Category Archives: Ziu

Opinion: When changing the OrgLaw, check it twice

The frankly confusing twin proposals clarked by the Secretary of State relating to the term of office of the Cosa, coupled with the unfortunate last-minute discovery of a drafting error in the OLSC’s latest hunt for OrgLaw deadwood, highlight the need for a more detailed scrutiny of OrgLaw changes by the Ziu.

Firstly, the well-intenioned privilege given to the Chancery, that allows a non-MZ direct access to the legislative Clark, should be withdrawn.

A non-member of the legislature can have the right to suggest action, by placing bills in the Hopper. They should not however be permitted to dictate the agenda for elected representatives. This is particularly true when he or she is unsure of the appropriate course of action themselves. That two mutually contradictory amendments proposed by the same person can land on the desks of MZs demonstrates that the current system is broken.

Secondly, no change to the Organic Law should appear on the Clark without the sponsorship of at least two MZs.

By obliging proposals to seek the approval of at least one other MZ before they can be Clarked, MZs will at least have to allow one other individual to scrutinise their text. This may make for improved bills in the Hopper, and better quality law overall.

Thirdly, no change to the Organic Law should be presented at referendum without having been considered twice by the Ziu. This might take the form of two “readings” on two separate Clarks, or by separate consecutive consideration by both houses of the Ziu- the latter would itself be an actualisation of our otherwise fictional bicameralism.

Even the most conscientous among our MZs can make mistakes, and extended scrutiny seems to ferret out these errors, as has been demonstrated by the abandonment of the OLSC amendments.

Either way, since amendments cannot take force until they have been approved by voters, at the next election, the Ziu has the opportunity to take more time to study in detail the consequences of each amendment. It should take it.

Opinion: When changing the OrgLaw, check it twice

The frankly confusing twin proposals clarked by the Secretary of State relating to the term of office of the Cosa, coupled with the unfortunate last-minute discovery of a drafting error in the OLSC’s latest hunt for OrgLaw deadwood, highlight the need for a more detailed scrutiny of OrgLaw changes by the Ziu.

Firstly, the well-intentioned privilege given to the Chancery, that allows a non-MZ direct access to the legislative Clark, should be withdrawn.

A non-member of the legislature can have the right to suggest action, by placing bills in the Hopper. They should not however be permitted to dictate the agenda for elected representatives. This is particularly true when he or she is unsure of the appropriate course of action themselves. That two mutually contradictory amendments proposed by the same person can land on the desks of MZs demonstrates that the current system is broken.

Secondly, no change to the Organic Law should appear on the Clark without the sponsorship of at least two MZs.

By obliging proposals to seek the approval of at least one other MZ before they can be Clarked, MZs will at least have to allow one other individual to scrutinise their text. This may make for improved bills in the Hopper, and better quality law overall.

Thirdly, no change to the Organic Law should be presented at referendum without having been considered twice by the Ziu. This might take the form of two “readings” on two separate Clarks, or by separate consecutive consideration by both houses of the Ziu- the latter would itself be an actualisation of our otherwise fictional bicameralism.

Even the most conscientous among our MZs can make mistakes, and extended scrutiny seems to ferret out these errors, as has been demonstrated by the abandonment of the OLSC amendments.

Either way, since amendments cannot take force until they have been approved by voters, at the next election, the Ziu has the opportunity to take more time to study in detail the consequences of each amendment. It should take it.

May Clark: Budget and VoC pass, Prince Patrick loses Cosa seats

Secretary of State Marti-Pair Furxheir has announced the results of the 2nd Clark of the 49th Cosa. As expected, the coalition won both the Vote of Confidence and passed its Budget Bill, with only FreeDems opposing the government for the second Clark in a row. S:reu Furxheir also confirmed that the heir to the throne, Prince Patrick, has lost the RUMP Cosa seats he was granted, after failing to vote in two consecutive Clarks.

The Budget, the first by Finance Minister Sir Alexandreu Davinescu, provided funding for the long-awaited coin issue, as well as a new chain of office for the Seneschal and a legislative grant to BHAID [ETT: Inxheneu Crovâ is Administrator of BHAID]. While FreeDem leader Miestrâ Schivâ insisted that her party would vote against the Budget on principle, as in her view the duty of the opposition being to oppose, this was a point disputed by Senator Tresplet, who claimed to have judged the Bill “on its merits”.

Asked by ETT for his reaction to Senator Tresplet’s stand, FreeDem deputy leader Dr Txec dal Nordselvă stated that “Dien is our most conservative, pro-monarchist member, so he tends to blaze his own trail sometimes. I’m not concerned as our vote against it was never going to stop it”.

FreeDem entreaties to the centrist parties to end what they claim is the “farce” of the coalition would seem have had little effect. In the recent controversy over FreeDems claims that Seneschal Sir Crest Siervicül was a “puppet” of the Finance Minister, senior ModRad figures forcefully denied the charges, insisting that Sir Cresti was firmly in charge, and that the coalition was achieving its aims. In the Clark the coalition parties appear to have maintained their cohesion.

Among other bills on the Clark, the 2nd BHAID Disbursement Bill also passed with token opposition. The Bill donated the residual funds of TalossaAid as well as the proceeds of an election prediction competition to develoment in East Africa and to an international election monitoring organisation, respectively. Senator Lüc da Schir’s ambitious and long-gestating reform of provincial catchment areas also passed by substantial margins, despite reservations in certain provinces about the consequences for their future numbers.

Less fortunate was Senator da Lhiun’s bill condemning Turkish President Erdogan’s recent authoritarian turn, reflecting unease in the Ziu at “topical” legislation. Also going down to defeat was the sole Organic Law amendment on the Clark, FreeDem MC Chirbi Scherpa-Carreido’s “Resident Cunstaval” Bill which would have restricted the King’s power to appoint  a Crown representative to a province t residents of that province only. The bill fell victim both to conservative reticence but also the official FreeDem policy of waiting for the conclusion of the RCOR before voting in favour of any further constitutional reform.

49th Cosa: May Clark published

Secretary of State Marti-Pair Furxheir has published the second Clark of the 49th Cosa. MZs have until 21st May to vote on the five bills in the Clark.

In Government business, Minister for Finance Sir Alexandreu Davinescu MC presents his budget (49RZ4, the Omnibus Finance and Budget Bill).

The budget reveals plans to purchase a new chain of office for the Seneschal, funding for the design of the proposed issue of coinage during the term, as well as and for the production of ID cards. The budget also allocates funds for promotion of the Kingdom in the Greater Talossan Area and internationally.

For the first time since its establishment a budget has been allocated to BHAID, the Kingdom’s overseas development and emergency relief agency. Prior to this the organisation has relied exclusively on private donations. [ETTInxheneu Crovâ is Administrator of BHAID] The bill would also authorise the government to hold a national fundraising drive for general purposes, capped at $60.

In other government business, Foreign Minister Breneir Itravilatx MC has proposed 49RZ7, the BHAID Disbursement (II) Bill. This would authorize the support of the GiveDirectly project in East Africa with the funds received in 2015 from TalossaAID, as well as a small grant to IFES, which promotes free and fair elections globally. The bill is co-sponsored by Minister of STUFF Ian Plätschisch MC and FreeDem Senator C. Carlüs Xheraltescú.

Three other bills feature on the Clark. The sole constitutional amendement on the Clark, 49RZ6 the Resident Cunstavals Bill, has been proposed by FreeDem MC Chirbi Scherpa-Carriedo. This would require the Crown’s personal representative in each province to be a resident of that province.

ModRad Senator Epic da Lhiun has proposed 49RZ5 Making the Bosphorous Great Again Bill, which would officially condemn what the Bill claims is the illiberal and authoritarian turn in Turkish politics under President Erdogan. The bill is co-sponsored by FreeDem MCs Dr Txec dal Nordselvã and Chirbi Scherpa-Carriedo.

Finally Distain and ModRad leader Senator Lüc da Schir has proposed the long-gestating 49RZ8 Provincial Catchment Area Reform Bill. The bill would reallocate the territories om.which the citizenry of each Talossan province  is recruited in order to provide a more contiguous area, as well as encourage local cooperation between citizens. The Bill has been vociferously and at times profanely criticised by a number of leading Benitian citizens for its treatment of that province, and indeed Senator da Schir has offered to abstain on his own Bill in response to the disquiet. The bill has been co-sponsored by Seneschal Sir Cresti Siervicül MC, Senator Xheraltescú, Dr dal Nordselvã, and Senator da Schir’s party colleague Glüc da Dhi MC.

BHAID: 118$ for UNICEF, Administrator steps down

Françal Ian Lux MC has publised the BHAID Act of 2015, which if passed by the Ziu will authorise the Kingdom’s Bureau of Humanitarian Aid and International Development to donate the proceeds of the recently concluded BHAID appeal to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). As reported in ETT this weekend, US$130 was raised in donations. After processing fees the amount available for the donation is US$118.17. [ETT: Inxheneu Crovâ donated $50 to the appeal]

According to its official website UNICEF was founded in December 1946 to provide aid to children displaced by the Second World War. In 1953 its mission was made perpetual, and in 1965 it was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The organsation is active in 192 countries working to promote the health, nutrition and education of children.

S:reu Lux’s legislation states that the Governors of BHAID decided to support UNICEF due to its work with refugees from the civil war in Syria. UNICEF is seeking to raise US$624 million in funding for 2015 alone to support its efforts to help children and their families displaced by the conflict.

The proposal was welcomed by RUMP leader Sir Alexandreu Davinescu MC, who described the organisation as “highly-rated by most charity auditors” and that it “seems like a good choice”. He also congratulated BHAID on “a good job”. Ian Plätschisch MC, a Governor of BHAID along with S:reu Lux, has requested to be added as a co-sponsor of the Bill.

BHAID is supervised by a Board of Governors, including an Administrator. It was announced yesterday that the incumbent Administrator Dr. Prithi Singh Ravish would no be continuing in the role. The reasons for the resignation are not clear but Foreign Minister Breneir Itravilatx stated that Dr Ravish’s resignation had “something to do with Talossans not being recognized in the international arena”. The Minister further announced that he would be assuming the role of Administrator temporarily until a replacement can be found.

November Clark Results: Coalition wins VoC, 4 MCs forfeit seats

According to the November Clark results published by the Chancery, Talossan Socialist Party MCs Gaglhen Fortaleça and Daniel Candee, along with independent MC Nicholas Hayes and RUMP MC Bradley Collin Holmes have exited the Ziu after their failure to vote in two successive Clark led to the forfeiture of their seats. These MCs held between them 33 seats in the Cosa, so along with the former assignment of errant Progressive MC Vit Caçéir, 37 Cosa seats remain unasigned at the time of writing.

Despite a strident condemnation of the government’s record by opposition leader Sir Alexandreu Davinescu MC, and the recent public tensions between coalition parties, the government survived the Vote of Confidence (94 Për/58 Contrâ). The split was along party lines as the remaining RUMP MCs were alone in voting against confidence.

Eights bills and Organic Law amendements were published in the Clark, of which five passed. Notable bills included:

The Rebalancing Finances Act (Cosa:141P/0C/11A, Senäts: 5P/0C/1A) was proposed by Sir Alexandreu Davinescu MC and Senator Eovart Grischun and reduces party registration fees by 50%, to US$10. This fee is payable by each party that wishes to stand for election to the Cosa. The Bill also revises the rules by which additional voluntary fundraising for the needs of the state are conducted, and reinforces the prohibition already included in El Lexhatx against mandatory donations or compulsory taxation.

The Transparency and Protection Bill, (Cosa:60P/81C/11A, Senäts: 3P/2C/1A) proposed by Sir Alexandreu Davinescu MC, would have simplified the freedom of information procedure already included in El Lexhatx, as well as the controls on the disclosure of personal information on citizens by the government or administration. The Bill passed in the Senäts but was defeated in the Cosa.

The sole amendement voted on, the Mandatory Cosa Lists Act and Amendment (Cosa:84P/33C/35A, Senäts: 2P/3C/1A) proposed by Ian Plätschisch MC and C. Carlüs Xheraltescù MC would have provided for the mandatory publication of seat assignments by party leaders before each election. Currently seats are assigned by party leaders after the election results are known subject to an individual limit on the number of seats any MC can hold. The Amendement failed to receive a majority in the Senäts and was thus defeated.

Davinescu calls for Organic Law Standing Committee

RUMP leader and candidate for Túischac’h Sir Alexandreu Davinescu has called for the formation of a Standing Committee on the Organic Law.

The proposed remit of the new committee, which according to Sir Alexandreu would be the first of its kind, would be to “remove some of the minutiae and details from the Organic Law into el Lexhatx, largely leaving principles and important mechanics of our checks and balances”. A noted opponent of radical institutional change, the RUMP meader declared that in his view the Committee should not attempt to discuss more fundamental changes to the Organic Law, as this would lead to “a mess of partisan arguments and all sorts of nonsense”.

Sir Alexandreu has issued invitations to a number of prominent MZs from other political groups in the Ziu, but does not appear to conceive of the membership of the Committee as being proportional to party strength in the Ziu. While acknowledging that the Committee would not be an official entity until a properly elected presiding officer authorised it, he stated that “I like to think we are all mature enough to manage without that imprimatur for the time being.”

In contrast to the the Royal Commission proposed by Senator Miestrâ Schivâ, the Committee would be perpetual and would apparently operate on the basis of consensus among its members. Senator Schivâ herself stated that she was not opposed to the idea of a Standing Committee in principle but that she felt the timing of the announcement was politically motivated, claiming that it was “dirty pool” and an attempt to “derail” the Royal Commission Bill.

Sir Alexandreu acknowledged he was an opponent of the Senator’s Bill, but contended that for the strictly limited aim of modernising the Organic Law the Standing Committee was the more appropriate solution. He also denied any partisan motivations, and claimed that he was not opposed to the Royal Commission in principle, but that he felt the Senator was attempting to “jam it down our throats” in a partisan manner.

In response to Sir Alexandreu’s invitation, Senator Magniloqueu Épiqeu da Lhiun stated that he “would be honoured to be part of this Committee”, even if he echoed Senator Schivâ’s suspiscion that the proposal was an “ambush”, and that he still favoured a “major overhaul” of the constitution.

Ian Plätschisch MC, stating that he himself only desired “a simplification of the OrgLaw”, expressed scepticism that a Royal Commission would actually achieve fundamental change as in his opinion “it would almost certainly never work, because the RUMP would vote it down”. He also rejected the charge by Senator Schivâ that he was “making himself a useful idiot for the RUMP”, stating that “to imply that I don’t know what I am doing is neither accurate nor fair”.

September Clark: Analysis

The government passed its third VoC comfortably. Even with the absence of Françal Lux and Vit Caçéir, the coalition was supported by 116 seats, a comfortable majority. The 69 RUMP seats voted as a bloc against confidence, but the RUMP has not yet succeeded in making a dent in the broad pro-government bloc, let alone put the coalition’s majority in danger. Barring an incredible revival of fortunes, RUMP will need coalition partners to have a hope of forming a government in the 49th Cosa, and on the face of it it has not yet managed to convince any to waver from the coalition.

That being said, the government has not had it all its own way. A telling fact is that the sole “administration” bill of the Third Clark, Breneir Itravilatx’s “Humans Helping Other Humans” Act, needed the backing of an otherwise unreconstructed RUMP conservative, former Foreign Minister Eovart Xhorxh, in order to pass the Cosa with an absolute majority. While the bill was never in any danger of defeat, since Për votes greatly outnumbered Contra, the abstention of Munditenens-Txec Patritz da Biondeu MC and the failure of Caçéir and Lux to vote meant that the absolute majority for the bill was only assured by the TSP MCs and Xhorxh. While again the defeat of the bill in the Senäts was never likely, the abstention of MRPT Senators Pinàtsch and da Lhiun also suggests a certain lack of enthusiasm for the idealistic liberalism of the bill. The transformation of the FDA into fully fledged political party may also sharpen intra-coalition competition, particularly if the baleful warnings of Senator Rôibeardescù about the radicalising impact of the ZRT influx are fulfilled.

The aforementioned S:reu Itravilatx, with his piloting of the Sustainable Development resolution in its early stages and his avowed determination to get the new Bureau of Humanitarian Aid off the ground on 1st October, has emerged as a sober but committed progressive voice in the Ziu. Much will of course depend on whether the promise of the BHAID will be fulfilled. Characterised by Sir Alexandreu Davinescu as an “embarrassing failure” in waiting during the Clark discussions, a successful launch of this flagship project is a moral imperative in advance of what is certain to be a cruel winter for many thousands of families, in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere – and would be a powerful asset for the coalition in the 49th Cosa campaign. Indeed its success must assure S:reu Itravilatx a prominent place in that campaign.

The other outstanding MZ of the Clark is Ian Plätschisch. For all his sometimes over-enthusiastic approach, it cannot be denied that his dogged advocacy of a negotiated solution to the Proclamation Crisis has been crowned with a notable success in passing the 3/4 Majority Amendment. It remains to be seen whether the Cort will soon render this particular solution moot, and ETT has grave reservations about trusting this particular monarch with such an extensive power of nuisance, but credit where credit is due. He has also played a consistently constructive role with his other, more minor pieces of legislation, and has earned broad support in the Ziu for this “tidying up” of El Lexhatx. With S:reu Plätschisch’s very public interest in legal affairs, and with S:reu Caçéir apparently in Antarctica, is it time for a new Attorney-General?

September Clark Results: You’re All Winners

MZs managed to pull off a sweep in the third Clark of the 48th Cosa. According to the results of the September Clark published by the Chancery six Bills published in the September Clark were passed, and the Government kept the confidence of the Cosa.

The government won the Vote of Confidence (Cosa: 116P/69C/0A) with a majority of 116 seats, with only the RUMP’s 69 seats voting against. Coalition MCs Françal Ian Lux (FDA) and Eovart Caçéir (Progressive) failed to vote, which means that the latter has forfeited his seat under Article VII, sect. 4 of the Organic Law. As the Progressives are still a functioning party it will be up to their leader, Owen Edwards MC, to designate a replacement to be appointed by the King. The implications for the coalition, as S:reu Caçéir is Attorney-General, are not clear at the time of writing. A Terpelaziun to the Attorney-General submitted by RUMP Leader Alexandreu Davinescu on 27th August has as yet gone unanswered.

Based on the results of the voting, the most contentious Bill on the Clark in party political terms appears to have been the Humans Helping Other Humans Act. The Bill establishes a Bureau of Humanitarian Aid in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.The Bureau will be headed by an Administrator and supervised by a Board of Governors, and will centralise Talossan national humanitarian, disaster relief and social development efforts. The effort will be financed by private fund-raising, or by legislative appropriation.
(Proposed by Breneir Itravilatx MC. Cosa: 109P/64C/12A, Senäts: 5P/1C/2A)

Of the remaining five bills passed, two were amendments to the Organic Law and will not come into effect until after being approved by referendums to be held simultaneously with the next general election (and assuming under that circumstance that they are proclaimed by the King).

The Automatic Voting Amendment allows for the advance validation of the electronic voting system, avoiding the delays that have been associated with the present system of post-election ballot validation. The Electoral Commission will examine the operation of the voting system before the election and must unanimously validate it.
(Proposed by Sir Alexandreu Davinescu MC. Cosa: 157P/28C/0A, Senäts: 7P/0C/1A)

The 3/4 Majority Amendment removes the language that allowed the King to claim the discretion as to whether to proclaim amendments to the Organic Law, but gives the Crown the right to return an amendment to the Ziu that passed it, and increases the override threshold in that case to a three-quarters majority (instead of 2/3) of the Cosa, and an absolute (rather than a simple) majority of the Senäts. The same bill may however be passed by the next Cosa with the usual thresholds, and must be proclaimed.
(Proposed by Ian Plätschisch MC. Cosa: 136P/28C/21A, Senäts: 4P/0C/4A)

The last three bills were technical in nature and faced little opposition, with the lonely dissent of RUMP MC Eovart Xhorxh preventing their unanimous approval.

The Chronological Days of Observance Act altered the order in which the national holidays are listed in El Lexhatx to appear in order of the dates they fall on in the calendar.
(Proposed by Ian Plätschisch MC. Cosa: 174P/11C/0A, Senäts: 8P/0C/0A)

The No More Inorganic Budgets Act allows Ministers other than the Seneschal to present the Budget to the Cosa, where the Seneschal is not an MC. It had been noticed during the presentation of the 48th Cosa Budget that the previous Seneschal, Senator Lüc da Schir, had inorganically failed to present his budget to the Cosa-not being a member of that house.
(Proposed by Ian Plätschisch MC. Cosa: 174P/11C/0A, Senäts: 8P/0C/0A)

Finally, the I Pity the Phoole Act grants citizenship of the Kingdom to immigrant Ann-Elisabeth Shapera, whose application for citizenship had become ensnarled in a controversy over her other ambition, which was to be appointed Royal Phoole (or Jester) of the Kingdom. The defeat of the bill establishing this office, that would have also simultaneously granted her citizenship, thus left her application in limbo, until rectified by the passage of the Act.
(Proposed by Litz Cjantscheir MC. Cosa: 174P/0C/11A, Senäts: 8P/0C/0A)

Itravilatx proposes resolution in support of climate conference

The United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) will be held in Paris from 30th November to December 11th 2015. According to its official website “COP21 will be a crucial conference, as it needs to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.”

In this context, Minister for Foreign Affairs Breneir Itravilatx has proposed a Sense of the Ziu on Sustainable Development. This resolution of the Ziu would express its support for negotiations that will lead to a binding international agreement for prompt global action on climate change and for sustainable development, and would encourage all Talossans to reflect on what personal contribution they could make in taking action and raising awareness of the issue. At the time of writing Senators Eðo Grischun of Vuode and Lüc da Schir of Benito have been added as co-sponsors.

Sir C. M. Siervicül MC (RUMP) stated that he did “not see much point in making Talossa take sides in macronational political controversies. It can only serve to divide us unnecessarily.” RUMP party leader Sir Alexandeu Davinescu MC, who while clarifying that he was an ardent environmentalist and did not object in principle to the sentiments of the resolution, stated that given the potential controversy “we have enough differences in politics… let’s not import more unless it’s for a good reason!”

In response to these concerns, Senator Lüc da Schir remarked that he found that treating the existence of climate change as controversial was “disturbing “. Senator Eðo Grischun claimed that “the level of threat posed by climate change and appropriate policy responses are only controversial political issues with rednecks and the tin foil hat brigade”. Françal Ian Lux MC (FDA) stated that, while acknowledging the risk of generating needless controversy, the resolution was “a sign of gesture, no matter how quiet it may be, that we, like most nations in the world, recognize the detrimental effects of climate change to our planet”.

Responding to the discussion, S:reu Itravilatx stated that “the purpose of the resolution is not to identify and then disparage those who disagree with the causes of and solutions to climate change. I am hopeful that the Ziu will pass this resolution as a call to action for Talossans on this issue and as a contribution and encouragement, however small, to the efforts in Paris and New York.”