LAVRADA – Early July 2016 was a tense period that would have long term effects for the people of Delvera, especially the nation’s candidates for First Consul. Incumbent Jordan Brizendine was confident in an easy victory, knowing that he had the backing of most citizens of Colo and Lavrasia, as well as a portion of Norden (formerly Germanija). Challenger Nikias Wernher (incumbent Vice Consul) was equally confident, drawing primary support from Neosho and parts of Norden.
The election was held during the Delveric Heritage Festival, an annual 8 day celebration of Delveric culture that was inhibited by the recent personal financial issues of several prominent Delveran citizens, including the candidates. These issues caused the cancellation of the planned Second Consular Debate, as well as several celebration days during the Festival. Both candidates’ campaigns suffered as a result of these difficulties.
Early polls showed a considerable lead by Brizendine, who almost immediately hired his brother Victor as his campaign manager. Wernher failed initially to effectively reach out to prominent Delverans, but this began to change when he selected Dylan Callahan as his manager not long after the first (and only) debate. Though both candidates planned to release promotional media, only the Wernher campaign managed to do so, producing a short video ad immediately prior to the election.
With the playing field slowly becoming more even, both candidates set about talking to fellow Delverans about the merits of their plans for office. Brizendine touted his lengthy and distinguished micronational political record, as well as the achievements of the Grand Republic under his leadership. Wernher proposed changes to the balance of power in the nation, primarily through reassignment of some cabinet positions, as well as a reprieve for the third-term First Consul with his slogan “Give Brizendine a Break”.
Both candidates regarded the Province of Norden as the kingpin of the race: only natural considering it was by far the most heavily populated Delveran region, with nearly as many citizens as all of the others combined. So, Governor Christian Newton was approached by both sides and offered different positions in both candidate’s cabinets. Beyond this, however, little effort was made to persuade other Nordenians toward either side.
The election was opened with the raising of the old Salanian flag (for the first time in history) on Salania Day (July 8), the first day of the Heritage Festival. The polls remained open until National Symbols Day (July 11). In addition to the Consular choice, several submissions from citizens for the new design of the national flag were presented on the ballot. Supreme Justice Dylan Callahan proceeded over the flag contest, which was initiated by Brizendine after a cabinet discussion suggesting more originality in national symbols for the sake of legitimacy.
New Delveran Flag, designed by Dylan Callahan
By the end of the first day of voting, Wernher had a healthy lead over Brizendine. However, after some last minute constituent contact, the incumbent caught up to the challenger, resulting in a nail-biting tie by the time the polls closed. Later in the week, the election was taken to the Council of Governors. The subsequent vote ended in a victory for Brizendine (2-1). However, Supreme Justice Callahan nullified one governor’s vote because he had failed to pay his taxes, leading to another tie. When consulted by Callahan about the matter, Brizendine decided to end the deadlock by conceding the race. As the runner up, he became Vice Consul, as per a prior constitutional amendment.
Voter turnout in the Grand Republic was much lower than anticipated. Of the 36 citizens of voting age, only 10 (28%) participated in the vote. Turnout varied widely by region, from 0% in Colo to 100% in Neosho. Part of this was due to poor voter outreach in some areas, coupled with the heavy work schedules of some constituents. Governor John Goldsmith of Colo, an outspoken supporter of Brizendine, stated that he simply forgot about the vote, as he was quickly occupied with aspects of his personal life after being reminded a few days before the polls opened.
General inactivity also contributed to the low participation. Norden, previously seen to be the deciding factor in the election by both sides, had only a 6% voter turnout. It was this inactivity that, along with other internal issues stemming from the resignation of the Germanijan Deputy in May, led to the capitulation of the province in August. It was reformed as the Military District of Norden shortly after.
Immediately after Wernher’s election, Callahan resigned from the post of Supreme Justice. Christian Newton, Governor of Norden, was appointed to the position, while Roseanna Cilley (Chief Justicar of Lavrasia) and Jordan Brizendine were named Ministers of Justice and State respectively. Dylan Callahan (Commerce) and Victor Sarkozy (Interior) retained their Ministerial jobs under the new administration. In the end, the rearrangement left Callahan with fewer governmental responsibilities, leading Brizendine to attribute his support of Wernher to his desire for less work. This (only somewhat serious) conspiracy theory came to be known as the “lazy coup”.
Very quickly after the race had ended, Delvera slipped into a period of gross inactivity which lasted nearly two months. Since the majority of Delverans attributed this to the Consular administration, it is now called the Wernher Activity Crisis. Several solutions to this problem were proposed by various officials and citizens, including open talk of a coup d’état against Wernher by the military. Such discussions are, for the most part, in jest, but they serve the purpose of illustrating the frustration many citizens feel toward the government.
Finally, thanks to renewed legislative, diplomatic, and military drive and planning, the Grand Republic seems to be easing its way out of the crisis. The Bannerman, also bogged down by the affair, will be attempting to facilitate recovery to the best of its ability, so readers can expect more articles in the very near future detailing just what Delverans are doing to get their nation back on its feet.
Reporter: Jordan Brizendine