The Progress Party (Fortschritts Partei), often known simply as Progress or the Progressives is a political party in Dorvik founded in May 4046. It runs on mostly a big-tent platform, in its early days advocating a more liberal and progressive set of policies than the then ruling far-right Dorvish Social Nationalist Party. It was formed by a large group of local politicians and citizens in the nation to create bridge between the far-right and far-left politics dominating the nation in the form on the DSNP and the SED. Throughout its history its policies have varied somewhat, but generally stays near the political centre-ground. Currently it houses social-liberal and centrist policies.
Its current leader is Bernhart Günzburg who is also the current President of the Dorvish Republic, whilst its parliamentary leader, which leads the party in the State Council is incumbent Finance Minister Sara Voight.
Party founder Eberhard Ackner who is also the first party leader and presidential candidate rose to fame quickly, with his staunch opposition to the extreme establishment garnering him much praise. The party rose to first place in opinion polls relatively soon and after robust campaigning, won both its first presidential and general election. The party slipped in popularity minorly for the next election in 4053 but was enough to reduce them from first to third place. However they managed to remain in government, this time as a junior partner in the wartime National Coalition with historic rivals the DSNP. However the party won its first majority, albeit slim in the following election. Ever since then the party has been in and out of power numerous times. The party is considered to be one of the most successful in the history of the Dorvish Republic, due to holding some form of power through the majority of the time since it was founded, rivaled only by the DSNP in terms of long-term success.
Since its inception, the party has remained one of the major political forces in Dorvik, alternating between first, second and third place in terms of the popular vote and seats until a collapse in support following the Dorvish State Election, 4131 where the party dropped to fifth place, and continuing to drop places in the next two elections. The party has had eight Presidents and nine State Chancellors.
In 4114, the party created an electoral alliance with the Radical Party, the Progress/Radical Alliance which lasted until 4133 when the alliance reformed into a looser coalition known as the Alliance for Democracy.
In January 4159 following a string of poor election results, the party re-branded and merged into some disgruntled libertarian voters to form the Progress Democrats. Adopting more classical liberal policies than the original party, and earlier more socially conservative ones before a gradual shift toward the party's more traditional social values, the Progress Democrats lasted until 4207 before rebranding to become simply known as Progress.
Formation and Early YearsEdit
During the mid 4040s, Dorvik was experiencing a surge in dissatisfaction in the established order. Working class voters in particular responded positively to the Progress Party's message early on with Eberhard Ackner at the time of the party's founding frequently topping polls as the nations most popular political leader. Despite the People's Movement also gaining strong traction, the Progressives remained the overall favourite among working class voters. By the time of the 4049 elections, the Progress Party established a clear lead in the polls and as such won the presidential election with party leader Eberhard Ackner standing for the position and became the largest party in the State Council with 169 of a possible 500 seats. Following the party's victory, they proposed a coalition with the People's Movement to block the DSNP out of government, making them the largest opposition party.
One of the party's focal points is opposition to National Service, with one of its election pledges being to trigger a referendum on the matter. As such with the party being elected in the 4049 elections, in February 4050 the party delivered its promise. However the electorate overwhelmingly rejected the measure with only 23.86% voting with the Progress Party to remove it. The Progress Party managed more reforms, however with the onset of war and the growth of the People's Movement, the 4053 election resulted in the Progress Party dropping from first to third place despite a mere net loss of 17 seats. The DSNP regained its position as the largest party. In order to create a stable government to lead the nation, the DSNP and the Progress Party reluctantly formed a coalition, with the People's Movement refusing to work in this National Coalition. It is thought the Progress Party agreed to work with the DSNP on the grounds their politicians were widely regarded as the best to deal with military situations and it would be more democratic for them to lead the government due to them coming first in the election. During this parliament, most effort was put into the war as opposed to any domestic change. In this period the People's Movement also became increasingly inactive, eventually withdrawing from politics as a whole.
Whilst party leader and President Eberhard Ackner remained popular, parliamentary leader and ex-State Chancellor Ägidius Van Houten's popularity within the party was decisively slipping. He was also being seen as increasingly right-wing and incompetent. Olivia Schickedanz, a more liberal member of the party despite never holding any major posts successfully challenged Van Houten to a leadership election, a year after the party had lost the general election. Schickedanz became instantly more popular than her predecessor, and became especially popular following the dissolution of the People's Movement and became the main left-wing political figurehead in the nation. Despite never being fully supportive of the National Coalition, she decided it would be for the good of the country to stick with it until at least the next election.
By the time the election was due in 4057, tensions were gradually dimming. Despite the shadow cabinet remaining identical to as it was during Van Houten's time, with Schickedanz leading it the party looked much fresher than the comparatively worn out DSNP. The party won a slim majority in the election and it was decided to end the national coalition in favour of a full Progressive cabinet. The DSNP blasted the move as foolish due to the ongoing war, but Schickedanz maintained that her party was perfectly equipped to deal with the situation themselves and resolved to end the war as soon as possible.
This term sparked much controversy, whilst critically acclaimed by liberals in the country, conservatives and nationalists blasted Ackner and Schickedanzs leadership of the nation. One such controversy was when President Ackner famously mixed up Aloria and Dundorf in a speech offering to end the war, offering peace to Aloria whilst it was Dundorf that the conflict was ongoing with. However the notion of offering peace under any circumstances, of which the terms for ending the war was rejected anyway, was highly controversial and practically a first for Dorvik. Perhaps the next most controversial part of this term however was in 4060 when the party decided to ignore the National Service Referendum result from ten years prior, and remove it regardless. This is mostly thought due to the fact the public's view on the service has soured within the past decade. However the nation was still somewhat split, with conservatives voicing their outrage at the decision. The military also announced their intention to ignore the new law, a move which President Ackner blasted as "illegal".
These controversies cultivated in the assassination of Schickedanz in March 4060. Whilst attending a rally with President Ackner and the newly unveiled party leader Kurt Bacher. Bacher was making his first speech in public as the new party leader when gunman Heinrich Hölder shot Schickedans directly in the heart. Security fired back at Hölder before he could kill anyone else. He had voiced criticism at the recent government policies including their handling of the Dundorf war and the removal of mandatory National Service, and has had links with some minor fascist and nationalist organisations.
Following Schickedanz's assassination, Foreign Affairs minister Niels Pfaff became the next party leader and State Chancellor almost immediately; the party voted in favour of him unopposed. Pfaff organized a new cabinet and undertook the first major re-shuffle in the party's history, ushering in a younger, fresher team. Pfaff is seen as even more liberal than Schickendanz was, proposing a multitude of new progressive policies very soon after he entered office.
Kurt Bacher is also seen as distinctively more liberal than predecessor Eberhard Ackner. Bacher was an early supporter of the Progress Party, he voted in favour of revoking mandatory National Service in the 4050 Referendum, heavily campaigning with the Progress Party on the matter. Being drafted in the military upon leaving school, Bacher opted to join the military as opposed to the Civilian Service due to the military paying more than the Civilian Service and coming from a poor background, he and his family were desperate for any money they could get, often being so poor they could barely make ends meet. However he found his experience in the military highly traumatic, one event which stayed with him for the rest of his life was when he and his platoon were ambushed and he saw his best friend killed. As soon as he left the military he required counseling for the next four years. Eventually he entered politics, joining the Progress Party and pushing for improved social security and revocation of mandatory National Service. Despite being youthful compared with many of his colleagues, he soon climbed up the ranks in his party due to his inspirational and impassioned speeches along with his background. When Eberhard Ackner announced in 4060 he would step down as party leader and not run for the next Presidential Election, Bacher was quickly touted as the frontrunner for the position. Many who initially thought of running decided not to and instead endorsed Bacher, by the time the internal leadership election took place he only had one rival whom failed to gain much momentum.
Following Kurt Bacher officially winning the leadership election, he, current leader and President Eberhard Ackner and State Chancellor Olivia Schickedanz attended a party rally for Bacher to make his first public speech after officially being announced as the next leader and Presidential hopeful. However that night was when Schickedanz was assassinated. This had a direct effect on Bacher (along with Ackner and many within the party). Bacher and Pfaff agreed on a crackdown on terrorism and campaigned for the next election partly stating they would do so.
In 4060, the DSNP formally disbanded following a string of controversies relating to Schickedanz's death. Despite initially no link to the party being made in her death, it was later found out senior DSNP politicians funded the killer, Heinrich Hölder with weaponry and information on the security details in order go give him the best chance of success. Despite the official leadership of the party condemning these moves, it was decided in a court that the party should be disbanded, plus many figures in the party agreed it would be the moral thing. With many party figures ageing anyway, many retired from politics. Due to this, an election was called a year earlier than scheduled. Three parties gained seats which did not before. Among these was the National Fascist People's Party, seen as the successor of the DSNP but employing more radically populist policies in the form of stronger nationalist tendencies, a more militaristic approach but more left-leaning economic policies. The NFPP attracted the largest number of votes and seats in the election, earning a majority reducing the Progress Party to the official opposition. This is mostly thought to be as their populist approach resonated well with former Progressive voters whilst their nationalist rhetoric and jump in the polls attracted the majority of former DSNP voters. The Steel Helmet, League of Front Soldiers became the third largest party. Ideologically this party bore the most resemblance to the DSNP and attracted the furthest right that formerly belonged to it, however it failed to gain as much traction as the NFPP due to their calmer, more establishment friendly campaigning. In addition to these parties, the Free Conservative Party also contested in this election and came last, mostly drawing away moderate and fiscally right leaning Progressive voters. However Kurt Bacher managed to win the Presidency, although this is mostly thought to have happened as the NFPP didn't field a Presidential candidate and instead focused on parliamentary elections.
Soon after this, Niels Pfaff who was widely seen as an emergency replacement for Schickedanz anyway resigned as party leader, after less than a year in the position. His successor was elected soon after in the form of Steffen Rosengarten. Rosengarten had a good working relationship with Kurt Bacher despite being from the more libertarian wing of the party. Soon the Steel Helmet, League of Front Soldiers and the Free Conservative Party dissolved leaving only the Progress Party and the NFPP, although just prior to the next election a Communist Party founded, not winning any seats. The NFPP's four year term was seen as largely ineffective with very little change actually happening; they only proposed one bill in this time, not even passing due to constitutional amendments not supported by the Progressives. meanwhile the only bills that did pass were mostly the work of the Progress Party. This coupled with the NFPP's increasingly aggressive paramilitary and the perceived strong, able leadership of Kurt Bacher as president resulted in a significantly stronger showing for the Progress Party in the 4064 election, with their best showing at the time and jumping to first place, securing a majority. Steffen Rosengarten became the State Chancellor. This term saw paramilitaries being illegalized however the NFPP's paramilitary refusing to disband, although officially the party denounced the paramilitary despite the paramilitary continuing to operate in its name. It intervened in some international affairs in countries such as Dundorf and Aloria, working with other National Socialist movements. Kurt Bacher, already known as a pacifist condemned this and worked hard to try and neutralize the threat.
By the time the 4068 came around, the Communist party significantly grew and the NFPP's militant supporters were mostly neutralized. With all polls indicating no party would be able to reach an agreement, President Bacher entered talks with the Communists founder Johannes Malva, agreeing on a truce to block the NFPP from government. They agreed that in the likely result of a hung parliament, the two parties would enter a formal coalition. On top of this, the Communists decided not to field a candidate for the Presidential election, instead endorsing Kurt Bacher for a third term. As part of the agreement, the two parties agreed not to campaign as hard against eachother, especially in regions where one party was significantly stronger than the other. The two parties also had enough time before the election to decide key policies. In the end Bacher decided to call the election in July as opposed to waiting until its set time in November due to all bills in parliament being passed.
In the election campaign, the NFPP mostly campaigned against the dangers of a Progress-Communist government and fears about their inability to address defense situations, to which many within both parties rebuked easily, pointing instead to the NFPP's radicalized supporters, however this had a mixed effect seeing the party does not officially condone the actions of their militant voters. The NFPP also attacked the fact that despite polls indicating they would become the largest party, the Progress and Communist parties would get away with forming a coalition, which they blasted as undemocratic. Again the two parties pointed to the NFPP's track record and especially attacked their unpassed bill "Path to a Greater Dorvik" which included the proposal of changing the election cycle from every four to every six years. As expected, the election resulted in the NFPP becoming the largest party, despite loosing seats. The Progress Party came second, with the Communists coming third. Kurt Bacher also won re-election in the Presidential election due to the backing of the Communists
The beginning of the Coalition's term ran smoothly although differences between the two parties began to surface. The Communists, as widely expected brought forward economically socialist policies, many of which moved to eradicate private industry and implement a communist system. Although this was opposed by the Progress Party, due to the NFPP's backing these bills, referred to as "The Koloman Plan" passed with ease. This lead to unrest with economic liberals and moderates, whose presence within the party began to grow, eventually for the first time becoming the dominant faction within the party. Steffen Rosengarten who beforehand was classed within the moderate wing of the party soon to become associated with the more economically liberal, mostly due to the influence of many party members. Kurt Bacher, who before was associated with the more left-leaning side of the party also became more associated with economically liberal and moderate policies, although throughout his third term rebuked this, claiming instead to be "a true progressive, not a regressive socialist".
Speculation began to arise as to whether a Progress/Communist coalition would continue into a second term if left with a similar election result to the 4068 election, but key party figures assured they would rather pursue that option than be locked out of government or let the NFPP into government, and tried to highlight achievements of the coalition other than the Koloman Plan, such as social and justice reforms. Despite the party officially wanting to continue the coalition if left with a Hung Parliament, many within the party have blasted the Koloman Plan, including future party leader Gary Ziegler, part of the libertarian flank of the party.
In December 4071, seven months before the next elections were scheduled, incumbent party leader and President Kurt Bacher announced he would not seek re-election for a fourth term, stating his work "was done and a new voice to address the issues Dorvik is needed". It has been speculated Bacher would retire as President well before the announcement was made, with speculation being made as to who would take the mantle. Carolin Fahrenheit, Minister of Environment and Tourism was heavily touted as the frontrunner for quite some time and was also the first to announce her candidacy for the leadership election.
In an opinion poll with 5,000 members of the general public, Kurt Bacher was voted the best Dorvish President of the 41st Century, although nearly tying with his predecessor Eberhard Ackner, with the last DSNP President Thorismund von Petrov coming third.
Gary Ziegler & Marvin SteinEdit
Eventually after Carolin Fahrenheit, Niklaus Klein and Benedikt Ehrenreich announced their candidacies for the leadership election, Gary Ziegler who was heavily expected to pursue leadership confirmed he would stand in the election on Boxing Day. The last candidate to announce they were standing was Marvin Stein to add a more traditionally progressive voice into the debate. It wasn't long until Ziegler was heavily challenging Fahrenheit as the frontrunner, with him capitalizing from the growing economic liberalism within the party and his staunch opposition to the Koloman plan. He soon catapulted into first place in opinion polls, eventually earning a comfortable lead over Fahrenheit. This lead to him eventually gaining more endorsements from MSCs than Fahrenheit, finalizing his position as the main frontrunner. However both of them had substantially more support than any of their rivals.
Eventually after a strong campaign capitalizing on opposition to the Koloman Plan, Gary Ziegler won the first round with 37.91% of the votes, over his nearest competition Carolin Fahrenheit's 26.45%. After a one on one debate with Fahrenheit, he managed to win the leadership election with 52.90% of the vote as opposed to Fahrenheit's 47.10%. Following the completion of the leadership election, a few days later in March 4072 Ziegler attended a party rally with Kurt Bacher and Steffen Rosengarten, with Bacher officially handing over party leadership to Ziegler and endorsing him for the next Presidential election, as had every official in the Progress Party. In his maiden speech as the official leader of the Progress Party, Gary Ziegler thanked the party's members for voting for him and laid out his ambitions and plans he would implement of he and his party win the next election, and also looked forward to "hopefully working with Mr Rosengarten, who so far has proven to be a great State Chancellor".
Despite being very popular with grassroot voters, Ziegler lead the party into a decisive defeat in the elections that year, coming third in both the State and Presidential elections. This was attributed to the rise in militant left-wing politics which the party was seen as opposed to it, with the Koloman Plan at the time of implementation being popular among the electorate. This lead to Marvin Stein challenging Zeigler for leadership of the party, and succeeding due to many in the party feeling there was a need to move the party further to the left. This made Ziegler the shortest serving leader of the party to date, at under a year, although Stein served for little longer. It was around this time the NFPP dissolved due to party in-fighting following their failure to reach any coalition agreement or able to form a minority government, with the Communists temporarily giving the Progress Party a minority government. A snap election was called in 4073, with the both the Progress Party and Communists making substantial gains due to the dissolution of the NFPP. Despite improved performance under Stein, he had little time to disassociate the party from the more fiscally liberal policies of Gary Ziegler. Following the snap election, Stein decided it was right for him to resign.
Following the resignation of Marvin Stein, a leadership election was called immediately. Hugo Glehn was seen as the front runner immediately and by many was seen as the only serious candidate. Glehn had more in common with the liberal wing of the party than the Progressive wing, which was seen as the natural direction for the party. Populist Niklaus Klein who competed in the first 4072 leadership election competed again, with a minorly improved performance since appealing further to the right of the party, whilst Julius Neumark stood on behalf of the progressive Steinite side of the party. Glehn won a landslide with 79.86% of the ballot in the first round.
Meanwhile in the parliamentary side of the party, Carolin Fahrenheit who competed in the 4072 leadership election won the parliamentary leadership of the party, succeeding Steffen Rosengarten who held the role for 13 years. Fahrenheit was seen as the most suitable candidate due to her belonging in the more moderate side of the party, having a better crossover appeal than Glehn to disenfranchised Communists.
This term was fought once again mostly over the Koloman Plan, which was decreasing in popularity. However despite the party capitalizing off this, the State Election resulted in the Communists remaining the largest party, albeit only four seats ahead of the Progress Party. The second round of the Presidential Election was even closer, with the difference between Malva and Glehn being only just over one percent. Due to the arrival of the AfD, the Communists lost their majority, running a minority government. There was speculation as to whether Glehn would resign as party leader following the election result, but due to strong support within the party he decided to stay on, however Fahren heit was replaced as parliamentary party leader by Wilhelm Raabe from the libertarian wing of the party. There was also speculation directly after the election whether the Progress Party would join a coalition, either in the form of a grand-coalition with the Communists or with a fiscally conservative one with the AfD, however the party decided instead to allow the Communists to lead a minority government, with Glehn and the party instead focusing on repealing the Koloman plan. Due to the party's success with this, many analysts said they thought the Progress Party was actually the true ruling party in all but name.
Come the April 4081 Elections, the Koloman Plan was almost completely made redundant due to the efforts of the Progress Party and the AfD. With the rise of more nationalist parties once more, both the Progressives and Communists support declined, however the Communist saw the worst defeat of the two, dropping to third place behind the AfD, whilst the Progress Party rose to first place despite a loss of 80 seats. Hugo Glehn also won the Presidential Election. It was decided that Party would lead a minority administration, which was short lived due to the Communists dissolving a mere few months later. As such, another election was called, with the Progress Party remaining in first place and gaining 63 seats. The party again decided a minority government would be preferable to a coalition, and the next term was mostly defined by Glehn and Raabe's economic reforms.
For the 4085 Elections, the party campaigned on the successes of the 4081 terms and the stability in Dorvik seen under Glehn and Raabe's leadership. The party lost 21 seats in the parliamentary election, but again remained the largest party. Meanwhile, Glehn won a landslide in the second round of the Presidential due to the endorsements of the AfD and Imperial Party, blocking Gottfried von Lichtmann of the National People's Party from attaining the Presidency. The Progress Party again decided to stay as a minority government as opposed to entering a coalition. This term had less radical changes than the previous, but Glehn's leadership of the nation in particular was seen as positive.
There was much debate as to whether Glehn would stand down for the 4089 Elections. Despite only serving just over two terms and the previous three Presidents (Malva Bacher and Ackner) serving a full three terms, Glehn had already competed in a previous Presidential election and lost before winning in April 4081. If Glehn did stay on and serve a full term until 4093 which seemed likely, then he will have lead the party for a full twenty years, unprecedented for a Progress Party leader (with Ackner previously holding the record of longest serving leader at 14 years). However Glehn had no intention of retiring, being enthusiastic about a third full term as President. Wilhelm Raabe was also enthusiastic about serving a third term as State Chancellor and the pair campaigned vigorously in the elections. Again, security and successes of the party's work was emphasized, as well as highlighting the threats other parties posed to the nation. The elections were essentially a repeat of 4085, with Glehn winning the Presidency with the same endorsements and a similar margin as of the previous election, and in the State Council the party lost a mere 14 seats. However over the years with the Progress Party's representation decreasing, the party decided this time it would be beneficial to seek a coalition partner. The AfD, the more moderate of the three nationalist parties was seen as the natural choice and the two parties agreed to form a coalition.
This last term of Glehn's proved to be relatively quiet, with little major reforms occurring, however due to the party being in coalition with the AfD, this was the first time the government had a stable majority since the Communist Party held a majority government from 4073-4077.
In 4093 as widely expected, Hugo Glehn announced he would not seek a fourth term and the party begun the process for a leadership election. Arnold Sterling entered the race as the frontrunner and eventually won the contest on a platform praising Glehn's reforms but also espousing a more centrist and liberal agenda. Sterling became the first black leader of a major political party in Dorvik, which bemused many nationalists. Despite this, Sterling remained confident throughout his campaign, and refused to try playing the race card in his favour, instead trying his upmost to run an issues based campaign. Wilhelm Raabe resigned as the parliamentary party leader at the same time Glehn resigned as the national party leader, paving the way for Marcus Scheuer to take his place. Scheuer is the youngest parliamentary party leader to date, and was younger when taking office to that of Kurt Bacher, who was the national party leader and later President of Dorvik, and is also younger than Arnold Sterling. As such, Sterling and Scheuer were the youngest ticket the Progress Party has ever fielded.
Come the 4093 elections, Sterling won the presidency, succeeding Hugo Glehn and becoming the 19th President of the Dorvish Republic. In the State Council despite a large drop of 63 seats, the party remained the largest. There was turbulence forming a government, as such the Progress Party ran a short lived minority government before an election the next year was called. This saw Sterling returned as President, performing significantly better in the second round than the previous year. However in the State council despite a small gain of 3 seats, the party dropped to second place. The National People's Party for the first time became the largest party in the State Council. The party decided to first try and give the NVP a shot at forming a government, feeling it would be fairer as they had a bigger mandate. However after a historic difficulties in forming a government, the party reluctantly entered a grand-coalition with the NVP and the Imperial Party. Although many within the party were against, it was praised as the "pragmatic and mature thing to do" by Sterling.
This term marked a mostly quiet premiership by NVP State Chancellor Ferdinand von Braun, and was most notable for clashes between the DSU and the Imperials. The Progress Party, especially for the early and middle part of the term were also fairly quiet in comparison to the now infamous clashes, but nearer the end of the term began to become more noticed. This mostly happened after a coup against Marcus Scheuer by Christine Schulze for the role of the party's parliamentary leader. Schulze was popular among the backbench of her party in particular, and eventually higher up figures in the party due to Scheuer's perceived ineffectiveness. Upon Schulze's election the party began to attack the rest of the State Council more vigorously. Whilst Sterling and Scheuer were mostly seen as similar, Schulze was a stark contrast, which benefitted the party due to having a wider appeal than the previous pairing.
The 4098 elections showed this, although the party made a substantial gain in the State Council of 59 seats, Sterling narrowly lost the Presidency in what at the time was the narrowest second round of a Presidential in recent memory. Despite a strong showing in the first round, having a clear lead over his opponents mostly due to being endorsed by the AfD, Sterling didn't make enough gains for the second round which was just won by Gottfried von Lichtmann of the National People's Party, who had run as the party's candidate for every presidential election it has contested. Factors for this were the wider public's dissatisfaction with Sterling's premiership and the electorates desire for a non Progress president, the party having won every presidential election since April 4081 at that point. In public polls, Sterling has been rated as one of the worst Presidents of the 41st Century, whilst the party's other three presidents (Ackner, Bacher and Glehn) often being rated as among the best. It is also widely regarded that if Christine Schulze stood for President instead of Sterling, it's likely she could have won it and become the Dorvish Republic's first female President.
Despite the party loosing the Presidency in 4098, in the State Council the party has a strong showing, due to the collapse in DSU support and the popularity of Schulze. The pro-life stance of the DSU put progressives off the DSU who had supported it previously, and instead switched back to Progress. What also helped was public opinion being high for Schulze, with her approval ratings peaking at 59%, with even members of different parties showing admiration towards her. When Schulze decided to enter a coalition with the Imperial Party, many, particularly the progressives within the party were cautious and became less trusting of Schulze. However the term had been generally regarded as one of the most successful in recent years, due to the two parties running a smoother government than the previous few and its economic reforms which received praise from almost all corners of the political spectrum.
Schulze was appointed both the party leader nationally and the parliamentary party leader, the first time the Progress Party has had one person in both positions. To compensate for this, the post of Deputy Leader was created, and filled with Steffen Oldenberg. The plan was for Schulze to run for President, and if she was successful Oldenberg would take over as Parliamentary Party leader, whilst if not Schulze would remain as the parliamentary leader.
The biggest turbulence of this term was near the end when the party's coalition partners decided to dissolve and not stand in further elections. Cabinet members from the Imperial Party decided to stay on in the cabinet as independents until the next election, and the Progress Party briefly lead a minority government. The main reason for the Imperial's demise was many within the party grew loyalties to different causes; the moderates and modernizers switched their allegiance to Progress, forming a new Imperialist and interventionist faction. More conservative members, critical of the coalition joined right-wing parties such as the DNVP, NVP and a small amount joined the AfD.
The 4102 elections reduced the Progress Party by 29 seats. Despite remaining the largest party by a handful of seats, the party narrowly lost the popular vote to the DNVP, originally a splinter group of the NVP with newfound support from former Imperials. Schulze also lost the presidential election, very narrowly to Gottfried von Lichtmann in an even closer result than the previous election. Schulze conceded defeat in both elections, with the DNVP and NVP forming a majority coalition with an extremely narrow margin of a single seat.
Following dissatisfaction with poor election results, some within the party felt a new face we needed to combat the Nationalist government. Mikeal Gehrig challenged Schulze to a leadership contest. Gehrig stated he was a big fan of Schulze's premiership but firmly believed he was better equipped to fight the Nationalists and eventually lead the country. In a tight leadership election, Gehrig narrowly won, becoming the party leader and deposing Schulze of the position. As well as this, Schulze was also replaced as the parliamentary party leader by Markus Henninger, a member of the more progressive leaning faction of the party, which many felt gave the party greater crossover appeal. Schulze decided not to run for re-election as parliamentary leader, although many think she could have won it. Due to two different people now occupying the positions of party leader and parliamentary party leader, it was decided the party no longer needed a deputy leader, thus the post was dissolved.
Gehrig decided a mild re-brand of the party was needed, replacing the party logo which had been in place since Progress' inception in 4046. Gehrig and his party ultimately did not have enough time to assert a new brand for the party in the public's consciousness however. The DNVP and NVP government was struggling due to it only having a mere seat majority. The DNVP merged back into the NVP due to the party's similarities becoming more apparent, and as such decided an early election should be called in the hopes of increasing their majority. Many speculated the main reason for this was due to the costs of running the parties; due to the similarities of both it was decided it would be more efficient to run under a single platform, with the original NVP being chosen as the party to remain, despite having less seats than the DVNP splinter group.
This turned out to be a grave mistake for the Nationlist government. The Progress Party under Gehrig saw a resurgence of right-leaning voters switch back to them. However the party had a mere six seat gain, due to the DSU gaining traction again, exactly doubling their seat share. It is thought the progressive faction of the party switched to the DSU whilst the more moderate nationalists in the nation switched to progress due to perceived dishonesty of the ruling government calling a new election and merging to save money. However the presidential election resulted in a poor showing for Gehrig, decisively loosing to the incumbent president. Despite the NVP not having a majority, they did have a clear lead over the other parties, and with no natural coalition partners for them, it was decided that it would be natural for them to lead a minority administration.
Eckardt Obst & the Return of Christine SchulzeEdit
Following Gehrig's poor showing in the presidential election, he was immediately challenged to a leadership election. Feeling he had not been given enough time to establish himself as a new face for the party, due to only being in the position for a short time Gehrig decided to run again for the party's leadership. However he fared poorly in this election, with Eckardt Obst becoming the new leader of the party. He was seen as the unity candidate, coming directly from the centre of the party and having a strong crossover appeal to both the moderate right and left, with permissive social values and centrist economics as well as a kindly, likeable personality.
Markus Henninger decided to quit the position of parliamentary party leader due to the party's poor performance in the election. Obst personally pleaded with Christine Schulze to run for re-election for the position. Schulze was still relatively popular and was many people's first choice for the role. She agreed to run for the position, and won by a landslide. However the return of Schulze and likeable personality of Obst did little to revive the party in the 4107 election, with the party only making minimal gains and remaining in opposition, with the National People's Party continuing to lead a minority administration.
Obst and Schulze resigned following the election, with Phillip Scheibel taking over as party leader. The leadership election was barely contested, with Scheibel facing no serious opposition. He was seen very much as an establishment figure within the party, and was generally criticized by the public for being unlikeable due to past scandals. To combat this image for the party, Ken Knochen was elected as the parliamentary party leader in a shock election which rode anti-establishment feelings within the party. Knochen had long been a critic of the direction the party was taking and wanted a more populist agenda. It was famously thought that Scheibel and Knochen disliked eachother, but neither confirmed this. Many figures in the party, who were more supportive of Schiebel thought Knochen was unelectable and would lead the party into electoral suicide, whilst those in the party more supportive of Knochen thought the same of Schiebel. The 4111 elections saw another minor loss in the state council, and Schiebel loose the Presidential election. However with the NVP's minority shrinking and other parties in the State Council rebelling, an early election was called. The DSU, seen historically as one of the Progress Party's biggest rivals cooperated with the party to block out the NVP's administration. The AfD who had endorsed the Progress Party's presidential candidates in all elections in both rounds since the 4098 election were this time joined by the DSU, and also the Social-Liberal Front in the second round. This ensured Scheibel's victory in the 4112 presidential election, albeit by a slim margin.
Meanwhile the make-up of the State Council was practically unchanged with only minor differences. As such, the Progress Party, LSF, DSU and AfD all joined for a rainbow coalition against the NVP. Despite being the largest party in the coalition, part of the DSU's terms was for the LSF to hold the position of State Chancellor instead of the Progress Party, feeling uneasy with the party holding both executive positions. Eventually Progress agreed, with Leonhard Hilbert becoming the State Chancellor instead of Ken Knochen. As such Knochen decided to resign from the post of parliamentary party leader, with Paula Fürst replacing him. Fürst was seen as more centrist and establishment friendly than Knochen, but was more popular than Schiebel.
Many were surprised the coalition ran as smoothly as it did, given the large number of parties within it, and the historic rivalry of the Progress Party and the DSU, who were finding more common ground. The Progress Party's shift back to the centre helped soothe relations between the two parties, as well as working against the NVP. Another surprise is that it seemed the Liberal-Socialists were more at odds with the DSU than the Progress Party, which had increasingly common ground.
The AfD were going through difficult times, with in one election being vacant of a leader. They decided to merge into the People's Front, a minor party which contested in local elections only and formed the Radical Party. With cooperation between the AfD and the Progress Party, the Radicals affiliated itself nationally with the Progress Party, forming an electoral alliance. Candidates stand under the "Radical-Progress" ticket and sit with the Progress Party in the State Council. In addition to this, they run a joint Presidential candidate, with the Radicals now also having a say in who runs in the election and in leadership elections. The Radicals as such have often been called "a party within a party" or a more right-wing faction within the Progress Party.
The NVP dissolved in 4115 due to party difficulties in funding, scandals and fighting between factions. As such its first electoral test was in the 4115 elections, a year earlier than originally scheduled. Although the Progress Party made minor losses, as an electoral alliance it made minor gains, with the Radicals seemingly benefiting the most. Meanwhile Phillip Scheibel decisively lost the Presidential election to DSU challenger Ainikki Laakkonen. The DSU and Alliance controversially decided to work together for a second term, with Paula Fürst of the Progress Party becoming the State Chancellor. Phillip Scheibel resigned as party leader effective immediate following the election result, following such a major defeat in the Presidential election, with the worst result in the second round of a Presidential election for the Progress Party, and the second worst overall result in a Presidential election after Gary Zeigler's campaign, where he didn't make it into the second round.
The Progress/Radical Alliance held its first ever joint leadership election, with six candidates contesting, three from each party. Paula Fürst was the first to enter the race, and if elected would have become the second person to be both national and parliamentary leader of the party, the first being Christine Schulze. However this was not to be, when Kurt Krier entered the race and won a decisive victory over her. Fürst was very confident she'd win the election, being a high-up figure within the party. However Krier played the populist card which worked strongly in his favour. He was the only Progress candidate to be strongly popular within the Radical Party as well, he received the most endorsements from Radical MSCs out of the three candidates from the Progress Party. Krier was the chairman of the Krier Corporation, a large company in Dorvik which made Krier the business candidate. Krier espoused the right more than any previous Progress leadership candidate, with some proposals going further than Gary Ziegler, Hugo Glehn or Christien Schulze did, who are seen as some of the most influential people within the right of the party's history. The second round of the leadership election resulted in a landslide for Krier due to his support from almost the entire Radical Party.
Krier in the first half of this term remained relatively quiet, attempting to build grassroots support whilst Fürst focused on leading the State Council. It was the later half of this term where he became increasingly vocal; by the time the 4119 elections were due there was an increasing amount of clashes between the Alliance and their coalition partners the DSU. Krier proposed numerous bills with economically liberal policies such as privatization and tax cuts. He criticized the DSU's economic policy which he tried to block at every given opportunity, but passed due to Social-Liberal support. In the build-up to the election there was fierce arguments between him and numerous members of the DSU, with the 4119 Presidential debates being electric with battles between him and President Laakkonen.
Come the election, the Dorvish Conservative Faction captured much of the right-wing electorate which Krier had hoped to do instead. The election resulted in the worst parliamentary showing for the Progress Party at the time, with 116 seats, however it managed to stay in second place, only behind the DSU by a single seat. The Progress/Radical Alliance combined however had a comfortable lead over the DSU, with 169 seats. Krier managed to improve on Schibel's performance in the previous Presidential election, leading in the first round, but still came a distant second to sitting President Ainikki Laakkonen, the DSU candidate with backing from the Social-Liberals in the second round. The government remained the same following this election, however following tensions, a string of early elections were called. Firstly in 4121 the DKP made gains and lead a coalition with the Progress/Radical Alliance, then a fresh election was called in 4122, this time with Kurt Krier winning the Presidency with DSU backing, however the DKF remained in power. A third early election was called in 4123 with Krier retaining the Presidency and the DKF this time leading a minority administration. This third election was caused due to the dissolution of the Liberal-Socialist Party.
Kurt Krier's Presidency was highly popular and often ranked among the best Presidents of the Dorvish Republic, with numerous tax reforms and economic policy changes taking place, as well as his charm and good character making him respected even amongst rival parties. However by the January 4127 elections, Krier had decided to stand down, feeling his job was done and the weariness resulting from his years hard work. Not long later, in July 4127 he was nominated for the Chief Executive of Dorvish National Intelligence Agency, which the State Council voted in favour of unanimously. Reportedly taken by surprise, Krier enthusiastically accepted the job.
Following Krier's resignation as party leader, this triggered a leadership election. This time the Radical Party was not involved with the leadership election, the two parties opting instead to run individual internal elections. Meik Brandt was the de-facto front-runner and was challenged only by populist Rudolf Breuer on the left of the party. Brandt had served as the parliamentary leader of the Progress Party and the opposition, and had a platform very similar to that of Kurt Krier's vowing to continue his work. Breuer meanwhile appealed to the disgruntled left leaning faction of the party, saying some of Krier's economic liberalization has "not worked as well as it could have". Breuer was initially considered token opposition, however he managed to pick up a surprising amount of support, but this still paled in comparison to Brandt's landslide victory.
Upon Brandt's victory in the leadership election, he resigned as parliamentary leader of the party, vacating the position for Patrik Erdmann, the youngest leader of the Progress party either in parliament or nationally, being slightly younger than when Kurt Bacher, Arnold Sterling and Marcus Scheuer assumed their positions.
The January 4127 elections didn't give the results the party desired. The Alliance made a small gain of 15 seats all of which earned by the Progress Party, but lost the Presidency to Ulbricht von Ansdrecht of the Conservative Faction. The party got four of ten possible Governors in the first Dorvish Gubernatorial election, but the Alliance as a whole managed to earn five seats, creating a deadlock in Governorships.
The DKF continued to run their minority administration, which caused the resignations of both Meik Brandt and Patrik Erdmann from their leadership positions in the party.
Berend Feuerstein - Progress/Radical Majority GovernmentEdit
Despite the DKF's victory in winning the Presidency and retaining its minority government, this short term was trifled with problems. The party collapsed after a mere few months, with State Chancellor Pascal Rothenstein being arrested for fraud and as a suspect in the murder of the former leader of the DKF. Alongside this the DKF had numerous high profile cabinet members involved in fraud and corruption, as such the party was forcibly shut down.
Berend Feuerstein was elected as the Progress Party leader soon after Brandt's defeat, with Felix Hoehmann being elected as the parliamentary leader of the party. Although they didn't have much time to brand the party how they saw fit, it is generally regarded they took the party to a more centrist orientation. Meanwhile the DSU underwent a full re-brand, selecting a new logo and adopting a far more conservative platform than previously, now becoming the furthest right party in Dorvik whilst the Progress/Radical Alliance were seen as the choice for the more centrist and progressive of the country. Despite Aaron Posse's DSU being the largest individual party by a fair margin, together the Alliance had a comfortable majority over them, and were able to form the first majority government in Dorvik since 4073 under the Communists. Berend Feuerstein also won the Presidential election on behalf of the Alliance.
Despite the victory for the Alliance, this term was to see little change, with the Alliance mostly protecting its agenda from changes proposed by the DSU. However there were some notable features in this term including the implantation of some proposals the alliance had not been able to pass before.
Come the 4131 elections, the Alliances popularity had hit all time lows. Both President Feuerstein and State Chancellor Hoehmann were perceived as incompetent and ineffective, and were pushed into third place. The DSU reactivated the Liberal '19 Alliance this time with the Freedom Party as its partner, and the Socialist Future Party took away much of the progressive electorate from the Alliance. Feuerstein meanwhile lost the Presidency to DSU challenger Saskia Nikula.
Decline and Alliance for DemocracyEdit
In addition to the Progress/Radical Alliances historic loss, the Progress Party also suffered its worst showing ever with 55 seats and dropping to fifth place. However over subsequent elections this would only get worse. The Radical Party also become the largest party of the Alliance for the first time in its history.
Following this defeat, former President Berend Feuerstein and former State Chancellor Felix Hoehmann immediately resigned from their leadership roles in the party, although it's highly likely that even if they didn't resign, they'd have been fired nonetheless. Populist Bernhart Günzburg won the leadership election with ease, taking the party the furthest left it had been in decades. Laurenz Frenz was elected parliamentary leader of the party, despite being relatively new and fresh, she was one of the few establishment members of the party to survive a mass cabinet reshuffle. The Progress/Radical Alliance was also on its last legs, and was unofficially disbanded soon after the election, but still officially in existence.
In 4133 shortly before a snap election, the Alliance for Democracy was founded. This was a less centralized electoral alliance which did not function as a single party like the Progress/Radical Alliance did. This took a more populist approach than the previous alliance did. However come the 4133 elections this made little difference and the alliance made another sturdy loss of thirty seats. Despite this, Bernhart Günzburg won the Presidency by a satisfying margin, with the Socialist Future Party opting to back the ticket. As such the AfD was seen largely as an extension of Günzburg and his campaign.
With the Liberal '19 Alliances already small minority government shrunk further, they decided to form a larger electoral alliance with the Traditionalist People's Party for Dorvik (TVPD) known as the Union of Dorvish Conservatives. This government imposed many conservative policies successfully which the Alliance for Democracy strongly opposed. As such by the 4137 elections the Alliance had become much more progressive in orientation. Despite making only a miniscule gain of six seats, and the Progress Party loosing a further three seats thus being down to only forty, the alliance became the second largest political group in the State Council. The UDK suffered from poor popularity due to much opposition to their economic policy, although the TVPD not supporting it to as great an extent and their populist approach secured them gains in the State Council, becoming the largest individual party whilst the rest of their Conservative allies became among the smallest, resulting in an overall crushing defeat for the Union. Bernhart Günzburg retained the Presidency, serving for a second term.
The Alliance decided to propose a rainbow coalition to depose the Conservatives, which were still the largest political bloc in the State Council. And agreement between the Alliance, the Green Party and the Socialist Future Party was reached. Despite the Alliance being the largest bloc in the cabinet, the Greens were the largest individual party, thus it was agreed they had the bigger mandate to hold the position of State Chancellor, plus the party had earned gratitude from the Alliance due to endorsing Günzburg in the second round of the Presidential election and making it possible to retain the post. Margit Lohmeier of the Green Party replaced the DSU's Aaron Posse as State Chancellor.
This term was marked largely by repealing many of the policies brought in under the Union of Dorvish Conservatives. The Alliance in particular held a large role in this, with the successful implementation of their progressive tax reform helping undo what they perceived as the "damage" Posse and his government had done. The bipartisan support for the tax reform, including from the DSU helped secure Sara Voight, the Finance Minister's position as a heavy hitter within the party. She was already one of the more popular members of the party, seen as a fresh and sincere figure. As such she replaced Laurenz Frenz as the parliamentary leader of the party, with Frenz feeling her time to leave the position had come but was "waiting for the right person to come along first". Voight became the first parliamentary leader of the Progress Party to concurrently hold a cabinet post that was not the position of State Chancellor.
Voight helped steer the party in a further leftward direction. Frenz generally anchored the party nearer the political centre, but Voight believed the party's moderate stances needed "support with some more radical and sturdy policies as well". This coupled with the already left-leaning direction President Günzburg wanted to take the party placed the Progress Party firmly in the centre-left. During Günzburg's leadership of the party as a whole and especially once Voight took over as parliamentary party leader, the party esposed a social-liberal platform. With the UDK having a monopoly over the right of Dorvish politics and the DSU trying to cease the centre-right, Voight and Günzburg believed the best strategy for the party would be to aim for progressive leaning voters in the centre-left, in particular those who had voted green in the previous election. With the Radical Party mostly aiming directly for the centre of Dorvish politics and seeping into the centre-right in some cases, the Progress Party was freer to pursue the centre-left.
This trend in the Progress Party continued for the best part of the next decade, and seemed to garner success in the Dorvish State Election, 4141 where the party won 68 seats, the highest since the beginning of its decline. Konstantin Wu, leader of the Radical Party and popular within the Alliance for Democracy in general took over as State Chancellor this term, marking an even higher improvement in the alliances fortunes. Merely a year later, another election was called due to respective crisis' in the TVPD and the Green Party, which Progress had helped eat away its support. Both parties disbanded albeit the Greens returned to the political scene a mere year later. This election marked no change in support for the Progress Party, earning 68 seats again, and with the Radicals gaining seven. However no government could manage to be formed and resulted in a third concurrent election in 4143. The newly formed Liberal Worker's Party which promoted a more progressive platform than either the Progress or Radical parties joined the alliance at the last minute. Despite this election being a heavy disappointment for the Progress Party, this was rewarded by the LAP winning a huge amount of seats and securing the Alliance for Democracy a majority government. In addition to the Progress Party making losses in the State Council, President Günzburg lost the election to For the Future! challenger Mary Himler. This was unexpected due to the heavy endorsements he received from other parties in the run-up to the election, namely the entire Alliance for Democracy which had attained a majority in the State Council, as well as the newly re-founded Green Party. It is most likely the dip in his approval ratings following a sex scandal involving a teenage girl was the cause for his sudden lack of popularity, prompting many to question if he was a suitable leader for the country, as well as a likely desire for a change in leadership following a decade of his Presidency.
4144 Leadership CrisisEdit
Following his defeat in the Presidential Election, Bernhart Günzburg announced his intention to resign as party leader, after around 13 years in the position. A leadership election as such was called. The immediate front runner was Rachel Nemetz, Progress Party Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and former Foreign Affairs Minister. However she herself had her popularity damaged by an email scandal, where it was alleged she kept emails containing sensitive information on her phone as opposed to the official state network. Despite being cleared of any wrongdoing, these allegations dogged her campaign, however with no significant opposition, she remained the frontrunner by quite some margin. Her "opposition candidates" were too numerous thus they split the opposition vote. Progress Party Spokesperson for Infrastructure & Transport Niklas Brandis was generally seen as the best positioned opposition towards Nemetz however he was widely regarded as being uncharismatic, clumsy and generally unimaginative. His campaign was noted for being dull and as such failed to gain much traction.
The leadership election is mostly remembered for Carl Küchler's colourful bid for leadership. A backbencher and arguably the furthest left member of the party to gain any prominence, he was noted for being eccentric. His best remembered moment in the leadership election was when he threw his shoe at Niklas Brandis following him commenting "don't you belong in the Socialist Future Party?". Although being a highly popular figure in the country due to his perceived eccentricity, politically he was regarded as a "nightmare" and many within the party were afraid of what state he'd drag the party towards. Only two members of the state council endorsed Küchler as a result, both being fellow backbenchers generally to the left of the rest of the party. Adrian Ochs was the only other official candidate in the leadership election. He too was a backbencher but from the more moderate flank of the party; his campaign emphasized on bringing the party back nearer the political centre following the party being hampered by the LAP in terms of appealing to the progressive population. However similar to Brandis, his campaign was noted for its dullness, and his attempt at appealing to populist sentiment in the country was largely mocked and noted for his failure to do so, coming across as awkward. In leadership debates he was also noted for being extremely quiet and being talked over when he did speak. Former Governor of Westmark Gunther Gutenberg was initially also a candidate in the election, however he withdrew early on and endorsed Brandis. However it was commented he was likely to be the only other candidate that stood a serious chance of winning the election.
With widespread dissatisfaction in the party, many members of the party wrote-in candidates when the balloting took place. There was a movement in the party which sought to make Konstantin Wu, former State Chancellor and leader of the Radical Party the new Progress Party leader. One MSC even endorsed Wu. There were also some in the party which wrote-in the late Kurt Bacher, former party leader and President in the 4060s-4070s as a protest against the current state of the party. The election plunged into chaos when Konstantin Wu came second despite not being a member of the party nor contesting its leadership. Rachel Nemetz came first but was nowhere near a majority, thus the election would have normally entered a second round with the top two candidates from the first round. However due to Wu being in second place and not contesting for party leadership, this put the party in a difficult position. Some said Niklas Brandis should go through to the second round due to being the candidate with the second largest amount of support out of those who actually stood in the election, whilst others called for a re-run of the first round.
A fresh leadership election was indeed called, with Nemetz for now being announced as the new leader of the party. In order to avoid another deadlock, most of those who stood in the previous election declined to stand in this one; both Niklas Brandis and Adrian Ochs did not stand whilst Karl Küchler did, albeit garnering even less support this time around. Former Governor Gunther Gutenberg was persuaded to stand, and the election became a two-horse race between him and Nemetz, which he won by a landslide in the first round.
Gunther Gutenberg and Electoral CrisisEdit
Despite significantly heavier approval than Rachel Nemetz, Gutenberg was still at the helm of the party whilst it underwent significant decreases in support. The party was seen as becoming ineffective and insignificant to the political scene of Dorvik, being marginalized by the Liberal Workers Party on the left and the Conservative Union & the DUF on the right. Gutenberg tried to shift the party back nearer the centre, but many in the party including Sara Voight kept the party leaning to the left still. The party was seen largely as out of touch with the current needs of the Dorvish people, and as such by the time of the 4147 elections, it suffered further losses and was reduced to 34 seats. In addition to this, it was the first time in the party's history that it did not field a Presidential candidate; being the smallest party of the alliance by far and given the low popularity of Gutenberg compared with other candidates, many in the Progress Party got behind the Radical's Konstantin Wu instead. However many perennial candidates ran on behalf of the party, most notably Carl Küchler who ran for the party's leadership, and two local councilors who did not want to see the party's legacy as a party of power fade away (Hans Loeb and Johann Stassen). This proved successful however, as Wu won the alliance's nomination but still lost the presidential election, this time to Vincent Cullmann of the DFU.
No government was able to be formed, thus an early election was called with Wu once again standing as the Alliances candidate. However due to the election being called rather spontaneously, the alliance had little time to campaign effectively, thus Wu lost once again to Cullmann, and the Progress Party was reduced further to a mere 24 seats, the worst showing for the party at that time ever by far. Guttenberg resigned effective immediate, leaving parliamentary party leader Sara Voight as the interim leader of the party, and becoming the second to hold the position of both parliamentary and national party leader.
Voight stayed on as interim party leader for a few months, until a leadership election was called in 4149. The party was recuperating from its heavy defeat in the elections and as such it was decided it had best take longer than usual to trigger a leadership election and decide the path the party should go forward in. Eventually an election was called with relatively new MSC Joseph Mikaelson jumping to the position of front runner. Mikaelson was an actor in his teen years but turned to a life in politics in his early 20s. Best known from his role in the Vampire Chronicles films, he was particularly popular with the youth in the country. Despite some initially dismissing him as too young and inexperienced to lead the party, many comparisons were drawn to Kurt Krier due to both having careers unrelated to politics prior to standing for party leader, and Mikaelson quickly affirmed himself as a competent and effective campaigner. As such by the time the leadership election was underway, all other candidates withdrew and endorsed him, leaving him to run unopposed.
Upon winning the leadership election, Mikaelson radically reformed the party. Sara Voight, a figure of the left within the party was deposed of the position of parliamentary party leader, which Mikaelson took over also. As such he became the second to hold both positions, not including Sara Voight who held both, but one as an interim leader. In response to this, it was decided by Mikaelson that the party should once again have a deputy leader in order to prevent the party becoming "a one man band as it has been for the past two decades or so". Internal Affairs Spokesperson Nicolas Dorn became the deputy leader of the party. Along with this, cabinet members and backbenchers were given a greater say in policy direction in the party, taking inspiration from the Conservative Union's ensemble policy making.
Mikaelson took the party right back to the centre of Dorvish politics, distancing it from the progressive outlook it had for the previous twenty years. Although describing the party as being situated in the radical-centre, many noted it was bordering the centre-right, with the party often voting in common with conservatives in the nation as opposed to its progressive allies. In addition to this, some have stated the party has gone further to the right than the Conservative Union on some issues, such as proposing privatizing industries that even the KU was opposed to doing, and some more socially conservative policies than the KU were comfortable with supporting including proposing a welfare cap on families beyond having a certain number of children.
As well as changing the party's platform, Mikaelson also altered how the party campaigned. Especially under Bernhart Günzburg's leadership, the party liked to campaign alongside the Alliance for Democracy quite often and avoided attacking its allies. However Mikaelson affirmed to his party in order to be seen as a competent political force, "it [the party] must break free and feel free to use as much ammunition as possible". As such the party began to attack fellow alliance members more vigorously as well as its conservative and fascist opposition. With an outright more right-leaning agenda than the rest of the alliance, many question the stability in it, with some of the might rightward of its support base even supporting the Progress Party's departure from it or joining the Union of Dorvish Conservatives. However Mikaelson confirmed the party would remain a member of the Alliance for Democracy.
Joseph Mikaelson was well noted for his humor and likeable personality, often using jokes to put-down his opponents and explain party policy. In a poll taken in 4151 he was voted the sexiest Dorvish politician of the year, beating Konstantin Wu who had won that title in numerous of the polls taken in prior years.
In 4151 Mikaelson reshuffled the party's frontbench slightly, replacing Sara Voight as finance spokesperson with Jeremias Fähnrich, the former spokesperson for Trade and Industry. Voight took over as the party's spokesperson for Trade and Industry in turn. With a more centrist finance spokesperson, this allowed Mikaelson to complete shifting the party's economics closer towards the centre.
Opposition to National Service is a key part of the party. One of its main promises in its first election was to deliver a Referendum on the matter, which following its victory in the 4049 elections and coalition with the People's Movement, it triggered a referendum in February 4050 which resulted in an overwhelming majority of votes to keep National Service, much to the bemusement of the party. The referendum was not legally binding but instead advisory, however the Progress Party vowed to force its coalition partners the People's Movement vote in favour of banning National Service if the referendum resulted in a victory for its removal. Following winning a majority government in 4057, many wondered whether the Progress Party would try to remove National Service again, either via another referendum or merely removing it outright. It was however also speculated that the party would instead lower the age of compulsory education in order to let young people finish their National Service much sooner. In 4060, with the publics opinion towards National Service souring over the past decade since the Referendum, the party decided to revoke it. This drew much backlash from conservatives and the military in Dorvik. Over the decades, National Service has on and off been in place, varying with each government in place; usually whilst the Progress Party yields the most influence in the State Council it is revoked, and usually with other more conservative parties it is reinstated. During the 4130s and 4140s the DSU (a pro national service party) has blasted this and has called for a new referendum to put the issue to bed. However the Progress Party currently opposes this and calls simply for a full removal of the service.
The party generally supports a liberal leaning mixed economy, opposing excessive regulation with the party advocating next to no regulation for very small businesses whilst substantial regulation for larger, multi-national corporations. The party also supports moderating taxes to lower numbers, especially for the working class and lower-income population. Analysts have noted the Progress Party in its early days took a somewhat populist approach to the economy. Upon the leadership of Gary Ziegler and later more notably Hugo Glehn the party's approach to the economy leaned slightly further to the right than in the past. This again emerged under the influence of Christine Schulze. Most recently, Kurt Krier took the party to its furthest right on the economy, with a classical liberal approach, proposing de-regulation and lower taxes. Following Krier's time as party leader and President, the party gradually shifted back nearer to its roots on economic policy, eventually under the leadership of Bernhart Günzburg and Sara Voight reverting much closer to the party's original economic policy. Voight in particular branded the party's economic stance "social-liberal".
The party takes a mixed, moderate approach to military issues. They advocate more restrictions on landmines and weapons of mass destruction instead advocating a higher use in more conventional weapons. Founder Eberhard Ackner stated "a bomb doesn't discriminate, it can't tell whether it's being used on friend or foe, a terrorists or an innocent child. A soldier with a gun can, we need to be more humane with our military approach in Dorvik". However overall the party is split on the matter of the military, with some advocating a more pacifistic approach whilst others are more deeply imperialistic. Currently the party sits more or less on the pacifistic side of the spectrum, strongly opposing any biological or chemical weapons and wanting to avoid wars, preferring a non-interventionist approach generally. Many within the party would prefer an overall scale back on weapons of mass destruction in favour of conventional weaponry, however the more militaristic and moderate members of the party still support keeping a strong nuclear arsenal.
The party is mostly progressive in regards to social policy, strongly contrasting with the historical DSNP and other conservative parties that have operated in Dorvik, such as the NFPP, the National Party of the People and the DKF. The vast majority of members in the party's early days staunchly opposed most social-conservatism and senior party figures had frequently bashed the perceived restrictive social policies under the DSNP government. In modern times the party has moderated its social policy, but still have always generally leaned towards progressive policies.
Creation of a National Health Service is a founding principle within the party. The Progress Party in its early days mostly supported regulating remaining private health establishments with a nationalized health service being available readily for everyone in the nation. Whilst the hospitals would be constructed, cities towns and villages without a nationalized health service would have their private health service temporarily cater to all the needs the eventual NHS would. In addition to this, the government would offer mild incentive for private establishments to nationalize. Nationalization within remaining private services would also be another option for private firms. However this view was not unanimous within the party, with Libertarian factions opposing staunchly. The party also advocated liberalization regarding abortion and euthanasia. In addition to this, the party wanted to subsidize contraception in order to bring the number of un-wanted births down to a minimum.
The modern day party's policy on healthcare has some differences with the original party's policy. It no longer so staunchly supports nationalization, and has supported liberalization on private establishments regulations. In addition to this, the party's views on abortion has soured, with the party now only reluctantly supporting its legality during the first trimester and outright opposing it into the second trimester. Despite this, it has numerous times opposed the DSU's proposal to restrict abortions further, only allowing them in medical emergencies, in cases of rape, incest and mental insecurity, mostly over fears of amateur and illegal abortions which could go wrong. However the party still supports euthanasia, although currently this is not such a big issue in Dorvik.
The party in its earlier years supported the death penalty strongly, determining that some people are simply too dangerous to society. In more recent years, particularly the 4130s, however the party have moderated its stance on the death penalty, supporting only its legality on rare occasions with undeniable proof and under heinous circumstances. The party also takes some more compassionate stances on law enforcement, believing all drug offenses should be de-criminalized.
Early on, the party supported lowering the age of compulsory education from 18 to 16, believing that young people should be allowed to make decisions about their life with less government interference. Following their defeat in the National Service Referendum and their attainment of a full majority government in 4057, it was widely speculated that if the party elected to keep National Service due to the majority of the nation supporting it, then lowering the education age would be a priority so young people could finish their National Service sooner. In 4060 the government decided to revoke mandatory National Service, but eventually the compulsory education age was also lowered down to 16. Many historians think the idea of lowering the compulsory age of education but keeping national service would have been irresponsible. The modern party supports tighter regulations on private educational establishments as well as supporting keeping a National Curriculum.
As opposed to the DSNP's harder stance on foreign policy, the early Progress Party took a softer, less aggressive stance. In regards to entering wars, the party was generally split and thus had no official stance on the matter. However upon their attainment of a majority government, the Progress Party vowed to end ongoing wars the nation was involved with as soon as it could. Currently the party takes a generally non-interventionist approach to foreign policy, but also supports less isolationist policies than what it used to.
The Progress Party is generally supportive of the Welfare State, it has however voted for measures to limit some aspects of it in the past. It opposes the restrictions on it that have been proposed in the past.
The party is staunchly secular, believing that church and state should remain completely separate from each other. It opposes any implementation of religious influence in state affairs, and also opposes persecution of cults or non-recognized religions.
Science & TechnologyEdit
The party overall has no large policies regarding science and technology. It is however generally supportive of space exploration.
The party generally takes a moderate outlook on environmental issues, opposing what it calls "restrictive environmental regulation" supported by those such as the Green Party, but opposes full de-regulation.
Bellow is a comprehensive list of leaders of the Progress Party.
|Nº||Name||Portrait||Leader||Leadership Election||President||State Elections||Presidential Elections|
|1||Eberhard Ackner||4046-4060||None||4049-4060|| 4049|
|2||Kurt Bacher||4060-4072||4060||4060-4072|| 4060|
|5||Hugo Glehn||4073-4093||4073||4081-4093|| 4077|
|6||Arnold Sterling||4093-4098||4093||4093-4098|| 4093|
|11||Phillip Scheibel||4107-4115||4107||4112-4115|| 4111|
|12||Kurt Krier||4115-4126||4115||4122-4127|| 4119|
|13||Meik Brandt||4126-4127||4126||N/A||January 4127||January 4127|
|14||Berend Feuerstein||4127-4131||4127||4127-4131|| July 4127|
| July 4127|
|15||Bernhart Günzburg||4131-4144||4131||4133-4143|| 4133|
|17||Gunther Gutenberg||4144-4148||4144||N/A|| 4147|
|-||Sara Voight||4148-4149||N/A (Interim)||N/A|
Bellow is a comprehensive list of parliamentary party leaders of the Progress Party.
|Nº||Name||Portrait||Leader||Leadership Election||Head of Government||Elections|
|1||Ägidius Van Houten||4046-4054||None||4049-4053|| 4049|
|4||Steffen Rosengarten||4060-4073||4060||4064-4073|| 4064|
|6||Wilhelm Raabe||4077-4093||4077||4081-4093|| April 4081|
|7||Marcus Scheuer||4093-4096||4093||4093-4094|| 4093|
|8||Christine Schulze||4096-4102||4096||4096-4102|| 4098|
|11||Paula Fürst||4112-4123||4112||4115-4121|| 4112|
|13||Patrik Erdmann||4126-4127||4126||N/A||January 4127|
|14||Felix Hoehmann||4127-4131||4127||4127-4131|| July 4127|
|15||Laurenz Frenz||4131-4138||4131||N/A|| 4133|
|16||Sara Voight||4138-4149||4138||N/A|| 4141|
|Office merged with Party Leader (4152-Present)|
Following Christine Schulze becoming both the national and parliamentary party leader, it was decided that the party should have a deputy leader, which if Schulze became the President in the next election would assume the role of parliamentary leader. Ultimately Schulze neither became President nor managed to keep the position of State Chancellor. Following her removal from party leadership via a leadership challenge from Mikael Gehrig and the selection of a new parliamentary leader, the office of Deputy Party Leader was abolished and remained vacant until Joseph Mikaelson took the position of national and parliamentary leader concurrently. It was decided to bring back the post of deputy party leader after nearly fifty years.
|Nº||Name||Portrait||Deputy Leader|| Deputy |
|Office not in use (4102-4149)|
*Asterisk denotes alteration in number of seats within the State Council.