The Georgeland Presidential election of 2008 was held on May 2, 2008 and was the first to be held in Georgeland since 1957. Voters went to the polls to to elect the 15th President of Georgeland for a four-year term. The election was the first partisan Presidential election in the country's history in which political parties have been permitted to field candidates.
On Saturday, May 3, the day after the election, the Georgeland Elections Office announced figures which declared Lois Daniels, the candidate of the centrist Georgeland Alliance, as the winner. Daniels defeated a wide field of candidates including high-profile candidates from the governing Conservative Party of Georgeland and Liberal Democratic Party of the United Islands. Daniels was be sworn into office as the 15th President at noon on the 1st of June 2008.
There had been some question as to the timing of the election, since the constitutional amendments specifically refer to the election taking place 'at the expiry of the current presidential term', implying that should President Charlotte Lang leave office early, the election to elect her successor would then be held. On December 19, 2007, the government announced that the election date would stand regardless, and that should the Presidency fall vacant (which most agree is highly unlikely), an Acting President, the longest-serving state Governor, will assume the President's powers until the next election.
However, the issue remains, as the new text of the constitution gives power to fill a presidential vacancy to Parliament, without the need for an election. The government has said it is considering legislation to provide for a "de facto" Vice-President, likely the next-in-line, who would automatically be Parliament's nominee unless it voted otherwise. This would allow a smooth transition in the event of an emergency.
- Leyton Douglas, former Chief Minister of Mainland and a prominent academic at the University of Santa Christina, announced 11th September he would run for President as a Conservative. Douglas was considered by some as the Conservative front-runner after his declaration. Douglas maintained that the President should be a figurehead and a national moral leader, and based his campaign around this theme. Douglas won 52.41% of the vote in the Conservative nominating ballot, an absolute majority, and was confirmed as the Tory candidate on February 5.
- Campbell Rhodes. Retiring at the end of July 2005, speculation had been that rife Rhodes may attempt a Presidential run in 2008. As a former Prime Minister, and a popular one at that, Rhodes is now considered the front-runner for the Liberal Democratic nomination. He announced his candidacy on Cryer Tonite and is so far the only candidate to have announced a significant policy. He announced he would prepare and deliver an annual "State of the Nation" report to Parliament, and lobby for change in areas where improvement is warranted. It should be noted that Rhodes was opposed to an elected Presidency. Rhodes, at 45, would be Georgeland's youngest President if he were to be elected. In January 2008, Rhodes was formally adopted as the party's candidate. Initially, Rhodes polled comparatively poorly - however, recent polls have shown him beginning to assume a slight lead over other candidates.
- Lois Daniels, former Mayor of Santa Christina. Daniels announced on November 8, 2007 that she would seek to become the Georgeland Alliance's nominee for President. Party leader Michael Elderton, at one time considered a potential candidate himself, has enthusiastically endorsed her. Daniels hinted at a presidential run as early in May 2006 when she called for a 'standard bearer' to challenge the two major parties, pointing to the Presidential election as one such opportunity. She raised further eyebrows when in July 2006, she told Alliance supporters to 'carry the flag' all the way to Martin Hall. Upon the announcement of her candidacy, she said that she was the only candidate who would be truly capable of "leading without bias" and working with both the Conserative government and the Liberal Democrat opposition. Daniels was nominated unopposed. Given that Daniels has consistently achieved very high approval ratings in Santa Christina and her national profile, some consider Daniels to be a strong third-party challenger who could capture the Presidency if one of the major party candidates polls low enough. On March 10, 2008, Daniels recieved the endorsement of the influential Globe & Standard newspaper.
- Martin Harrod. In an interview on February 17, 2005, Harrod said "The Presidency would give me a chance to get my views heard." On September 29, 2007, the left-wing actor announced he was "considering" a run for the Presidency but that he would have to discuss it with his family. He also said he would likely run as the Green candidate, provided the party were prepared to accept him.
In December 2007, Harrod formally joined the Green Party and was nominated by the party's internal processes to appear on the ballot of members for President. Harrod was not opposed for the party's nomination. Harrod previously ran for Governor of West Mainland in 2004 but lost to Amanda Perry
- Tim Gainsler. On the July 12 edition of Cryer Tonite, Gainsler declared his intention to run for the Presidency under the banner of The Official Silly Party of Georgeland, which he co-leads. He had not yet decided under what name he would run, but said he was considering running under the name Tintin Gainsler.
The party's leader, Iain Langley, will be the party's official Presidential candidate, according to the party's website.
- Ryan Stone. The former Governor of Bradmarch (1997-2000) announced November 22 he would run for President as an Independent candidate. Stone has never been a member of a political party. He announced he would spend the six months before the election "getting to know" the people of Georgeland and making a strong case for continuing the tradition of independent Presidents. Most pundits are skeptical of Stone's chances in such a crowded field, but his chances of gaining a respectable vote share are generally considered good.
- Josh Hurst, a university student from Bradmarch, campaigning with the support of the Georgeland Student Bodies Association.
- Joanne Clegg, a teacher and community activist from Zigit
- Kevin Turlough-Jacobs, retired university lecturer.
Party nomination processes
The Conservative Party of Georgeland announced on March 25, 2007, that their candidate would be chosen in a national closed primary in which all registered members of the Conservative Party, of which there are almost 250,000, would be eligible to vote. The vote occured on February 4, supervised by the Electoral Office.
Also seeking the party's nomination were:
Fisch announced January 9, 2007 he would spend the year seeking the Conservative nomination. Fisch was considered the overwhelming front-runner for some time, but after Douglas's entry it became a contest between the two. In the party vote, Fisch won 29.84% of the vote, much lower than expected.
- Kyle Jonas, former Chief Minister of Bradmarch (1993-2004). Jonas has the greatest amount of government experience of any candidate and was a highly successful state leader, though there were criticisms of his stances on abortion, gay rights and civil liberties issues. Jonas was considered as a "dark horse" candidate, as his hard-Right platform is at odds with the party's new doctrine of moderation. Jonas won 17.75% of the vote at the internal party ballot.
The Liberal Democratic Party chose Campbell Rhodes as its candidate at a national convention held on January 28, 2008. All 656 local branches of the LDP each elected two delegates to the convention. The convention delegates then voted on a candidate at their special meeting in Doubledance. Rhodes was adopted as the candidate with 56% of second-round votes.
Also seeking the nomination were:
- Andrea Perkins. The former Deputy PM and leadership rival to Zoe Parker had said she was "interested" in exploring the idea of a Presidential run in early 2006. Perkins, in October 2006, told a small group of her supporters that if she were to run it would be on a national consensus platform with an emphasis on increasing dialogue and co-operation between all major political parties. In April 2007, Perkins announced the formation of a committee to investigate her options regarding a run, and launched a website entitled "The Perkins Project", requesting supporters to register to aid a potential Perkins campaign. On August 21, Perkins said she had been "overwhelmed" with support and that she would seek the Liberal Democratic nomination.
- Matthew Buckley, former Chief Minister of Capitalia, announced 11th September he would seek to become the Liberal Democratic nominee. Buckley failed to win enough support to carry him into the second round of voting at the nominating convention.
Similarly, the Green Party of Georgeland announced on April 1, 2007, that it would choose its candidate in January 2008 by a vote of all party members. No vote was held because Martin Harrod was the only nominee.
Declined to run
- Charlotte Lang, incumbent President.
On May 2, 2007, one year before the election will be held, President Lang declared in a public statement that she would not be a candidate and would instead retire from the Presidency upon the completion of her term.
The former commander of Georgeland forces in Norman, now a Senator for the Georgeland Alliance, had been touted as a candidate due to his military experience and leadership. On September 17, 2006, Bedford declared he had "absolutely no interest" in running for the Presidency, and encouraged party leader Michael Elderton to run, saying his ideal job would be "Prime Minister of an Alliance government with President Elderton in Martin Hall."
The former Chief Minister of Delmago Island had been reported to be considering a run as an independent. On September 4, 2006, Hislop declared she would not return to politics.
The popular former Governor of Scoita declared after his term ended in September 2007 that he would not be a candidate and that he would instead "enjoy his retirement."
The Governor of Capitalia had been mentioned as a potential Independent candidate, but in October 2007 declared she was not interested in the position.
- Michael Elderton was a strong advocate for an elected Presidency. Some considered him a potential candidate for the Georgeland Alliance, though he has denied any interest. On October 19, 2007, Elderton declared he would not be a candidate and publicly endorsed Lois Daniels for the party's candidacy.
The election of a President in Georgeland will alter to some degree at least the nature of Georgeland politics. Critics of a directly-elected Presidency claim the President will claim a mandate and thus try to influence government, creating conflict with Prime Minister and Cabinet. Supporters of an elected Presidency argue that the President would be aware of the conventions of Westminster government, and point out that an elected, but ceremonial, Presidency exists and works in many countries, notably Ireland. They also argue that rarely, if ever, do elected State Governors intervene in the day-to-day business of government.
|Informal Votes||307,843||Informal %||2.17%||NA|
|Leyton Douglas||Conservative Party of Georgeland||2,050,335||14.78%|
|Campbell Rhodes||Liberal Democratic Party of the United Islands||2,929,553||21.12%|
|Lois Daniels||Georgeland Alliance||3,245,446||23.39%|
|Martin Harrod||Green Party of Georgeland||2,277,612||16.42%|
|Tim "Tintin" Gainsler||Official Silly Party of Georgeland||328,517||2.37%|
|Iain Langley||Georgeland National Front||791,815||5.71%|
|Joanne Clegg||New Millenium Party||405,357||2.92%|
|Kevin Turlough-Jacobs||New Democratic Party of Georgeland||556,460||4.01%|
Final Round (two-candidate-preferred)
|Campbell Rhodes||Liberal Democratic Party of the United Islands||6,633,400||47.81%|
|Lois Daniels||Georgeland Alliance||7,239,879||52.19%|
|Presidential Elections in Georgeland|