Liberty Party (Caldia)

Liberty Party
An Páirtí na Saoirse
LeaderPádraig Mac Piarais
ChairpersonCaoilinn Ní Bhraonáinh
Founded1936
Preceded byRadical Liberals
HeadquartersOne Liberty, 7th floor
Spálgleann, Caldia
Youth wingLiberty's Future
Membership (2015)120,900
IdeologyClassic liberalism
Internal factions:
 • Liberal conservatism
 • Social liberalism
 • Economic liberalism
 • Pro-Eucleanism
 • Conservatism
 • Neoliberalism
Political positionCentre-right
Euclean Parliament groupEuclean Liberal Party
Colours     Purple
Seanad Glítteann
12 / 60
Comhthionól Náisiúnta
89 / 399
Euclean Parliament
4 / 20

The Liberty Party (Ghaillish: An Páirtí na Saoirse), commonly known as Liberty (Saoirse), is a libertarian political party in Caldia. It generally promotes civil liberties, non-interventionism, free market capitalism, and a small and efficent welfare state. The party is often considered centre-right due to its centrist tendencies and typically maintains a classical liberal platform. However, in recent years it has become increasingly socially liberal. It is the largest and most powerful libertarian party in the world.

The party has its earliest roots in the Quasi-War when the Saor Glítteann emerged as an active member of the Ghaillish resistance with a strong political wing known as the Radical Liberals. The Liberty Party was founded in 1936 by Eleanore Rosaiteir. Since then, the party has been a dominant force in Ghiallish politics and has had a total of nine Taoiseachs who collectively held the post for a total of 54 years. One of the major victories of the party was the implementation of a flat tax under Taoiseach Patricia Flowers.

The party shifted to the political centre under the leadership of Alexis Walker, embracing an openly pro-Euclea platform. The moderate faction of the party also came to power and remained in power. After Walker announced her design to resign the leadership, she was replaced by Jimmy O'Reilly, who became the country's first non-white taoiseach. Following a diplomatic scandal, O'Reilly resigned and the party chose ex-Foreign Minister Frank Casarnach as his successor. Casarnach moved the party back to the right, hoping to recover ground lost to right-wing parties in recent elections. After a series of legislative setbacks, a corruption scandal engulfed Casarnach and his government. After his coalition fell apart and the nation's anti-corruption agency announced he had broken the law, Casarnach was removed from his office by King Kenneth IV and surrendered himself to the authorities soon after. Casarnach was succeeded by his deputy Humphrey Dumfires, who called a snap election. The party faced its worst ever defeat in the February 2019 vote. Pádraig Mac Piarais became party leader after Dumfries, signalling that the right-wing of the party would remain in power.

As of 2019 it is the second largest party in the Comhthionól Náisiúnta with 89 TCs and is currently the official opposition, with Mac Piarais serving as the leader of the opposition. In the Seanad Glítteann, the party has a total of 12 seats.

It is a member of the Euclean Liberal Party. There are currently four Liberty MEPs serving in the Euclean Parliament. Under Walker and O'Reilly, the party openly pursued policies rooted in Pro-Eucleanism and has been a major proponent of the Euclozone.

History

Origins

Eleanore Rosaiteir photographed with members of the Saor Glítteann during the Quasi-War.

During the occupation by Allied forces during the Great War a series of incidents would eventually culminate in the Snarksburgh Massacre. On 17 December 1928 a group of protesters had gathered near a Federation military checkpoint in the western city of Snarksburgh. Approximately 15 minutes after they had gathered, they were fired upon by the Asterian soldiers. Outrage shook the nation and in the aftermath of the massacre Saor Glítteann was established in Invertwinc. The de facto political leader of the group was Eleanore Rosaiteir, who was a TC for Invertwinc South and leader of the Radical Liberals. Saor Glítteann, commonly known as the SG, had heavy ties to the Radical Liberals and was libertarian in its political leanings. Throughout the Quasi-War the LS fought against the occupying powers of Federation and Werania, but staged few attacks against the Caldish government as it supported democracy and did not wish to establish a new form of government. Rosaiteir quickly became a national symbol of the Ghaillish Resistance and her popularity skyrocketed. It was ideologically opposed to the other resistance groups, the socialist United Ghaillish Workers' Front and the functionalist Fiann Gael. Conflict between the LS and its rival groups was commonplace.

As the Occupation of Caldia came to an end, the Radical Liberals was outlawed in a series of reforms implemented by the Ua Buachalla Government that were pushed by the Federation and Werania. The Radical Liberals were targeted for their close relationship with the LS and many of its members were barred from holding elected office, inluding Rosaiteir. The postponed 1932 election was held in 1935 and went uncontested by Rosaiteir, who called on her supporters to boycott the election. The Social Democrats won the election and Tomás Mag Fhearadhaigh became Taoiseach. His government worked to undo a number of the reforms pushed by the Federation and Werania, including the ban Rosaiteir and many of her allies faced on holding office. In addition, the Mag Fhearadhaigh Government ended initiatives to capture and prosecute LS fighters for their role in the Quasi-War. These reforms allowed Rosaiteir to reemerge as a major force in Ghaillish politics and she established the Liberty Party in 1936. The party contested the 1937 election, which it won.

Rosaiteir Government (1937-1952)

Rosaiteir speaking with aides during an address in the Comhthionól Náisiúnta.

The Fitzgeralds (1952-1968)

Dáibhí Mac Coinneach (1968-1977)

Patricia Flowers (1977-1992)

Recent (1992-present)

The party was defeated by the Social Democrats, led by Niamh Nic Uilliam, in the 1992 election. Despite the successes of the Flowers Government, scandals surrounding senior party members and the SDs move to the centre saw Liberty lose ground with its traditional middle class electoral base. Flowers resigned as party leader and was replaced by Catríona Ní Chathasaigh, the Flower's long-serving Minister of Finance. It lost the 1997 election to Nic Uilliam. After the election, Tadhg Ó Scolaighe became party leader but failed to change the party's favor in the polls and resigned as leader in 2001, replaced by Énna Ó Ceallaigh, a comparatively young TC representing the Longford East constituency. Ó Ceallaigh altered much of the party's platform, elevating socially conservative voices within the party. Despite personal resistance to Caldia's adoption of the Euclozone, he viewed it as inevitable and did not challenge Nic Uilliam extensively on the issue, angering some within his party. Following the sacking of Nic Uilliam by Elton II, Ó Ceallaigh accused the king of meddling in party politics. His accusations stuck and were commonplace during the 2002 election. He led the party to victory in the 2002 election, unseating Nic Uilliam and forming a majority government. His tenure as Taoiseach saw a return of Flowers' Laissez-faire economic policy. Despite pressure from his ministers, Ó Ceallaigh was slow to respond to the 2005 Global Economic Crisis and was initially hostile to a number of EC proposals to combat the recession. The prolonged economic crisis and continued devaluation of the euclo saw support for Liberty fall in the polls, with prominent voices within the party calling on him to resign before the 2007 election. Ó Ceallaigh agreed and resigned as party leader. Following a leadership vote, he was replaced by his Foreign Minister Alexis Walker before the 2007 election began.

Then Foreign Minister Walker with Taoiseach Ó Ceallaigh, 2006

Walker promoted socially liberal policies and limited government intervention in the economy to combat the recession. She ran a campaign focusing on empowering the individual and strengthening Caldia's relationship with the Euclean Community. Liberty's favor in the polls began to change and rebounded. In the 2007, the party lost it's majority but remained the largest party in the Comhthionól. Walker secured a coalition agreement with the Centre Party and formed her first government. Her first term as Taoiseach focused on the economic crisis and the Euclozone. Elton II abdicated in 2010 and was succeeded by his 18-year old nephew Kenneth IV. Walker worked closely with the new monarch to ensure a smooth transition. Walker's foreign policy moved Caldia closer to Gaullica and brought the country more in line with the Euclean Commission.

Jimmy O'Reilly became the first Taoiseach of Bahian descent.

The Liberty Party lost a number of seats in the 2012 election. As a result, the governing coalition lost its majority. However, Walker's coalition remained the largest faction in the legislature. Walker negotiated a confidence and supply agreement with the Caldish Democrats. The populist Free Market Party also agreed to back her budget but was denied entry to the coalition. Due to her new minority government, Walker was forced to rely on the FMP or rebels from the Social Democrats to pass key legislation. During her second term, she controversially worked to reform Caldia's pension system, angering many public sector unions. She also introduced legislation designed to combat the growing threat of climate change. The Second Walker Government implemented policies that reduced Caldia's carbon emissions and saw the increased use of renewable energy. The Walker Government was targeted in the 23 August Attacks. In response the Government sponsored legislation that reformed the country's national security apparatus, centralizing it under the newly sanctioned Ministry of National Security. In January 2018, Walker announced she would be stepping down and was replaced by her Minister of Justice, Jimmy O'Reilly, in April.

O'Reilly became the first Bahian to lead a major Euclean political party and following Walker's resignation as Taoiseach became the first head of government in Euclea of Bahian descent. He also became the nation's youngest Taoiseach and worked to build on Walker's socially liberal platform. During the campaign for the 2017 election, O'Reilly focused on young voters and urban centers, launching an initiative known as his "Urban Appeal". The party lost several seats. However, O'Reilly worked with the Caldish Democrats to bring them into his governing coalition and formed his first government. He pursued municipal and immigration reform, with the later cultivating in the Immigration Reform Act. O'Reilly was a strong supporter of Gaullica and backed the Gaullicans in their ongoing dispute with Negara over Nouvel Anglet. He was a fierce critic of the ruling Tribune Movement in Etruria and warned of democratic backsliding in the country if the EC failed to act. An attempt to sneak several high profile former officials out of Etruria failed, resulting in the Pietramontecorvino Incident,. O'Reilly hoped to sneak the officials, who were under criminal investigation by the Etrurian government, out using faked passports brought into the country in a diplomatic bag. The bag was searched and seized by Etrurian police, which O'Reilly claimed was a breach of international law labeled properly and illegally searched. However, it was later revealed that the bag was mislabeled and as such the search was legal. Growing criticism led to his resignation as party leader and subsequent resignation as Taoiseach in April 2018. He was replaced by ex-Foreign Minister Frank Casarnach, who was a vocal critic of O'Reilly.

Casarnach speaks to the press shortly before surrendering himself to police.

With Casarnach's tenure saw a drastic shift in party policy. He moved the party heavily to the right, abandoning Walker's social liberalism for social conservatism. Casarnach brought the party's Flowerite backbenchers to power, elevating the little known Margadh Coinbhinsiún. Under Casarnach, government spending was cut significantly. Critics argued he was implementing unwarranted austerity policies while Casarnach argued he was promoting small government and cutting taxes. He sought to repeal the Immigration Reform Act but was met with hostility by his coalition partners and members of his own party. Without the votes to repeal the legislation, he sought to make it more difficult for immigrants to pass the new citizenship test and stacked the commission responsible for its creation with opponents to immigration. This resulted in a fight with a number of O'Reilly allies that he had kept in his cabinet, all of which were sacked. Casarnach's legislative effort was effectively stalled as a result and he focused primarily on foreign policy, calling on the EC to seek reproach with Etruria. In December 2018, allegations of potential bid-rigging emerged against Casarnach. Following an investigation by the Independent Review Board, Casarnach's wife and party chair, Claire Nic Haol-Casarnach, was charged for her role in the scandal. Casarnach was accused of rigging the bid process for health plans at the state oil company during his tenure as Minister of Petroleum. The IRB was unable to press charges against the Taoiseach due to the office's immunity. Casarnach was sacked by Kenneth IV and was subsequently charged and arrested. His Minister of Finance, Humphrey Dumfries who became Tánaiste after the junior parties pulled out of the coalition, was named Taoiseach by the king. Dumfries submitted a writ of dissolution and triggered a snap election.

During the campaign during the 2019 snap election the party had a fairly weak presence. A number of prominent incumbent TCs, many of which were in the party leadership, announced their decision not to stand again. Polling showed a clear edge for the Social Democrats, and had for several months, and it was likely Liberty would lose dozens of seats. Nicolás Cummins, the long-serving Ceann Comhairle was the most prominent member of the party to retire from politics, despite his automatic re-election as the presiding officer. Announcing his departure, Cummins said his decision was one "of principle. This is something the Liberty Party once stood for. Frank Casarnach has shredded my faith in a party that was once principled"[1]. The retirement of a number of prominent TCs hurt the party's presence on the campaign and Dumfries campaigning experience with a national election were limited. Exit polls published the night of the 18 February vote showed heavy losses for the party, confirmed by figures released by the electoral office. The party was reduced to 89 TCs, down from 156. Dumfries refused to resign and was accused by rivals within the party of prolonging a leadership contest to ensure his conservative wing of the party held onto the leadership. A party convention was called in April and it was contested by Robert Kean, Pádraig Mac Piarais, and Julie Royce. Mac Piarais won the post after securing the backing of a majority of delegates on the sixth ballot. The party has struggled in opposition, as it has moved further to the right on many issues angering many within its ranks. It lost four of its eight seats in the 2019 Euclean Parliament election, placing Mac Piarais under additional pressure.

Factions

The Liberty Party has largely served as a catch-all party for the Caldish right in the decades since the Great War. Since its establishment, it has been a party of factions. While it was the direct successor of the Radical Liberals, an outlawed libertarian party that contested before and during the war, a number of elected officials from other parties joined after its founding. Notably, a number of TDs from the National Conservative Party defected to Liberty in the run up to the 1937 election. Two clear factions emerged at that time, the libertarians and the national conservatives. When the NCP was disbanded, a number of social conservatives with more extreme views joined the party, establishing the third main faction the Tradtionalists. Other factions have existed, many of which overlapped with one another and were more informal. Some even formed by issue. However, in recent years new factions have emerged that have also become more institutionalized. Typically, they form around influential party leaders. Such factions include the Flowerites, the Middle, and the New Right.

Historical

Modern

Electoral History

Election year First Pref votes % # of overall seats won +/- Government
1997 TBD TBD (#2)
154 / 399
Increase 20 in opposition
2002 TBD TBD (#1)
207 / 399
Increase 53 in government
2007 TBD TBD (#1)
176 / 399
Decrease 31 in government
2012 TBD TBD (#1)
165 / 399
Decrease 11 in government
2017 1,894,175 30.6 (#1)
156 / 399
Decrease 9 in government
2019 TBD (#2)
89 / 399
Decrease 67 in opposition

Leaders

Pádraig Mac Piarais, the current party leader.

Leadership elections

Leaders of the Liberty Party are selected at a the Liberty National Convention, held whenever a new leader is needed. Party officials, including all serving elected officials on all levels of governance and all former elected officials, gather at the convention to elect the new leader, who must achieve 50% plus 1 of the vote. The convention tends to be a multi-day event and lasts until a leader is chosen.

References