NOTE: This is a text-based update with pictures being graphs.
HOW ELECTIONS NOW WORK AT THE REGIONAL LEVEL
Holt District is located within the province of Orchidsen. The provincial legislature, where the majority of seats are held by the Orchidsen Liberal Party, recently passed into law that regional and munucipal political parties would now be permitted official status. This has led to wide, sweeping changed at the regional level, and lesser changes at the municipal level. At the regional level, the regional council is now elected on a party-based system, where the leader of the party which wins the largest number of regional seats becomes the regional government head, newly renamed the Regional Chancellor. This differs from the previous system, where the regional leader would be elected on a separate ballow from regional councillors. While councillors were free to note their political affiliation, there were no political parties, and the regional head was elected at-large. The reason for the change was lobbying by several major regions to introduce this system. It would more clearly outline the direction the region would take on major issues. While the new system is sitll not perfect, and the potential for deadlock still exists, it is hoped that it will lead to efficiencies in major regional votes and that decisions will represent a wider range of citizens views on issues that have an effect on the entire region. This is the first election with the party-based system. Independents are still welcome to run as regional councillors, however they are not in theory able to be directly elected Regional Chancellor If independents form the largest "party" (ie more independents than the largest number of seats held by one of the 4 main parties) there is to be a run off of sitting candidates, from the independents, to lead the region. This is also to be discussed further in the provincial legislature, depending on the results of this first province-wide regional/municipal elections turn out and function under their first term.
The leader of each party must run for district representative of one of the regions districts. Should they lose their district, but their party hold the plurality of seats, they will have to run in any future by-elections, and appoint a leader from those candidates elected.
It should be noted that a government cannot "fall", ie if a mart holds a minority. Depending on the deadlock created, the province may intervene. There is an expectation set forth by the province every reasonable effort to co-operate among the parties will be present in the event of a deadlock. Since many of the parties have some common elements in their platforms, it is unlikely every proposal would be shot down in the event of a minority.
HOW ELECTIONS NOW WORK AT THE MUNICIPAL LEVEL
The municipal elections will function differently than the regional elections. At the municipal, it is more-so a case of the introduction of municipal-level political parties and affiliations. Councillors will continue to be elected by ward in the municipality as they are now, with the number of councillors per ward set by the municipality with provincial approval as before. The mayor of each municipality will continue to be elected at-large. Councillors and mayors will now have party affiliations, with each party selecting candidates to run under their banner in each ward, and selecting a leader to run for the mayor's post. Under this system, it is possible one party holds the plurality of seats, but the mayor is from another political affiliation. Should the new format of regional elections not work, this system would be adopted for regional elections in the election following this campaign. The provincial government will reflect on the results, and how the regions operate under the upcoming terms. There is not as great a change at the municipal level.
THE 4 PARTIES
The following 4 parties run at the regional level. They also have "arms" in each of the municipalities in the region. Currently, no other parties exist at the municipal level, only the municipal arms of these 4 parties. This section does not include independents running.
UNION - THE HOLD DISTRICT UNION PARTY
This party is centre, centre-left. The party believe that development must be reigned in in the region. The Union Party supports ending the BOLDNEWHD plan introduced by the current regional government and developing a new plan which would see development occur at a slower pace. This would allow for a more cohesive development of the region, and to an extent give more power back to the municipalities. The Union Party believe the the major points of BOLDNEWHD are valid, and would support the continuation of the major projects introduced, but would slow the overall pace of development. The party is also looking into setting aside some undeveloped land for a large regional park and conservation area in the central portion of the region, between Kuhan and Flynn.
The Union Party also supports expanding social programs at the regional level, including the free-lunch program for under-priveledged children and expanding the regional affordable housing program currently in place.
PROGRESSIVES - THE PROGRESSIVE PARTY OF HD
This party is right-of-centre. The Progressives believe in continuing development as-is in the region, and expanding the scope of the BOLDNEWHD plan. The Progressive party supports expanding the intensification zone that is split between Flynn, Kuhan, Sherkston and Manatee to a wider area, to include the Kuhan CBD and surrounding area. The Progressive party if elected would take more development control from the municipalities with regards to projects related to BOLDNEWHD. It believes that Holt District's population should be pushed to the 20 million range, up from current estimates of a built-out population of 5-10 million. This would be achieved through intensification zone expansion, and the introduction of future intensification zones, including several along the Holt District coast.
The Progressive party supports the existing social programs at the regional level, no significant alterations would occur.
SODEMS - THE HOLT DISTRICT SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY
This party is left-leaning. The SODEMS believe in equality for all. The party supports expanding the Holt District affordable housing program to every municipality. It is looking to construct several thousand new units, and increase monetary support to those living in these projects. The SODEM party believes in expanding the scope of the region's job finding assistance program. It wants to expand it to secondary schools, and to increase the number of locations in the region. The party believes finding those out of work to be the number one priority. Given the number of avaiable jobs in the region, the party also wishes to launch a skill-retraining program to help those looking for work develop the skills to match the numerous positions available.
The SODEMS also believe in repealing all legislation related to BOLDNEWHD, except for developing a better education board (it wants the region's school to be top from in the province, up from third, in 2 years), pushing the provincial government for healthcare services expansion, and developing a better regional transit system. It also believe in returning the majority of planning back to the municipalities.
GREEN - THE GREEN PARTY OF HOLT DISTRICT
The green party is left-leaning to left-of-centre, with a focus on environmentalism. The Green Party proposes introducing a large greenbelt area to protect the undeveloped waterfront currently left in Holt District, and another to stop sprawl in the central portions of the region. The green party envisions of built-out Holt District, including greenbelt protected area, of 3.5 million. It believe development should be curtailed in the near future so as to be more sustainable in the future. It wishes to work with municipalities to strike a balance between development and green-space. The green-party also is looking to repeal development-related components of BOLDNEWHD. The party would introduce new planning policies to replace those currently in existence. The party also supports the expanding the regional affordable housing program.
The Green party opposes any additional highways, and proposes highway 40 only be widened to 6 lanes in the future, not 8-10. It supports the expansion of HDLRT throughout the region.