Elections for the Cabinet and Chair of the Assembly have concluded in The South Pacific, with all but one position emerging with a new occupant amongst a diverse group of contested and uncontested ballots. The Cabinet is led by the Prime Minister, who works with the Ministers of Foreign, Military, and Regional Affairs as the executive branch, while the Chair operates the votes and debates of the legislative Assembly.
Amerion, the former Delegate of Lazarus and the incumbent Chair of the Assembly, was the only candidate for Prime Minister. Their website promoted policies including monthly State of the Region reports, increased foreign updates in their Gameplay thread, and further transparency measures with “the expectation of the collective Cabinet that each member makes themselves available to partake in public discussions of their ministries (and themselves as individuals) at least once a month.” They were easily elected with 29 votes to only 2 calling to re-open nominations.
The contest for Minister of Foreign Affairs featured two candidates – Omega and Sasha. Both ran with extensively detailed platforms, with one of Omega’s key ideas being “a core staff of four individuals” to work across various types of regions and communications, while Sasha emphasised an “ex-pat service” to connect with nations that have left the region. The two faced off in a friendly typed debate with host Islands of Unity, where they discussed their history and ambitions for the role. Omega emerged victorious in a landslide, likely assisted by their more extensive experience, claiming 26 votes to Sasha’s 4.
Heliseum ran alone for the Minister of Military Affairs with a four-part plan – ‘Visibility, Recruitment, Training, Engagement’. They stressed that “there’s a lot of room for improvement” and that “the SPSF [South Pacific Special Forces] needs – and deserves – something new.” That pitch appeared attractive to voters, with Heliseum receiving 28 votes, while only 1 opted to re-open nominations.
The most closely contested Cabinet position, however, was the Minister of Regional Affairs, with three candidates – Agalaesia, ProfessorHenn, and Farengeto – competing to fill the role. Farengeto centred their campaign around “a restructuring of the Ministry’s administration” by formalising the Advisory Council and reducing the centralised authority of the Minister. ProfessorHenn took a less structural approach, presenting a handful of new ideas to boost regional activity, such as turning the Coconut Press into a monthly publication to improve content quality, as well as reinstating the Fellowship Programme to ensure that newcomers aren’t “left to their own devices.” Agalaesia similarly used their campaign to showcase new ideas, including a multi-regional festival named ‘A Very Merry TSP Winter’ and a regional university to educate new members of the community.
Following a debate hosted by Prarie, voters went to the polls, with the first count returning Agalaesia in the lead on 13 votes, while ProfessorHenn and Farengeto both received 8. After Farengeto was eliminated on third preferences, their votes flowed strongly to ProfessorHenn, but it wasn’t enough to beat the frontrunner, as Agalaesia ultimately won with 15 votes to their opponent’s 14.
Two weeks after, in a separate election period, the Chair of the Assembly was vacated. Nakari, who was Prime Minister until Amerion succeeded them, faced tough competition for the leadership role from two opponents – Farengeto, who had narrowly fallen short of Minister of Regional Affairs, and Phoenix. Nakari, who had previously held the role in early 2017, presented a status quo platform. Farengeto also brought forward history in the position as the second-longest serving Chair by total cumulated time, emphasising their creation of the Legislator Roster and their trustworthy character to win over voters. Phoenix, a relatively inexperienced but rising star in the region’s political scene, only issued a brief campaign statement, stressing their “organisation and planning” skills.
Chair elections in The South Pacific use approval voting, rather than the single transferable voting system used for Cabinet elections, meaning the winner had to simply secure the most approvals. Nakari ultimately emerged victorious with a razor-thin margin of 18 approvals from 24, while Farengeto received 17 and Phoenix only managed 11.
The South Pacific will now enjoy an election hiatus until Somyrion’s term as Delegate expires in January when they are likely to run again for re-election, while the new Cabinet and Chair of the Assembly will not face voters till the month after. Between now and then, the new office-holders have an opportunity to exercise their campaign promises and boost citizen engagement in a Game Created Region already renown for its high level of activity and participation.