite book, a penis, and pizza." While the campaign saw this as a net negative, the mishap gave the campaign lots of free media and campaign advisors were able to somehow turn things around with the assistance of the notorious political firm, the Ganges & Vroni Political Affairs Group.

The Greens Campaign

The Greens fought a campaign that was severely underfunded. They allied with the Social Democrats in the face of an attempt by the Christian Democrats to swing support in vulnerable seats. The Greens kept their one seat but saw their support across Alexandria plummet as their voters went to the Social Democrats or the Christian Democrats in many regions.

Alexandrian Front Campaign

The Alexandrian Front campaign was virtually centered around holding their one seat in the Assembly.

Results

Results of the Alexandrian General Election, 2000
Political Party Leader Name Seats Before Seats After Changes
Social Democratic Alliance Incumbent First Consul Jean Carmicheal 357 350 -7
Conservative Party of Alexandria Roland Peletier 198 192 -6
Freedom and Democracy Party Natalia Lopez-Villefort 25 27 +2
Christian Democrat Union of Alexandria Jean-Marie de St. Pierre 32 40 +8
Party of Varennes Alexandre Capdevilla 4 8 +4
The Greens Jean-Guy Lucroy 1 1 0
Alexandrian Front William Beauvais 1 1 0
Independents None 5 5 0

Aftermath

Formation of government

Following the election results, the Social Democratic Alliance remained in power with Jean Carmicheal as First Consul. Carmicheal reshuffled his Cabinet and junior ministers, making Felicia Sánchez Sánchez as the new Deputy First Consul and Minister of Interior.

New party leaders

The day after the election, Roland Pelletier announced he would be standing down as leader of the Conservative Party. The formal leadership election began in October and was ultimately won by Fernando Dev.


Preceded by:
General Election, 1995
General Elections in Alexandria Followed by:
General Election, 2005