Tepertopier Presseschau

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The Tepertopian Press Review (Alman: Tepertopier Presseschau) is the state-owned official news aggregator of Tepertopia. It is tasked with providing the public a broader insight into the respective stories by relaying the latest coverage from the various newspapers all across the media landscape. Occasionally, it also publishes original articles. The law guarantees the independence of TPR leadership from political meddling, but in return also forbids it from itself pushing a particular agenda through featured or original articles.

The following news outlets make more regular appearances:

News Outlet Political Leanings
Tepertopia Today Centrist
Der Wahlhelfer · The Poll Worker Centrist
Rotkehlchen · Robin Left-leaning
The Happelstein Herald Right-leaning
Die Zitronenpresse · The Citrus Press Satirical
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Der Wahlhelfer X TPR Header

2024 Legislative Elections: What’s To Come

Nick Pearce · 30 September 2023


The plenary chamber of the Tepertopian Assembly.

HAPPELSTEIN — In just about four months, the 52nd Tepertopian Assembly will have met for the three years its Assemblypeople were elected to ‒ which of course means that new elections are due, where voters will be able to elect the 100 members of Tepertopia’s federal law-making body for the 2024–2027 legislative period. As always, Der Wahlhelfer will accompany you during the countdown to the election and explain its various intricacies, from the electoral system to the parties and their manifestos. In this first article of the series, we will take a look at how the election season will proceed in general.

Calling the Election

A date for the election is not yet fixed, and will only be once Protector Gerhard and the Council of the Union officially call the election. However, we can deduce a couple possible dates from the constitutional provisions in Article 44 of the Articles of Union.

The date of the election will be announced by Protector and Council on 3 November, 90 days before the Assembly is set to be dissolved. The election itself must take place on a Sunday no sooner than 90 and no later than 120 days from that date ‒ so in this case, between 1 February (Thu) and 2 March (Sat). That leaves us with February 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th as the possible dates the election may happen.

In the past, the election was usually called for the earliest possible date to avoid a lengthy period with no parliament in session, which makes 4 February 2024 seem the most likely election day out of the four.

Candidacy Registrations

Starting two weeks after the day the election is called on, candidacy registrations will be open for 30 days.

Everyone eligible to hold elected office ‒ that is, Tepertopians who are at least 18 years old ‒ may register their candidacy with their local election commission. This “independent” registration is, however, only possible for those who also wish to stand as party-unaffiliated independents in one of the 31 constituencies. If you are interested in doing so, you shouldn’t rush to your election official instantly, however! Along with their registration, independent candidates must submit at least fifty signatures supporting their candidacy from voters living in the constituency. Once registrations are opened, you will be able to obtain the form for collecting such signatures, either by showing up in person before your local election official or by visiting the website of the Federal Election Commission, selecting your constituency, and downloading the self-printable version of the form.

Those wishing to stand for a particular political party, on the other hand, must be nominated for their constituency by the party itself, and the party too must be recognized, by the Federal Election Commission. The latter will not pose a problem to any parties which currently have an elected representative in the Assembly or one of the parliaments of the Constituent States ‒ the law considers them “established parties” who are automatically recognized. Smaller parties will have to collect 500 supporter signatures in each State they want to field candidates in, similarly to independent candidates in the constituencies. Concurrently to this, the party will select its candidates for the constituencies according to its own procedures.

After the 30th day of candidacy registrations, the Federal Commission will rule on the recognition of the parties, and the local election commissions will verify the independent candidacies. Should they rule against someone, they have two weeks to challenge the decision in court, after which the list of candidates standing in each constituency is officially published on the 60th day since the election was announced.

Campaign Period

Concurrently with the opening of candidacy registrations, the campaign period begins. This is the time you’ll start to see election posters slowly pop up. Things will however mostly get going around two months later, once the candidate lists are finalised. News networks will invite the leaders of parties big and small for interviews, and, traditionally, a grand live debate is held between the leaders of the biggest parties. Most candidates will offer opportunities to talk to them directly during various stations of their campaign trail ‒ such events will probably also take place somewhere near you, so if the personality of your local representative is important to you, keep an eye open for them!

The Federal Agency for Political Education will also update its Policy Polygon (or PoliPoly for short) service ‒ where everyone can answer a questionnaire on their political beliefs and find out how similarly the different parties’ (and, if they join, the different candidates’) policies are to one’s own answers ‒ with new questions relating to our current political issues. If you can’t make up your mind on who to vote for and reading whole manifestos of parties and local candidates just doesn’t sound appealing to you, maybe this service can help you!

Election Day

On election day itself, voters will head to the polls to elect the 100 Assemblypeople of the 53rd Tepertopian Assembly using the Evaluative Satisfaction System. If you are eligible to vote ‒ the requirements are again to be a Tepertopian of at least 18 years of age ‒ you’ll receive a notification from your local election commission at least thirty days before election day.

You should bring this notification and your ID when you turn up to your local polling station so the poll workers can verify your eligibility to vote more easily! The ballot you receive will list all candidates running in your constituency and give you the option to vote for and against any number of them. Depending on how many voters live in your constituency, between one and seven candidates will win it, with the remaining seats being won at-large in the State ‒ but the exact workings of the system will be the topic for another article in this series!

Once you’ve received the election notification, you can also request a mail-in ballot from your local election commission. This way, you can cast your vote in the comfort of your own home and simply mail it back to the election commission! Just make sure to send it off early enough so it arrives before the in-person polls close.

Results

At 18 o’clock, the polls close and poll workers will start to count the ballots. From this time on, the media are also allowed to publish forecasts based on exit polls, so you’ll be able to get an idea how the new Assembly might look then. Official preliminary results may take some time due to the required two-round count of the ballots, so you should expect them around the early morning of the following day, but partial results are usually published at regular intervals before then as well.

The only true official end result will most likely take quite a lot longer ‒ usually, the Federal Election Commission certifies it around one to two weeks after the election. The new Assembly will meet for its first session at most 30 days after the election. If there are electoral complaints, Art. 47 of the Articles of Union stipulates that the new Assembly will rule on them itself, usually through a committee, with appeal possible to the High Court.

However, it’s still a long way until then, and we hope to see you again for the next article as we walk this year’s campaign trail together!


Related media coverage:

  • Tepertopia Today: The Moderates’ Party Congress Meets to Draft 2024 Legislative Manifesto
  • Rotkehlchen: 2021’s Election Promises and What Became of Them
  • The Happelstein Herald: Five Important Bills That Still Need to Pass the Assembly Before Dissolution
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Der Wahlhelfer X TPR Header

2024 Legislative Elections: Parties and Policies

Nick Pearce · 17 January 2024

Pictured: Federal Conference of the Welfare Party in preparation of the election.

HAPPELSTEIN — With under one month remaining until election day on February 4th, the election campaign is in full swing, and since the lists of candidates is also now final for all constituencies, it’s high time we take a look at what they promise you for your vote. Of course it’s not possible to look into every single candidate in an overview like our coverage seeks to provide, so we’ll focus on what unites them all ‒ the parties they stand for!

Party profiles

We’ll start with a short profile of the five largest parties ‒ no matter your constituency, you’re guaranteed to see at least one candidate each from them on your ballot:

Logo of The Moderates The Moderates (M) currently hold the most seats (27) in the Assembly. As the name implies, it's a centrist party ‒ perhaps leaning to the centre-right slightly more ‒ that might be best described as liberal conservatives ideologically. Members support the welfare state and a social market economy, but are often critical of overly tight regulations and also strive for balanced budgets. The party probably has the most emphasis on law and order out of the five and is hesitant ‒ although not hostile ‒ regarding social progress.
Logo of the Welfare Party At 21 seats, the social-democratic Welfare Party (W) is the second-largest force in the Assembly. It stands for strong public services and welfare programs and has increasingly taken after FiO in its stances on environmental policy. While it typically opposes economic liberalisation, it nonetheless supports a (regulated) market-based economy. In social matters, the Welfare Party can be described as generally progressive (for example supporting LGBT equality and a liberal immigration policy), while internal divisions on a few topics ‒ most notably, abortion and drug policy ‒ do exist, so remember to look up your local candidate's views there!
Logo of the Merchants Guild The Merchants Guild (GUILD) is the oldest of the extant parties and currently stands at 16 Assembly seats. Identifying as classical liberals, its members typically hold civil liberty and the individual at the core of their ideology. Accordingly, they advocate for minimal governmental regulation in all areas of life. Where this opposition to interference certainly places them right of the Moderates economically, it can also be seen to place them left of the Welfare Party socially.
Logo of Canon Canon (C) (13 seats) sees itself as the advocate of religious Tepertopians generally, although its voter core is predominantly Christian. Its declared core principle is to defend and strengthen religious liberty, which serves as the starting point in developing its policies. Over time, this has produced many combinations of left- and right-wing policies, but generally speaking, the party leans to the left economically and to the right socially: For example, Canon supports strong social security nets and a social market economy, but is skeptical of what they view as the progressing erosion of moral values. However, for this party perhaps more than any other it is important to double-check all this for your local candidate, since there can be significant differences in how its representatives convert their faith to policy!
Logo of The Future is Ours! The Future is Ours! (FiO) is a relatively young party currently holding 11 seats. Born out of environmentalist movements, today it may broadly be seen as a more hardline version of the Welfare Party ‒ e.g. advocating for fully open borders, the abandonment of capitalism altogether, and the decriminalization of most recreational drugs altogether. Naturally, FiO still places environmental issues and the combat against climate change at the heart of all its policies ‒ should this be your prime concern, you (likely) won't find a party more uncompromising about it on your ballot! Lastly, FiO is also the only avowedly republican party of the five, wanting to formally abolish the Throne and place the Council of the Union as Tepertopia's collective head of government.

Naturally, a multitude of other parties and independent candidates have also thrown their hat in the ring. Of the minor parties, the most likely to win a seat in the Assembly are those popular in the large urban constituencies of Adaca and Merpor (having ten and nine seats up for grabs respectively) and the large rural constituency Riverside (6 seats):

  • The Digital Democratic Party (DDP), currently holding five seats in the Assembly, which focuses on digitalisation and has similarities with the Welfare Party and the Moderates on other issues;
  • The Grays ‒ Generational Justice (GRAYS), a senior citizens’ interest party somewhat right of the Moderates socially;
  • The Right Way (RIGHT), a right to far-right anti-immigration party; and
  • The Republic & You! (R&Y), which primarily pursues the abolition of the monarchy and can be placed somewhere between the Welfare Party and FiO in other matters.

Specific stances

Let’s also take a short look at a couple select issues and how the big parties are positioning themselves!

Issue M W C FiO GUILD
Minimum wage increase to at least 20 Ꞩ ‒ + + + ‒
Introducing a four-day workweek / + ‒ + ‒
Strictly maintaining a balanced budget + ‒ ‒ ‒ +
Mandatory affirmative action in corporate leadership positions ‒ + ‒ + ‒
Banning registration of combustion-engine vehicles by at least 2035 ‒ + + + ‒
Increasing authority for police in combating digital offences + + + ‒ ‒
Decriminalization of the private possession of recreational cannabis ‒ / ‒ + +
Lowering the voting age to 16 ‒ + + + ‒
Applying for World Forum membership ‒ + ‒ + +
Re-establishment of a proper military + ‒ / ‒ +

+ = in favor | ‒ = against | / = internally split | bold indicates especially strong opinions

PoliPoly it!

If you don’t want to manually compare your own opinions with each party, you might find the Policy Polygon (or PoliPoly for short!) test we already referenced in our earlier article useful! For reference, we’ll also add the PoliPoly graphs for each party below:

The Moderates PoliPoly for The Moderates Welfare Party PoliPoly for the Welfare Party
Merchants Guild PoliPoly for the Merchants Guild Canon PoliPoly for Canon
The Future is Ours!

PoliPoly for The Future is Ours!

Conclusion

This wraps up our coverage of the parties! If you’re still undecided on who to vote for, be sure to tune in to the official TV debate next week to see whether the lead candidates’ live performance can convince you of a particular party ‒ or be on the lookout for similar local events if you’d rather base your vote on your local candidate than their party affiliation. We’ll see you once more before election day for a shorter article covering the constituency makeup for this election and races that look to be especially close or interesting!


Related media coverage:

  • Rotkehlchen: The Welfare Party ‒ True to Progressivism?
  • Die Zitronenpresse: How to Vote for Yourself on Election Day (Parties Hate This Trick!)
  • Tepertopia Today: Should Large Constituencies Be Broken Up? The Ten-Seater Issue
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Results of the Assembly Election Certified

Felix Kronberger · 14 February 2024

Victory at last: Moderates leader Hyde holds his victory speech after eight days of vote-counting in an extremely close race.

HAPPELSTEIN — Eight days after the counting of ballots commenced, the Federal Electoral Commission has published and certified the preliminary results of the Assembly election. As always, it’s our honour to present our readers the results and provide some insight into them, including comments from leading party officials.

Summary

The Moderates managed to barely hold on to their plurality of voters’ first-place preferences by a mere 854 votes, but tied with the Welfare Party at 23 seats won each; both however lost further slices of the total first-preference vote. Somewhat behind follows the Merchants’ Guild at a steady 16 seats, with Canon ‒ the only major party that was able to increase its vote share ‒ at 15 seats. The Future is Ours! won only eight seats, losing a quarter of their Assemblypeople as a result of their vote share decreasing by a sixth.

The Digital Democratic Party defended its five seats with a slightly increased vote share, while The Grays lost one seat to the Moderates. Of the three incumbent independent Assemblypeople, only Ms Walton lost her Grasslands seat to the Welfare Party. With the other two managing to win re-election and four other independents being elected elsewhere, the total number of independents in the 53rd Tepertopian Assembly will stand at six, doubling from the outgoing Assembly.

With Liza Buckley from The Republic & You!, a new party will also be entering the Assembly ‒ that is, should she take her seat. The Articles of Union require that Assemblypeople swear an oath that includes a pledge of loyalty to the Protector before they take their seat, which she might refuse to do in light of R&Y’s core issue being the abolition of the Throne in favor of a republic. Tepertopia Today will naturally report further developments on this topic.

As always, the Federal Electoral Commission has published the full results, including the election visualizer, on its website (elecom.tepertopia.tt/results24).

Reactions

The Moderates

The Moderates led by Fredric Hyde breathed a collective sigh of relief when the results were released. Opinion polling had shown to expect a very close race between them and Julie Wright’s Welfare Party, so in spite of their reduced vote share, party officials still appeared comparably satisfied.

Mr Hyde stated that the party understands its voters’ frustration with some of the legislative decisions it took this term, and pledged to orient the party’s legislative endeavours more closely along its “tried and tested fundamental beliefs” in the coming term. Lastly, he declared to not seek the Assembly Presidency himself, but instead to re-nominate incumbent Seymour Farnham, from whom Hyde took over party leadership last summer.

Welfare Party

Ms Wright conceded defeat to the Moderates after the results were released. She nonetheless declared to be happy that the party was finally able to catch up to the Moderates in seat count. “We will use this strengthened position that our voters’ desire for social justice and a sustainable future has given us to make a greater push for the future of Tepertopia and all its inhabitants”, Wright announced.

While she has thus again failed to overtake the Moderates, a core promise of hers when assuming party leadership in the aftermath of the party’s disastrous performance in the 2017 election, observers note that the tie should ensure her at least enough support within the party to prevent internal power struggles for the near future.

Others

The Merchants’ Guild widely celebrated their 16 seats won, maintaining the result of their record performance in the last election. Party officials from Canon, who managed to win two additional seats, claimed the results to be an “clear affirmation of faith” in the party’s policies and a “mandate for Canon to step up” in future policymaking. Party leader Frieda Berge of FiO voiced her regret at “the apparent loss of support for the unconditional defence of our environment”, but was happy to welcome R&Y to the Assembly as “an ally in our struggle for popular sovereignty”.

Our Insights

All in all, we believe it safe to say that the election will not produce radical shifts in the political power dynamics, with only single-digit losses and wins in seat count for each party.

Nonetheless, the Moderates will have to accomodate to sharing the plurality of Assembly seats with the Welfare Party. Interestingly enough, this might have the greater impact in the Council of the Union with its greater orientation on consensual executive decision ‒ the two Welfare Party Councillors might use the new Assembly dynamics to demand more concessions from their three Moderate colleagues, especially on projects where law changes are required.

We also saw an increased fracturing of the first-preference vote, continuing the trend from the last election. This also meant that vote counting took even longer again, with our Single Transferable Vote system requiring more and more rounds of vote transfers to be counted by polling officials. Politicians from all sides of the Assembly had already expressed concern with this development after the last election, so we may see increased discussion of how to simplify the procedure in the new Assembly once more. A complete switch of voting systems however is highly unlikely due to STV enjoying high base support among all parties due to having proved itself successful throughout decades of use.

Constitution of the 53rd Assembly

The new Assembly will have to meet for its constituting session before March 4th, where it will also elect its President and other members of the Presidium. The re-election of Mr Farnham as President is most likely a done deal, with Mr Hyde already announcing the Moderates’ nomination and Ms Wright having conceded; other parties are also highly unlikely to go against the tradition of supporting the most-voted party’s candidate. The four Deputy Presidents will in turn go to the four next-successful parties.


Related media coverage:

  • The Happelstein Herald: A Bitter Victory For The Moderates ‒ Hyde On Reclaiming Losses Going Forward
  • Der Wahlhelfer: Independents on the Rise in Tepertopia?
  • Rotkehlchen: Tie!
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