2020 Zamastan presidential election
Majority votes needed to win
|Turnout||86.82% ( 2.21%)|
The 2020 Zamastan Presidential election, held on Tuesday, 22 September 2020, was the upper ring of the Zamastan General Election, 2020, and will be the 109th General Election and the 112th totaled Presidential election. Voters elected former-Governor of Alutia, Bloc Mayotte candidate Atticus Moreau to become President of Zamastan after BCP President Foley Sakzi announced he would not seek reelection on June 15th, 2020. The nominating process took place in an indirect election, where voters casted ballots selecting a slate of delegates to a political party's nominating convention, who then in turn elect their party's presidential nominee. The election began at 11:59 PM on Monday, 21 September 2020, and concluded at 7:30 PM, 22 September 2020, with the winner being announced at 8:30 PM.
The main candidates in the election were Sabine Armitage (Conservative Party), Cain Blackwater, Adam Wolffe, and Euan Gunn (all Liberal Party), Atticus Moreau (Bloc Mayotte/Separatist Party), and Shauna Lultquist (Libertarian House). A liberal candidate had not won the presidency since 1982 with the election of Damian Lorrie, and no other political party had won since that period, leaving a 38-year streak of conservative victories. Moreau's election marked the first time since 1982 that another political party assumed the Presidency, and it was the first time a Separatist candidate won the Presidency.
The Constitution of Zamastan gives the qualifications for holding the presidency. To serve as President, one must:
- be a natural-born citizen of Zamastan
- be at least 18 years old
- have not been convicted of a felony
- have not served any political office in any other nation/sovereign land aside Zamastan
- have not been impeached from any political office
- have not sworn a pledge to the state of Zamastan and subsequently rebelled against the state
Campaigns and nominations
The modern presidential campaign begins before the primary elections, which the five major political parties use to clear the field of candidates before their national nominating conventions, where the most successful candidate is made the party's nominee for president. Several nominees, however, have chosen to run aside from political parties. This choice generally makes running for office more difficult for getting exposure, as the political parties' prominence allows for wider name-recognition. This is why most independent nominees tend to be celebrities or household names. For example, president Zacharias Castovia chose not to run along party lines, because his name recognition was enough for people to know who they voted for. The most common previous profession of Zamastanian presidents is that of a lawyer or businessman, as seen with Cain Blackwater's noteriety as an energy tycoon.
Nominees participate in nationally televised debates. Nominees campaign across the country to explain their views, convince voters and solicit contributions. Much of the modern electoral process is concerned with winning swing states through frequent visits and mass media advertising drives.
The president is elected indirectly by the voters of each district through popular election on Election Day (September 22nd on every even-ended year). When each of the 359 districts counts the ballots, whichever candidate has the most votes receives that district's vote. The winner of the election is which ever has the majority of the 359. For example, Marvin Gaviria won his third term in 1950 with 348 votes to 11. In the closest ever election in Zamastanian presidential history, Aiden Avery won the 1980 election against Larry Pattis with 179 votes to Pattis' 175. The remaining 5 district votes went 3 to Wren Ebbets and 2 to Karen Gillebrand.
Voting polls open at 11:59 PM on September 21st and last 17 hours until 5:00 PM on September 22nd. The counting of votes closes around 7:00 PM, which is also when the victor is announced.
Nominations and Candidates
BCP Candidates for President
|November 21, 1989 (Age:30)||Congresswoman (2016-incumbent)|| |
January 5th, 2020
|December 26, 1977 (Age:42)||Senator (2014-Present)|| |
November 23rd, 2019
|September 18, 1972 (age 47 years)||Senator (2004-Present)|| |
April 3rd, 2019
|August 24th, 1951 (Age:68)||Speaker of the Chamber (1988-1994)
Leader of the Green Liberal Party (1998-Present)
CEO of Blackwater Energy Industries
Candidate for President (1992, 1998, 2014, 2018, 2019)
April 25th, 2019
Independence Bloc/Bloc Mayotte/Separatist Candidates for President
|October 25, 1971 (age 48)||Governor of Alutia (2006-2016)|| |
October 27th, 2019
Libertarian Candidates for President
|August 12th, 1971 (age 48 years)||Speaker of the Chamber (1994-1996)
Founder of Free Water for IDU Initiative
Civil Rights Activist
July 17th, 2019
Independent Candidates for President
|June 22nd, 1983 (Age:37)||President and CEO of ZSuites and Forrester Incorporated|
General Election Campaign
While most Presidential election cycles don't begin until May/June of the election year, the 2020 election cycle started much earlier with the announcement of Senator Euan Gunn of the Northern Isle on April 3rd, 2019. Gunn announced his campaign was in stark frustration surrounding then-President Anya Bishop's handling of Zamastan's growing economic disparities and the "PoverTea" Protests. Three weeks later, billionare and former-Speaker of the Chamber Cain Blackwater announced his candidacy to challenge Gunn's nomination within the Green Liberal Party.
Following Bishop's disparaging comments surrounding fellow Conservative Party lawmakers on June 4th, 2019, incumbant Speaker of the Chamber Foley Sakzi announced his intention to split the Conservative vote by running for President and taking Bishop's nomination for reelection. At this point in her administration, Bishop had reached record unpopularity for a modern-day President. Following the Congressional Hall ban on assault weapons, Sakzi's already high popularity soared and he reached the top spot in polling.
Former Speaker of the Chamber Shauna Lultquist announced her candidacy on July 17th, a day after Sakzi's acclamation to the top of the polls, making her the first black woman in Zamastanian history to run for the Presidency. Former-Governor of Alutia Atticus Moreau announced his candidacy on October 27th, 2019, becoming one of the first members of a Separatist party (Bloc Mayotte) to reach the top three polling participants in an election. Other candidates who declared their intent to run included independent runners including Percy Halverson, Emmanuel Tritona, and Tauren Delavian.
Bishop's Vote of No-Confidence
The 2019 "PoverTea" Protests, also known as the PoverTea Movement, were a series of progressive socio-political movements and protests that expressed opposition to social and economic inequality and to the lack of "real democracy" in Zamastan, though it expanded to several other nations in smaller forms, such as in Austrolis, Avergnon, and South Sotoa. It aimed primarily to advance social and economic justice and new forms of democracy. The movement had many different scopes, since local groups often had different focuses, but its prime concerns included how large corporations (and the global financial system) held influence in government in a way that disproportionately benefited a minority, undermined democracy and caused instability. Another primary concern was that President Anya Bishop's administration had eased lobbying laws via executive order, an act which made corporate influence in Congressional Hall an even greater risk.
The protests were widely refered to as the PoverTea Movement due to the de-facto leader of the activists, Brendan Dennadeer, and his speech during a march in which he said "corporations sit back and drink their tea while the rest of us sit in poverty." Dennadeer was arrested twice during the course of the 10 month-long protests.
The first "PoverTea" protest to receive widespread attention occured in Tofino, Zian, on February 23rd, 2019. By April 15th, PoverTea protests had taken place or were ongoing in over 600 communities in Zamastan, with the largest movements being in Tofino, Alanis, Emerald, Providence, Titania, Jade Harbor, and Tregueux. On November 2nd, two police officers and three protesters were killed and over 300 people were injured when protesters and authorities clashed in Tofino, marking the first time there had been casualties of any kind during the movement. The deaths of the officers prompted President Bishop to order the Zamastanian Army onto the streets of Tofino, saying in a statement that the army was to "reinforce authorities under threat, but to keep the peace and prevent further casualties or fatalities on either side." The army fired on protesters after several more hours of clashes, killing an additional four protesters.
The events of November 2nd pushed Congressional Hall to condemn Bishop (469-30-1 in Congress, 84-16 in the Senate) for her actions, leading for Speaker of the Chamber Foley Sakzi to declare a Vote of No-Confidence. On November 9th, Bishop was removed from the Presidency in a 68-30-2 vote, marking the first time a President had been removed from office by legislative action in Zamastanian history. After Bishop's removal, the PoverTea protests largely subsided, as now-President Foley Sakzi (elected in a Congressional emergency vote on November 16th) introduced an economic reform bill and stimulus package to boost the economy and cut lobbying by corporate entities by 50%.
Within a week of President Sakzi's administration, Senator Adam Wolffe announced his candidacy on November 23rd, 2019. This effectively split the Liberal Party race in thirds, with Wolffe, Gunn, and Blackwater all vying for the nomination for their party. Junior Congresswoman Sabine Armitage announced her candidacy for the Conservative Party nomination on January 1st, 2020, stating her support for Sakzi as a one-term President and declaring that she believed Bishop's position as a conservative woman in the Presidency was a bad example; "it should be reinstated with a fresh face."
On June 15th, 2020, President Sakzi announced he would not seek reelection, as he believed his services would best be served in a civilian capacity. This meant no matter what, Zamastan would elect a new President. Armitage effectively became the only Conservative candidate running, with Sakzi endorsing her campaign.
The first debate for the candidates took place on June 27th, 2020, in Titania. In an early debate setting, a record six Presidential candidates took the stage to battle it out on national television, to get their messages out to the voters, and to show off their leadership skills and their prowess for the possibility of becoming the most powerful individual in Zamastanian policy making and possibly the most powerful figure in the world. Sabine Armitage (BCP), Adam Wolffe, Cain Blackwater, Euan Gunn (all GLP), Atticus Moreau (BMZ), and Shauna Lultquist (LHZ), clashed in a war of ideals and policy, capturing many memorable moments that took the political universe and social media by storm. Each candidate was asked questions ranging a wide variety of subjects and would have two minutes to respond to each question posed. Only twice during the night was a candidate able to use all two minutes without interruptions: once was Shauna Lultquist’s argument for the legalization of marijuana, and second was Cain Blackwater’s subsidization plan for green energy. The rest of the debate was filled with callouts from other candidates which often turned into time stealing and argument creating.
Armitage, when asked by moderator Anders Enderson of the Tofino Times, if her youth and relative inexperience in politics would stunt her chances of winning the presidency, she responded resoundingly and resolutely, saying, “We’re at the age in Zamastanian history when a woman of color from a poor economic background can crush opposition and rise to Congress, and for her to be the front runner in a Presidential race in the largest democracy in the world,” pausing as the audience applauded, “no, I don’t think my chances are stunted.” Armitage continued, saying “Castovia Jr. didn’t spend a day in politics before he became President, and he led the country to new heights.” She was interrupted quickly by Senator Euan Gunn, one of Zacharias Castovia’s harshest critics during his 2016-19 presidency, saying “Castovia Jr. followed the economic wealth disparities inherited from his father. He drew us into armed conflict with Gladysynthia over an intelligence failure. He let Malvare obtain nuclear capability and all he did was hold back grain shipments. Bishop further pressed those economic disparities, and they haven’t been mended by Sakzi’s administration either. You see what 36 years of Conservative administrations have given us? Nothing but tension after tension and crisis after crisis. Sabine, you’re my friend and colleague, but to the Zamastanian voters I say this; do not elect yet another Castovia era candidate.” Gunn continued, even as the moderators tried to get him to yield the time he took away from Armitage. “Elect me and I can promise a revitalized economy, no more embarrassing foreign policy errors, and an end to flexing our military unnecessarily when we feel like it.” Adam Wolffe, in an attempt to break away from Euan Gunn’s close proximity to his lead in the liberal party candidates, attacked Gunn straight out of the gate - slamming him as "a phony" and "a fraud" who doesn't deserve to be re-elected to the senate in 2020, much less elected President, and continued to go after him repeatedly on two issues that have been his Achilles heel with voters: the 2018 Carabar Oil Fund affair and recent sexual misconduct accusations.
With Atticus Moreau, being the first separtist politician leading polls in a Zamastanian presidential race, was faced with much criticism from all his opponents. Moderator Travis Joel of the Emerald Tribune asked Moreau about his voting record on a provincial level, which included a 2013 referendum for Alutia to gain independence (which failed). Moreau defended his voting record by saying that he is very devoted to his community and his province, and at the time was passionate about increasing autonomy for provinces, concluding by saying; “As president, I will sponsor greater autonomy for provinces, strip federal guidelines that restrict civil and provincial freedoms, but I will never sign away a province’s attempt to leave the republic as president.” Cain Blackwater was frequently able to break into the discussion and get his pitch across to voters: that the liberal party is "in it for the people, we're not in it for the rich", and to land some of the more memorable zingers of the night. However, experts and viewers noted that Blackwater did not provide much in the way of explaining his policies. Blackwater was able to lay out part of his proposed immigration acceptance plan, which ultimately aims to accept an additional 10 million immigrants into the country by 2024. Armitage said she would back the plan if she became President and it was passed in the Senate for her to sign.
Lultquist and Gunn got into a fiery back and forth over the topic of the right to own a firearm. Lultquist said she would uphold the ban on semi-automatic rifles that went into effect in August of 2019, but said she would not seek to limit access to any other firearms for civilian use. Gunn shot back (no pun intended) by stating that over 6,000 people are killed each year by firearms in Zamastan, the great majority of them with handguns such as pistols. He also brought up the fact that even with the semi-automatic ban, criminals and syndicates still had possession of the weapons and posed threats through gang violence. Gunn proposed amending the current ban further to expand police authority to confiscate and uphold an updated ban on firearms ranging from semi-auto rifles to bolt action rifles often used for hunting. Sabine Armitage, Shauna Lultquist, and Atticus Moreau were all quick to jump against Gunn’s proposal, with Lultquist calling it “close to tyranny.” Blackwater said he’d support a further weapons background check measure, to which all candidates with the exemption of Gunn supported, and Adam Wolffe said that law-abiding citizens should be allowed to own personal firearms, but with extensive background checks and a limit on how many weapons can be owned.
Other topics ranged from abortion to taxes, and from the recent devestating earthquake in Yuan to the recent occupation and transitional stage of military operations in Ossinia. To finish the night, candidates were briefed on news about a Beleroskovian citizen who had been arrested hours before the debate on charges of spying and espionage, believed to be targeted towards Zamastan’s nuclear and space capabilities. All candidates ultimately agreed that a tougher stance needed to be taken towards Beleroskov’s government and President Nikolai Ubotrov. However, arguments once again arose surrounding Euan Gunn’s statements earlier in the debate where he said he would stop “flexing (the) military unnecessarily”. Armitage jumped on the chance to say that Beleroskov’s government has been supporting anti-Zamastanian interests since before the World War, and that diplomacy itself would not be possible without a greater international coalition backing Zamastan. With this, Atticus Moreau proposed halting funding to the Coalition of Crown Albatross until amended drafts could reinforce Zamastan’s authority on the General Assembly and Security Council, to which Blackwater responded by saying humorously, “that would be one of those embarrassing foreign policy errors Euan mentioned earlier.”
The debate brought a plethora of issues to the table, and if anything brought for the first time and the largest time a diverse group of candidates ahead of schedule to debate in front of a national audience. In the Tofino Times polling following the debate, Armitage held a slight, very narrow lead at 27% over Adam Wolffe’s 26.2%. Cain Blackwater regained traction, thanks to his charming performance, gaining a steady third place. Moreau dropped from third to fourth, followed by Shauna Lultquist. Euan Gunn dropped back down to sixth place.
Former-Governor of Alutia, Atticus Moreau, shot to the top of all six main national polls in the Presidential race following a successful showing at the second Presidential debate on July 23rd in the city of Alenchon. As candidates met on stage, Moreau was able to navigate questions and attacks lobed at him by opponents and moderators alike, maneuvering around fighting between Sabine Armitage (BCP), Adam Wolffe, Cain Blackwater, Euan Gunn (all GLP), and Shauna Lultquist (LHZ), all who pundits say hurt their own campaigns. Moreau’s performance marked the first time in Zamastanian political history that a separatist politician led the polls in a presidential race.
Facing repeated questions from the last debate which pondered Moreau's interests for provincial autonomy, the candidate answered the moderator's questions in a familiar statement; “I’ve said this before, and I will say it again,” Moreau replied, “As president, I will sponsor greater autonomy for provinces, strip federal guidelines that restrict civil and provincial freedoms, but I will never sign away a province’s attempt to leave the republic as president.” Moreau pressed supporters and undecided voters to adopt his new progressive platforms, which included softening of gun control legislation (which he provided would mainly include stronger background checks to replace the current ban on assault weapons), further reproductive rights (including a call to end Zamastan’s third-trimester abortion ban), the federal legalization of marijuana, and a more lenient immigrant acceptance program. Moreau also called for stripping economic protection restrictions in order to allow for more oil drilling and fracking, as well as for corporations to have more access to foreign contracts. He also called for tax breaks for middle class families and small businesses.
Congresswoman Sabine Armitage countered Moreau on his view on reproductive rights, calling his “lack of empathy for the life of a baby boy or girl pathetic and immoral”, while also stating that she would further extend the now 43-year-old ban on third trimester abortions to include bans in the second trimester. This declaration backfired, as a large portion of the audience booed and Armitage drew Senator Adam Wolffe to his own attack on Armitage, effectively drawing the attention away from Moreau. Former-Speaker Cain Blackwater also tried countering Moreau’s view on lifting environmental protection restrictions, saying that his policies would “endanger the lives of hundreds of millions” by “filling the environment from which we all breathe with pollutants.” Blackwater then drew attention from fellow former-Speaker Shauna Lultquist, who called him out for a controversy Blackwater was involved with 24 years ago. The controversy in question was a payment that Blackwater’s energy company, “Blackwater Energy”, received from an oil company that purchased Blackwater Energy owned land in order for the company to begin fracking. Lultquist accused Blackwater of hypocrisy, beginning a lengthy feud on stage.
Moreau left the stage with a closing statement, where he said “I know my party label of Bloc Mayotte, Independence Bloc, Alutia Separatist, etcetera, can be a turn-off to voters. Here’s what I will say to you, the undecided voter or those who don’t think a separatist politician is the right choice. Conservative Castovia-esque politicians have long conquered the political spectrum, and you are unhappy in one way or another. Liberal party politicians have failed to make any mark in the last 40 years. I am perfectly in the middle. I will not strip away your freedom, I will provide you with more of it. I will uphold the civil rights and liberties that conservative politicians have restricted and that liberals failed to give, and I will keep the standards at their height and continue to grow them higher than ever. I will never stop fighting for the Zamastanian people.”
The third and final Presidential debate took place on August 22nd, one month before the election. This time, the only candidates in attendance were Armitage, Moreau, Blackwater, and Wolffe, with Gunn and Lultquist having fallen far behind in the polls. Among the most pressing issues in the debate was the quickly unraveling civil war in Syraranto and the Jurrania Shore Oil Spill, drawing debate into how Zamastan should respond to the government of President of Syraranto Kyriakos Tasoulas beyond sanctions as well as environmental regulation and overwatch. Both of the events being discussed were quickly becoming the blackstains on President Sakzi's administration, since the sanctions at this point were largely being considered inneffective and the response to the oil spill were delayed due to poor management. In addition, the resignation of Larious Maxwell from his position of Speaker of the Chamber following dozens of sexual misconduct allegations prompted the question of ethics amongst candidates and their respective parties. Moreau came out on top once again, saying that although he believed President Sakzi and Secretary of State Avi Tremblan were trying their best to quell the situation in Syraranto, they had so far failed and the situation would not be under control by the time Sakzi left office. He then promised that although he would not commit to ground forces in the region, he was not opposed to backing rebel forces through supplies, aid, or even air superiority. Armitage committed that she would send ground troops if elected, a comment which is believed to have contributed greatly to her performance a month later in the election.
As the debates finalized and polling began to ramp up, Moreau was widely seen as the candidate most likely to win. However, on September 12th, President Sakzi decided to endorse Armitage for President, stoking fears in Moreau's campaign that this high profile endorsement of his opponent would cause his campaign to falter greatly. Those fears were largely diminished, however, as Sakzi's administration and conservative politicians largely failed to act on the developments surrounding the Al-Fijar bombing of Air Andaluni Flight 553 and the attempted bombings of a Durnstaal airliner and the Caspian capital. September 22nd saw election day, as voter turnout spiked to a 10-year high. Moreau managed to win nearly the entirity of the Eastern bloc of the country, including the entirity of his home province of Alutia. He also managed to win key districts in historically conservative and liberal provinces, which secured his victory in the race. Ultimately, Moreau won 139 district votes as opposed to Armitage, who finished second with 108. Cain Blackwater, who came in third, managed 80 votes.
Moreau was innaugurated on September 23rd, with the new Speaker of the Chamber, Natasha Chastain, administering the oath. Sakzi, Secretary Tremblan, and Secretary Fondaden were in attendance and congratulated Moreau, as were former Presidents Zacharias Castovia and Aiden Avery (Anya Bishop declined an invitation). Moreau invited the former Presidents to the Zian Presidential Mansion, where Moreau, Sakzi, Castovia, and Avery all took a photograph.