2019 Caldish general election

2019 Caldish general election
Caldia
← 2017 18 February 2019 2022 →

All 399 seats to the Comhthionól Náisiúnta
200 seats needed for a majority
Turnout87.6 (Increase 1.2%)
Party Leader % Seats ±
Social Democrats Stiofán Mac Suibhne 48.8% 218 +101
Liberty Party Humphrey Dumfries 18.4% 89 -67
Nationals Liam Ó Cuillinn 13.6% 57 +34
Centre Cúan Ó Domhnaill 4% 12 -21
Labour Nuala Nic Chonmara 3.1% 8 -20
Greens Colm Ó Corráin
Ciara Nic Innes
3% 6 -5
Democrats Muirís Ó Branagáin 2.5% 5 -13
Pensioners Ellie Níc Raghnaill 1.2% 1 0
Homeland Einion ap Calder .2% 1 +1
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.
Caldia 2019 election with seat totals.png
Results of the election by constituency.
Taoiseach before Taoiseach after
Humphrey Dumfries
Liberty
Stiofán Mac Suibhne
Social Democrats

A snap general election was held in Caldia on 18 February 2019 to elect all 399 members of the Comhthionól Náisiúnta. The elections were called following the collapse of the centre-right coalition government.

The election resulted in a victory for the Social Democratic Party, which won 218 of 399 seats, a parliamentary majority. The Social Democrats' leader Stiofán Mac Suibhne was its candidate for Taoiseach and was invited by King Kenneth IV to form a government. The incumbent Liberty Party, which until January had led a coalition government consisting of the Centre Party and the Caldish Democrats, was defeated. Liberty was reduced to 89 seats, its worst ever performance.

On 19 February, incumbent Taoiseach Humphrey Dumfries of the Liberty Party submitted his resignation to the king. Mac Suibhne was tasked with forming the next government. It was sworn in on 27 February after the Comhthionól reconvened. A single-party Social Democratic government took office for the first time since June 1997.

Background

In the 2017 general election, a narrow majority was won by the Liberty Party, Centre Party, and the Caldish Democrats. Together, they won a total of 206 and a centre-right coalition led by the Liberty Party's leader Jimmy O'Reilly was formed. In May 2019, a new government was formed following a diplomatic incident that say O'Reilly lose the support of his coalition partners. Frank Casarnach led a continuation of the coalition following a cabinet shake-up. The coalition had a five-year mandate that ended early when the Centre Party and the Caldish Democrats left the government after Casarnach was implicated in a big-rigging scandal. Despite refusing to resign or call an election, Casarnach was removed from office by King Kenneth IV. His deputy, Humphrey Dumfries was invited by the king to form a caretaker government and a snap election was called for 18 February 2019.

Electoral system

Of the 399 members of the Comhthionól, 200 are elected in multi-member constituencies and 199 are selected based on a party's vote share. The presiding officer is automatically re-elected if standing again, but the incumbent had retired meaning all 399 seats were contested.

Members are elected using mixed-member proportional representation. Caldia has XX multi-member constituencies. Each consistency consists of three to five members. Members are selected using a version of single-transferable vote known as the Ní Dochartaigh method. Under this process, voters rank candidates by first and second preference. Unlike other methods of single transferable vote, they can only rank candidates in this order and cannot transfer their vote to more than one additional candidate.

The remaining members are allocated to parties who rank their candidates on an open list in which voters can rank candidates on their own. Voters can either support a party's top candidate or give their vote to another candidate on the list. This could allow a candidate to move up the list. For this to occur, a candidate must receive more than 25% of the total number of votes cast for the party. This allows for parties to retain significant control over candidates elected on the open list.

For a new party to become eligible, it had to register the support of 25,000 registered voters with the Caldish Electoral Board before 18 January. New parties are usually given more time to prepare, but the nature of the snap election reduced the time they had. For a new party to enter the Comhthionól it had to receive more than 2.5% of the national vote share win a seat in a multi-member constituency. Independents only require the support of 10,000 registered voters, making ballot access easier.

Retiring incumbents

The following members of the 32nd Comhthionól did not seek re-election.

Constituency Departing TD Party First elected Date confirmed
Aerach East Sarah Pingins Liberty 1992 14 January 2019
List Nicolás Cummins Liberty 1982 12 January 2019
List Jimmy O'Reilly Liberty 2007 7 January 2019
Shanbally North Frank Casarnach Liberty 2007 5 January 2019

Participating parties

Parties contesting the elections
Party Leader Last election
S Liberty Party Humphrey Dumfries TBD 156 seats
PSD Social Democratic Party Stiofán Mac Suibhne TBD 117 seats
PL Centre Party Cúan Ó Domhnaill TBD 33 seats
PLO Labour Party Nuala Nic Chonmara TBD 28 seats
PN National Party Liam Ó Cuillinn TBD 23 seats
D Caldish Democrats Máire Ní Briain TBD 16 seats
G The Greens Colm Ó Corráin
Ciara Nic Innes
TBD 11 seats
PMSA Free Market Party Muirís Ó Raghallaigh TBD 7 seats
PNG Ghaillish Independence Party Maelsheachlainn Mac Seanáin TBD 6 seats
Y/AA Forward Duane ap Drummond TBD 1 seat
PP Pensioners Ellie Níc Raghnaill TBD 1 seat
M/TD Homeland Einion ap Calder TBD 0 seats
N Independents 39 individual candidates TBD 0 seats

Campaign

The campaign officially began when newly-appointed Taoisech Humphrey Dumfries announced he had submitted a writ of dissolution to King Kenneth IV on 5 January 2019. The Comhthionól Náisiúnta, which had been in recess since 17 December 2018, was immediately dissolved. At the time of the Comhthionól's dissolution, Dumfries had only been Taoiseach for several hours. Frank Casarnach, the previous incumbent, had been removed from office after refusing to leave office.

The election campaign started the following day on 6 January and lasted until polling day on 18 February 2019. Organized political parties and Independent candidates had until 18 January to register with the elections office. Due to the brief period of time between the Comhthionól's dissolution, no new political parties contested the election. All incumbent parties in the Comhthionól except the Free Market Party contested the election. The PMSA voted to dissolve itself on 13 January 2019 and did not nominate any candidates or submit a list. Three of ours seven TCs successfully registered as Independents. Several smaller parties also contested the election.

The campaign mostly focused on corruption and the bid-rigging scandal that surrounded Casarnach and his wife, Claire Nic Haol-Casarnach, who served as Liberty's party chair. Social Democratic Party leader Stiofán Mac Suibhne regularly focused on this issue throughout the early stages of the campaign, association the Centre Party and Caldish Democrats with Casarnach. Mac Suibhne also campaigned on past scandals involving the Liberty-led coalition, citing the involvement of the smaller parties. Liberty struggled throughout the campaign. The party's leader was not well-known and the leadership faced challenges after the party chair was arrested. A number of prominent Liberty politicians announced their retirement in the campaign's early stages, impacting the party's standing.

On 14 January, the country's anti-corruption agency found members of the Casarnach government conspired with the ruling Tribune Movement in Etruria in a diplomatic scandal known as the Pietramontecorvino Incident. Several ministers and senior aides were implicated in the scandal and subsequently charged during the campaign. This resulted in a surge for support for the Social Democrats, who continued campaigning on a message of anti-corruption and good-governance.

Dumfries officially launched his party's campaign on 23 January, weeks after his rivals. The delayed launch was caused by disruption within the party's leadership. A number of resignations complicated efforts to organize Liberty's campaign. In contrast to the Social Democrats' focus on corruption and good governance, Dumfries emphasized his party's record on the economy and his rival's manifesto.

Voter registration closed on 28 January, with a high number of registrations taking place in the final week. Twice the normal amount of registrations were reported, notable given the election was not regularly scheduled.

In the final weeks of the campaign, Dumfries tried to convince voters to abandon other centre-right parties and back Liberty in order to form a opposition to a Social Democratic government. He claimed that it was no longer viable for Liberty to form a government, but argued that a divided opposition would strengthen the position of the Social Democrats. This was rebuked by the leaders of other centre-right parties. National Party leader Liam Ó Cuillinn said Liberty had "proven it could not be trusted". On 17 February, the final day of the campaign, Dumfries urged voters to support Liberty in order to defend the popular flat tax.

Polling

Polls taken prior to the dissolution of the dissolution of the Comhthionól Náisiúnta showed the Social Democratic Party over taking the Liberty Party by an average of over ten percent. Polls conducted in the early stages of the campaign showed the Social Democrats' lead grow to an average of 17%. By the end of the campaign, the Social Democrats had averaged as high as 25%.

Support for the Liberty Party declined steadily throughout the campaign. It dropped significantly after a diplomatic scandal broke in the Caldish press on 14 January 2019. Opinion polls taken during the campaign showed the party lost the bulk of its support to the Social Democrats and the National Party.

Television debates

2019 Caldish general election debates
Date Broadcaster Moderator(s) Participants —   Name  Participant    N  Party not invited/did not participate  Notes
S PSD PL PLO PN D G PNG PP Y/AA M/TD
16 Jan TRN Amháin Morgan Mac Pherson
Raghnaid Nic Dhuibh
Dumfries Mac Suibhne Ó Domhnaill Nic Chonmara Ó Cuillinn Ní Briain Ó Corráin Mac Seanáin Níc Raghnaill N N
20 Jan GBF One Mairéad Ní Chuinn
Cáitín Ní Mhaonaigh
Dumfries Mac Suibhne Ó Domhnaill Nic Chonmara Ó Cuillinn Ní Briain Nic Innes Mac Seanáin Níc Raghnaill N N
30 Jan TRN Amháin Morgan Mac Pherson
Raghnaid Nic Dhuibh
Dumfries Mac Suibhne Ó Domhnaill Nic Chonmara Ó Cuillinn Ní Briain N N N N N
6 Feb GBF One Pronsiaisín Mac Mhòrdha Dumfries Mac Suibhne N N N N N N N N N
6 Feb GBF Two Mairéad Ní Chuinn
Cáitín Ní Mhaonaigh
N N Ó Domhnaill Nic Chonmara Ó Cuillinn Ní Briain Ó Corráin Mac Seanáin Níc Raghnaill N N
13 Feb TRN Amháin Morgan Mac Pherson
Raghnaid Nic Dhuibh
Dumfries Mac Suibhne Ó Domhnaill Nic Chonmara Ó Cuillinn Ní Briain Ó Corráin Mac Seanáin Níc Raghnaill N N
13 Feb TRN Cyth/Cait Daffydd Cadwaladr ap Gruffudd Nic Dhiarmaid ap Dafyd N Ó Faoláin N N N N ap Drummond ap Calder Caithian Pride did
not participate
16 Feb GBF One Mairéad Ní Chuinn
Cáitín Ní Mhaonaigh
Dumfries Mac Suibhne Ó Domhnaill Nic Chonmara Ó Cuillinn Ní Briain Nic Innes Mac Seanáin Níc Raghnaill N N

In total, eight debates were held throughout the campaign. They were broadcast by GBF and TRN. Minor parties were invited to participate in most debates.

The 30 January 2019 debate was the first to exclude minor parties, with TRN inviting the leaders of larger parties to make their case for why they should become taoiseach. GBF hosted the only debate between the two main leaders, Humphrey Dumfries and Stiofán Mac Suibhne.

TRN Cyth/Cait hosted the only debate for Caithian parties on 13 February. It broadcast simultaneously to their debate with the main parties. The final debate was held on 16 February, two days before the election was held.

The debates were primarily about each party's manifesto, while corruption and good governance were also discussed.

Results

The election resulted in a victory for the Social Democratic Party, who won a majority of seats. Social Democratic Party leader Stiofán Mac Suibhne was declared winner in the Caldish press and was expected to become taoiseach. In total, his party won 218 seats and 48.4 percent of first preference votes. It was the best election result for the Social Democratic Party since 1992.

The Social Democrats increased their voter share by over 20 percent and won 101 additional seats. The Liberty Party became the second largest party, winning 89 seats. The party lost a total of 67 seats and received 18.4 percent of first preference votes. The National Party became the third largest party for the first time, winning 57 seats and receiving 13.6 percent of the voter share. They were the only minor party in the Comhthionól Náisiúnta to gain seats. The Centre Party, Labour Party, Caldish Democrats, and Green Party all lost seats. The Ghaillish Independence Party was eliminated from the Comhthionól, failing to pass the 2.5 percent parliamentary threshold.

The only new party to enter the Comhthionól was Homeland, which won a single seat in Caithia. Forward lost its representation in the Comhthionól as a result. Two Independents were elected, one of which was a former member of the Free Market Party.

218 89 57 12 8 6 5 1 1 2
Social Democrats Liberty Nationals Centre PLO G DG Ind.

First preference vote share of different parties in the election.

  Social Democrats (48.8%)
  Liberty Party (18.4%)
  National Party (13.6%)
  Centre Party (4%)
  Labour Party (3.1%)
  The Greens (3%)
  Homeland (0.2%)
  Other (5.2%)
Comhthionól Composition.png
Party Votes % Seats +/–
Social Democrats (PSD) 3,140,869 48.8 218 +101
Liberty Party (S) 1,184,262 18.4 89 -67
National Party (PN) 875,324 13.6 57 +34
Centre (PL) 258,092 4 12 -21
Labour Party (PLO) 199,522 3.1 8 -20
The Greens (G) 193,086 3 6 –5
Caldish Democrats (D) 161,549 2.5 5 -13
Ghaillish Independence Party (PNG) 147,389 2.3 0 –6
Pensioners' Party (PP) 75,304 1.2 1
Homeland (M/TD) 12,916 .2 1 +1
Forward (Y/AA) 10,942 .2 0 -1
Other parties 95,256 1.48 0 -
Independents 81,740 1.3 2 +2
Invalid/blank votes 37,801
Total 6,474,052 100 399 0
Registered voters/turnout 7,347,270 87.6

Government formation

On election night, Taoiseach Humphrey Dumfries announced his government would resign the following day. Following consultations with the political parties, King Kenneth IV tasked Stiofán Mac Suibhne of the Social Democratic Party with forming a new government. This was the first time the Social Democratic Party was invited to form a government since the 1997 election.

The process of government formation was brief as the Social Democrats won a majority of seats. The Dumfries government continued in a care-taking capacity until the Comhthionól Náisiúnta reconvened on 27 February 2019. Mac Suibhne was nominated and confirmed as taoiseach and his cabinet was approved by the Comhthionól. In a break with convention, Mac Suibhne nominated several ministers to dual portfolios. It was confirmed on 28 February that ministers would only receive a single salary regardless of the number of cabinet portfolios they held.