[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith results of this month’s parliamentary elections in Alexandria expected to be published in short order, the opposition minority Parti Socialiste (PS) appears to be in a strong position the make influential gains in the next sitting.
Pre-ballot public opinion polls released on January 11 indicated that the PS was the only one of the three major political parties to gain ground, launching into second place behind the incumbent Alliance Liberale (AL) while the populist Union pour un Mouvement Démocrate (UMD), the official opposition during the last sitting of parliament, slipped to third place.
The PS, led by Felicia Sánchez, was also the only political party to publish a manifesto during the campaign period. The document, enthusiastically-titled “What we will do in government,” focused the party’s promises in four general areas: economic development, decentralization of the state, education and national defence.
Seeking to improve working conditions throughout the micronation, and to build on the recently-enacted Alexandrian Labour Code, the PS committed to granting workers the right to form unions and to creating Occupational Health and Safety legislation.
It’s pro-labour agenda would include the creation of a vocational school that would form an integral part of a wider plan to tackle perceived inequalities in the education system. “Education is a human right,” said Sánchez in announcing a promised tuition-free education system. “Finance must not and cannot hinder the advancement of the people.”
In a non-traditional move for a socialist party, the PS also committed to an extensive decentralization of state powers, from the Imperial Government down to the various provincial, regional and municipal governments. While scant on detail, the party would seek to enshrine a code for the division of powers and to grant provinces the right to raise funding in support of local initiatives. Perhaps controversially, given that it enjoys a wider tax-base to finance more costly infrastructure projects and policy programs, any nationally-raised tax would be limited to Imperial Government programmes under the PS plan, possibly limiting the ability of the provinces to undertake significant works on their more limited revenues.
While the PS conducted the most publicly-engaged and transparent campaign, many pundits, and public opinion polls, nonetheless indicate that the incumbent AL will return to government, though the PS appears likely to take over the role of official opposition from the ailing UMD.