|Conservative Party of Georgeland|
|Deputy leader||Joan Kavanagh|
|Senate leader||Mark Duffy|
|Deputy Senate leader||Joshua Chan|
|Headquarters||77-81 Republic Avenue, Topstad, FD|
|Youth wing||Young Liberal Democrats|
The Liberal Democratic Party of the United Islands is a centre-left political party in Georgeland. It was was formed in January/February 2004 as a merger between the two governing coalition parties, the Liberal Party of the United Islands and the Democratic Party of Georgeland. The party currently holds 26 seats in the Georgeland House of Commons and 22 members of the Georgeland Senate. The party is currently a crossbench party in Georgeland's federal parliament, though it previously governed Georgeland from the party's foundation until July 2007 and again from August 2010 to August 2019. It is the governing party in the state of Capitalia and in the Federal District. It forms the Official Opposition in Scoita and West Mainland, and is a minor crossbench party in the remaining states.
The seeds for the LDP's creation were sewn in 1987, when the Democrats joined to form a government with the Labor Party. However, at that time both parties had distinctly different politics, with Labour being a political arm of the trade unions and the Democrats embracing "New Politics" and social democracy. As the coalition continued into the 1990s, the bonds between the parties grew stronger and the line became increasingly blurred.
In 1999, following the Labour split, the coalition disintegrated and the Democrats formed a new coalition with the Liberals, the new party created by deposed Prime Minister Campbell Rhodes. This coalition won the election, and Rhodes again became Prime Minister, with Democrats leader Andrea Perkins again Deputy Prime Minister, also taking on the portfolio of Foreign Minister.
Around 2001, talk of a merger became more prevalent. Perkins was known to oppose a merger between the two parties but many of her colleagues supported it. In December 2002 Perkins resigned to become Ambassador to Astoria, although she later returned to politics. New leader Warren Barker supported the merger and it became a serious commitment. After a series of talks, a vote taken by the rank-and-file members of both parties in late 2003 gave assent to the merger. At the joint party room meeting in February 2004 Rhodes was elected leader of the Liberal Democratic Party and Barker was elected Deputy Leader. The merger was also conducted by the state parties.
The party has become infamous for bitter infighting, due in part to the number of different factions represented. The LDP contains former members of four different parties, all of which form distinct sub-party groupings. In 2005, dumped former minister and Georgeland Party leader Christine Hinkle, one of the key figures in the LDP and a Liberal party founder, launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Rhodes and declared she would sit as a crossbencher, although she retained her party membership and declared she would return to the government if and when the Prime Minister resigns. The media and the Opposition have painted the LDP as a 'loose confederation of warring tribes' and Conservatives have made significant capital out of describing the LDP government as a disunited, 'delapidated' party. This infighting placed pressure on Rhodes' leadership, with many anticipating his resignation is imminent before 2006. In July 2005, Rhodes announced he would step down, though he denied his leadership was under pressure. He was succeeded by Zoë Parker, who was elected by all members of the LDP nation-wide.
Parker was defeated at the election and resigned as LDP leader, but not as Prime Minister. Michael Boyle assumed temporary leadership of the party. Robin Sales was chosen to lead the party, though he was not a member of the House of Commons. No rank-and-file vote was taken, as Sales was one of only two candidates, the other being Andrea Perkins. Sales assumed Parker's vacant Commons seat a month later to become Leader of the Opposition .
Increasing dissatisfaction with Sales' leadership led to a mid-term leadership spill in October 2009, at which Sales was unable to muster enough support to continue as leader. Lawrence Porter was subsequently chosen as the new party leader. Under Porter, the party won the 2010 election, and was returned in 2013. In 2015, Porter retired, and a leadership election was held. Originally a contest between Deborah Rhodes and Robbie Jones, the election was expected to be held by party members but Jones withdrew. While they were unconfirmed, there were multiple reports that Rhodes' husband Campbell Rhodes had intervened and lobbied strongly for his wife's election, and had ensured she won by diverting support to her from Jones. President of the party at the time, his intervention was strongly criticised even by party members. In his 2019 book Downfall of Saints, political journalist Alan Cooper pointed to the leadership contest as the beginning of the party's downward slide. Rhodes won the 2016 election handily, despite some gains to the Tories. In 2017 the Martingate scandal drastically polarised the party, with opponents of Rhodes' husband's appointment as President of Georgeland quitting the party dramatically and voting against the government in the House. Many of these disgruntled ex-Liberal Democrats formed or joined Reform , which strongly campaigned against corruption and cronyism, two things they claimed were rife inside the party. The LDP was re-elected at the snap election . With poll numbers desperately falling throughout 2018, in January 2019 the LDP spilled its leadership . The catalyst was the party's National Conference, held weeks earlier, instigating a mandatory retirement age of 65 for all its parliamentarians. The conference narrowly voted against a grandfather clause, which would have protected several factional leaders including Deputy Prime Minister David Keeler . Keeler resigned in protest and, shortly thereafter, a motion to spill the leadership was passed. Rhodes was expected to win easily and Jones was expected to stand against her. He did not, and instead Clare Price was the chosen candidate of the anti-Rhodes forces. Price won the ballot by 84 votes to 76, with Jones elected deputy leader over Janet Hunt by the same margin. This left the party firmly in the hands of its left faction. Rhodes resigned from parliament shortly thereafter. Hunt, and others loyal to Rhodes including Attorney General Michael Steen , also resigned from the LDP and formed the Free Progressive Party . These developments made the government a minority one, dependent on crossbench support. At the 2019 election , called to syncronise the election cycle as the 2017 poll had been only for the Commons, the LDP was heavily defeated, winning just 26 seats. The party subsequently elected Russell Wong as leader and Joan Kavanagh deputy leader. The election saw the LDP on the crossbenches for the first time, a situation already the case in several states after landslide defeats.
The party has a federal executive, consisting of a President, two Vice Presidents, Secretary and Treasurer, all of whom are elected by party members and take office at the beginning of each annual party conference. The Presidents of each of the state branches are also members of the federal executive, as are five appointed by the executive and five directly elected. The party's Leader and Deputy Leader in both Houses of Parliament are also on the federal executive. The party's President serves as its senior official and the Secretary it's organisational chief. The present LDP National President is Kevin Jagger ; the Vice President is Hasina Fayed . The federal Secretary is Jason Nguyen .
The party's federal leader is seen as the party's overall head, despite the presence of a party President and executive. Until 2005, the federal leader was elected by the party room; that is, all the party's federal MPs and Senators, as was the deputy leader. The party also has a leader and deputy in the Senate; these are appointed by the party leader. The party's federal leader is currently Russell Wong and the deputy leader is Joan Kavanagh. The party's leader in the Senate is Mark Duffy and his deputy Joshua Chan . The senate leadership is chosen by the party leader. According to party rules, the rank-and-file membership chooses a leader from the top two candidates after a preferential ballot among parliamentarians. However, the rule stipulates the membership only vote if no candidate has a majority by the time three candidates remain. This has only happened once; all other leadership elections have been between two candidates or seen one win by a wide margin. After the party's 2019 defeat, leader Russell Wong called for the system to change to permit party members a more regular choice.
The LDP has a youth wing, the Young Liberal Democrats, who have an organisation mirroring that of the federal party. All members of the party under the age of 30 are entitled to join this youth wing, though membership is separate. The current National President of the Young Liberal Democrats is Jessica Dooley.
- Campbell Rhodes 2004-2005
- Zoe Parker 2005-2007
- Michael Boyle 2007 (interim only)
- Robin Sales 2007-2009
- Lawrence Porter 2009-2015
- Deborah Rhodes 2015-19
- Clare Price 2019
- Russell Wong 2019-
Federal Deputy Leaders
- Warren Barker 2004
- Zoe Parker 2004-2005
- Tom McCully 2005-2007
- Michael Boyle 2007
- Lawrence Porter 2007-2009
- Robbie Jones 2009-2015
- David Keeler 2015-2019
Robbie Jones 2019
- Joan Kavanagh 2019-
State & territory leaders
- Bradmarch: Peter Mackay
- Capitalia: Ravinda Ramayarin (Chief Minister )
- Delmago Island: Max Dingle
- East Mainland: Harry Tilly
- Federal District: Jennifer Dugdale (Head of Government )
- Long Island: Mary Darwin
- Scoita: Alexandra Dodge (Leader of the Opposition)
- West Mainland: Liam Margoyles (Leader of the Opposition )