2007-2008 Alslandic political crisis

Coat of Arms of Alsland
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Alsland

EC Member State


The 2007-2008 Alslandic political crisis began on 22 December, 2007 when President Onne Monsma dismissed Premier Jabik Nieuwenhuis and installed his political ally Jochen Schünemann as Premier. Schünemann's government with the help of Monsma gave itself emergency powers due to the Folkssenaat being on winter break and ended the previous government's taxation reform plans. Schünemann defended his ousting of Nieuwenhuis by claiming that a proposed constitutional reform by Nieuwenhuis would have led to the establishment of a Councilist government in Alsland. His claim was widely ridiculed in the Alslandic media.

The appointment of Schünemann and the use of emergency powers despite being legal under the Alslandic constitution was seen as a coup attempt by Nieuwenhuis and his supporters alongside centrist groups and Workers Unions. On 27 December the first of several demonstrations began in Alsland. Wottested's new year's celebrations were subsequently cancelled due to the demonstrations. During Onne Monsma's new year's address he announced his resignation as President citing the protests and how his position had become untenable. The President of the Folkssenaat Gwen Ritter was sworn in as President. Ritter refused calls to dismiss Schünemann and wanted the Folkssenaat to have the final say on a future government. On 6 January a general strike was called and the Folkssenaat returned from winter break early to discuss Schünemann's government. As a result of the general strike and protests Schünemann and his government resigned; Ritter re-appointed Nieuwenhuis as Premier after 15 days. A court subsequently found Monsma and Schünemann guilty of corruption after it was revealed Schünemann had bribed Monsma to dismiss Nieuwenhuis.

Prelude

  • Schunemann

Red-Green-Red coalition

Jabik Nieuwenhuis had been Premier since 1 May, 2006

Since 1 May, 2006, Alsland had been governed by a coalition led by the left-wing Workers Party. The coalition included the Greens and Socialists and ASAY. The government upon it's election was popular among the working class and young voters as it rejected austerity measures being implemented in other Euclean nations. However the government's popularity decreased as the Alslandic economic recovery stalled and the country re-entered recession in early 2007.

The Nieuwenhuis government was responsible for the 2007 Alslandic same-sex marriage referendum which Nieuwnhuis had personally campaigned in favour of and the expropriation of 4,000 privately owned housing units to attempt to combat Yndyk's growing housing problem. Foreign Secretary Swaan van der Bij had also pushed for Alsland to be granted observer status within the Mutual Assistance Organisation and for an Alslandic withdrawal from the ECDTO. Van der Bij was sidelined within the cabinet and in 2007 he stood down as the leader of ASAY.

Problems within the coalition were evident, the Greens and Socialists union had already split in 2006 after the union entered the coalition with several centrist Green party officials defecting to The Centre party. In August 2007, the leader of the Greens and Socialists, Eatse Damstra resigned as the party's leader allowing for Annelie Weber who led the Greens within the union to take over as the leader of the union. Weber had grown concerned with a growing disscontempt among the party's membership about the coalition with the Workers Party, facing an imminent leadership challenge Weber withdrew the Greens from the union and the coalition on 31 November.

The Green's withdrawal led to the coalition not having a majority within the Folkssenaat when it entered recess on 16 December. It was expected that Nieuwenhuis would attempt to form a coalition with the Progressive Alliance under it's new left-wing leader Juri Allik which would mean the coalition would have a majority without ASAY.

Dismissal of Nieuwenhuis' government

"...I believe this could be a mutually beneficial deal Onne [Monsma]. I'm offering you the chance to get rid of [Nieuwenhuis] and get an ally in the Folkssenaat."

Part of the transcript from the 21/12 phone call from Schünemann to Monsma.

The loss of a majority in the governing coalition was seen as an opportunity for Jochen Schünemann to lead a Caretaker government and call for snap elections in 2008 as the bloc was polling well. A poll conducted in early December found nearly 47% of voters said they would support the National Bloc in an election. Schünemann publicly presented his ideas for a snap election at a Nativity office party at the National Bloc's headquarters. Initially Schünemann planned to have a Constructive vote of no confidence remove Nieuwenhuis from office and elect Schünemann to allow for an early election to happen. However it became clear the Green Party and Progressive Alliance were unwilling to support Schünemann in this plan forcing him to abandon it.

Schünemann phone called President Onne Monsma on 21 December to persuade him to use his executive authority to remove Nieuwenhuis from office and appoint Schünemann as caretaker Premier. Such an action was unprecedented and hadn't been done before despite being included within the Alslandic constitution. The 21/12 phone call was secretly recorded by Monsma's private secretary who resigned the next day.

  • Nieuwenhuis dismissed as Premier

Reactions from political figures

  • Anger from the left
  • Discomfort from centrist and libcon politicians

Public reaction

  • Initial reaction

Use of emergency powers

Forced resignation of Supreme Court justices

  • Schünemann orders the resignation of several supreme court justices with pro-Union connections
  • Protests from justices
  • 1/3 of supreme court vacant

Suspension of Nieuwenhuis' reforms

  • Workers rights rollbacks
  • Rollback of popular initiatives

Extension of the winter recess

  • First attempted recall
  • Senators call for Schünemann's resignation

Protests and demonstrations

  • First demonstrations
  • Coup claims
  • Action against Hjoed
Hjoed's front page after the arrest of several journalists

Monsma's resignation

  • Public pressure on Monsma
  • Events in the government
  • Monsma's resignation

Emergency session of the Folkssenaat called

  • Required amount of signatures reached and date set for emergency session
  • General strike
  • Announcement of impeachment proceedings against Schünemann
  • Schünemann's National Bloc membership terminated

Schünemann's resignation

  • Asser Toman's speech
  • Resignation of cabinet officials
  • Schünemann resigns and Nieuwenhuis is reappointed as Premier

Aftermath

  • Resignation of Schünemann from the Folkssenaat
  • Opinion polls
  • Toman-Fraser agreement
  • 2009 Alslandic constitutional reforms
  • 2011 legislative election

Imprisonment of Monsma and Schünemann

  • Corruption allegations
  • Police investigation
  • Monsma flees to Paretia
  • Monsma's deportation
  • Trials of Monsma and Schünemann
  • Verdict