Government formed in Mercia following tense vote


A government has been formed in Mercia following the first meeting of the Mercian Parliament House. In a surprise defeat for the coalition of opposition parties, the NLP were able to form a minority administration by winning the vote for First Minister. This development was unexpected, as a coalition of the PDP, SDP and one Green-Socialist MP, who hold six seats, was expected to outvote the NLP, who hold the other five seats, and form their own government.

The coalition scheduled today’s meeting in advance with the Speaker of the Mercian Parliament, formally known as the Convener of the Crossbenches, Count Frisch. It commenced at 8 p.m. G.M.T., with the Speaker opening the session when a majority of members were present. 9 of the 11 members were present, with Baron Wu of the PDP and Baron McCarthy of the SDP being absent. The first item on the agenda was the nominations for First Minister. The NLP nominated their new leader Earl Eden, who was selected to replace Baron Ó Cathail following his resignation a few days ago. The PDP leader, Baron Whyatt, nominated himself on behalf of his party. NLP MPs also nominated Baron McFarlane, Baron Newton and Baron McCarthy of the coalition parties, a move the purpose of which is not particularly apparent.

The vote then proceeded, before being suspended and re-ordered by the Speaker in order to make sure all votes were cast in the same format. The result was greatly surprising, given the presumption by some media outlets that the coalition would take power. Earl Eden won 5 votes, while Baron Whyatt won 4 votes. The absence of two of the coalition MPs resulted in the opposition losing the vote to cast the NLP out of power. The coalition MPs made clear their protests to the Speaker, who eventually had to call an end to the vote when it became clear the two absent MPs would not be appearing. Baron Belcher, of the SDP, expressed his condemnation towards “the actions of the NLP in purposefully derailing the business of the House in the interests of their own party”. Baron McFarlane of the PDP said how it was “outrageous that the NLP is trying to ignore 2 democratically elected MPs.” Nonetheless, the vote was called to an end, with Earl Eden nominated by the house as First Minister-elect.

In accordance with the rules of parliamentary procedure, a motion of confidence was then held in Earl Eden, which he also won with five in support and four against. The Speaker then announced the result, and declared Earl Eden to be the First Minister of Mercia. Baron Newton left the House in protest at the announcement. The Speaker called the house into order, after which the House approved a motion for a recess in order to allow the First Minister to prepare a speech. The House reconvened to adjourn for the day an hour later.

The NLP has thus been re-elected to a third term in government, with Earl Eden succeeding Baron Ó Cathail as First Minister and NLP leader. However, as a minority administration, Eden’s government remains vulnerable to being outvoted by the opposition, particularly in a motion of no-confidence. The new Mercian government thus faces additional challenges in the weeks ahead. Earl Eden will be announcing his cabinet in the next few days, and will schedule the next meeting of Parliament with the Speaker.


Government formation stalls in Mercia



In the wake of the Mercian general election results, a hung parliament has led to great difficulties in forming a government. After Baron Ó Cathail, who had served in the role of First Minister for over a year, decided not to continue on as NLP leader, the entire opposition reached an agreement on the formation of a coalition government. This agreement, which is simply an outline of how a cabinet could be arranged and not a formal agreement, is already starting to fall into disarray before a government has even taken office.

Not long after the agreement was publicised, the NLP, who are the largest party within the Mercian Parliament, was approached by the PDP, who put forward an offer for government formation, while discussion also took place between the SDP and NLP. Baron Whyatt-Miranda, the leader of the PDP, reportedly approached the NLP and openly declared that he could support an NLP government. Meanwhile, an internal row has broken out within the SDP, a party which has not previously held office in Mercia, over whether or not to form a government with the NLP following promising discussions between the parties.

It is unclear who will now take office when Parliament convenes this weekend. Should the three other groupings fail to form a government, the NLP may have to negotiate a deal with one of the other groupings in order to form a stable government. Baron Ó Cathail, who took responsibility for the loss of two seats in the recent election, remains the acting leader of the NLP until a leadership contest is held to replace him. It is unclear who will replace him now as First Minister, or indeed whether a coalition of opposition parties will be able to serve out their full term.

Mercia votes to leave Wurtige Empire



Above: The flag of Mercia (left) and the flag of the Würtige Empire (right).

Voting concluded on Sunday in the referendum on Mercian sovereignty. The referendum on Mercia’s status as an autonomous state of the Würtige Empire had been called following prolonged inactivity within the Imperial Government. The campaign which had begun over the course of the previous week was dominated by the “Yes Mercia” campaign, supported by the two main parties in the Mercian Parliament. The Yes side advocated leaving the Empire to make Mercia an independent state. No campaigning for the “No” side had taken place by the time voting began on Friday, leading to little scrutiny or opposition to the “Yes Mercia” campaign.


Above: The results of the referendum.

Turnout was about two-thirds of the overall population at 14 voters. The results were announced after voting concluded on Sunday afternoon. 92.9% of voters voted Yes to leaving the Empire, leaving 7.1% voting against leaving. Following the announcement of the results by Mercia’s Electoral Gorsedh in the Parliament House, former HPA leader Baron Callum Newton said that “democracy had prevailed”, while Culture Minister Baron John Churchill said that he felt “we made the right decision”.

“This is not just a mandate for independence,” said First Minister Ó Cathail, who had introduced the referendum bill in to Parliament in January, “it is a final call for the Empire to do the right thing, and formally dissolve”. The process of formally exiting the Würtige Empire will now begin, with Mercia due to be fully independent from the Empire before the Mercian parliamentary election in March. With Mercia’s departure, the Empire will be left with only one member state, Beacon City. FM Ó Cathail will be addressing the Beaconite Municipal Assembly on Friday, where he is expected to renew his commitment to giving the Würtige Empire a “dignified death” with the assistance of the Beaconite Government. Meanwhile, no response from the Imperial Government regarding the outcome of the referendum has been issued.

Referendum campaign kicks off in Mercia



Above: A poster from the “Yes Mercia” campaign supporting Mercia’s departure from the Würtige Empire

A referendum on Mercia’s membership of the Würtige Empire will be held this Friday, the 12th of February, with voting continuing until Sunday the 14th. The referendum comes after months of political discussion within Mercia on its long-standing membership of the Empire due to protracted inactivity within the Würtige Imperial Government. The dates of the referendum were released by the Mercian cabinet last Wednesday, and were subsequently posted on the government’s new Twitter feed:

Mercians will vote “Yes” if they wish for Mercia to exit the Würtige Empire, or “No” if they wish to remain inside the Empire. The Yes Mercia campaign is supported by the ruling National Liberal Party and the main opposition party, the Humanist People’s Alliance. Today the Yes Mercia campaign released their official campaign booklet, in which they outlined their arguments for leaving the Würtige Empire. Entitled “The Case for Yes”, it featured a message from the Mercian First Minister, Baron Ó Cathail, and endorsements from the Leader of the Opposition and the Commerce Minister. You can read “The Case for Yes”  by clicking below.


Meanwhile, campaigning for remaining in the Empire has yet to begin. The Würtige Emperor, Arthur, is a Mercian MP for the Wilbertsherne constituency, however he has not yet contributed his views to the campaign. The Wurtige Unionist Party, whose main belief was continued membership of the Empire, has essentially dissolved after its leader left the party to become an independent MP. This leaves Mercia with no party advocating it should stay in the Empire. With just four days left to campaign, time is running out for both sides to make their case, and with no opinion polls to gauge public support, the result will be particularly unpredictable. The results of the ballot will be announced in the Mercian Parliament House after the polls close at lunchtime on Sunday.