In it’s latest issue (26th July 2015), Beric’ht Talossan has alleged that Senator Txosuè Éiric Rôibeardescù attempted to persuade Socialist leader Gaglhen Fortaleça MC to withdraw a controversial bill posted to the Hopper that would extend territorial claim to the Moon by offering him the post of head of the national space exploration agency, BEER (Bureau of Space Exploration & Rocketry). Following the revelations and facing general criticism from both government and opposition MZs, Senator Rôibeardescù has resigned as Civil Service Commissioner, but has announced that he intends to remain as Senator for Cezembre, an office to which he was elected unopposed at the 48th Cosa general election in 2015.
The Civil Service Commissioner had initially announced on 14th July that he was offering the job to S:reu Fortaleça. Opposition MZs immediately criticised the appointment as being not only beyond the powers of the Commissioner but improperly done, since the post was neither advertised nor apparently even available to be filled. This was confirmed by Seneschal C. Carlüs Xheraltescù himself, who stated that he had specifically informed the Commissioner that the Bureau was to remain vacant (Note: Xheraltescù is the publisher of ETT). Fortaleça, expressing surprise at the hostility over the manner of his appointment, then resigned to allow a formal application process to go forward.
Beric’ht alleges that Senator Rôibeardescù and S:reu Fortaleça had made a secret agreement that the former would appoint the latter as head of BEER in return for not clarking a bill he had introduced in the Hopper to extend the Kingdom’s territorial claims to the Moon.
S:reu Fortaleça had published his proposed bill in the Hopper on 7th July. The Claiming the Moon Bill would have extended a territorial claim to the Mare Imbrium region of the Moon. Facing general scepticism, S:reu Fortaleça defended his legislation by making an analogy with Talossa’s long-standing claim to a portion of Antarctica, known as the territory of Pengopäts. Senator Rôibeardescù was one of the most vocal opponents of the bill during the Hopper debate. On 13th July S:reu Fortaleça declared that due to some (possibly facetious) support expressed for the zaniness of the proposal, he was prepared to add the bill to the next Clark. On 14th July, as mentioned above, he was appointed as head of BEER by Senator Rôibeardescù, and has not proceeded with his bill since.
According to later statements made on Witteberg, after the unexpected controversy S:reu Fortaleça approached the Seneschal privately to get to the bottom of the matter, and subsequently spoke to Beric’ht Talossan editor Sir Alexandreu Davinescu. After the Beric’ht story became public on 26th July, Senator Rôibeardescù then confronted S:reu Fortaleça on Wittenberg, where Senator Rôibeardescù, who was outraged by what he saw as press mistreatment and personal betrayal, and under the influence of alcohol (as he has himself acknowledged) proceeded to claim that S:reu Fortaleça was afraid to face him, and that he was resigning as Civil Service Commissioner, but remaining as Senator for Cezembre. He has also however publicly accepted that S:reu Fortaleça’s account of the incident as given to Beric’ht is correct.
Condemnation of the alleged corruption and of Senator Rôibeardescù’s subsequent behaviour has been swift and general. Senator Miestrâ Shivâ announced that she would be asking the steering committee of the Free Democratic Alliance to withdraw Senator Rôibeardescù’s membership. Senatorial colleagues Sevastáin Pinátsch of Atatûrk and Lüc sa Schir of Benito have called on Senator Rôibeardescù to consider his position in the Senate. Senator Magniloqueu Épiqeu da Lhiun has stated that the Senator may face “consequences” in the Senate, and that he may well face prosecution in the Uppermost Cort, despite his claim that he could avoid prosecution due to the media coverage. Beric’ht editor Alexandreu Davincesu has stated on Twitter that he is impressed by the swift government response, but questions whether the Civil Service programme, which is a major policy goal of the Seneschal, can survive the scandal. Beric’ht also reports via Twitter that the Seneschal is travelling but that a staement is expected from him shortly.
Senator Rôibeardescù himself has not directly commented this morning, except to post a “Senatorial Office” message in the Cezembre provincial board, stating that he was “waiting for someone to come and deservedly shout at me”. He has attempted to explain his conduct the previous evening to personal difficulties dealing with depression. The Senator had already created controversy in the days leading up to the publication of the Beric’ht article by abstaining on the vote on the Democratic Amendment, to the public incredulity of a number of government figures.