Social Democratic and Labour Party (Geadland)
|Social Democratic and Labour Party|
Σοσϊαλδεμοκρατενσ οχ Αρβειδερσπαρτϊετ
Sosjaldemokratens ogh Arbeiderspartjet
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|Deputy Leader||Angela Harlo|
|Merger of||Social Democrats|
|Student wing||Students for Social Democracy|
|Youth wing||Social Democratic Youth|
|Christian Wing||Christian Socialist Union|
|International affiliation||Alliance of Esquarian Socialists|
|Political position||Economic: Soft statist|
|House of Representatives|
|Geadish seats in the Esquarian Parliament|
The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) is a major political party in the Kingdom of Geadland. The SDLP was formed in 1951 by a merge between the Social Democrats and the Labour Party and has enjoyed high electoral success within Geadland. Since its formation, the SDLP has continually been the largest party in the Storting and every leader of the party has served as Prime Minister of Geadland, apart from the incumbent leader Samuel Stefansen.
In the 1952 election, the first to be contested by the merged SDLP, the party received 45% of the vote and 49.7% of the seats, which is to date the best performance of any political party in Geadland since the introduction of universal suffrage. The 1987 election, on the other hand, was the closest the SDLP came to falling into second place, coming within 1.3% of the vote and 5 seats to being overtaken by the Conservatives.
The party's full name in Geadish is Σοσϊαλδεμοκρατενσ οχ Αρβειδερσπαρτϊετ (Sosjaldemokratens ogh Arbeiderspartjet), literally meaning The Social Democrats and the Worker's Party. This consists of the names of the two predecessor parties. This is often abbreviated to as ΣΑ (SA) or Σoδαρπ (Sodarp) in Geadish, while in English the abbreviation SDLP is used.
The Original Parties
The two predecessor parties of the SDLP are the Social Democrats and the Labour Party. The Social Democrats were founded in 1875 as a union of several left-wing organisations, many of whom were founded during the Godolfen Uprising or the rule of Tomas Kirk. The Social Democrats' goal was to represent the urban working class, which was growing as a result of the Industrial Revolution in Geadland. The party first contested the 1879 general election, where they took 0.1% of the vote overall, contesting 15 districts. The expansion of the franchise in 1883 helped the party increase its support in the next three elections. Although it gained seats on local councils in several major cities, it failed to win any seats in the Storting during this time.
The Labour Party was created as a result of the labour movement in Geadland. The 1892 congress of the Trade Union Confederation (the national trade union centre of Geadland) passed a motion supporting to agree to found the Worker's Representation Committee (Αρβειδερσ Αφυαρδενδ Κομιτε) as their political wing. In the 1896 general election, the party won two seats in the House of Representatives in the mining towns of Halvelo and Standal. Soon after, they changed their name to the Worker's Party (Αρβειδερσ Παρτιετ), but were officially referred to in English as the "Labour Party".
During the early years of the 20th century, the two parties increased their support. The Social Democrats won their first seats in the House of Representatives in 1902 and replaced their leader Aleksis Herbertsen. The Labour Party won their first mayorships in the 1904 local elections and the Social Democrats emerged as a major force in the local elections in many major cities. The primary difference between the two parties was that the Social Democrats represented the working class in large cities, while the Labour Party were based in other industrial regions. Although the Labour Party was entirely surbordinate to its own affiliated trade unions, by 1912 the Social Democrats had more affiliated trade unions that they did.
The Social Democrats increased their strength sufficiently so that the two elections in 1910 both produced hung parliaments. The Liberal Party then formed a minority government with support from the Social Democrats in exchange for introducing universal suffrage. The 1914 general election was the first to be held after universal suffrage - and proportional representation was introduced. The two combined changes, and the addition of 43 seats, led to a great increase in seats for the two parties. The Social Democrats, now led by Erik Erskine, formed a coalition with the Liberals which lasted from 1914-1922. During this time, the Social Democrats pushed throuh several key government programs.
Support for both parties increased in 1918 and 1922. The Social Democrats took 26% of the vote in 1922, with most of their gains comming at the Liberals' expense. Both parties were sidelined from 1922-1930 when the country had two Liberal-Conservative coalitions. The Social Democrats lost seats in 1926, while the Labour Party made gains primarily at their expense. At this point, the Labour Party now emerged as a more left wing version of the Social Democrats.
In the 1930 general election, the two parties enjoyed a surge in support from 35% to 51%, winning a majority after the onset of the great depression led to a collapse in support for the Liberals. Erik Erskine then became the country's first social democratic Prime Minister. Erskine led the SD-Labour coalition to two more election victories, introducing reforms to rescue the economy and create the Geadish welfare state, including introducing universal healthcare. The coalition won 57% of the vote in 1938. After Erskine's death, the coalition still retained majority support in elections during the 1940s, with support drifting from the Labour Party to the Social Democrats.
The Merged Party
The 1950 general election was the first time support for the coalition dropped below 50%, but they still won a 5-seat majority. Part of the decline had been blamed on conflict between their two leaders Torbjörn Smid and Dafid Holler over several issues, especially foreign policy. It was decided to merge the two into a single party. The proposal was controversial but was eventually approved by the membership of both parties in 1951.
Smid called a snap election in 1952 with the hope the newly founded party would win a majority. However, the party finished just 2 seats short. This was partly due to several backbenchers who were unhappy about the merger forming continuation parties - the Independent Social Democrats and the Independent Labour Party. Both won seats but neither were able to establish themselves as a mainstream party and most of their members had joined the SDLP within the next five years. The Independent Social Democrats disbanded in 1956, but the Independent Labour Party remained active until 1972.
After Smid's resignation, he was replaced by Magnus den Rose, one of the last SDLP politicians of the Erskine era. In the 1956 general election, the SDLP also lost seats. After Den Rose's death in 1957, the SDLP decided to allow the former members of the Labour Party to nominate the next leader. Their most popular candidate was Pir Muinten, who became leader and prime minister. Muinten radicalised the SDLP, choosing to increase welfare programs and adopt a pro-Namor anti-colonial foreign policy.
In the 1960 general election, the SDLP suffered a historic loss when they lost enough seats to allow Micheil Pairsen to form the first right-wing government in 30 years, though it collapsed the following year. Karl den Haage-Are then led a stable but controversial right-wing government from 1965-1969. Henrik Abilo, who succeeded Muinten as leader after his assassination in 1967, then returned the SDLP to power for the next three elections.
Abilo's successor, Olaf Ulriksen, was forced to call a snap election in 1979 after receiving a vote of no confidence, which he lost to the Pact of '79 coalition. The new government began to reduce government spending and taxes. The SDLP won a chance to reverse the reforms after being returned to power in June 1983, but the alliance with minor left wing parties quickly collapsed over a gerrymandering scandal, resulting in a second election in November 1983 where the SDLP suffered (what remains to date) the largest loss of seats and support any party has received since the Liberals' collapse in 1930. Nevertheless, they remained the largest party by a relatively narrow margin.
Edvard Johansen was elected as the party's leader in 1984 and he sought to win back trust and support. Defeat in the 1987 election was expected but the SDLP narrowly managed to retain their position as the largest and most popular party, despite general predictions that they would be overtaken. The 1991 election saw the SDLP return to power and begin their longest time in government since the merge. Johansen's government was initially a coalition with the Socialist People's Party supported by minor parties, which proved highly unstable. However, successful foreign policy and disintegration of the right-win opposition led to a great revival in support for the SDLP. The 1997 election was a great victory for the SDLP, now led by Manfred Hägen, taking 43% of the vote and coming just 10 seats short of a majority.
The SDLP governed as a single-party minority government for the next eight years, holding on to nearly all of their support in 2001 but losing enough seats in 2005 to make it impossible to continue as such. For the first time, the SDLP then formed a coalition with the Liberal Party. This coalition stayed in power after the 2009 election, but became a minority government instead of a majority government. After 22 years in power, the SDLP were defeated in the 2013 election.
The 45-member National Committee is the responsible for the day-to-day governing of the party. Its composition consists of the following:
- The party leader, the deputy leader and the treasurer
- 5 members elected by its MPs (including senators)
- 15 elected by affiliated trade unions
- 5 elected by county councillors
- 5 elected by municipal councillors
- 10 elected by its membership at-large
- 1 elected by the Social Democratic Youth
- 1 elected by the Christian Socialist Union
The supreme decision-making body of the party is the National Conference. While any registered member may attend the actual conferences, only 600-1000 are giving voting powers - a mix of MPs, municipal and county councillors, union representatives, members of local associations and members of special organisations. The National Conferance can elect or recall senior officials in the party (though it does not elect the Party Leader), pass motions in support of various proposals and approve changes to the rule book. The National Conference convenes annually for three days in late September in various locations around the country.
The Party Leader (Partjeläder) is elected in two stages. First, the party's MPs (for both chambers) use a exhaustive ballot to choose the two final candidates. The party's membership then elects one of them as the leader using a postal ballot. The party leader can be challenged if a sufficient number of its MPs petition for a motion at the National Conference; if the motion is carried a leadership election is called. Within the party itself, the Party Leader's main duties are to preside over meetings of the National Committee and appoint officials (which requires approval from a party conference).
The party is divided into 15 county parties (Landspartiets), which are in turn divided into District Branches (Kreisfiljale) for every House of Representatives electoral district and Municipal Branches (Kommunsfiljale) for every municipality, though the smallest municipalities sometimes share associations. Every registered member will be a member of both the associations of both the branches of their district and their municipality. Both branches will elect a Committee, which will be led by a Secretary.
District Branches are responsible for conducting general election campaigns and selecting candidates in their district. Parliamentary candidates are nominated by District Branches using an exhaustive ballot. Multiple candidates are nearly always nominated in each district; these candidates are elected seperately. The National Committee has the power to override decisions if they have a reason to believe that a candidate is unsuitable.
Municipal Branches are responsible for conducting municipal election campaigns and selecting candidates for municipal councils. Members of the municipal branch can apply to be candidates in a ward if they have support from other members. The Municipal Committee then interviews candidates and chooses the candidates for each ward, while the members must then approve the candidates. If the Municipal Committee is too close when deciding on the candidate for a ward (even if there is a majority) the members elect the final candidate.
Each county party is led by a County Committee, elected by membership within the county. Candidates for elections to the County Assemblies are nominated by Municipal Branches. If an electoral district straddles municipalities, a candidate can be nominated by members of any of the Municipal Branches. The County Committee then interviews and selects candidates, with members of Municipal Branches also present. The Municipal Branches covering a candidate's district then decide whether to approve them, or will carry out the final vote if the County Committee is too close in its decision.