New Riga, 2021. The world was shocked and amazed when the Matriarchy of Kerlile, in the process of political reform, allows male athletes from the country to attend the Olympics, when just two years earlier men weren’t even allowed to leave the country.
2023. Kerlile appears to be going backwards. Once more, no male athletes are entered in the competition from the Matriarchy. No statement explicitly banning male participation has been made by the Council of Kerlile, or other government figures in the country, however they are entirely missing from the entrants to the competition, leaving many to wonder what has happened in the interim.
Kerlian reform was already an unlikely scenario when it first began. Many were disbelieving that the Council of Kerlile, who had ruled the Matriarchy with ten collective iron fists since the country’s foundation, would ever willingly lessen their own power. Yet it was that very Council who voted for an openly pro-reform President in Rebecca Arnott, and it was that very Council that set in motion a series of policies thought impossible a mere half-decade ago. From male employment reform, to the EUDCA amendments, the Kerlian Reform Party surprised the world again and again. But has it all come to an end?
It has been almost two years since the arrest of former Councillor Carmen Robinson for treason over allegations that she had turned intelligence agents from the Aurora Programme into double agents serving her family over the interests of the Matriarchy. Her trial was held in secret for national security reasons, leaving many to speculate about whether or not Kerlile had returned to the old ways of politically decided verdicts. Robinson now lives in exile in Zongongia, and has no plans to do anything about it.
Robinson was known as the main proponent of reform in Kerlile, being in favour even before the return of Jennifer Hale to the Matriarchy. She was stripped of her title and position, with the Robinson family being removed from the Council of Kerlile in an unprecedented move, at the same time as her exile. With no Robinson on the Council any longer, the Reform Party no longer has the same weight. Their remnants, Councillor Jennifer Hale and Councillor Rosemary Arnott, the 22-year-old daughter of the current President, are both known to dislike their roles and avoid Council meetings.
All this means it is very likely that the Kerlian traditionalist faction has carried the vast majority of Council votes in the two years between the New Riga Olympics and those to be held in Hanshui. Since Council discussions and votes are not published openly, it is impossible to tell everything that has been discussed in their mysterious chamber. While some acts have gone through the Kerlian Parliament, a rubber-stamp body whose members can be dismissed by the Council at will, this is not necessary for new laws to be passed under Kerlian law.
In truth, nobody but the Council of Kerlile knows what the Council of Kerlile are up to. Perhaps there is an innocent reason for this backsliding, or perhaps the days of reform in Kerlile are behind us. Only time will tell.