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offtopic:direct_democracy_bill

Direct Democracy Bill

Overview

For much of AH.com Political history, there has been a lasting complaint about a lack of participation from the general membership. This bill created avenues for more direct participation in the democratic process.

History

2008-2009 Parliament

This bill was first proposed to the Lower House of Parliament by Lord LightInfa (FFF) on June 12, 2009, arguing that “for too long, the government of AH.com has been the domain of the privileged few,” and “the current referendum system is a complete sham, merely a tool of the government, as it is impossible for the citizentry to propose a referendum without the sponsorship of government officials. Therefore, we need a new, strengthened system of direct democracy to give the people their due and to weaken the power of the political elite.”

Krall commented that while he “agreed in principle”, he felt that overall the bill was “badly worded, badly structured, and in serious need of being spell-checked. It may also raise some strange constitutional questions, though that may just be me reading into things a bit too much.” He suggested that “this bill be kept in principle, but that it be revised to be better worded, better structured, spell-checked, and to permit the legislature to present bills to the populace for passing if they do not believe they have the necessary mandate to pass it (which is already possible, but there's no established laws that specify how it should take place, so creating rules on this should encourage it).”

MPs VulcanTrekkie45 (YSP) and 09camaro (E) seconded Krall's opinion, but said that they would support the bill if it were rewritten per Krall's recommendations.

LightInfa defended his version of the bill: “I've purposely overwritten this bill to avoid the fate of other bills in being accused of being too vague.”

Krall replied: “Really? Huh, I guess I'm just extremely obsessive over details in things like this, because I find the bill to be open to interpretation (or rather misinterpretation) in areas. I'd probably have made the bill more detailed and gone as far as defining how one justifies that one has collected enough signatures, but I guess that would be something easily defined by convention rather than statute. Do you mind if I try to rewrite the bill to remove any possibilities of misinterpretation as I see them? I'll send the revised version to you via PM rather than clutter this thread with it, and I won't add any sections or rules; I'll just reword what's already there.”

LightInfa ultimately agreed to divide the bill into sections and sub-sections.

Introduction to the 2009-2010 Parliament

LightInfa made Direct Democracy part of a suite of three “democratic reform” bills early in the 2009-2010 Parliamentary term. The three bills were introduced to Parliament by oakvale on August 18, 2009, in a show of multipartisanship. When debate got out of control, Prime Minister maverick took all three bills off the table.

Reintroduction

Maverick reintroduced Direct Democracy on September 3. At one point the bill was officially defeated, but it finally passed when MP Krall (BWS) switched his vote to Aye. By his own open, even proud, admission, he was bribed to change his vote by Susano. President TheDarkServant signed Direct Democracy into law on September 11.

On Sept. 20, Abdul Hadi Pasha raised an objection to the Direct Democracy Bill in the Landsraad on the grounds that it would create too many unnecessary polls and cause “politics fatigue”. So far the objection has not been seconded or thirded, which is required to bring it to a Landsraad vote.

Text of the Bill

First Proposed Text of Legislation

Whereas the safest check on a government aggrandizing itself more powers is an empowered electorate, and whereas referendums and initiatives provide the most representative and democratic government, and whereas more direct democracy allows voters to bypass politicians;

Section 1. Initiatives

An initiative is defined as a bill proposed by a general citizen/member. An initiative may be proposed to the Electoral Officer with the signatures of 15 other members. Once the Electoral Officer receives an initiative with the proper number of signatures, he must hold a vote on the initiative within 10 days. If the Electoral Officer has not posted the election within ten days, the President must schedule the vote.

Voting shall remain open for seven days. Upon the closure of the poll, the initiative shall be declared passed if it received a majority of the votes. The initiative takes effect immediately unless otherwise stated in the initiative. The initiative has the same legal standing as any Act of Parliament.

Furthermore, an initiative may not be repealed by Parliament. The only way to repeal an initiative is with another initiative.

Section 2. Objections

An Objection is defined as a proposal by members to block the implementation of a law that has been passed by Parliament. An objection may be presented to the Electoral Officer at most 10 days after passage through Parliament with the signatures of 15 other members. Once the Electoral Officer receives an objection with the appropriate amount of signatures, he must hold a vote on the objection within five days. If the Electoral Officer has not held the vote within 5 days, or has stated his inability to do so, the President must schedule the vote.

The poll shall remain open for seven days. Upon the closure of the poll, the objection shall be declared successful if it receives the majority of the votes. The bill shall be discarded and may not be reintroduced until the next session of Parliament.

Parliament may not override an objection.

Section 3. Recalls

A recall is defined as the removal of a politician from office by a vote by the members of AH.com. The officials that shall be able to be recalled are the President, Members of Parliament, and Members of the Landsraad.

For the recall of a President, a member must collect the signatures of 25 other members to present the recall to the Electoral Officer. Once the Electoral Officer receives a recall proposal, he must hold a vote within 10 days. If the Electoral Officer does not hold the vote within 10 days or states his inability to do so, the Prime Minister must hold the vote.

The poll shall remain open for seven days. The President shall be immediately removed from office if the majority of the votes are in favor of the recall. The Vice President shall be Acting President until the new President is elected.

The Electoral Officer must hold an election for the new president at least 15 days after the end of the recall. If he is hold the election, the Prime Minister must hold the election. The campaign and rules for the replacement election will be the same as in a normal presidential election.

The recall process for Members of Parliament and Members of the Landsraad is the same. A recall for someone holding one of those positions may be proposed by any member with the signatures of 15 other members to the Electoral Officer. Once the Electoral Officer receives a recall proposal with the appropriate amount of signatures, he must hold the recall vote within 10 days. In the case of the Electoral Officer being absent or unable to hold the recall, the President will hold the recall.

The poll shall remain open for five days. The MP/ML shall be removed from office immediately if the majority of the votes cast are in favor of recall. The Electoral Officer must then hold a by-election at least 10 days after the recall. In the case of absence of incapacitation of the Electoral Officer, procedures will be the same as during the recall.

The by-election shall be held in this manner. Parties must register to contest the seat no later than two days before the by-election. Parties may propose candidates, but voters shall be casting ballots for parties, as in the general election. After the poll is closed, the party with the plurality of the vote wins the seat.

Second Proposed Text of Legislation

Whereas the safest check on a government aggrandizing itself more powers is an empowered electorate, and whereas referendums and initiatives provide the most representative and democratic government, and whereas more direct democracy allows voters to bypass politicians;

Section 1. Initiatives

Subsection A. Requirements and Scheduling

An initiative is defined as a bill proposed by a general citizen/member. An initiative may be proposed to the Electoral Officer with the signatures of 15 other members. Once the Electoral Officer receives an initiative with the proper number of signatures, he must hold a vote on the initiative within 10 days. If the Electoral Officer has not posted the election within ten days, the President must schedule the vote.

Subsection B. Voting Procedure and Legal Standing

Voting shall remain open for seven days. Upon the closure of the poll, the initiative shall be declared passed if it received a majority of the votes. The initiative takes effect immediately unless otherwise stated in the initiative. The initiative has the same legal standing as any Act of Parliament.

Furthermore, an initiative may not be repealed by Parliament. The only way to repeal an initiative is with another initiative.

Section 2. Objections

Subsection A. Requirements and Scheduling

An Objection is defined as a proposal by members to block the implementation of a law that has been passed by Parliament. An objection may be presented to the Electoral Officer at most 10 days after passage through Parliament with the signatures of 15 other members. Once the Electoral Officer receives an objection with the appropriate amount of signatures, he must hold a vote on the objection within five days. If the Electoral Officer has not held the vote within 5 days, or has stated his inability to do so, the President must schedule the vote.

Subsection B. Voting Procedure and Reintroduction

The poll shall remain open for seven days. Upon the closure of the poll, the objection shall be declared successful if it receives the majority of the votes. The bill shall be discarded and may not be reintroduced until the next session of Parliament.

Parliament may not override an objection.

Section 3. Recalls

Subsection A. Definition

A recall is defined as the removal of a politician from office by a vote by the members of AH.com. The officials that shall be able to be recalled are the President, Members of Parliament, and Members of the Landsraad.

Subsection B. Presidential Recall

For the recall of a President, a member must collect the signatures of 25 other members to present the recall to the Electoral Officer. Once the Electoral Officer receives a recall proposal, he must hold a vote within 10 days. If the Electoral Officer does not hold the vote within 10 days or states his inability to do so, the Prime Minister must hold the vote.

The poll shall remain open for seven days. The President shall be immediately removed from office if the majority of the votes are in favor of the recall. The Vice President shall be Acting President until the new President is elected.

Subsection C. Presidential Replacement Election

The Electoral Officer must hold an election for the new president at least 15 days after the end of the recall. If he is hold the election, the Prime Minister must hold the election. The campaign and rules for the replacement election will be the same as in a normal presidential election.

Subsection D. Parliamentary and Landsraad Recall

The recall process for Members of Parliament and Members of the Landsraad is the same. A recall for someone holding one of those positions may be proposed by any member with the signatures of 15 other members to the Electoral Officer. Once the Electoral Officer receives a recall proposal with the appropriate amount of signatures, he must hold the recall vote within 10 days. In the case of the Electoral Officer being absent or unable to hold the recall, the President will hold the recall.

The poll shall remain open for five days. The MP/ML shall be removed from office immediately if the majority of the votes cast are in favor of recall. The Electoral Officer must then hold a by-election at least 10 days after the recall. In the case of absence of incapacitation of the Electoral Officer, procedures will be the same as during the recall.

Subsection E. Parliamentary and Landsraad By-Elections

The by-election shall be held in this manner. Parties must register to contest the seat no later than two days before the by-election. Parties may propose candidates, but voters shall be casting ballots for parties, as in the general election. After the poll is closed, the party with the plurality of the vote wins the seat.

Final version as passed by Parliament

Preamble

Whereas the safest check on a government aggrandizing itself is an empowered electorate, whereas referendums and initiatives provide the most representative and democratic government, and whereas more direct democracy allows voters to bypass politicians;

Section 1: Initiatives

Subsection 1.1: Requirements and Scheduling

An initiative is defined as a bill proposed by a general citizen/member, or as bill presented to the public for voting by parliament.

This bill must be written up in full. If initiated by a general citizen/member it must then be presented to the Electoral Officer alongside the signatures of 15 members of this forum in support of the passing of the bill. Parliament may with a majority vote start an initiative at any time, without need of further signatures. Once the Electoral Officer receives the bill, either with the correct number of valid signatures or from parliament, he must hold a vote on whether the bill shall be passed into law or not within the next 10 days in the form of a poll. If the Electoral Officer has not held the vote within 10 days, or has stated his inability to do so, the President must hold the vote instead.

Subsection 1.2: Voting Procedure and Legal Standing

The poll shall remain open to voting for 7 days. Upon the closure of the poll, the initiative shall be declared passed if it received a majority of the votes. The initiative takes effect immediately unless otherwise stated in the initiative. The initiative has the same legal standing as any Act of Parliament.

Furthermore, an initiative may not be repealed or altered by regular parliamentary vote. The only way to repeal or alter an initiative is with another initiative.

Section 2: Objections

Subsection 2.1: Requirements and Scheduling

An objection is defined as a proposal by members to block the implementation of an act that has been passed into law by Parliament.

An objection may be presented to the Electoral Officer at most 10 days after the act was passed into law by Parliament, and it must be accompanied by the signatures of 15 members of this forum in support of the prevention of the passing of the act into law. Once the Electoral Officer receives an objection with the correct number of valid signatures, he must hold a vote on the objection within 5 days in the form of a poll. If the Electoral Officer has not held the vote within 5 days, or has stated his inability to do so, the President must hold the vote instead.

Subsection 2.2: Voting Procedure and Reintroduction

The poll shall remain open to voting for 7 days. Upon the closure of the poll, the objection shall be declared successful if it receives the majority of the votes. The act shall be discarded, and will no longer be law. A bill identical or functionally similar to an act that was discarded by this procedure may not be proposed until the next session of parliament.

Futhermore, regular parliamentary vote cannot override an objection.

Section 3: Recall of the President

Subsection 3.1: Requirements and Scheduling A Recall of the President is defined as a vote by the public to remove the President, either initiated by general citizens/members or by Parliament.

For the recall of a President, either a member must collect the signatures of 25 members of this forum in support of the removal of the current President, or Parliament may with a majority vote call for the removal of the President to be voted upon by the general population. The signatures in the first case, or the majority vote in the second case is then presented to the Electoral Officer. Once the Electoral Officer receives a valid recall proposal he must hold a vote within 10 days in the form of a poll. If the Electoral Officer does not hold the vote within 10 days, or states his inability to do so, the Prime Minister must hold the vote instead.

The poll shall remain open to voting for 7 days. The President shall be immediately removed from office if the majority of the votes are in favor of the recall. The Vice President shall be Acting President until the new President is elected.

Subsection 3.3: Presidential Replacement Election

The Electoral Officer must hold an election for a new president at least 15 days after his removal via recall in the form of a poll. If the Electoral Officer has not held the vote within 15 days, or has stated his inability to do so, the Prime Minister must hold the vote instead.

The rules for the replacement election and the accompanying campaigns will be the same as those of a normal presidential election.

Results

2008-2009 Parliament

Voting on this bill began on July 1, 2009 and ended on July 7, 2009.

Aye Nay Abstain No Vote
09camaro (E) N/A N/A Prime Minister LordInsane (E)
Susano (FFF) N/A N/A Pkmatrix (YSP)
VulcanTrekkie45 (YSP) N/A N/A TheDarkServant (FFBF)
N/A N/A N/A Deputy Prime Minister maverick (E)
N/A N/A N/A Steffen (FFF)
N/A N/A N/A Keenir (E)
N/A N/A N/A Ran Exilis (E)
N/A N/A N/A Haggis (E)
N/A N/A N/A Demosthenes (E)
N/A N/A N/A Opposition Leader Kidblast (YSP)
N/A N/A N/A Nekromans (YSP)
N/A N/A N/A Gladi (E)
3 0 0 12

Unable to meet the passage requirements set out in either Article I or Article II Section 2 of the Legislative Procedures Act, this bill failed to pass.

2009-2010 Parliament, First Introduction

Voted Aye

Krall (BWS), Susano (FFF), Don Giorgio (FFF), Jimbrock (FFF), Benkarnell (ESP), oakvale (Ind) (6)

Voted Nay

Douglas (E), maverick (E), lothaw (E), Stalin's Pipe Organs (PRSP) (4)

2009-2010 Parliament, Second Introduction

Voted Aye

Krall (BWS), Susano (FFF), Jimbrock (FFF), Don Giorgio (FFF), ImperialVienna (ESP), Benkarnell (ESP), Iori (DISPPR), oakvale (Ind) (8)

Voted Nay

maverick (E), Paladin (E), lothaw (E), Patriot (E), Douglas (E), Communist Wizard (BBP), Stalin's Pipe Organs (PRSP) (7)

See Also

offtopic/direct_democracy_bill.txt · Last modified: 2019/03/29 15:13 (external edit)