2021 Sotirian Democratic Union leadership election

2021 Sotirian Democratic Union leadership election
← 2018 16–29 March 2021 (2021-03-16 – 2021-03-29)

623 delegates in total
312 or more delegates votes needed to win
  Official portrait of Mr David Davis crop 2.jpg
Minister of State for the Cabinet Office Oliver Letwin at 'Better Public Services A roadmap for revolution'.jpg
Candidate Reginald Wilton-Smyth Jonathan Mortimer
Federal MPs 103 (47.5%) 114 (52.5%)
State MPs 253 (62.3%) 153 (37.7%)
Total 356 (57.1%) 267 (42.9%)

Leader before election

Reginald Wilton-Smyth

Elected Leader

Reginald Wilton-Smyth

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.

Background

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.

Procedure

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.

Timetable

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

Campaign

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.

Candidates

Declared

Candidate Most recent position Constituency Announced Campaign logo
Official portrait of Mr David Davis crop 2.jpg
Reginald Wilton-Smyth
Prime Minister of Estmere
(2018-present)
Newchurch and Harrendole 14 March 2021 rws logo.png
Oliver Letwin Official.jpg
Jonathan Mortimer
Secretary of State for Health and Social Affairs
(2017-2021)
List 16 March 2021 mortimer logo.png

Declined

Endorsements

Reginald Wilton-Smyth

Jonathan Mortimer

Results

Results
Candidate Federal MP votes State MP votes Total votes
Votes cast % Votes cast % Total votes %
Official portrait of Mr David Davis crop 2.jpg Reginald Wilton-Smyth 103 47.5% 253 62.3% 356 57.1%
Oliver Letwin Official.jpg Jonathan Mortimer 114 52.5% 153 37.7% 267 42.9%
Total 217 100% 406 100% 623 100%