Phanama Now

Phanama 2023 Elections: What You Need to Know

By Emil Lareni
Friday, 31 March 2023

Voting in Phanaman Elections
Phanamans will be heading to the polls in just over 6 months

Phanama — 2023 is an election year in Phanama. So, whether you are a first-time voter or curious about how Phanama’s election system works, here is what you need to know.

When are the elections?

Phanama’s general elections occur every four years on the first Friday of October. This year that will be on 6 October, and voters may choose to cast their votes on Election Day or use mail-in ballots to vote earlier. Mail-in ballots will be delivered to voters by 16 June and those choosing to vote using mail-in ballots should ensure that they are returned by 6 pm on 6 October when polls close.

What are voters electing?

  • A Representative to represent their constituency in the House of Representatives
  • Councillors to represent their province in the Council of States
  • The President of Phanama

Why do they matter?

The House of Representatives (simply known as ‘the House’) and the Council of States are the chambers that make up the National Assembly, where most of Phanama’s laws are created and debated.

Most members of the House, called Representatives, represent a constituency of about 86,000 people. As a result, more populous provinces get more Representatives, which can disadvantage the smaller provinces. To make up for this, the Council of States consists of 10 members (known as Councillors) from each province, to give equal representation to the provinces in this chamber.

The National Assembly also helps decide the members of the Council of Ministers who, along with the President, are in charge of the everyday running of the Phanaman government. After the election, the President recommends a composition of the Council of Ministers based on parties’ seat distribution in the House of Representatives. The National Assembly vets the President’s recommendation and, if the National Assembly disagrees, it goes to a vote to elect the Council of Ministers.

How do you vote?

Election methods for Councillors vary between provinces, while the President and Representatives are elected using preferential voting.

The President is elected using instant runoff voting (IRV), where voters rank the Presidential candidates from their most preferred to least preferred candidate. The first-preference votes for each candidate are totalled and, if no candidate has more than 50% of the first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated and the second-preferences of their voters are added to the totals of the respective candidates. This process continues until a candidate achieves more than 50% of the votes and is elected as the President.

Voting for the House is slightly more complicated as people cast two votes to determine the House’s composition. Phanama is divided into 240 constituencies, and voters cast their First Vote to elect one Representative for their constituency using IRV.

The Second Vote determines the party distribution of seats in the House: the percentage of Second Votes for a particular party should be roughly equal to the percentage of Representatives in the House from that party. Usually, this involves adding seats from regional party lists, so the Second Vote’s main purpose is to determine which parties get additional seats and how many additional seats each gets.

Voters rank the parties from their most preferred to least preferred party; parties which receive less than 3.5% of Second Votes or 4 Representatives from the First Vote are eliminated. Any party that gets a higher percentage of Representatives from the First Vote than its percentage of Second Votes is also eliminated. The Second Vote preferences of these parties’ voters are transferred to the respective parties and seats are allocated to help the House’s composition reflect the political landscape of Phanama.

What next?

As Election Day draws near, we will break down and explain the 2023 Elections further, why they matter, who is running and what is at stake.


An Introduction to Phanama’s Political Parties

By Helva Djori
Friday, 30 June 2023

The main entrance to the House of Representatives building

Phanama — It has been two weeks since mail-in ballots for this year’s general elections were delivered, and the long lists of candidates and political parties can make voting seem daunting. Fortunately, understanding only the ‘major’ parties is fine if you want the big picture.

Viiskama Huinademokratiadaàr, HD (Social Democrats’ Party) is currently the party with the most seats in the House of Representatives and typically advocates for improving Phanama’s welfare system, making the social safety net more robust and reducing inequality. On the other side of the political spectrum, Liiberale, Lb (Liberals) believes in vehemently upholding civil rights and liberties, in addition to supporting the federal and market systems.

Toiinala Arihèr, TA (Nature’s Hope) is the third largest party in the House and has progressivism, environmental protection and social equity at the forefront of its ideology. Kjofàfellskam, Kj (Centre Alliance), the next largest party, aims to improve government transparency, reduce bureaucracy and increase focus on education and research.

Lastly, Brije: Phanóma, BP (Phanama First) is a conservative party considered the smallest of the major parties; its members espouse isolationism, more provincial autonomy and maintaining Phanaman stability.

These five parties usually fill nearly 90% of the seats in the House, with the remainder consisting of independent candidates, parties gaining only a few additional seats and parties that do not meet the threshold for additional seats.

To give a clearer picture of the parties’ ideologies, here is a summary of the parties’ views on specific issues:

Environmental action

TA calls for more ambitious environmental policies, advocating for more funds allocated to implementing more renewable energy resources in electricity generation and transportation, in addition to policies that help counter deforestation and pollution.

HD supports higher carbon taxes, levies on products with sizeable, negative environmental impacts during their production or consumption, and putting pressure on businesses to help improve the environment. On the other hand, Lb wants to provide subsidies and tax cuts to corporations that significantly lower their carbon footprint and adopt environmentally friendly practices, without actively pressuring businesses to make these changes.

Kj turns to research on technology and solutions that can help lower carbon emissions while believing the environment should not be alone in the limelight as other issues also need to be addressed. Members of BP have a more apathetic stance, maintaining that environmental issues do not need to be solved right now.


BP deeply upholds armed neutrality and advocates for minimal cooperation with other countries. HD holds a policy of non-interventionism and neutrality but believes Phanama can still work with other countries on issues of mutual interest. Both parties are against military alliances and oppose World Forum membership.

TA harbours a less strict view of neutrality, believing Phanama should contribute to peacefully resolving international conflicts and reach out to other countries to help make Pacifica a better place. Lb outright opposes neutrality, believing it excuses Phanama’s silence on human rights infringements beyond the country’s borders. These parties also want more active involvement in international organisations, like the World Forum, though Lb is also open to participation in military alliances while TA is not.

Kj believes Phanama should take stances that reflect the country’s values during conflicts instead of keeping to neutrality but should also avoid intervening unnecessarily in external affairs, outside of providing humanitarian aid and offering mediation.

Nuclear Weapons

BP supports reinstating Phanama’s nuclear weapons program, believing Phanama is unsafe while other countries possess nuclear weapons; consequently, withdrawing Phanama from the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is a priority for BP. On the other side of the argument, TA and HD are vehemently against nuclear proliferation, believing every country should destroy their nuclear arsenals, as these weapons harm people and the environment.

Lb is not keen on leaving the TPNW but tends to side with BP, viewing a small nuclear arsenal as useful for self-defence. Nonetheless, members of Lb believe increasing military spending should have higher importance than acquiring nuclear weapons.

Members of Kj are split between these sides of the argument, with some also believing in reserving the right to develop nuclear weapons as a safeguard against threats of nuclear weapon attacks instead of devoting resources to a nuclear weapons program in peacetime.

Hopefully, this article helped clear the mist surrounding Phanama’s political parties. If you’d like to go deeper or look at some of the smaller parties as well, more information on each party can be found on their websites and other resources online.


Twelve, Including Raamistau, In Hospital After Avalanche

By Kaja Reinall
Thursday, 20 July 2023

Helicopters were used to rescue the victims of the avalanche

Monte, GV — Twelve people, including Vesper’s governor, Raamistau Ian Aarijuka, were taken to hospital after being trapped under an avalanche in northwestern Greenville this morning.

The avalanche began at around 09:00 a.m. local time, not long after ski lifts had opened for the day, on the Tugefjori mountain at 2000 metres above sea level. Emergency response teams were notified shortly afterwards and airlifted the victims to hospitals in Monte by helicopter.

No one has been reported missing, and none of the victims have severe injuries. However, some may spend the night in hospital for observation; it is unclear whether this includes the Raamistau.

Avalanches are fairly uncommon in the area, though the current avalanche risk is moderate following recent heavy snowfall. Nonetheless, many people were on the mountain this morning as it is peak winter sports season.

“Rescue efforts are still ongoing to ensure no one else has been injured or otherwise affected. However, we are optimistic that no one remains trapped under the avalanche and that the emergency response teams rescued all the victims in time,” a police spokesperson stated.

People have been encouraged to exercise caution, heed avalanche warnings, and stay within designated ski areas and hiking trails on the mountain.


The Phanaman President Explained

By Daniella Aviru
Saturday, 19 August 2023

A gallery in the building housing the President's office

Phanama — With debates between presidential candidates set to begin this month, the race to become Phanama’s head of state is entering its final stretch. So who is running, and what is at the finish line?

The President directs the executive branch and sets its overall policy agenda but leaves its day-to-day management to the Prime Minister and the rest of the Council of Ministers, who the President can recommend (to the National Assembly) to be dismissed and replaced. Nonetheless, the President may handle specific issues, such as a ‘flagship project’ that they aim to achieve by the end of their term, coordinating with the relevant offices and advisors by themselves.

The President also receives each federal draft law before it is enacted, and may choose to sign or reject a law once it lands on their desk. If the President rejects a law, they may send it back to the National Assembly for reconsideration or refer the draft law to the Courts to check its constitutionality. If the President still opposes the draft law, they then call a referendum whose result will determine whether the draft law is enacted.

Despite not being the commander-in-chief of Phanama’s military — which is the Minister of Defence during peacetime and a military officer elected by the National Assembly in wartime — certain military operations, like deploying forces outside Phanaman territory, cannot be carried out without the President’s approval.

The President shares these and other presidential duties with the Vice President, the winning presidential candidate’s running mate. The following overview of the major parties’ presidential candidates names their running mates, describes their campaign platforms and looks at their flagship projects to give you a better idea of what each candidate wants to bring to the presidency.

Leon Nallerom (Viiskama Huinademokratiadaàr, HD)

Leon Nallerom is HD’s presidential candidate, running with Auli Talvisu. Nallerom has been a member of the last three Councils of Ministers, currently as the Minister of Justice. He would like to improve the social welfare system, with his flagship project being the introduction of a universal basic income in Phanama. Nallerom’s election would give HD a second consecutive term in the presidency, something the party has not seen since 1994.

Victoria Inteni (Liiberale, Lb)

Victoria Inteni and Suza Julije are Lb’s candidates. Inteni has served as a Councillor for Actora in the Council of States since 2011 and she helped organise the argument against neutrality in 2021’s neutrality referendums. She aims to establish more relations between Phanama and other countries, in addition to deepening existing ties. However, Inteni’s biggest aim is to be the first President to secure membership in a military alliance and apply for Phanaman membership in the World Forum.

Noi Dunihal (Toiinala Arihèr, TA)

Noi Dunihal is running for president with Helva Òjletsa for TA. He is the party’s leader and he played a key role in organising climate protests in Lenium as well as the protests outside the National Assembly two years ago. Dunihal wants to accelerate Phanama’s move away from fossil fuels, his flagship project being to start shutting down fossil fuel power stations during his term. He would also be Phanama’s first President from Lenium.

Ros Bjòrandi (Kjofàfellskam, Kj)

Ros Bjòrandi and Kaivar Leandro are on Kj’s ticket. Bjòrandi has been a Representative for the last two terms, currently representing Milina, Declevis. His policy would focus on working with the provinces and their resources to further Phanama as a whole and solve the issues the country faces, aiming to establish a body to facilitate dialogue between the provinces. If he is elected, Bjòrandi would be Phanama’s youngest President at thirty-seven years old.

Eikla Grutèvira (Brije: Phanóma, BP)

BP’s candidates are Eikla Grutèvira and Ari Makitama. Grutèvira is a member of Greenville’s provincial government and has been since 2003. Abolishing Austral as an official language and promoting Phanaman culture is at the forefront of her platform, and her flagship project would be constructing centres to showcase Phanaman traditions and keep them alive. Grutèvira would also be Phanama’s first female President from BP if she is elected.

More information on each presidential candidate can be found on their websites and the resources sent with the mail-in ballots in June.


House of Representatives Election Results: A Shift in Balance

By Helva Djori
Tuesday, 10 October 2023

The composition of the next House of Representatives after this year's elections

Phanama — The results of Friday’s House of Representatives election show that voters want a change in the balance of power between the parties in the House. Despite most parties winning a similar number of constituency Representative seats as they did in 2019, this was overshadowed by the results of the Second Vote, which determines each party’s overall seat allocation in the House.

The percentage of Second Votes and additional seats each party received, once ineligible parties were eliminated

Liiberale (Lb) has pulled more of the rope in its tug-of-war with Viiskama Huinademokratiadaàr (HD), becoming the largest party in the House by a margin of 10 seats. HD sees this as a heavy blow, as the party’s leaders were hopeful that HD would do better this year than it did at the last election and were not expecting the fall in the party’s seat numbers.

The leaders of Toiinala Arihèr (TA) said, “We are grateful that Phanamans want their environment and the climate to continue having a say in the government,” after the party managed to maintain its position as the third-largest in the House. Meanwhile, Kjofàfellskam (Kj) can claim one more column of seats in the debating chamber after a stellar performance at the ballot box gave the party 14 more seats.

Brije: Phanóma’s loss in seats reflects a fall in the popularity of the party in recent months, which was exacerbated by the rise of the smaller Rekjanàr, Rr (literally: “The People’s”). With a narrower gap between the two parties, Rr may have a clearer path to cementing itself as one of Phanama’s major parties.

These results open up the possibility for a change in the composition of the Council of Ministers, as the ten-member council is meant to represent the largest parties’ seat distribution. Now that it is no longer the biggest party in the House, HD will likely give up one of its four seats in the Council to Lb, which currently has three. Kj’s success could also give the party the confidence to demand one of TA’s three seats in the Council. But whether these speculations come to fruition will also depend, in part, on the results of the Presidential election, which we will report shortly.


2023 Presidential Election Results: A Purple Presidency

By Daniella Aviru
Tuesday, 10 October 2023

Ros Bjòrandi, the presidential candidate who won the election

Phanama — After a tight presidential race with a close finish, Kjofàfellskam’s presidential candidate, Ros Bjòrandi, has been elected as the next President of Phanama. Here is a round-by-round description of the election results.

Victoria Inteni and Leon Nallerom had the highest number of first-preference votes and maintained a wide margin with the other candidates until the fourth-last round. In this round, Eikla Grutèvira had the lowest number of votes, so she was eliminated, and her voters’ votes were transferred to their next preferred candidate.

More than half of Grutèvira’s votes went to Ros Bjòrandi, and about a quarter went to Nallerom. Interviews with voters revealed that many supporters of Grutèvira put Bjòrandi and Nallerom as their next preference because their focus on domestic policy was similar to Grutèvira’s. Some of her voters believed Inteni could defend Phanaman interests abroad but were not too keen on her aim to abandon neutrality. Some voters also thought Noi Dunihal’s environmental action plans were too ambitious and could do more harm than good.

After Grutèvira’s votes were transferred, Dunihal had the lowest number of votes. Some of his voters believed Inteni could potentially give Phanama a more active peacekeeping role in international affairs, but her proposed participation in military alliances could conflict with that. Several Dunihal supporters appreciated Nallerom’s commitment to his party’s views on environmental policy, but others were unsure whether he would catalyse change. Even though many of Dunihal’s voters believed Bjòrandi did not share Dunihal’s dedication to protecting the environment, they thought Bjòrandi’s vision of working with the provinces could be used to deal with Phanama’s carbon footprint.

In the second-last round, Nallerom had the least number of votes, which were split nearly equally between the remaining candidates. Many of Nallerom’s supporters liked Bjòrandi’s focus on domestic policy, while others criticised his age and fairly recent entry into federal politics. Those who planned to give their next preference to Inteni recalled the stability previous Liiberale presidencies upheld and believed she could help Phanama open up to the world; however, some wanted Phanama to refrain from boldly entering the international stage.

By electing a relatively young candidate from one of the smaller major parties, voters have shown that they want something new, a breath of fresh air, in the government, and they have put their trust in Bjòrandi to deliver that. His inauguration is scheduled for 27 October.