Mr. Paul Poltava – 28/05/2023
Novella City, Xeles, Novella Islands
Novellan National News Service
The Senate of the Novella Islands faces being written out of the Constitution
Parliament today passed an act authorising the Director of the National Electoral Administration, Dr. Joe Herblum, alongside the Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs, Dr. Lily Bligh, to begin preparations for an amendment to the Constitution, which would dissolve the Senate permanently. The Social Democratic Unity Party, who has held government since 2006, currently commands an overwhelming majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. As such, it is expected that this move will be met with little effective resistance from voters.
The Senate’s electoral results have almost identically mirrored those of the House of Representatives over the four most recent elections, leading the Civil Service to recommend the abolition of the upper house. Within the policy brief prepared by the Ministry of Administrative Affairs, various criticisms were laid upon the bicameral system. These criticisms include that it is undemocratic in nature (arguing that Parliament should solely be elected based upon one vote per person, rather than giving preferential power to administrative divisions with lower populations); that it is unnecessary (given the near-identical results over a considerable period of time); and that it ties up empirically sound legislation on ideological grounds in the event of a split-house decision.
Nonetheless, Dr. Constance Sarsgaard, leader of the Union of the Centre-Right, vocally objected to the proposal in the discussion session for the bill. “The dissolution of one of our fundamental avenues for engaging in our democracy is simply unacceptable. Frankly, it’s hard to see this in any light other than a blatant power-grab by Dr. Edmund Dell. In consolidating power in the manner that he proposes, the Novella Islands are one step from reverting back to the total and authoritarian centralisation of power we saw in the days of the Communist Union.”
Dr. Dell was not concerned with any accusations of democratic backsliding levied against him. “What Dr. Sarsgaard fails to mention – or worse, recognise – is that the Parliament of the Novella Islands does not operate like in a “traditional” democracy. As politicians, it is not our job to squabble amongst ourselves, blocking progress over ideological lines, as those in foreign parliaments do. Instead, we are elected to guide the Civil Service in a manner that represents the will of the people, as is set by the mandate we receive when we are elected.”
If the referendum passes, the permanent dissolution of the Senate will see the end of the last remnants of the federation of the ten Novellan colonies. Officially, the Social Republic of the Novella Islands will become a unitary unicameral parliamentary constitutional republic.
The act mandates the referendum to occur on the Census Day public holiday in 2024 (15th of January, 2024), as is typical of votes requiring input from the entire nation’s population. As a referendum to amend the Constitution, voting will be mandatory.