Zeitgeist Magazine, for the story behind the news
Issue 6,
Volume 7,
3 July 300 AP

The Story behind the news.
Edition
Weather:
The cold blitz that cost lives.
Could it happen again?


Special:
Election 300 - The campaign begins
Savaj give away their vote


Politics
Rattling sabres: Langley demands national control of military
Tribal secession? No, but self-governance, yes.


International Ordland's new monarch: Does he want to be Emperor again?
Christiana's King Grandpa Edward II


Economics
Economic focus: the new currency.


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Savaj give away their votes

For the first time in history, Savaj voters have been able to elect representatives to rule over them, but, unaccustomed to the idea, most Savaj voters are giving their vote away.

In a land where the Areopatre Dynasty still rules, the 20 year-old Emperor is venerated and trusted implicitly. So too are the Council of Chiefs that, despite the winds of democracy through Utania, still dominate Savana state with 19 of the 33 members on the parliamentary council. Savana is the old Kingdom, where Emperors and Chiefs still rule as they did five-hundred years ago. There life is relatively unchanged for hundreds of years; Emperor Areopatre XXXIV and Princess Aratura's posters and pictures outsell the hottest rockstars; and the people believe in their leader's divine right to rule.

Consequently a controversial clause has been added to the constitution that allows voters to "sign-over" their vote to someone else, namely their Chief, who will in turn vote on behalf of his community. Already, of Savana's 2 million voters, the Utanian Electoral Commission reports some 1.3 million "vote transfer" forms have been submitted since March, allowing the Chiefs to select the MP's that will represent the people in those electorates. So far, Emperor Areopatre has the largest number of transferred votes, about 390,000. (It is likely he will vote for the pro-royalist Utani-Saedaj Party, but will take advice from his Chiefs first.)

And it isn't just among the Savaj: Kanharans, Chiquitese and Tuamans are also so inclined to dispense with their votes, handing them to their local chief to vote as he, representing the community, chooses. Kanharans have voted this way under the Horn of Olives Provincial government since '66, passing their votes onto the local chief who votes for the entire community.
But, not everyone is happy the right exists. Utani Progressive Party (UPP) leader, and self-made billionaire, James Angorit, has been a vocal opponent of the constitutional law and the anti-democratic thinking of the Chiefs. Seeing such regressive policies as demeaning for the proud Utani people, Angorit campaigned for more progressive thinking and formed the Progressive party to provide a pro-Utani alternative. And, he has gained some high-profile supporters, including Chief Amea Ajama, a 57 year old, thirty year veteran of Savaj politics. The Progressives have now started gaining significant support in Savana, and, with the Peoples Party tipped to support the Progressives, the next state election could be quite a battle.

And, don't think the UNV is happy about the rule either. UNV "Point South" Director, Gordon Davidz, has lobbied hard to the Utanian government, the Chiefs, and to the UNV General Assembly to have the controversial constitutional clause removed. Davidz even threatened to help finance a tiny pro-Utani (tribal) democracy party in Utania, but the UNV expressly disallowed such interference in a sovereign nation.

Despite the opposition, it is worth noting that the controversial clause isn't even law yet. It is included in the constitution that is to be ratified in the next few weeks, before the 300 Paliamentary election. There is no time to have changes made to remove the clause, but the proposed constitution could be rejected outright. If the constitution is rejected, then not only is democracy on hold, so too is the parliamentary election, something that could lead to violence.

Yet, there is hope that reform may come. Princess Aratura, Queen of the Savaj, and sister of the Emperor, has gently prodded the Chiefs toward liberalisation of the vote. Speaking at a benefit concert, the Princess said that no Savaj citizen should think poorly of anyone who does not surrender their vote, but embrace them as brothers as much as the man who does. Significant improvement over the tar-and-feather killings that have occured in previous years. Reform will be slow, but it is coming.
Related Articles:

Election 300 Special

The Poll that started it all and the six yet to come


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