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The Santo-Dominian Post [Local News]

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Before you read......

Welcome to the first publication of the Santo-Dominian Post,

a newspaper publication focusing primarily on news stories,

information and content from the Federal Republic of

Santos-Dominius. We strive to conduct fair journalism. We are

funded by the Santo-Dominian Government, but strive for

impartiality. Our editorial is firmly independent and

devoid of political bias.

 

Today's Headlines

Elections In Santos-Dominius Hand President Goldberg

And Democratic Congress Party

Slim Victory

Today, the Federal Republic of Santos-Dominius held its 4th general election ever in its history. The young nation has a peculiar obsession with democracy, holding elections every few months as mandated by the Term Limits Act of 2020 and enshrining strict term limits in its Constitution. After a long night of vote processing, including absentee and mail-in ballots, the results were distributed to major news media companies and television networks for release and broadcast.

 

The country's top job, the Presidency of the Federal Republic, was up for grabs. Incumbent President Paul Goldberg(D-FE), the fourth person to hold the position in the nation's history, defended himself from three other contenders. Chief among them was Senator Eliot Klein(L-SN), former President(the third) and Leader of the Opposition. Klein had a personal feud with President Goldberg after the latter forced the former out in the last election, winning a landslide victory that contradicted polls pointing to Klein's re-election. Klein represents the Country Liberal Party(CLP), the main opposition party of the country at the moment, and had launched a scalding campaign that nearly caused the President's approval ratings to dip below the golden 50%. The second competitor is found in the Split Conservative Union(SCU), a smaller, far-right version of Goldberg's centre-right Democratic Congress Party(DCB). The Union fronted Sen. Dennis Ford(U-YC), a firebrand politician and inflammatory speaker accused of xenophobic tendencies. Ford initially gained traction at the expense of President Goldberg, though his campaign slowly declined after Goldberg constructed a fragile but massive electoral coalition consisting of working-class voters, environmentalists, welfare state advocates and classical liberals. The third and final contender against Goldberg was Sen. Jan D. Lovings(C-SN), former President(the second) and Leader of the Communist Phalanx(SDCP), a far-left party that split from the Liberals after Klein forced out Lovings in a Liberal leadership spill to become President. Lovings was quickly dismissed as a fringe candidate by the press and public, and couldn't do much but prove these assumptions right by performing poorly in presidential debates.

 

In the end, when the votes were counted and the results televised, radioed and printed, President Goldberg won re-election, securing a second four-month term. However, this election signalled potential danger for the DCB: its vote share decreased sharply from a comfortable 65% to a paltry 51%. Goldberg's second term would be weaker than his previous, and now the doors were open for a possible leadership challenge from within. Senator Klein's vote share was a close second with 44%, while Sens. Ford and Lovings received 3% and 2% respectively, befitting of the latter two's fringe statuses. In the Santo-Dominian capital of Friberne, Goldberg declared victory in front of a cautiously optimistic crowd, saying: "Santo-Dominians have answered my call and graciously given me their votes of confidence in my administration. I will work hard, more so than last term, to repay this immense honour that has once again been mercifully bestowed upon me." In the CLP headquarters, things were much more saddening, and many supporters sobbed while Sen. Klein uttered the words of defeat: "I hereby concede my candidacy for the Presidency of the Federal Republic, and acknowledge President Paul Goldberg's victory. I have called the President to congratulate him on his win." Sens. Ford and Lovings conceded via statement, and both refused to make speeches in-person, the former claiming busyness and the latter claiming sickness.

 

With the presidential elections now over, President Goldberg reaffirmed his promises and priorities in his first speech since his victory. Offering an optimistic vision, the President said: "With the elections behind us, we must now confront the challenges of our time, and overcome them as united, strong and peaceful Santo-Dominians. As your president, I will commit to several campaign promises this term. I will expand the welfare state and the Citizenship By Investment Program. I will expand health insurance and give more funding to create Santo-Dominian universal healthcare. I will construct 100 elderly care and childcare centres, 50 hospices and 10 medical centres across the country. I will expand infrastructure and construct new ports, dockyards, sea cargo terminals, ferry and cruise terminals, medium- to small-sized airports and completely electrify present transportation methods. I will give funding to the automobile industry to create new, electric cars and slash public transport fees and costs. Santos-Dominius will become a beacon of responsible, open, free and fair social democracy with a competition-driven and continually growing economy."

 

Presidential Election Results Table

Candidate Party Nat. Senate Canton Incumbency Approx. Votes Approx. Vote Share

Paul R. Goldberg

[WIN]

DCB Friberne Yes 1,558,050,000 51%
Eliot Klein CLP St. Arlaine No 1,344,200,000 44%
Dennis Ford SCU Yatasailie-Comte No 91,650,000 3%
Jan D. Lovings SDCP St. Arlaine No 61,100,000 2%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The official logos of the four parties contesting this election are attached below. From left to right, in order of party size: Democratic Congress for the Betterment of Santos-Dominius(DCB), Country Liberal and Santo-Dominian Unionist Party(CLP), the Split Conservative Union of Santos-Dominius(SCU) and the Santo-Dominian Communist Phalanx(SDCP).

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President Goldberg launches "SD-Works" jobs program, aims for full employment

Today, President Paul Goldberg unveiled the biggest project of his administration yet. Facing reporters and politicians on the floor of the National Senate, the President held up a large book with "SD-Works" labelled boldly on the cover. He then walked to the speaking podium, switched on the microphone and announced: "Ladies and gentlemen, my honourable friends of the National Senate, Mr. Speaker, I hereby present to you the 'SD-Works' program, the biggest jobs program yet in the history of this Federal Republic!" Sporadic cheers erupted while one side of the aisle rose up and applauded. The other side sat still.

"SD-Works is an investment in our nation. It's an investment in our dreams. It's an investment for the pursuit of one of our fundamental goals: everyone that needs a good job will get a good job. Gone are the days of low employment. We will stimulate big business and incentivise corporations to hire more. Everyone that wants to be employed will be employed!" President Goldberg continued. "We will transform from a lazy welfare state to a productive economic powerhouse. We will eliminate the need for welfare via good and well-paying employment! We will make our Federal Republic the premier economic nation, a shining example of how welfare states can transform into high productivity hubs."

The program was poorly received. The far-left Santo-Dominian Communist Phalanx(SDCP), the smallest of the four big parties in the National Senate, slammed the project. Senator Jan D. Lovings(SN), SDCP leader, made a short, passionate statement against SD-Works: "The only coherent thing in this project is general incompetence. This plan will cut welfare, cut social support, cut pensions, cut elderly care, cut child care and significantly reduce maternity and paternity leave rights. This plan will cut society in half! For the sake of this nation, I urge the National Senate to vote against this bill when it is proposed!"

On the other hand, the Split Conservative Union(SCU), the far-right fringe equivalent of the SDCP, criticised the project for not doing enough. Sen. Dennis Ford(YC), the party's controversial leader, released a statement calling SD-Works "ineffective", "stupid", "wholly unrealistic" and "complete and utter appeasement of the left". This statement was retracted shortly after a reporter found a slur targeting the President. Sen. Ford has not yet issued an apology for the slur.

Political analysts say that it is likely that SD-Works will be passed by the National Senate. Despite widespread outrage from political opponents, Goldberg and the ruling Democratic Congress Party(DCB) have a barebones majority in the National Senate, allowing them to pass the bill by themselves. Though this project will likely alienate and cast away progressive DCB voters, it seems that the President's party has rallied behind him to make one of their biggest political gambits ever.

With SD-Works expected to be tabled for a vote in the National Senate soon, political commentators say that public discontent is highly likely. The chief ministers of 9 predominantly progressive cantons across the country have already said that they will mount legal challenges against the project, with Lemandie, Roivivion and St. Arlaine cantons being the biggest opponents on a sub-national level. Demonstrations have already been planned in the three cantons(the Greater Lemandie region), and Goldberg's approval ratings are rapidly plummeting. Whether the increasingly unpopular centrist can keep his party and himself in power for long remains very much unknown.

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General strikes erupt across country to protest "SD-Works", over 1 million workers now on streets

Today, a political crisis months in the making finally exploded. President Paul Goldberg's "SD-Works" employment and jobs program, widely considered to be one of the most unpopular pieces of legislation ever, was passed by the National Senate a few days ago among sharply divided party lines. The Democratic Congress Party(DCB), Goldberg's centrist-conservative party, voted unanimously in favour of the bill, while the centre-left Country Liberal Party(CLP), the far-right Split Conservative Union(SCU) and the far-left Santo-Dominian Communist Phalanx(SDCP) all voted against it. Alas, Goldberg could not avoid sparking popular uproar after the passage of the program.

The canton of Lemandie was about an hour's drive away from the Santo-Dominian government in the capital of Friberne. Lemandie was one of the most progressive and socialist cantons in the Federal Republic, and it demonstrated that clearly when its workers, galvanised by the CLP and SDCP, boycotted SD-Works activities and job fairs as well as halting public transport in the cantonal capital of Louisann. As the situation deteriorated and the city was brought to a standstill, President Goldberg asked Louisann Mayor Penelope Chantal(CLP) to disperse the workers. When she refused to do so, Goldberg mobilised the Santo-Dominian military and sent them to quell the workers' march in the canton.

As everyone expected, the military did little to appease and placate the angry workers, and their efforts to forcefully end the protest failed. Reprisals against military servicemen grew common throughout the city as the situation further spiralled into outright violence. By now, the entire canton of Lemandie was disgruntled, dismayed and fed up with the central government in Friberne. The canton's 32 National Senators stood in solidarity with their constituents, walking out of the National Senate in protest of Goldberg's heavy-handed response. It was clear: repression was not working.

By the time of the walk-out in Friberne, public opinion had largely turned against the Goldberg administration and the military. Every labour union in Lemandie and the cantons of Lotharburg, Framboise, Neuenstadt and Roivivion declared general strikes. Workers flooded the streets and highways and almost the entire island of Santos was brought to a devastating halt. Public unrest and violence boiled over as military servicemen attempting to restore order were attacked, harassed and assaulted by furious demonstrators, protesters and workers while crowds chanted: "Down with Goldberg! Down with DCB! Up with liberty! Up with welfare!"

The situation was also circling the drain in the islands of the archipelago of Dominius. The cities of St. Arlaine and Waldburg, in their respective cantons of the same names, erupted in rage as it was reported that SD-Works and further initiatives from Goldberg would slash poverty support by half. In the canton of Sasslen, where Goldberg retained overwhelming support, SCU counter-protesters attacked and shoved workers demonstrating at the cantonal government building. The nation was tearing itself apart piece by piece, and the night continued to get worse and worse for the Federal Republic.

Some say that there might be light at the end of the tunnel. President Goldberg is expected to address the nation soon in a nationally televised speech. However, others offer a more cynical view, saying that the President will destroy the Federal Republic with his increasingly unpopular policies and response to these demonstrations and strikes. Whether President Goldberg's efforts to restore order will work remains to be seen. Whether the Federal Republic can survive these demonstrations also remains to be seen.

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Popular referendum to be held on "SD-Works" after concessions from President Goldberg

Today, the National Senate of Santos-Dominius passed an initiative to hold a nationwide referendum concerning "SD-Works", the employment program passed by centrist President Paul Goldberg and his Democratic Congress Party(DCB). General strikes are very much continuing throughout the country with workers broadly outraged at the program, which would drastically cut back social security programs, social safety nets and poverty welfare as well as greatly curb the influence and power of all labour unions and organisations of similar nature. The referendum, if passed, would strike down "SD-Works" and repeal it entirely, setting back months of political campaigning and dealing by Goldberg and his staunch allies.

After the passage of the initiative, cheers erupted throughout the city of Louisann, capital of the canton of Lemandie. The city was the location of the first general strike(which galvanised other cities and cantons) and remains the location of the biggest strike throughout the nation, with over 500,000 people, including workers and all sorts of citizens, now on the streets there. The Santo-Dominian left had won a stunning political victory, and it would win a bigger prize if the referendum passes. A scenario where "SD-Works" gets struck down would also mean great political harm for President Goldberg as the program is his signature legislative proposal and the key to realise his most ambitious campaign promise: achieving 100% employment.

The Country Liberal Party(CLP), the DCB's centre-left major counterpart, celebrated the passage. Senator Eliot Klein(SN), CLP leader and former President, said: "The passage of this initiative is a great victory for the people of Santos-Dominius. The message is clear: the populace of this Federal Republic is tired with the shenanigans and incompetence of President Goldberg. He and his party must either repeal 'SD-Works' with a bill in the National Senate or face utter defeat when the referendum passes and the people vote to strike that destructive program down. We will not rest until the President backs down."

Back in the national capital of Friberne, things were very tense. At the Fribernese Fortress, home to the presidential office and residence, President Goldberg held a press conference where he lashed out at the CLP and Sen. Klein's comments. "What they are trying is heinous. What they are doing is unacceptable," Goldberg said. "They are eradicating progress. They are destroying meaningful, needed and rightful reform. What the Country Liberals are doing is kill employment dead in its tracks. The DCB, under my leadership, will not let those crooks get away from it. We must protect 'SD-Works' in the upcoming referendum and teach those obstructive and counterproductive crooks a well-deserved lesson and some more!"

The passage of the initiative to hold the referendum appeased many furious workers: according to a new poll, 82% of interviewed workers on strike said that they would stop striking and vote in the referendum. However, it couldn't please everyone, with the far-left Santo-Dominian Communist Phalanx calling the referendum "another political stunt that will achieve nothing". SDCP leader Sen. Jan Lovings(SN) spoke to reporters outside his rural home in the canton of St. Arlaine, saying that "a complete and total overthrowing of the current government is necessary" and that "President Goldberg must be removed from power by any means necessary". Though this drew ire from the President himself, who said that these comments were "a direct, terrorist and insidious threat", many have sympathised with Sen. Lovings and the SDCP.

With "SD-Works" on the line in the upcoming referendum, it remains to be seen whether the program, and the President who champions it, will be struck down.

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General strikers march on Friberne after referendum repealing "SD-Works" fails by slim margin

Today, chaos broke out in the Federal Republic of Santos-Dominius. "SD-Works", centrist President Paul Goldberg's signature employment program, survived after the national referendum repealing it failed. The margin was extremely slim: 50.1% Nay against 49.8% Aye. However, the referendum was the last possible way to appease the nation's furious workers, angry and on general strike, and its failure was the final straw. Rumours of extensive rigging by President Goldberg circulated throughout the capital city, Friberne, as government officials scrambled to contain the strikes and restore order.

At the National Senate Building, all was not well. The centre-right Democratic Congress Party(DCB), under Goldberg's leadership, passed a motion to give concessions to the strikers as their last ditch attempt to hold together the unicameral legislature. It quickly became clear, however, that these concessions were too little, too late. The DCB nosedived in opinion polling, dropping to 24% while the President's approval ratings sunk to a dismal 10%. The DCB was perceived as out-of-touch and insincere by the strikers, who now demanded a snap election to throw Goldberg out. The Fribernese Fortress, housing the presidential residence, was nearly stormed multiple times throughout the day despite increased security personnel and military-grade fortifications.

President Goldberg himself has refused to back down. At a press conference in the Fortress' courtyard, he rejected all calls to hold a snap election, saying: "We will not hold a snap election. I repeat, we will not hold a snap election. The next election will be held in 1425, as the Directory of the Interior suggests. This country will not fall to unrest, violence and unfair elections." When asked about calling a snap election, Director of the Interior Alfred Schweitzmann declined to comment. His spokesman said that "Director Schweitzmann is unavailable at the moment and will not comment on electoral affairs".

While the Goldberg administration refuses to back down and the DCB crumbles into disarray, the opposition has rapidly swelled. The Country Liberal Party(CLP), the DCB's centre-left counterpart, walked out the National Senate in solidarity with the striking workers. The Friberne PD, unable to control the situation, surrendered the National Senate Building to the strikers shortly after. DCB senators were escorted out. The crowd then continued marching.

As the day progressed, the strikers marched slowly but steadily towards the Fribernese Fortress. With the country in disarray and the President unwilling to de-escalate the situation, the survival of Santo-Dominian democracy looks uncertain.

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Democracy survives in Santos-Dominius, Goldberg calls for snap election

Today, President Paul Goldberg conceded to the general strikes happening in the Federal Republic of Santos-Dominius. At a press conference in the capital, Friberne, the President announced that he would be asking the National Senate to end their current session and trigger a snap election. Though the act is officially a "request", the National Senate usually follows prior precedent and agrees to the request, making it certain that a snap election will indeed by triggered. This major concession, a disastrous political defeat for President Goldberg, comes after increased pressure put on him by striking workers across the country threatened to tear the country apart and enter it into civil war.

Fortunately, the renowned Santo-Dominian democracy and constitution have survived. Although President Goldberg stated that would seek re-election, opinion polls suggest that it would be close to impossible, given his dismal approval rating of 8% nationally, including traditionally supportive areas and strongholds. The centre-right Democratic Congress Party(DCB), under the President's leadership, is also expected to lose big in the elections, though not as bad as the President himself. Opinion polls have the DCB at approximately 29%. On the other hand, this call for a snap election has positively benefited some parties.

The centre-left Country Liberal Party, the DCB's main electoral opponent, received a big bump in popularity, with their opinion poll numbers jumping from 52% to 61%, a 9-point jump. They announced their presidential ticket today, with party leader Senator Eliot Klein(SN) unexpectedly absent from the ballot. Instead, Sen. Jeremy Maxson(WS), an outspoken left-wing moderate, will be the Country Liberals' presidential candidate. In the vice presidential race, incumbent Vice President Donald Verbloem, of the DCB, will face off against Sen. Art Bernstein(LM), the Country Liberals' first democratic socialist candidate. The Maxson-Bernstein ticket has reason to smile: the Goldberg administration's failure to appease the strikers or restore order have given both challengers boosts in the polls, with Maxson-Bernstein now at 64% compared to 22% for Goldberg-Verbloem.

Extraordinarily, the two other major parties have united and thrown their hat behind the Country Liberals. The far-left Santo-Dominian Communist Phalanx(SDCP) has chosen not to front a presidential ticket and instead endorse Sens. Maxson and Bernstein, while the far-right Split Conservative Union(SCU) has withdrawn its endorsement of the DCB in favour of endorsing the Country Liberals. This leaves the DCB in electoral peril, as it has traditionally relied on support from the SCU as well as the SDCP's tendency to siphon votes from the CLP. Goldberg will also likely be sacked by the DCB and replaced by a more progressive leader so as to appeal to CLP and SDCP voters.

Though President Goldberg and the DCB are likely finished, the pragmatic centrist President has yet to call it quits. He remains in office, and has repeatedly on numerous times that he intends to stay in office for as long as possible. The President is a tough man to beat: though his approval ratings are down the drain, he has a reputation for fighting back and clinching victory in the very end. Now, the race is on: will Jeremy Maxson and Art Bernstein win the Presidency and Vice Presidency, or will Paul Goldberg and Donald Verbloem fight back and hold onto their cushy jobs?

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