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Conservative-National Alliance (Lihnidos)

Conservative-National Alliance

Συντηρητική-Εθνική Συμμαχία
LeaderFotis Raptis
ChairpersonClaus Vascos
FounderDelbin Makos
Aristidis Regas
Founded19 June 1947 (1947-06-19)
Merger ofConservative Party
National Party
Headquarters309 Pherae Street, Arcadia, Lihnidos
Youth wingConservative-National Youth
Membership (2018)Increase 431,028
IdeologyConservatism
Economic liberalism
Fiscal conservatism
Social conservatism
Colors     Green
     Blue
National Assembly
170 / 350
Provincial councils
81 / 140
Provincial governments
14 / 20
Local governments
14,927 / 34,547

The Conservative-National Alliance (Hellenic: Συντηρητική-Εθνική Συμμαχία), also known as the CNA or the Alliance, is a center-right political party in Lihnidos. The CNA is one of the two major political parties in Lihnidos. The party was formed in 1947 following a merger of the Conservative Party and the National Party. The leaders of the two parties, Delbin Makos of the Conservatives and Aristidis Regas of the Nationalists, are considered the founders of the party and were the primary signatories on the merger agreement and documents filed with the National Board of Elections. The merger of the Conservative Party and National Party in 1947 resulted in a two-party system in Lihnidos from 1947 to 1965 as the Conservative-National Alliance and the Democratic Coalition were the only two parties officially recognized by the National Board of Elections during the time period. Since the party's creation it has largely dominated Lihnidosi politics. The party has won a majority in twelve of the eighteen general elections held since its creation. Five CNA prime ministers have led conservative governments for forty-eight years since 1950. The longest serving prime minister during this time period was Aeacus Laganas who served as prime minister for sixteen years and was leader of the Conservative-National Alliance for over twenty years. The electoral success of the Alliance has led to it being referred to as the most successful Lihnidosi political party in history, with it currently holding a majority of provincial council seats and provincial governments, as well as a plurality of local government seats.

The Conservative-National Alliance has been the governing party in the National Assembly since 2006 when it regained a majority under Lycaon Buros. The party lost seats in the 2010 and 2014 general election under Prime Minister Fotis Raptis but were able to maintain their majority in the legislature. The 2018 general election resulted in a hung parliament with the party losing its majority by six seats. The Alliance formed a confidence-and-supply deal with the Populist People's Party shortly after the election, ensuring its position in government. The current leader, Fotis Raptis, has served as both the leader of the party and prime minister since January 2010.

History

Founding

The Conservative-National Alliance was officially founded on 19 June 1947 as a merger of the Conservative Party and the National Party. The leaders of the two parties, as well as the additional members of party leadership required, signed the documents to merge the parties on 8 May 1947, but the merger was not approved by the National Board of Elections until 19 June. The merger of the parties was necessitated by the increasing strength of the left-wing Democratic Coalition which had been increasing in popularity after its rebranding from the Labor Union Party in 1900. The splitting of the right-wing vote that resulted from the Conservative Party and National Party campaigning against each other was a major contributor to the twenty-eight years that the Democratic Coalition was in power from 1902 to 1930. Talks between the two parties began in 1919 following the 1918 general election which saw the Democratic Coalition continue to grow its majority. The talks stalled in 1920 following the death of Conservative Party Leader Andrianos Livas and were eventually abandoned by the new Conservative Party leadership. Future talks saw little progress and were also abandoned following the Conservative Party retaking a majority in 1930. The National Party leader at the time of the talks, Orestis Toles, wrote later in an article for the National Post that a deal with the conservatives was never done because the conservative leadership, "refused to see [the National Party] as an equal."

In 1938 the Conservative Party lost its majority to the Democratic Coalition. Delbin Makos, the new leader of the Conservative Party who had been elected to the position in 1940, sought to begin merger talks with the National Party once again in 1944. Aristidis Regas of the National Party accepted Makos's offer to once again explore a merger of the parties. By late 1946, after almost two years of negotiation between party leaders, the parties had reached an agreement. On 11 December 1946 at a joint press conference both Delbin Makos and Aristidis Regas announced their intention to see the parties merged into the Conservative-National Alliance. The announcement of an agreement led to several months of scrutiny of both parties by the National Board of Elections, which eventually agreed to allow the merger to go through in early June 1947. Due to bureaucratic procedures and obstacles, the official agreement was not signed until 8 May and was not given approval until 19 June.

Policies

Economic policy

The Conservative-National Alliance is a strong believer in free market economics and fiscal conservatism. The party advocates supply-side economics and believes that a reduction in taxes will spur economic growth and result in increased tax income as the economy grows. The support for supply-side economics has been shown through the party's recent corporate and individual tax cuts in 2015 after maintaining their majority in the 2014 general election. The party campaigned on no new taxes or tax increases in 2018. Despite the support and advocacy for supply-side economics and fiscal conservatism the budget deficit has grown steadily since 2015, which many conservative deputies in the National Assembly blame on increased spending on social and welfare programs. Many deputies advocate for a reduction in spending on welfare programs, with some calling for the elimination of certain programs. These deputies believe that personal responsibility and individual achievement will push people who are currently dependent on welfare to seek to better themselves when the supply of welfare is cut off.

Coupled with the belief in lower taxes the party also advocates for a reduction of business regulations. The Conservatives believe that excessive regulation strangles business innovation and growth and that a reduction in regulation will benefit the economy. The party supports the rights of businesses to set wages for their employees and determine what benefits employees receive. The party has opposed raising the national minimum wage since 2010, with some members of the party calling for the elimination of the national minimum wage all together.

The party has opposed the Bank of Lihnidos having control over interest rates since the power had been given to the bank in 1991 following the Democratic Coalition entering government in 1990. Despite the opposition to the policy the party has taken no action to change the policy or limit the power the bank has over interest rates since entering government in 2010.

While no proposal has officially been made, the party leadership has voiced an opposition to a possible common currency among nations in the Belisarian Community.

Social policy

Since its founding the Conservative-National Alliance has embraced social conservatism and traditionalism. Party platforms since the early 1990s have outlined the party's opposition to abortion, expanding LGBT rights like government-recognized marriage and adoption, and the legalization of recreational usage of certain drugs. Factions of the party have pushed for a stricter policy on welfare and spending on social programs by creating stricter requirements for recipients.

The party has enforced a strict immigration policy and toughened citizenship requirements since entering government in 2010. There has been widespread concern in the party over the Belisarian Community's free movement area, with the leader of the party saying that reform may be needed to strengthen security. Despite Lihnidos's membership in the Belisarian Community and its inclusion in the free movement area, Fotis Raptis said in November of 2018 that the party would act on border enforcement and reform with or without the involvement of the Belisarian Community.

Moderates within the party have pushed for a move away from social conservatism. Bernice Boosali, who has been Secretary of State for Social Affairs under Prime Minister Raptis since 25 February 2015, has said that a less strict version of social conservatism would allow the party to gain supporters who may support the party on economic policy but are alienated by the party's social policy. Boosali, one of the few cabinet secretaries who are considered to be a part of the moderate wing of the party, has pushed for government recognition of same-sex marriages and the right for same-sex couples to adopt children. Despite the push by some in the party to modernize and move away from social conservatism the ideology is still strong within the majority of the party.

Health and drug policy

The Conservative-National Alliance is one of two parties in the National Assembly that has refused to support universal healthcare. Since entering government in 2006 the party has continuously voted to dismantle parts of the universal healthcare system implemented by the Democratic Coalition under Prime Minister Fania Zarou in 2003. While universal healthcare has not been fully dismantled by the party, budget cuts and privatization of services has reduced the effectiveness and use of government provided healthcare in favor of private healthcare and hospitals. The party promotes privatized health insurance and hospitals, and party leaders have stated that it is the position of the party that, with the dismantling of universal healthcare, the quality of care and services will increase.

It is the view among a majority of the party that most drugs should not be decriminalized or deregulated. Attempts to legalize the use of cannabis for medical uses has failed to pass committee several times under Conservative-National governments. Strict mandatory minimum sentences have been supported and put in place by the party for those caught in possession of several types of drugs.

Education policy

The party has continued to allow the Ministry of Education and Innovation to set the national education curriculum despite calls from party leadership in the past to delegate the authority to provincial councils or an independent committee. The Raptis government has been a vocal supporter of religious and other private education institutions. Security at schools has been a focus of the education ministry under the Raptis government. The government has awarded grants to schools to increase security through metal detectors and other security measures.

University tuition costs have remained high under Conservative-National governments as they have failed to regulate private universities and have limited funding to numerous public universities.

Energy and environmental policy

The Conservative-National Alliance has published numerous party platforms during election years that promote the use of natural gas and fracking. Conservative-National governments have reduced regulations on the fracking industry that had been put in place under Democratic Coalition governments. Nuclear power has also continued to expand under the party and current government, however regulations on the nuclear energy industry had remained largely untouched. Green energy solutions have gone unsupported by the party. After entering government in 2006 the party cut subsidies for renewable and green energy projects, and the use of renewable energy has decreased since.

Environmental regulations have been rolled back by the current Raptis government. The party has taken the position that excessive environmental regulations hamper business growth and prevent public works projects from being completed in a timely manner.

Justice and crime policy

Under Conservative-National leadership there have been increases in mandatory minimum sentences for several drug, gun, and economic offenses. The party pushes strong law and order policy to strengthen law enforcement agencies. Local and provincial law enforcement have seen increased grants from the government under the current Raptis government and federal law enforcement agencies have seen increased budgets for additional equipment and employees. The government has also introduced legislation to make it easier to charge someone with the death penalty.

Lists of suggested judicial nominees to the Empress have been conservative individuals who have a history of supporting conservative causes and promoting right-wing principles. Since 2006 when the party entered government the party has succeeded in having large numbers of conservative judicial nominees confirmed by the National Assembly.

Defense policy

Defense policy among Conservative-National Deputies and party members is mixed. While there are hawkish and interventionist viewpoints held by many members of the party in the National Assembly there has been little foreign intervention. Defense spending under the current government has been increased steadily each year and the number of active duty troops has accompanied the increased funding. Prime Minister Raptis has tied the discussion of defense policy into the Belisarian Community and the obligations that Lihnidos has in regards to the Community's mutual defense policy. Homeland security and the security of other Belisarian Community nations has been a focal point of the governments arguments in support of increased defense spending.

Foreign policy

The Conservative-National Alliance has focused on increased relations with other Belisarian Community and southern Belisarian nations such as Latium, Lyncanestria, Eagleland, Arthurista, and Vannois. Recent years have seen the party support increased international relations with Scipian nations such as Sydalon and Yisrael. The party has traditionally favored international organizations such as the Belisarian Community and Forum of Nations, however the recent rise in popularity of candidates and parties opposed to such organizations has resulted in a slightly more hostile view of such organizations. In recent years the government has suggested that Belisarian Community policy on immigration and security are not as strong as they should be and that change is needed. Prime Ministers Lycaon Buros and Fotis Raptis have attempted to distance themselves from the interventionist wing of the party despite both having increased the defense budget and appointing interventionist Deputies to foreign and defense committees in the National Assembly.

The Conservative-National Alliance supports free trade and has been opposed to implementing unwarranted tariffs on imported goods.

Organization

Structure

The party is comprised of constituency associations and provincial party organizations. Constituency associations are responsible for overseeing elections and candidates on the constituency level, including local elections and National Assembly elections. Constituency associations are led by an association chairman who is elected by party members in the constituencies. Provincial party organizations are responsible for coordination and oversight on all election and administrative duties carried out by the party in the organization's province. The administrative body of the provincial organizations are comprised of the association chairman and representatives appointed by the national party.

The primary administrative body of the party is the Conservative-National Alliance Central Office. The Central Office is divided into several directorates and boards that oversee different operational areas of the party. The Conservative-National Planning Board is the most senior decision making body that makes decisions regarding fundraising, campaigning, and other operational areas. The Planning Board is comprised of representatives from the provincial party organizations and has a number of subcommittees. The Chairman of the Planning Committee is recognized as the chairman of the party.

The party leader is elected from among party deputies in the National Assembly. The party leader will carry out administrative duties in conjunction with the Planning Committee and party Chairman.

Membership

Membership steadily increased following the party's creation in 1947 until the early 1960s. The party's membership peaked in 1959 at over four million members. Following the merger of the National Party and Conservative Party, members of each party had their membership transferred to membership in the Conservative-National Alliance. The solidification of right-wing parties in Lihnidos coupled with the party's charismatic leadership in Delbin Makos was attributed to the party's large spike in membership. After 1959 membership began to fall steadily, with the largest drop occurring under the leadership of Aeacus Laganas in 1993. Membership began to increase again under Lycaon Buros and peaked during his leadership in 2006 after the CNA retook a majority in the National Assembly. Under Fotis Raptis's leadership membership has fluctuated with periods of increasing and decreasing membership. Membership increased in 2018 to 431,028.

The Conservative-National Alliance has a membership fee of X30. The fee is lowered to X10 if the member is under the age of 25.

Candidates

Candidates for elections are selected by the national party after suggestions from constituency associations and provincial party organizations. Prospective candidates must meet a list of requirements created by the party. Individuals may submit their name to be considered as a candidate to their lowest-level party association or organization for the election (constituency associations for general elections and provincial party organizations for provincial council elections.) After collecting a list of possible candidates, the party associations and organizations will screen the potential candidates, narrowing the list of possible candidates down to no more than four individuals. Once the list of individuals is finalized, it is sent to the Candidate Selection Board in the Conservative-National Alliance Central Office. The Candidate Selection Board will review the list of four candidates and make the decision on which individual will run as the party's candidate during the election. Once selected by the board, candidates cannot be deselected unless sixty percent of the board wishes to review the candidate's candidacy.

Funding

The majority of the party's funding comes from private corporations and organizations. Following the 2006 general election, almost forty percent of the donations to the party came from businesses in the financial sector. Other sectors to contribute significant amounts of money to the party include pharmaceutical and natural gas companies, as well as companies involved in arms manufacturing and other defense sectors.

The party's income has steady raised over time, however contributions often spike during election years. According to the National Board of Elections the party had an income of X53.9 million in 2018 and had expenditures of roughly X48.4 million.

Electoral campaigns and results

Campaigns are managed by the Directorate of Campaigning in the Conservative-National Alliance Central Office. The Central Office will typically delegate most responsibilities of campaigning to the provincial party organizations and constituency-level associations. Campaigns managed by the Central Office are staffed by volunteers and party employees. The Directorate of Campaigning is responsible for maintaining voter data and targeting voters. The Central Office will often distribute funds to candidates based on vulnerability and need during elections in addition to the money raised by individual campaigns and provincial or constituency-level campaign fundraising. The current Director of Campaigns is Valentinos Callas.

National Assembly

The following table shows the electoral performance of the Conservative-National Alliance in general elections since the party's creation in 1947.

National Assembly of Lihnidos
Election Leader Seats won +/− Rank Government Notes
1950 Delbin Makos
161 / 300
Increase161 #1 Government
1954 Delbin Makos
174 / 300
Increase13 #1 Government
1958 Delbin Makos
192 / 300
Increase18 #1 Government
1962 Alcander Remis
186 / 300
Decrease6 #1 Government
1966 Alcander Remis
159 / 300
Decrease27 #1 Government
1970 Alcander Remis
144 / 300
Decrease15 #2 Opposition
1974 Aeacus Laganas
159 / 300
Increase15 #1 Government
1978 Aeacus Laganas
160 / 300
Increase1 #1 Government
1982 Aeacus Laganas
154 / 300
Decrease6 #1 Government
1986 Aeacus Laganas
157 / 300
Increase3 #1 Government
1990 Aeacus Laganas
155 / 350
Decrease2 #2 Opposition
1994 Aeacus Laganas
154 / 350
Decrease1 #2 Opposition
1998 Lycaon Buros
168 / 350
Increase14 #2 Opposition
2002 Lycaon Buros
162 / 350
Decrease6 #2 Opposition
2006 Lycaon Buros
196 / 350
Increase34 #1 Government
2010 Fotis Raptis
188 / 350
Decrease8 #1 Government
2014 Fotis Raptis
182 / 350
Decrease6 #1 Government
2018 Fotis Raptis
170 / 350
Decrease12 #1 Government

See also