2021 Sotirian Democratic Union leadership election
623 delegates in total
312 or more delegates votes needed to win
The 2021 Sotirian Democratic Union leadership election was held between 16 March and 29 March 2021 to elect the leader of the Sotirian Democratic Union, after the leadership of incumbent leader Reginald Wilton-Smyth was challenged by Jonathan Mortimer.
Wilton-Smyth's response to the Estmerish missing pensions scandal had been criticised from the outset, but discontent within the party increased after the release of a statement that was seen as ineffective. Mortimer resigned as Secretary of State for Health and Social Affairs on 9 March, and lodged his formal challenge with the SDU's organising committee on 14 March. The contest began as nominations closed on 16 March, with Wilton-Smyth and Mortimer as the only candidates. The campaign was close, with the Cabinet split between the candidates.
The final ballot of the parliamentary party on 29 March saw Wilton-Smyth win with a narrow lead. Federal MPs narrowly backed Mortimer, but Wilton-Smyth won a clear majority of the State MPs and was re-elected as leader of the Sotirian Democratic Union.
The missing pensions scandal, in which it was revealed that the SDU-led coalition had lost billions of Euclos in pensions funds, badly damaged the reputation of incumbent Prime Minister Reginald Wilton-Smyth. On 9 March, Jonathan Mortimer - widely regarded as belonging to the moderate Grahamite wing of the party - resigned as Secretary of State for Health and Social Affairs, citing the scandal and Wilton-Smyth's style of leadership as his reasons. Wilton-Smyth was seen as a right-wing populist, in contrast to the Sotirian democracy espoused by the Grahamites. Mortimer lodged a formal leadership challenge against Wilton-Smyth with the SDU's organising commitee on 14 March, and Wilton-Smyth vowed to fight the upcoming leadership election.
According to Sotirian Democratic Union party rules, when a formal challenge is lodged to the organising committee, the committee reserves the right to determine the 'scope' of the contest. A contest can essentially either be open or closed; open, involving the membership, or closed, involving only the parliamentary party. In a closed contest, the electorate is limited to members of the parliamentary SDU, which are the 217 SDU members of the Parliament of Estmere and the 406 SDU members of the state legislatures of the constituent entities, with a total electorate of 623.
In this instance the committee voted in favour of a closed contest in order to quickly resolve the leadership dispute and fill the position of Prime Minister. As the incumbent leader, Wilton-Smyth was on the ballot paper by default. Other candidates had to secure the backing of at least 15 members of the parliamentary party and be nominated by 16 March.
Key dates in the leadership challenge are listed below:
|14 March||Jon Mortimer lodges a formal challenge with the SDU organising committee|
|14 March||The SDU organising commitee votes in favour of the challenge and a leadership election|
|16 March||Deadline for candidate nominations|
|18 March||First parliamentary hustings|
|21 March||Second parliamentary hustings|
|25 March||Final parliamentary hustings|
|28 March||Ballot of parliamentary party|
|29 March||Results announced|
The campaign was short, and generally limited to small hustings comprising the parliamentary party. Though members could not vote, Wilton-Smyth encouraged his supporters in the membership to write to their SDU MPs and convince them to vote for him. Mortimer described this as an example of the "culture of bullying" that Wilton-Smyth had brought to internal party affairs.
There were three hustings organised by the party, attended by members of the parliamentary party, held on 18 March, 21 March and 25 March. Mortimer was seen to have performed well at the first and second hustings, but Wilton-Smyth's performance in the final hustings was described by some sources as "reminiscient of his legendary 2018 bid".
After the first hustings, support in the Cabinet split between the two candidates, with many ministers supporting Mortimer's challenge.
|Candidate||Most recent position||Constituency||Announced||Campaign logo|
|Reginald Wilton-Smyth||Prime Minister of Estmere
|Newchurch and Harrendole||14 March|
|Jonathan Mortimer||Secretary of State for Health and Social Affairs
- Daniel Green, Chief Whip since 2016 (endorsed Mortimer)
- Surya Sharma, Secretary of State for Local Government and the National Languages since 2018 (endorsed Mortimer)
- John Talbot, Secretary of State for Defence since 2020 (endorsed Wilton-Smyth)
- John Talbot, Secretary of State for Defence since 2020
- Andrew Anquetil, Secretary of State for the Treasury since 2018
- John Talbot, Secretary of State for Defence since 2020
- Margot Harrison, Secretary of State for Defence from 2018 to 2020
- Rupin Mamuduri, Secretary of State for Health and Social Affairs since 2021
- Brian Davison, Secretary of State for Transport since 2018
- Betty Traynor, Attorney General since 2018
- Richard Graham, Prime Minister from 2016 to 2018
- David Henderson, Secretary of State for the Treasury from 2016 to 2018
- Daniel Green, Chief Whip since 2016
- Surya Sharma, Secretary of State for Local Government and the National Languages since 2018
- Matthew Dawson, Prime Minister from 2012 to 2015, Secretary of State for Education and Youth Affairs since 2018
- John Gosselin, Secretary of State for Housing and Development since 2018
- Alan Baskerville, Prime Minister from 2015 to 2016, Secretary of State for Agriculture, Environment, Conservation and Rural Affairs since 2018
|Candidate||Federal MP votes||State MP votes||Total votes|
|Votes cast||%||Votes cast||%||Total votes||%|