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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


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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President Goldberg announces waiver of Act Of Peace, allows possible Auran League accession

Today, President Paul Goldberg announced that he signed a waiver of the Act Of Peace yesterday. The Act Of Peace, though not officially included in the Santo-Dominian Constitution, wields the same power as the Constitution, and officially codifies strict, unconditional Santo-Dominian pacifist neutrality. However, this has grown increasingly unpopular as Santo-Dominians demand participation in international events and friendly diplomacy with neighbouring nations. The 2nd TWP Rugby World Cup, held a few weeks ago, made this sentiment skyrocket in popularity, and Santo-Dominians are more eager than ever to interact with the world on a greater scale never seen before.

The Federal Republic has historically remained neutral in Auran and Andolian conflicts and events, choosing to stay out and observe on the sidelines. This desire for peace and pacifism famously led to founding President Bill Mulberry's "All In Us" tourism and culture programme, which encouraged Santo-Dominians to visit their own country's attractions instead of foreign ones and experience Santo-Dominian culture instead of their neighbouring counterparts. Though the country's stance slowly softened over the years, the resurgence of the lobbying firm Santo-Dominian Neutrality Association(SDNA) led to President Goldberg's signing of the Act Of Peace, formally codifying Santo-Dominian pacifist neutrality.

However, the SDNA has since enjoyed a dramatic decline in support, with scandals and infighting plaguing its ranks and the national neutrality movement. The President, weary of public outcry against neutrality and bent on SDNA, appears to have granted the public their wish. The waiver allows the Federal Republic to bypass Sections 15B and 17A of the Act Of Peace, greatly expanding the Government's powers to conduct diplomacy and make the country participate in world events, including but not limited to sports tournaments and cultural exchanges.

But the waiver has a crucial section, one that would include permission for the Federal Republic to officially join the Auran League. Santos-Dominius has always viewed the Auran League with mistrust, and when it was first founded, Santos-Dominius refused to follow other Auran countries and join it. Instead, it watched the League with suspicion and observation for years, preferring to look at its proceedings and see if it was safe to join. However, it now looks like the Federal Republic may finally consider joining the Auran League for its benefits.

President Goldberg gave a speech about the waiver outside the National Senate Building in Friberne, saying: "This waiver is a historic moment for our Federal Republic. With this waiver, we will finally be able to interact with our neighbours, other countries and participate in international affairs, including but not limited to sports events, diplomatic talks and more. This waiver will also allow our Federal Republic to apply for membership of the Auran League and similar organisations. It is time for Santos-Dominius to learn about the world, and it is time for the world to learn about Santos-Dominius."

The move has wide political support. President Goldberg's own party, the centre-right Democratic Coalition Party(DCB), supported the bill after intense debate within its ranks. The centre-left Country Liberal Party(CLP), the main opposition party, also supported the President's decision in a rare moment of praise. Vice President Donald Verbloem expressed his personal support. The CLP's presidential ticket, Sens. Jeremy Maxson and Art Bernstein, also supported the decision. The waiver is expected to come into effect in a few days, and the President's administration is reportedly making preparations for the passage of the waiver.

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1st Presidential-Vice Presidential Joint Debate ends in CLP ticket victory

Today, the 1st presidential-vice presidential joint debate was held in Friberne, Santos-Dominius. The contenders included President Paul Goldberg and Vice President Donald Verbloem, from the ticket of the Democratic Coalition Party(DCB). Facing off against the incumbents were popular Senators Jeremy Maxson and Art Bernstein, from the Country Liberal Party(CLP). Riding a wave of anti-DCB popularity, Maxson and Bernstein were well-positioned compared to Goldberg and Verbloem, who were pummelled in the polls due to their tumultuous term and unpopular policies, including the controversial SD-Works employment programme. As the night went on, it became clear that the burden of their sheer unpopularity was simply too great for the President and Vice President to handle.

The major issues raised during the debate were neutrality, employment and urban development. President Goldberg talked about his recent partial waiver of the Act of Peace a few weeks ago, stating that "Santos-Dominius must and continue treading the fine line between excessive involvement in international diplomacy and complete isolation". However, this was rebuked by Sen. Maxson, who called for "more participation in international affairs" and "strong, sustained efforts to make Santos-Dominius a valuable player in international diplomacy". Maxson argued that "inaction and isolation will not help", and that "a fresh approach to diplomacy should be adopted".

Employment was the hottest issue of the debate. Vice President Verbloem attempted to defend his superior and distract from the DCB administration's poor record, but Sen. Bernstein seized on the moment and blasted him, stating that "the Goldberg administration is the worker's nightmare, the big bosses' puppet". Maxson followed up with further criticism, saying that "the Goldberg administration has shown nothing but sheer contempt and disrespect for the Santo-Dominian labour movement, its unions and its workers". Sen. Bernstein also mentioned the Louisann General Strike back in late November, a major incident which almost threatened to topple Goldberg's presidency and severely plunged the incumbents' popularity to immeasurable lows. The President could not defend himself as time was up and the topic was changed by the debate moderators.

The incumbents fared slightly better in the topic of urban development. "My administration's major investments in inter-island ferries, as well as the rebuilding of dilapidated and heavily used arterial roads, has drastically improved the lives of Santo-Dominians," President Goldberg stated. Sen. Maxson attempted to strike at the President, saying: "The President and Vice President have yet to lay out a sustainable, environmentally friendly infrastructure plan. Santos-Dominius needs a plan now, or you do not deserve another term." President Goldberg brushed off Sen. Maxson's attack, saying that "a plan is in the works" and that "the gentlemen on the other side of the aisle should acquire some patience in politics". Sen. Bernstein fought back, replying: "Santo-Dominians cannot wait, and will not wait for the President. The future is at stake."

Overall, the debate was heated and uncharacteristically fierce. President Goldberg, battered and bruised by Maxson and Bernstein, emerged from the debate more unpopular than ever. Vice President Verbloem also suffered, with DCB supporters criticising him for not defending the President more often. Both Maxson and Bernstein reaped the rewards of their good performance, winning the political commentators' straw poll. The CLP benefitted from an upward trend in the polls immediately after, while the DCB continued its downward dip.

With the presidential election weeks away, the 2nd presidential debate is scheduled on the 15th. If the CLP ticket continues to sustain its momentum and popularity, it will most likely win by a landslide. However, the race is still not over, and the President and Vice President may earn just enough time to fight back and clinch another term in the Fribernese Fortress. This presidential race is expected to be the most heated one ever in Santo-Dominian history, and the DCB's increasingly fragile political hegemony may finally come to an end soon.

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President Paul R. Goldberg barely wins re-election, beats Sen. Jeremy A. Maxson by razor-thin margin

Today, in what was widely described as the greatest political upset in the history of Santos-Dominius, President Paul Goldberg of the centre-right Democratic Coalition Party(DCB) won re-election, beating an extraordinarily strong and spirited challenge from Senator Jeremy Maxson(WS) of the centre-left Country Liberal Party(CLP), which was heavily favoured to take control of the Fribernese Fortress throughout the entire duration of the campaign. As polling stations opened in the early hours of election day, President Goldberg managed to consistently gain votes at a steady pace as Sen. Maxson underperformed expectations and saw terrible turnout among the mail-in voting demographic, which leans heavily CLP and tends to be counted the earliest.

As the day went on, Sen. Maxson pulled ahead several times as President Goldberg suffered from strong CLP turnout in the battleground swing cantons of Niedersasslen and especially Nordrhuin-Theronigen, where the President's lead shrunk to an abysmal 342 votes in what was called "the tightest cantonal race in all history". Sen. Maxson also suffered from low turnout in left-wing cantons like Lemandie, Framboise and Waldburg-Stadt, as well as voter apathy in important CLP strongholds like the cities of Roivivion, Louisann and Waldburg. At one point, upon looking at the results at a polling station in rural Lemandie, CLP vice presidential candidate Sen. Art Bernstein(LM) exclaimed: "my home canton has abandoned me for the President and the DCB!" Maxson purportedly did the same at his Waldburg home in Waldburg-Stadt, his home canton.

When night fell in Waldburg, the mood at the CLP election headquarters in the city's downtown slowly became sombre. It was becoming crystal clear, at the time, that Sen. Maxson would not be able to catch up to President Goldberg, who finally surpassed him in the popular vote an hour ago at 5pm. Leading in Niedersasslen and narrowly surpassing Sen. Maxson in Nordrhuin-Theronigen, President Goldberg had achieved what seemed impossible only a month ago - winning re-election, albeit by the smallest and thinnest of margins. He is expected to be sworn in, this time for his 3rd term, on February 16th. The final results of this presidential election have been provided below in detail.

Overall Presidential Results

Candidate Party Nat. Senate Canton Incumbency Approx. Votes Approx. Vote Share
Paul R. Goldberg[WIN] DCB Friberne(FE) Yes 3,641,749 50.0%
Jeremy A. Maxson Sr. CLP Waldburg-Stadt(WS) No 3,640,929 49.9%

Presidential Results By Canton

Canton Name Capital Numeral Votes for Pres. Goldberg(DCB) Votes for Sen. Maxson(CLP) Total Votes
Framboise(FR) Framboise 1 154,557(38.9%) 242,221(56.5%) 396,778
Friberne(FE) Friberne 2 563,897(71.8%) 220,663(28.1%) 784,560
Neuenstadt(NE) Neuenstadt 3 110,034(55.6%) 87,830(44.3%) 197,864
Pressen(PN) Carindorf 4 116,005(53.2%) 102,048(46.7%) 218,053
Lotharburg(LT) Lotharburg 5 71,812(47.0%) 80,953(52.9%) 152,765
Lemandie(LM) Louisann 6 247,839(37.7%) 408,995(62.2%) 656,834
Roivivion(RO) Roivivion 7 29,485(23.6%) 95,137(76.3%) 124,622
Yatasailie-Comte(YC) Gardewig 8 42,631(42.9%) 56,576(57.0%) 99,207
Sasslen(SA) Sasslen 9 373,041(52.6%) 335,770(47.3%) 708,811
Niedersasslen(NL) Anheit 10 200,558(50.0%) 200,073(49.9%) 400,631
Sasslen-Vorpalain(SV) Rederburg 11 134,547(63.0%) 78,959(36.9%) 213,506
Palain(PL) Palain 12 76,581(52.0%) 70,542(47.9%) 147,123
Ostpalain-Westrhuin(PW) Busselfort 13 287,584(50.3%) 283,655(49.6%)


Nordrhuin-Theronigen(NR) Arkurter 14 335,162(50.0%) 334,820(49.9%) 669,982
Waldburg-Landschaft(WL) Wilhelmton 15 205,149(48.6%) 216,258(51.3%) 421,407
Waldburg-Stadt(WS) Waldburg 16 137,355(21.4%) 501,795(78.5%) 639,150
Oberandolien(OA) Franzhaven 17 62,209(45.6%) 74,159(54.3%) 136,368
Zentrum-Dominien(ZD) Berchstein 18 59,124(82.2%) 12,781(17.7%) 71,905
Schwabenburg(SH) Schwabenburg 19 425,238(74.8%) 143,055(25.1%) 568,293
St. Arlaine(SN) St. Arlaine 20 8,941(7.0%) 94,639(92.9%) 103,580
Santos-Dominius(SD) Friberne - 3,641,749(50.0%) 3,640,929(49.9%) 7,282,678


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President Goldberg announces new passport designs to be rolled out with new citizenship policies

Today, President Paul Goldberg(DCB-FE) announced that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had completed designing new passports for Santo-Dominians. The endeavour, which cost around 675,000 SD Dollars, was completed by the MFA with the help of design and marketing firm DesignSD, famous for employing top students from the University of Friberne's Elaine Ip School of Arts and Design. Senator Diane Hutchison(DCB-YC), Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that the passports would be rolled out by 1422, though she added that expedited production may make widespread distribution possible this year.

Sen. Hutchison explained to reporters that the old passports, adopted after the foundation of the Federal Republic, had become outdated and inconvenient, especially for government officials and diplomats, as their passports were identical with the normal civilian version in terms of appearance and only identifiable by checking the first page. She stated to avoid inconveniences and misunderstandings, there would be three new passports, with one for civilians, a diplomatic passport for diplomats and a service passport for government officials.

The new passports were revealed to be in different colours. The civilian passport would be in a splendid shade of deep purple with gold letters, while the diplomatic passport would be in a much lighter shade of purple with white letters. The service passport was in a shade of burgundy(though some say maroon), Santos-Dominius' unofficial national colour besides the classic dark grey, with letters also in white. The 10-Star Partitioned Shield, the Federal Republic's most recognisable symbol and unofficial coat of arms, is displayed prominently on all three passports.

She also stated that accompanying the new designs would be a new citizenship policy. The Overseas Citizens' Rights Act of 1421, passed the day before yesterday in the National Senate, would introduce a new kind of citizen: the Santo-Dominian Overseas National(SDON). Whereas Santo-Dominians living overseas were traditionally required to completely abandon their citizenship if they stay for over 5 years with less than 10 visits to Santos-Dominius, expats abroad can now apply for SDON and stay indefinitely in foreign countries while still retaining the full rights and privileges afforded to a regular Santo-Dominian citizen living back home. Sen. Hutchison stated that SDON citizens would have to renew their status every five years, with the condition that they must at least stay in Santos-Dominius for an accumulated total time of at least one week every five years.

The new passports, as well as the Overseas Citizens' Rights Act, were generally well-received by most people. Sen. Jeremy Maxson(CLP-WS), former presidential contender, praised the designs of the new passports, calling them "an improvement over the previous, outdated version". Political commentator James Lindsey agreed, saying that the new passports "are miles better in appearance and design". However, Sen. Art Bernstein(CLP-LM) was more critical overall, calling the MFA out for "excessive spending on designing passports while the Santo-Dominian people yearn for better lives". Sen. Bernstein remarked that the cost to have DesignSD create these passports, 675,000 SD Dollars, was an "exorbitant amount of money wasted".

President Goldberg himself stayed notably silent on the matter following the announcement, with the press conference mostly dominated by Sen. Hutchison's explanations. Lindsey noted that this may be a result of his narrow re-election and weakened political standing, stating that since the President was elected on such a tiny margin, he would therefore attempt to avoid partisanship and controversy at all costs in order to solidify popular support for a possible fourth term. Now in the early days of his third term and nearing his later 90s, President Goldberg is known for his political strength and perseverance, which has allowed him to obtain victories, albeit with the thinnest of margins.


(From left to right above: the new civilian passport, the new diplomatic passport, the new service passport)

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Tropical Storm Viola approaches western Santos-Dominius from Yatasail Sea

Today, the National Weather Observatory(NWO) of the Ministry of Science & Development(MSD) announced today that Tropical Storm Viola was swiftly approaching the Santo-Dominian archipelago. Senator Walter Untermann(DCB-NL), Minister of Science and Development, said in a press conference at the MSD headquarters that Viola "is quickly and swiftly approaching Santos-Dominius and rapidly increasing in strength and speed". He stated that Viola "will most certainly pose a strong threat to the Santo-Dominian archipelago", and spent the entire press conference speaking about precautions and preventative measures.

Sen. Untermann first announced that Viola "is undergoing the meteorological situation of rapid intensification, a dangerous process where a tropical cyclone intensifies dramatically in strength and especially maximum wind speed in a very short amount of time". He told reporters that the National Weather Observatory "predicts Tropical Storm Viola to be classified as a major hurricane and a very real danger to the country", and urged Santo-Dominians to "take any and all precautions and preventative measures possible so as to reduce and control ahead of time the damage and impact caused".

In line with Sen. Untermann's stern and serious warnings, the Ministry of Information(MI) and the Ministry of Biological, Ecological and Zoological Affairs(MBEZA) both announced extreme preventative measures. Sen. Terry Melvin(DCB-FE), Minister of Information, announced that all schools in the country would have to be closed indefinitely until further notice starting the day after tomorrow. "We must protect and ensure the safety of our children," Sen. Melvin wrote in his statement. Sen. Christelle Chantal(DCB-FR), Minister of Biological, Ecological and Zoological Affairs, announced that all zoos, parks, nature reserves, national parks and wildlife enclosures would be shut down indefinitely and the animals would be all moved to secure indoor facilities that would be well-stocked and able to run independently for weeks on end.

Other government ministries also took the threat of Tropical Storm Viola seriously. The Ministry of Commerce advised all non-essential cargo traffic to and from Santos-Dominius to be halted as soon as possible, and urged cargo ships and planes already on the way to arrive in Santo-Dominian docks and airports as soon as possible to "allow for protection and shelter". The Ministry of Defence was put on high alert as the Naval Constabulary, the country's non-military naval policing and patrolling force, advised all ships traveling in Santo-Dominian waters to dock and temporarily unload cargo immediately to allow for safe and secure storage. The Ministry of Social Services announced it would close its offices in three days and urged all who had business with it to come forward and "get it over with" before the closures.

Some ministries took preparation to the extreme. The Treasury of the State announced that all of its offices would be closed starting tomorrow and all employees would be on indefinite paid leave. It also stated that it would limit its operations to only accept applications, requests and documents online, and even those would only be processed after Viola is no longer a threat. The Directory of the Interior also announced that major highways would limit traffic and that after the tropical cyclone passes, all arterial roads would be restricted to government vehicles only. It also announced that the Bill Mulberry International Airport would be closing down tomorrow night indefinitely, and urged all Santo-Dominian planes to be securely parked in hangars and all foreign planes to return to their home countries as additional shelter would not be available at the airport.

With the entire government scrambling to prepare for the worst case scenario, where a Hurricane Viola wrecks havoc across the Federal Republic, it seems that Santo-Dominians across the country are also preparing to face the brunt of the brutal side of nature. In the big cities like Friberne, Sasslen, Louisann and Arkurter, traffic has ground to a halt as citizens rush to big-box stores and grocery markets to purchase essentials and stock up for the impending disaster. In the rural areas, villagers and farmers have prepared their farms, vineyards, lands and houses for what the NWO describes as "the most destructive natural disaster Santos-Dominius will encounter".

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Santo-Dominian left unites after narrow defeat in presidential elections, but old problems remain

Today, the Santo-Dominian left-wing overwhelmingly united behind one banner, ending years of endless division and factionalism in the political camp that once reliably dominated the Federal Republic's political scene. The centre-left Country Liberal Party(CLP), which gave this country Presidents Jan Davis Lovings and Eliot Klein, decided to merge with the far-left Santo-Dominian Communist Phalanx(SDCP). Interestingly, the long-running feud between these two leftist parties was chiefly perpetrated by none other than Lovings and Klein themselves. Here's a recap of the entire feud.

The year was 1306, and then-President Lovings enjoyed good approval ratings. As the 2nd President of Santos-Dominius, Lovings pioneered social and welfare reform, built and repaired rural infrastructure, and sought to eradicated illiteracy. He held the support of a majority of Santo-Dominians, and while he certainly had detractors, they were outnumbered by his supporters for the most part. However, within his own Country Liberal Party, a plot to topple and replace the extremely old President was brewing, and leading the plot was Senator Eliot Klein(SN) and his centre-left moderates.

Disillusioned with the seemingly "radical" and "extreme" measures that President Lovings pushed for in the National Senate, the young and charismatic Sen. Klein convinced many of the party elders, as well as young CLP voters, to support him and abandon Lovings. After all preparations had been done, Sen. Klein invoked the CLP's constitution and launched a sudden and unannounced leadership challenge against Lovings, ultimately winning it and becoming Santo-Dominian's 3rd President and the first one that came into office without being popularly elected. Infuriated by his own untimely and early demise, Lovings and his far-left base left the CLP, founding the SDCP and siphoning a reasonable amount of votes from the CLP's base.

Both Sens. Lovings and Klein have since died, but the feud continued on after their deaths, weakening the Santo-Dominian left for years. It was this heated feud that was heavily blamed by both parties for the left's defeat in the 1422 presidential elections, in which incumbent President Paul Goldberg, of the centre-right Democratic Coalition Party(DCB), barely defeated leftist challenger Sen. Jeremy Maxson(WS) from the CLP. Opinion polls had long predicted a massive CLP victory and Maxson's election as the 5th President of the country, but on election night, it was revealed that a razor-thin majority of Santo-Dominians had abandoned the left and voted to re-elect the old and white-haired President Goldberg, handing him his 3rd and possibly final term as he approaches 100 years old.

Though recommended by leftist commentators and columnists alike, Sen. Maxson declined to become the leader of the new party after the merge was completed and the appropriate documents submitted to the Government. Instead, the CLP's 1422 vice presidential candidate, Sen. Art Bernstein(LM), assumed joint leadership of the party with Sen. Diane Waterside(SDCP-RO), an avowed socialist and former schoolteacher. Bernstein and Waterside named the new party "Coalition of Roses"(CoR), selecting the rose - a historical symbol of the labour movement and leftist causes - as its party symbol. With the left now united behind the CoR, Santos-Dominius seems to be stabilising as a three-party democracy, with the CoL, DCB and the far-right Split Conservative Union(SCU) contesting elections. However, Sen. Bernstein's advanced age and Sen. Waterside's radical ideas may threaten the unity and appeal of the CoR, and Santos-Dominius' left-wing still has a long way to go if it aims to win an election against the now established and strong DCB.


Official logo of the Coalition of Roses(pictured above)

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President Goldberg announces the Ten Stars Award Programme to encourage youth development

Today, President Paul Goldberg announced that after much consideration, he would be officially creating the Ten Stars Award. Set to be the Federal Republic's official youth awards programme, the Ten Stars Award would be awarded to adolescents, youths and teenagers of various ages for completing a multifarious array of extra-curricular activities. The Ten Stars Award programme is set to begin in six months, during which the Government would be accumulating funds and collecting taxpayer money from the Treasury to set up and kickstart the programme.

Speaking to SDCSN Channel 1 reporters at the Fribernese Fortress, President Goldberg stated that the programme "will ideally contribute to further and enhanced youth development in Santos-Dominius" as well as "usher in a certain trendiness that will hopefully make this Award and extra-curricular activities in general more popular and attractive to teens". The President acknowledged that "extra-curricular activities may sound boring, tiring and uninteresting to many youths who are more invested in video games and social media", but noted that "with a little encouragement and a good marketing campaign, Santo-Dominian youths should flock to join and excel in the programme".

Later in the day, Senator Pierre Theron(DCB-FR), Minister of Social Services, announced that his ministry would be spearheading the kickstarting, implementation and operation of the Ten Stars Award. He went into detail regarding its arrangements, and provided additional information and clarification. Sen. Theron revealed that the Ten Stars Award programme would be divided into seven modules: "Leadership, Athleticism, Forte, Charity, Exploration, Intelligence and Entrepreneurship". The Ten Stars Award itself would also be divided into five classes, which in ascending order of prestige are: Ten Bronze Stars Award, Ten Silver Stars Award, Ten Gold Stars Award, Ten Diamond Stars Award and the Grand Comet Award.

Sen. Theron explained that the awards would only be rewarded for completion of the modules, but also revealed that not all modules were required for a participant to attain a Ten Star Award. He revealed that for the Ten Bronze Stars Award, participants would have to complete two of the seven modules. For the Ten Silver Stars Award, participants would have to complete four of the seven modules. For the Ten Gold Stars Award, participants would have to complete six of the seven modules and have previously attained a Ten Bronze/Silver Stars Award. For the Ten Diamond Stars Award, participants would have to complete all seven programmes. To attain the most prestigious and desirable Grand Comet Award, participants would have to complete all seven programmes and be in the national overall top 3 for one of the modules. Sen. Theron also brought along with him a visual aid to better illustrate the aforementioned requirements, and the visual aid has been provided below.

Sen. Theron stated that the Ministry of Social Services(MSS) would be enlisting the help and support of youth organisations, charities, sport organisations, clubs and teams, hiking organisations, schools and businesses and other groups to assist with the operation of the programme. He said that participants would be able to get highly involved with Certified TSA Partners(CTSAP) - organisations that provide activities that would count towards completing the Ten Stars Award modules. He announced that to encourage groups to sign up and become CTSAPs, the MSS would be granting two-year subsidies to the first 150 organisations in the Federal Republic that sign up. The Ten Stars Award programme has received praise from teachers, experts, political commentators, educators and other Santo-Dominians, including Sen. Art Bernstein(CoR-WS), leader of the opposition, who has called the programme "a genuinely great idea".


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Cantonal Council snap elections in bellwether canton of Niedersasslen heat up

Today, Norbert Heitmann(DCB), Head Councillor of the Cantonal Council of Niedersasslen(NL) announced that he would be dissolving the council and calling a snap election. News of this quickly spread throughout the Federal Republic, and Santo-Dominians across the nation began to pay close attention. The Canton of Niedersasslen has long been one of the bellwether cantons in Santos-Dominius, often alternating between supporting the centre-right Democratic Congress Party(DCB) and the centre-left Coalition of Roses(CoR). Now, as news of the snap election reaches Friberne, the two major parties have already begun to field candidates, raise funds and schedule rallies in the canton.

The calling of the snap election proved to be rather surprising as Heitmann, a veteran in Niedersasslen politics, long presided over a slim but secure DCB majority in the Niedersasslen Cantonal Council. His decision was unexpected as many Santo-Dominians as well as the DCB party leadership thought that he would hold out until the regular elections in January next year, elections that he was projected to win. However, in recent days, public support in the canton has swung towards the left, especially after the formation of the CoR and the subsequent union of the Santo-Dominian left. It was these warning signs, political commentators believe, that led to Heitmann drawing the conclusion that he had to call for a snap election in order to secure his narrow majority and buy time for the DCB before it falls below the critical 50% line.

This isn't the first time the DCB has been forced to fight hard to retain Niedersasslen. In the February 1421 presidential elections, the almost-centenarian President Paul Goldberg(DCB) barely won the canton by 485 votes after weeks of intense and brutal campaigning in the cantonal capital of Anheit. To give some context: 400,631 Niedersasslons voted in that election. The canton saw the tightest presidential vote in Santo-Dominian history in that election. After the election, Sen. Art Bernstein(CoR-WS), Leader of the Opposition, said that "Niedersasslen's bellwether status is not to be underestimated".

Head Councillor Heitmann will face off against a formidable challenger in the form of Cantonal Councillor Jane Figures(CoR), former mayor of Anheit and leader of the CoR minority caucus in the Niedersasslen Cantonal Council. Figures is a well-known politician within the canton, mostly because her mother, Valerie Figures, famously led the successful push for universal suffrage in Niedersasslen. Following in the footsteps of her mother, Jane Figures has ran a strong campaign with voting rights and felony enfranchisement at the helm. Her populist rhetoric and criticism of Heitmann's notorious politicking has earned her the support of grassroots CoR voters and supporters, especially key demographics like youth voters, students and university graduates - all important support bases that have helped CoR win cantonal and national elections before. However, this has also attracted ire from established and entrenched politicians like Cantonal Councillor Robert Bennington(CoR), who has argued for a more moderate and pragmatic approach to the race.

As the race heats up, so have the polls. The latest poll conducted by the Santo-Dominian Institute for Public Opinion(SDIPO) shows the DCB and CoR in a dead heat, and Head Councillor candidate polls also show a similar picture - Heitmann and Figures are basically tied, with neither able to outpoll the other. With all 75 seats of the Niedersasslen Cantonal Council up for grabs, the DCB is expected to win at least 29, while the CoR will bag at least 26 seats. This reflects the uncertainty around the race: a whopping 20 seats are projected to be swing constituencies, with 14 of them being constituencies in which the leading candidate has a lead of less than 3%.

The stakes are very high in these Cantonal Council elections, and will likely make or break the Coalition of Roses. If the DCB loses, Heitmann will be ousted and replaced by Figures, and the CoR will receive enormous political capital. If the CoR loses, it will cast doubt on the new big-tent centre-left party's ability to truly unite the Santo-Dominian left wing, and it will also considerably worsen Figures' chances of ever getting the position of Head Councillor. Both parties are already campaigning hard to appeal to their support bases and undecideds, and the voters of Niedersasslen will have to pick between two starkly different parties in the elections.

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FlySD plagued by airline workers' strike and passenger complaints,  begins internal review

Today, Santo-Dominian national flag carrier FlySD (frequently stylised as flySD) announced that it would be starting an internal review of its practices, operations, finances and other matters. The airline, one of the biggest corporations and employers in the Federal Republic, is currently plagued by a massive strike initiated by its employees, as well as an increasing number of complaints from passengers. The strike has significantly affected FlySD's operations throughout the world, and police officers have been dispatched to Friberne International Airport to keep the striking workers at a safe distance from bewildered and confused flyers in its five terminals.

FlySD CEO Penelope Kalington held a press conference where she announced the internal review. "We have listened to the public and our employees," Kalington said, "and we will be investigating our company, finding solutions to problems and improving FlySD to become a model employer that gives people a chance to succeed". This was, however, received poorly by the striking workers, who saw Kalington as out of touch. Strike leader David Menzies, a union representative and airplane co-pilot, pointed out that the Kalington family is one of the richest families in the Federal Republic and owns major companies and businesses. "She just can't be trusted to do good," Menzies said.

Kalington is also being heavily criticised by passengers and FlySD frequent flyers. Many passengers have recently lodged complaints to the Ministry of Commerce, citing bad service, unclean plane cabins and seats, poor staff attitudes and behaviour, as well as frequent flight delays and overbooking. Senator Francois A. Bains(DCB-FR), Minister of Commerce, told the Santo-Dominian Post that he would be directing his ministry to launch an investigation into FlySD, stating that "the Ministry of Commerce has the duty to uphold the consumer's rights and interests". When emailed questions about the complaints and Sen. Bains' comments, Kalington refused to reply to the Santo-Dominian Post and instead informed our reporters that her office would be blocking the Post.

With FlySD and Kalington both under heavy fire, some investors have began to pull out. Harriet Stuyvesant-Callaghan, CEO of Dominion Bank, told reporters that she would be selling her FlySD stocks. Major investment firm A&A Unlimited announced that it would be doing the same as well. FlySD stocks in the Friberne Stock Exchange(FESE) have dropped, and other members of the Kalington family, like SD Logging CEO Hubert Kalington, have distanced themselves from Penelope.

In a press conference at the Fribernese Fortress, President Paul Goldberg(DCB) offered a mixed reaction. He supported Sen. Bains' decision to initiate an investigation into FlySD, calling it "a wise and smart decision", but also voiced his concerns on hurting FlySD too much, remarking that "we mustn't harm one of the biggest employers in the Federal Republic too much, or they will lay off employees and we will have killed jobs and people's livelihoods".


The logo(pictured above) of FlySD, Santos-Dominius' beleaguered national flag carrier

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HEADLINES/President Goldberg announces intention retire from politics at the end of 3rd term

Today, President Paul Goldberg held a press conference inside the Fribernese Fortress. The President, of quite advanced age, looked frail and tired as he walked into the Drawing Room, where the conference was held. During the conference, he made an unsurprising but sudden announcement: he was retiring. Now nearing the halfway point of his third term, President Goldberg had grown in size, reportedly developed a poor diet, suffered from insomnia and forgetfulness, and was in increasingly poor health. Moreover, rumours circulated that his own party, the centre-right Democratic Congress Party(DCB), had turned against him. Young voters were also giving the President and the DCB the finger - polls for the heated Cantonal Council elections in the bellwether canton of Niedersasslen have turned against local DCB leader Norbert Heitmann.

An outpouring of support - the sincerity of which is debatable - immediately came from the DCB. Vice President Donald Verbloem called President Goldberg "a proven leader, an excellent administrator and a compassionate man of the people". Senator Terry Melvin(DCB-FE), Minister of Information, told a reporter from the Santo-Dominian Post that he telephoned the President after the presser to wish him well. Other senators were also spotted going from the National Senate Building to the Fribernese Fortress to meet with Goldberg to talk. Not all reactions were positive, however - Sen. Art Bernstein(CoR-WS), Leader of the Opposition and co-leader of the centre-left Coalition of Roses(CoR), simply said "good riddance, Paul [Goldberg]" to a nearby reporter after reading a paper transcript of the press conference.

With President Goldberg announcing his intention to retire, the question of "who should succeed him?" has been raised. Had President Goldberg only announced his intention to not seek re-election, the DCB would not need a new leader; this did not turn out to be the case. With the President's announcement, the Santo-Dominian Post has come up with a few potential candidates, a basic analysis of their positions and their chances in the DCB leadership election at the end of Goldberg's term. Leading the pack of potential leaders is unsurprisingly Vice President Verbloem. A loyal and silent lieutenant who has accompanied President Goldberg since his first term, the Vice President is a few years younger and relatively more charismatic. Verbloem is also seen as the prime representative of the dominant establishment wing of the DCB, having defended it on multiple occasions quietly against radicals who have slowly seeped into the party and seek to make it far-right.

Another likely contender is Senator Diane Hutchison(DCB-YC), Minister of Foreign Affairs. Hutchison has been praised for her efficient stewardship of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, especially her ways of cutting costs without laying off employees. She has also been commended for her level-headed and pragmatic foreign policy approach, which has earned Santos-Dominius diplomatic goodwill with neighbours in Aura and friendly countries far and wide in Esferos. She is seen as a devout and firm conservative who will likely shift the party to the middle of the right-wing, sacrificing Vice President Verbloem's moderate establishment faction while staving off the far-right by adopting heavily modified(toned down, in reality) versions of their ideologies and values.

There has also been talk of a merger between the DCB and the Split Conservative Union(SCU) led by Sen. Dennis Ford(SCU-YC). A merger would likely lead to greater electoral success for the Santo-Dominian right-wing, and would also strengthen the DCB's already comfortable 209-seat majority in the National Senate by 2 seats, giving them 211 seats over the CoR's 189. However, Ford has been reluctant to explore the possibility of such an arrangement, and told reporters that "we don't want to do anything for now, we'll just sit and observe the DCB". He also dodged questions on whether the SCU was contributing to right-wing disunity by stealing far-right votes from the DCB, and became increasingly evasive when pursued by reporters after attending meetings in the National Senate Building.

President Goldberg's retirement has also brought the subject of age up for debate. Though Santos-Dominius is one of the freest countries in the world with a revolutionary system of direct democracy, there has been a prevailing trend of Presidents serving extremely-long, decade-spanning terms well into old age. Santo-Dominians tend to re-elect incumbent Presidents, and although President Goldberg's recent 1421 narrow re-election challenged this tendency, previous occupants of the Fribernese Fortress have never been kicked out by the voters. 1st President Bill Mulberry, the founder of the Federal Republic and author of the Constitution, retired in 1262 after serving 57 consecutive years beginning after independence in 1205. His successor, President Jan Davis Lovings, was elected in 1262 and served 44 consecutive years before being ousted by his own Country Liberal Party(the predecessor of the CoR) and fellow politician Eliot Klein, one of only two Presidents to have left office not of their own volition. Klein then served as the 3rd President for 49 years from 1306 to 1355, when he was defeated by the currently incumbent Goldberg.

President Goldberg has served 66 years till this day since crushing President Klein in the 1355 presidential election. Now, with his retirement, some are questioning: should Santos-Dominius continue to be ruled by elderly political behemoths from the era of the Patriotic Liberation? Or should new blood finally occupy the Fribernese Fortress? The 18-24 year old youth demographic - widely considered to be an increasingly important swing vote - swung decisively against the 96-year-old President Goldberg and the DCB, turning out in droves for the CLP's much-younger 55-year-old Sen. Jeremy Maxson(WS) in 1421 and nearly threatening to evict the former from office. The DCB's choice of presidential candidate for the next election in 1426 will determine whether the party can stay in the Santo-Dominian youth's good graces, and hence will likely make or break the party - especially since the CoR has progressively united itself in a gradually strengthening effort to dislodge the DCB from power in 1426 with the Sen. Bernstein, who is popular with university graduate voters, at the helm.

One thing, though, is certain: the day President Goldberg leaves office will mark the end of an era in contemporary Santo-Dominian politics. The centre-right veteran politician has made a name as a controversial, uncharismatic bore but also a thick-skinned and extremely adept fighter who has survived nearly every major political hurdle he has faced. His successor as leader of the DCB and the right-wing's presidential candidate will have huge shoes to fill, and so does Sen. Bernstein if we manages to wrestle control of the Federal Republic from the weakened centre-right at this moment of vulnerability.

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