2017 July Midterm Referendum
The July 2017 Midterm Referendum was held from 18 June 2017/XXXVIII to 2 July 2017/XXXVIII and included one referendum to ratify an amendment to the Organic Law and two non-binding referendum questions.
Legislation and delay
The referendum was called by Prime Minister Lüc da Schir and administered by the Secretary of State, Marti-Pair Furxheir, and his deputy Éovart Grischun. Prior to this, no Referendum had ever been called outside of a General Election ostensibly since the August 1994 referendum on the Seventh Covenant.
Both 50RZ15, the Electoral Commission Reform Amendment, and 50RZ14, simply titled "A Referendum on the Monarchy", were passed by the Ziu in March. The Government initially only planned to hold a midterm referendum on 50RZ15, since its passage would ensure the next General Election would take place under the updated regulations. However, a Sense of the Ziu (50RZ22) was introduced during the next Clark, directing da Schir to issue a Prime Dictate to enable both 50RZ14 and 50RZ15 to be submitted for an early referendum, and clarifying the rules under which the referenda would take place.
Da Schir complied by first issuing a Prime Dictate (50PD4) directing the Chancery to hold a referendum in June on 50RZ15 and providing rules for operation and certification, and then, once the Ziu passed 50RZ22, amended it with a further Prime Dictate (50PD5) that reflected the Ziu's demands and also amended RZ14 to remove a reference to the next General Election. The referendum was also pushed back by a week to give more time to the parties to campaign and to the Chancery to get the necessary infrastructure ready.
In June, it transpired that the Chancery was still not ready for the referendum to be conducted, as the Prime Minister announced Secretary of State Martì-Pair Furxheir was having personal issues. This culminated in a lawsuit brought by Litz Cjantscheir against the Chancery, which did not proceed beyond the Government's response to the initial petition. In the meantime, negotiations between the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the Chancery ended the stall, as the Secretary of State agreed to appoint Éovart Grischun as Deputy Secretary of State for the purpose of conducting the referendum.
The referendum was then moved for a final time, to take place from June 18th to July 2nd, through a third Prime Dictate (50PD6) which was signed in just 21 minutes.
Questions and results
80 ballots were cast, out of 192 eligible voters, for a turnout of 41.67%.
The Electoral Commission Reform Amendment (50RZ15)
The Electoral Commission Reform Amendment was jointly drafted by Prime Minister Lüc da Schir and Finance Minister Dien Tresplet, the leaders of the two coalition parties, and sought to reform the operation of the Electoral Commission after delays in the certification of the previous election had delayed by a whole month the start of the 50th Cosa.
The amendment (and its ancillary act, RZ16) passed the Ziu almost unanimously, and was then confimed by the people with 57 votes in favour, 6 against and 17 abstentions.
Non-binding questions on the Monarchy
The Ziu also passed, much more narrowly, a bill calling for two non-binding questions on the Monarchy, proposed by Attorney-General Viteu Marcianüs. The bill was generally supported by FreeDems and REP and opposed by the RUMP, while the MRPT didn't whip the vote and split almost in half.
The first question was "Do you think that Talossa should continue to be a monarchy?", and passed with 55 votes in favour, 22 against and 3 abstentions.
The second question was "Notwithstanding the prior question, do you think that the Crown should have no political power in any form, and function only as a figurehead?", and failed with 30 votes in favour, 45 against and 5 abstentions.