"Mega-Amendment Causes Mega-Debate," by Glüc da Dhi
Secretar d’Estat and Patriotic Coalition Membreu dal Cosa Marti-Pair Furxheir has proposed a second version to his Election Mega-constitutional Amendment to the hopper, which was amended to remove some of the more controversial parts of the earlier version. The new bill, which is still very large in size, proposes to make numerous changes to the Organic Law with regards to various parts of the election process.
Some of the most important changes include allowing parties to remove their MCs and reassign their seats and allowing parties to put a candidate list on the ballot.
It’s not the first time MC Furxheir has proposed a major amendment to the Organic Law. In 2004 he authored a bill amending parts of the Organic Law related to provincial governments. Two years earlier, he was the author of a major overhaul of the article regarding the Senäts , rewriting the existing article and splitting it into two parts. Both amendments passed the Ziu with a comfortable margin.
The Organic provisions on electoral law have since then been amended multiple times, most notably in 2012, when the RUMP, pressured by the opposition in the previous election, passed amendments introducing a secret ballot and the electoral commission and shortening the elections by two weeks. This has not stopped electoral reform from being a hot issue in Talossa, as many politicians are still supporting and proposing different reforms, the Mega-constitutional Amendment only being the latest example.
The problems occurring during the last two elections may have been part of the reason for this. Many politicians have been critical, publicly or to this newspaper about the proceedings of the last two elections. When asked, Ministreu del Estericour and LibCon Membreu dal Cosa C. Carlüs Xheraltescù said he was not satisfied with the conduct of the previous elections, noting: “I think we've been a little bit too experimental too close to the election for the last two elections. Add to that the problem of long turn-around periods for validating votes, and it's clear we have some work to do in ironing out some of the kinks in the system.” Seneschal and MRPT party leader Senator Lüc da Schir also was “only partially” satisfied, stating that while he does “like how quick and handy is voting on the Database, the delays in the announcement of the results were unbearable and totally avoidable.” SoS Furxheir himself was satisfied with the procedure, but also noted that the election was technically illegal, since he was unable to post the election procedures on time, due to the short deadline, one of the problems his Amendment proposal intends to fix.
The opinions vary on the causes and solutions of these problems. The Ziu recently passed the Election Guidance Act and Amendment, which was sponsored by RUMP leader and Membreu dal Cosa Sir Alexandreu Davinescu, UrN, and cosponsored by MC Xheraltescù and former RUMP MC Txec dal Nordselva (now a member of the Progressive Party). The bills makes some changes and clarifications to the process of validating votes, with the intention to prevent the long delays of the previous election. When asked about the elections, MC Davinescu said “I was happy with the Chancery's efforts, but I felt that the major failing was still in the certification process. I think, though, that the any flaws in the process will be fixed by the Election Guidance Act and Amendment.” MC Davinescu seemed confident that the next election will not cause the same problems: “as we fine-tune these new procedures, things will improve and the delays and confusion we've seen will be eliminated.” He further expressed his confidence in the chancery. He is more cautious about further reforms though, saying “I'm not sure we can successfully clarify things, though, if we also try to pass yet another set of sweeping changes. The recent bills proposed by the Secretary of State to virtually every area of governance are huge in scope.”
MC Xheraltescù is less optimistic about the Election Guidance Act and Amendment, when asked for comment: “I'm hopeful they'll help. If more of my proposals had been accommodated by the bill then I would be a lot more confident than I am now.” He does not share MC Davinescu’s concern about further reform: “Electoral reforms always can cause a little confusion because we have to adapt to changing circumstances, but any proposed in the Ziu we will at least have plenty of time to prepare ourselves. It's the spontaneous changes made by the Secretary of State a few days before the election that I'm worried about.” Xheraltescù was critical about the role of el Secretar d’Estat during the past election: “I believe the election could have been run more smoothly had the esteemed Secretary of State not bitten off more than he could chew.” He further said “I'm sure he'll conduct the election well enough, but I can't know for sure if he'll necessarily conduct it the simplest way possible.”
SoS Furxheir rejects the criticism that he made the process more complicated than needed, arguing that “the PSC is not my idea, and the revision commission neither. I just have to find a way to make do with it so that it's easy for the voters.” Furxheir further pointed out that in the first election after the introduction of the secret ballot, he was appointed only a few days before the end of the election, and stated that he got no help from his predecessor.
Whether his proposal will pass is still unclear. While Distain and ZRT leader, Senator Miestrâ Schivâ, UrN initially reacted enthusiastically, others are more reserved. One of the bill's weaknesses may be that it encompasses so many different proposals that members of the Ziu may decide to vote against it based on one change they disagree with, even though they support other parts of it. Still, MC Furxheir does not want to split up the bill. “As it turns out, I love writing mega-constitutional amendments once in a while. You see, Talossa for everyone is a hobby. We have to keep it fun.”
One of the most controversial changes proposed in the bill is the one that allows parties to remove their MCs. Opponents, such as MC Davinescu, argue that this gives too much power to party leaders. MC Furxheir is not worried about this, saying that “such abuses would find a way to solve themselves. Can you imagine a party who abuses its power not suffering in the next election?”
Interestingly enough, MC Davinescu uses the same argument against one the main reasons in favour of this proposal, preventing MCs who switch parties to steal seats from the party that elected them. According to him, “how easy would it be to campaign on another party 'stealing' seats? We might wish for another party to do us that favor, since the loss of five seats now is nothing compared to the gain such open corruption would bring to their opponents!”
Public discussion on the bill so far has been relatively limited, with only a few people participating in the debate. This contributes to the uncertainty about the bills future. In either case, the vote on this bill will not be the end of this issue. The MRPT, Liberal Congress and ZRT all had different proposals regarding electoral reform in their election platform. The RUMP platform did not mention electoral reform, but party leader Davinescu tells this newspaper that the RUMP has been considering ideas to make sure everyone gets to vote and may put these in its platform for the next election. All this means it is very hard to predict what the future of Talossan democracy looks like.
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