Valkyrian politics | Kate Murphy wins presidency, "queenmaker" situation in Parliament
By Tara Cross, Lyle Williams, and Allie Vega, KTN News
Monday, 8 July 2019
Stockholm (KTN) — On Sunday, the Valkyrian general election drew to a close and led to the election of Kate Murphy as the first President of the Valkyrian Republic. As for the chancellery, negotiations are underway to form a new government. Before a hometown audience in Darwin, Chancellor Margaret Harrison said that she will renegotiate for a new coalition agreement to form the Alliance of Social Democrats for another term. Across the river in Sydney, Conservative leader Stella Kaufman said she will pursue a three-party coalition with the Centrist Democratic Party and The New Right. If the projected results stand, it appears that Centrist Democratic leader Bradley Murphy will be the kingmaker. Harrison and Kaufman are the most likely candidates for chancellor. Because both candidates are women, commentators are calling the Centrist Democratic leader the "queenmaker".
The Centrist Democratic leader will be the one to decide whether Harrison or Kaufman will become the Chancellor of the Valkyrian Republic. As of Sunday, the Alliance of Social Democrats is certain to consist of the Labor Party, the Populists of the Left, and the Socialist Party, comprising 37.9 per cent of seats in Parliament. In order to retain their majority in Parliament, the Alliance of Social Democrats will need the support of the Centrist Democratic Party and either The Greens or the Liberal Party. On the right wing of Parliament is the New Conservative Coalition, which consists of the Conservative Party and The New Right, who comprise 42.9 per cent of seats in Parliament. In order to win a majority of seats in Parliament, the New Conservative Coalition will need the support of the Centrist Democratic Party.
Centrist Democratic Party
The New Right
* The Social Democrats is an electoral alliance between the Labor Party and the Populist Left.
Projected composition of the 2nd National Assembly (by party)
Left to right: Socialist, Labor, Populist Left, Green, Liberal, Centrist Democrat, Conservative, The New Right
The New Right
Centrist Democratic Party
Populists of the Left
Social democracy, agrarianism
Projected composition of the 2nd National Assembly (by bloc)
Left to right: Alliance of Social Democrats, unaligned, New Conservative Coalition
New Conservative Coalition
Alliance of Social Democrats
Kate Murphy represented Stockholm's 3rd constituency in Parliament between 2017 and 2019
In the presidential election, Kate Murphy of the Labor Party won the election and finished with 55.2 per cent of the vote in the final-two ballot against Centrist Democratic candidate Victor Cutter and became the first woman in history to be elected as the head of state of both Qvait and Winston Island. As president, Kate Murphy will become the commander-in-chief of the Valkyrian Defence Forces and have the power to break ties in the Citizens Assembly, call referendums, and dissolve the parliament upon the recommendation of a majority in both chambers of Parliament.
A member of Parliament, Kate Murphy has been known to be a staunch supporter of the chancellor. Between 2005 and present day, she has represented Stockholm either in part or in whole at both the municipal and national level. Since 2017, Kate Murphy has represented Stockholm's 3rd constituency and her attention has been centred on securing more state funding for universities, research and development, and increased subsidies for technology companies. Outside of politics, she is a mechanical engineer with an accompanying doctorate from the University of Stockholm. Her specialisation in the field is biomedical engineering. Even though she has not worked in her profession, Kate Murphy has made great efforts as a politician to make sure that her interests in the matter are well-funded by the state.
Ideologically, Kate Murphy is a social democrat, just like most in her party, but the democratic socialist tendencies of her city are reflected in her views. As such, she supports the nationalisation of some parts of industry, particularly arms manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. In 2017, she argued that "industries essential to the safety and security of the state should be nationalised" while allowing other aspects of industry to remain in the private sector. As a member of Parliament, Kate Murphy has regularly hosted town hall meetings alongside the Socialist MPs who also represent parts of Stockholm, including Socialist deputy leader Steve Bennett. At one of these meetings in 2018, Bennett joked that Kate Murphy was "the most popular socialist who wasn't a member of the Socialist Party".
When asked about her political affiliation, Kate Murphy said in 2019 that her parents' membership in the Labor Party was the only reason why she herself became a member of the party. Even though the Socialist Party has newfound political strength in a multi-party system, Kate Murphy said that the Labor Party "is and always will be [her] home", but has quipped that the Socialist Party "is [her] secondary home". Her popularity among those in the Socialist Party has prompted several of their members of Parliament to hand Kate Murphy registration papers to switch parties. However, this effort has been made by some Liberal MPs who had defected from the Labor Party over "the socialist tilt" that has occurred under Harrison's leadership, hoping that they could regain social liberal control over the party as was done in 2005.
Among those on the Valkyrian left, Kate Murphy is viewed as a "unity figure" for the core parties of the Alliance, threading a thin line between social democracy and democratic socialism. During the election campaign, an in-house poll was conducted in May on the inter-party approval of each presidential candidate. The poll found that 94 per cent of Labor Party members, 92 per cent of Populist Left members, 89 per cent of Socialist Party members, and 85 percent of The Greens held a positive view of Kate Murphy. Paradoxically, she also polled well among those within the Centrist Democratic Party (46 per cent) and the Liberal Party (42 per cent), in spite of their reservations toward socialism. The Conservative Party and The New Right were the only two parties where a majority of members held a negative view of Kate Murphy.
According to political historian Ralph Owens, Kate Murphy has a choice of either playing a neutral role as president or that of an activist one, both of which will influence the behaviour of future presidents. In an interview with KTN, the political historian said, "[Kate Murphy] is going to assume a role that no other person has ever held in an elected capacity and the choices she makes in the next six years will shape the choices that all of her successors will make." Owens argued that the path Kate Murphy will take is dependent on which bloc becomes the government, "If the Alliance remains in government, she will be neutral. If the Coalition wins the election, she will be an activist." Owens also stated that Kate Murphy could use her position as a stepping stone to the chancellery, aiming to become Valkyria's head of government when her term ends.
Centrist Democratic leader Bradley Murphy is being called the "queenmaker"
The New Conservative Coalition, which will be led by Stella Kaufman in the next Parliament, has made several campaign pledges: the establishment of an agency with police, military, and intelligence gathering powers; the closing of the Office of Cultist Movement Investigations; and a referendum on Valkyria's membership in the World Forum. From October 2018 to May 2019, Marcus Bailey of Valkyria was the Speaker of the Assembly of the World Forum, spearheading Harrison's Brighter Horizon programme. However, a Coalition victory may revert all of the foreign policy actions that Harrison made since taking office in 2016. Furthermore, reorganisation of the Valkyrian security apparatus and a promise of additional military funding shows a potentially more aggressive military policy for the country.
In spite of facing a much more difficult path to majority, approval of the Alliance of Social Democrats remains stable at 57 per cent. According to an in-house poll, 62 per cent of Valkyrians approve of the Alliance's agenda and, more specifically: 71 per cent of Valkyrians approve of the Alliance's handling of health policy, 72 per cent approve of their education policy, and 77 per cent approve of their labour policy. During the campaign, Alliance candidates spent the majority of their time speaking on these three public policies and promising to oppose any form of privatisation and deregulation in these areas. Domestic policy was at the forefront of the Alliance's campaign, with only some time spent defending Valkyrian membership in the World Forum and the government's response to the Reizen Civil War and other conflicts in the region where the country has played only a minimal or nonexistent role in their resolution.
Standing between Harrison and Kaufman is Bradley Murphy, the Centrist Democratic Party leader who holds the metaphorical keys to the kingdom. Up to the election, the party leader was tight-lipped about choosing between the Alliance and the Coalition, voicing support for both the former's social policy and the latter's security policy. Owens stated that Bradley Murphy's position as kingmaker almost guarantees him the position as Foreign Secretary in the next government, "His role is so important that it would not be surprising to see the Populists of the Left and The New Right hand over the SFA position, opting to take the Home Secretary post." Either way the Centrist Democratic Party leader goes, Bradley Murphy will have a strong hand in the agenda of the governing coalition for the next three years.
Other significant election results:
Alleged cultist leader Jake Marshall has won a seat in the Valkyrian Parliament as a member of The New Right
The Socialist Party's dominance in the Stockholm City Council wanes as three of their seats are taken by the Labor Party
The Alliance of Social Democrats (Labor Party, Socialist Party, and The Greens) have won control of the Sydney City Council
The New Right has won an outright majority in the Silesian Parliament
The United Conservative Alliance (Centrist Democratic Party and Conservative Party) have won control of the Winston Island Parliament
The New Conservative Coalition (Conservative Party and The New Right) have won control of the Algonquin Parliament
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