edit Ouisconsin Sentinel— 17.NOV.2009— Covenant Loyalists, small parties gain big in Ouisconsin legislative elections
ST. FRANCIS, OUISCONSIN – The Covenant Loyalist Party emerged from the fray as the big winner of one of Ouisconsin's most contentious elections in recent memory. Tuesday's legislative election delivered an estimated 45% of seats in the Ouisconsin Council to the centrist party. The exact distribution of the Council's 66 "party list" seats will be determined over the next several days, but the CLs will clearly be the dominant faction in the provincial government for the next two years.
The results were a clear sign that voters were dissatisfied with the established parties and the overall state of Ouisconsian government. Throughout the province, campaigning had been marked by candidates from new or minority parties denouncing the policies and culture of the establishment, and by Whigs and Progressive Conservatives desperately trying to defend themselves. The Chicago-dominated Whig organization faced increasingly vitriolic charges of associating with Pègre leaders. The PCs, meanwhile, had to face accusations in riding after riding that their party was no different from the Whigs. It had long been predicted that Ouisconsin was ripe for a surge by the newer and smaller parties, and the CLs showed themselves best able to take advantage of the political climate.
Milwaukee Councillor Tomos Bernardd, one of the leading Whigs to defect to the Covenant Loyalists in 2006 and 2007, is expected to be elected to the powerful Speakership and thus have great influence over the makeup of the new Cabinet. The current Speaker, Chicago Whig Cullerton Jones, is expected to step down once the votes are counted and certified. CL winners of other prominent races include Daniel Beshkno Davis of Chicago, Gweniffer Lloneirof Kiwikapawa, and Kirk Whitethunder of Ho-Chunk.
The CLs will be approximately eight or nine seats short of a controlling majority in the Council and will therefore have to form a coalition government. In the current Council the CLs are the minority partner in a coalition with the Whigs, but with such a large share of the seats, the CLs' Ouisconsin chairman Rudolf Kind of Kiwikapawa says his party will likely partner with one of the smaller delegations.
"Our party is committed to enacting sensible reforms to address the profound challenges that our province is facing," said Kind. "We are negotiating with leaders from all other parties in the Council to find a partner that shares those goals."
In Ouisconsin, the bulk of the Covenant Loyalists are disaffected Whigs, with former Progressive Conservatives forming a definite minority within the party. Therefore, it is expected that the CLs will partner with a left-leaning party, such as the Ecotopics, a party that also captured many new seats in the election.
It was an election for small parties. For the first time in either party's history, the Ecotopic Party and the Three Fires Party of Ouisconsin won some electoral ridings outright. In previous elections, the Ecotopics captured only a few "party list" seats, while the right-leaning TFO has never contested for seats in the Council before.
Speaking from his party headquarters in Assiminehkon, TFO founder and chairman Georges Chopodoque was pleased with his party's showing. "In less than two years," he said in a speech televised to local campaign headquarters, "the Ouisconsian Three Fires have grown from absolutely nothing to being a strong voice for the common people of this province. They tried to keep us down in Chicago– in Milwaukee– in every place where powerful people look out for their interests. But we're going to keep growing, and in the meantime, I couldn't ask for a better man than Councilor Roscamp to head our delegation," referring to Andrew Roscamp, a Councilor-elect from Bodewadmi.
The Ecotopics, too, showed gains at the expense of the Whigs and PCs. Ecotopic candidates won five of Ouisconsin's 80 ridings. Two of these were outside the party's base in Four Nations: Douglas Scott won a seat from St. Francis, while Philippe Lièvre, the ex-Whig mayor of Saukenuk, won a seat from Othaaki.
Bernardd and other Covenant Loyalist leaders pledged repeatedly in the campaign to make ethics legislation and an anti-corruption program the top priority in their government. Steadily growing Pègre violence from the "Signioret Crime War" has made large majorities of Ouisconsians feel that the provincial government faces a "very urgent" corruption crisis, according to numerous recent polls. The CLs have also pledged to reform and strengthen the social safety net, a position that helped them capture a majority of the quickly growing Floridiano voting bloc in Chicago and Milwaukee.
In an unrelated press conference, General Moderator Albert Arnold Gore was asked to comment on his Whig party's substantial losses in Ouisconsin. He replied, "Well remember, the Covenant Loyalists are one half of my government, too. And they support my party's agenda, in particular reforming medical care. The Ouisconsin Whigs have their own local issues to sort out, but this vote is no setback for our agenda, absolutely not."