NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: The following is an opinion piece which does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Adammic Express. This is authored by Emperor Adam I in his capacity as Count Adam Belcher, Leader of the Mercian Social Democratic Party.
We were obviously not expecting the result in the Mercian Parliament House yesterday when Earl Eden of the NLP was elected First Minister. We are now in a situation which clearly violates one of the basic principles of a parliamentary democracy, and the lack of clear legislation on forming coalition governments is to blame.
Baron Uberquie has been kind enough to fill me in on some of the details of the Partisan Democracy Act, which created the framework for the current system. It is a given in a parliamentary democracy that any government should ideally have the support of the majority of the legislature and that a minority government should only be formed if this is not possible. Thus, I believe that an NLP minority government should have been able to form a minority government if and only if the other parties had been unable to form a grouping with more seats than them.
However, this is not the case. An agreement was formed between the PDP, the SDP and the Green-Socialist Independent to rule as a majority coalition. This coalition had a majority of seats in the House and should, therefore, be the rightful government. However, there was nothing in the PDA to reflect this kind of situation, which was clearly a mistake by the authors of the said Act. The coalition was forced to improvise, automatically assuming the mantle of government and adding in what was supposed to be a ceremonial vote to cement our position. Clearly, we failed to recognise that this vote could be abused due to the fact that it took place entirely in the House Skype room rather than on the forums. The NLP won the vote only because Earl McCarthy and Baron Wu were unable to make the Skype meeting; it has turned out that McCarthy’s absence was due to a last-minute family emergency which should take precedence over macronational politics, let alone micronational.
Due to the fact that the House is sovereign, this does mean that Earl Eden is technically now First Minister. However, in principle this is utterly wrong. It has always been accepted that votes to pass legislation take place on the forum so that those unable to make the Skype meeting can still vote later on. The appointment of the First Minister for a four-month term is arguably as important as, if not more important than, legislation, and the vote should therefore have taken place on the forum. Although it is the fault of the coalition that we didn’t recognise this loophole, it was wrong of the NLP to abuse this loophole and plant a First Minister who is facing a unified coalition which can and will use its majority to reclaim its rightful place in government. Unless the NLP plans to have even legislative votes take place in the Skype chat, which would be shameful cowardice indeed, the coalition can easily use its majority to pass opposition legislation via the forums which closes the loophole. The NLP know this and must surely know that their government is doomed to fail within the next one or two Parliament meetings. It is inevitable that the coalition will secure power sooner or later and the NLP have only delayed this, leaving Mercia without a stable government for even longer. They should have recognised this and had some of their members abstain from the vote. In fact, this is a principle which is actually used in the UK Parliament, where an MP who will be absent for a vote makes an agreement with an MP who would vote the other way to abstain, thus cancelling out the absence. Whilst that exact procedure wasn’t possible in this instance as we didn’t know who the nominees would be in advance of the meeting, the principle remains the same.
Since then, things have turned ugly. Arguments have surfaced in the Mercian Lounge about whether or not a new election should be held and whether or not certain individuals should be allowed to vote in that election. All kinds of allegations have surfaced and it has reached the point where things have gotten personal, friendships have ended and the Lord Spiritual himself has intervened to condemn the situation. It has become clear to me that there are some people in Mercia who are a little bit too keen to see their parties in power. I can only hope that whatever happens next, we keep things dignified for the good of the Mercian people.