Aelurian Referendum

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Should the island of Aeluria be an independent country?

Yes
5
56%
No
4
44%
Don't know
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 9

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Lauchenoiria
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Aelurian Referendum

Post by Lauchenoiria » Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:10 pm

Liaville Times – Referendum Special

15th February 2019

In the final two weeks running up to the Aelurian independence referendum on the 1st March 2019, the Liaville Times will be including a special supplement about the upcoming referendum, starting today. This will include discussion of the issues surrounding the debate, as well as relevant news and information.

Background

Aeluria is an island that is part of the Federation of Lauchenoiria. Between June and August 2018, Lauchenoiria became embroiled in a bitter civil war. Following the coup by Suleman Chaher, Aeluria unilaterally declared independence. This declaration was recognised by Gnejs and Kivasek. For most of the war, the Chaher regime blockaded the island, leading to food and medicine shortages, as a result of this declaration.

The war ended upon the signing of the Haven Accords in Sanctaria. Amongst a variety of other things, these Accords mandated that the island of Aeluria hold a binding referendum on independence on the 1st March 2019. This referendum was to have three choices: independence, increased devolution along lines specified by the Accords, and the status quo. The latter option could be omitted upon the agreement of the government of Aeluria and the Guarantor (Sanctaria).

Upon agreement of all parties, the status quo option is not on the ballot, giving Aelurians the choice between further devolution and independence. Voting shall be open between the hours of 7am and 10pm local time on the 1st March 2019. All Lauchenoirian citizens over the age of 18 resident on Aeluria, and all eligible foreign citizens who have resided in Lauchenoiria for a minimum of 10 years, shall be eligible to vote, as per Lauchenoirian law.

Position of Political Parties on Independence

Parties supporting independence:

Aelurian Independence Party (AIP) – their main goal is to achieve Aelurian independence, and stand up for Aelurian interests.
Green Party – environmentalists, they support independence primarily because Lurian religion requires adherents to care for the environment.
Feminist Party – rumoured to be a Kerlian front, the Feminists claim that Aeluria would be friendlier for women than mainland Lauchenoiria. It has been suggested that their true aim is instability, which benefits Kerlile.

Parties opposing independence:

Liberal Party – the largest party on the mainland, led by Josephine Alvarez, the Liberals stand for Lauchenoirian unity, they believe Aeluria is better off within the Federation, and that independence would make Aelurians worse off.
Communist Party – the Communists believe in the unity of all peoples, and hence oppose what they see as unnecessary division.
Conservative Party – they believe Aelurian independence is completely unviable, as Aeluria relies on food imports from the mainland, and that it would destroy their economy.
Social Democratic Party – they believe Aeluria is a vital part of Lauchenoiria, that there is no reason for independence, and that we must come together instead of splitting apart.
Lauchenoiria First – far-right fringe party, they believe the AIP are dangerous to Lauchenoirians, that independence may be a Kerlian plot to annex the island and thus is a security threat.

Neutral parties:

Left Alliance – a coalition of communists and socialists who were opposed to the Chaher regime, the LA is a party with a complex history who have decided to remain neutral on the Aelurian question.
Pacifist Party – a new party, founded only five months prior, dedicated to preventing a repeat of the civil war. They are now polling a remarkably high 12%, for a new party, but have not taken a position on Aeluria.
Lauchenoirian Democratic Alliance – a new centrist party, pitching themselves as the party for Liberals who opposed the Walker-Moore administration’s actions in the war, have stated that they ‘support Aeluria’s right to self-determination’.

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Lauchenoiria » Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:12 pm

Rival campaigns out in force as opinion polling suggests 47% support for independence

Arbrera Square, named after the tree goddess worshipped in Lurian, the religion of native Aelurians, has been filled with rival independence campaigners every day this week. The north of the square was decked in the dark yellow of the pro-independence camp, while those supporting remaining within the Federation of Lauchenoiria filled the east of the square with Lauchenoirian and Aelurian flags flying beside each other.

Shoppers and pedestrians passing through the square are being inundated with leaflets imploring them to support one side or the other, and there is seemingly no escape. Campaigners from both sides seemed eager to talk with anyone who would listen. Pro-independence campaigner Elijah Yates told the Liaville Times:

“Support for independence on the streets is growing. In the aftermath of the war, many people did not seem supportive of the idea, but as the referendum draws near, more and more people are realising that independence is the best way forward for Aeluria. After reading up on the issues and listening to debate, more and more people are changing their minds.”

Meanwhile, the anti-independence campaign has been attempting to demonstrate the unity of Lauchenoiria through having Communist and Liberal campaigners work together. Images of the two parties, on opposite sides during last year’s civil war, working together has come as a shock to many on the mainland, who had previously felt their differences were irreconcilable. Some see this cooperation as a sign that the divides during the war are starting to fall away, as Lauchenoirians come together to reconcile and rebuild democracy.

Leonie Bennett, the 18-year-old Campaigns Officer for the Young Liberals, is from Buttercity but has been on Aeluria campaigning. She had been involved in the war, and is unaccustomed to standing side by side with Communists.

“It’s strange, because eight months ago they would have been more likely to shoot me than work with me. But I came to Aeluria to show the people here that those of us on the mainland are trying to reconcile our differences, and that there is a place for Aeluria in the Lauchenoirian family, and to do that we need to work with those who were not so long ago, our enemies.”

With two weeks to go until the referendum, supporters of both sides are becoming increasingly nervous, with independence supporters knowing this is their only chance for a decade, and supporters of Lauchenoirian unity fearing that the Federation is about to split apart forever.

The campaign continues.

Issue Focus – Religion


Religion plays a major part of the lives of many Aelurians. The main religion on Aeluria is Lurian, the faith of the indigenous tribes present on the island before colonisation. Lurian is a polytheistic religion, and Lurites worship a variety of deities that represent parts of nature – the main deities being those of land (Luria), trees (Arbrera), the sky and water (with a large variety of minor deities). The central tenets of Lurian include pacifism, tolerance, and a desire for balance in the world. The very name Aeluria means, in the native dialect, ‘of the goddess of the land’.

Opinion polling shows that 91% of Lurites support Aelurian independence, the highest percentage of any demographic group. While Lurian has no central authority, many priests and priestesses have come out in favour of independence. They say the central government of Lauchenoiria does not respect their traditions, and accuse them of attempting to stamp out all religious worship.

The Lauchenoirian government is strictly secular. Under federal law, religious worship on school property is forbidden under the constitution, which can cause problems for Lurite children wishing to say the midday prayer. In 2017 (figures for 2018 are not available due to the war), twenty-one Aelurian schools were fined for breaking this regulation.

Members of minority religions on Aeluria, however, are staunch supporters of remaining part of Lauchenoiria. Christian and Muslim groups on the island have put out statements opposing independence, saying that they worry an independent Aeluria would not respect their right to worship. Religious minority children on Aeluria report high instances of bullying, with 76% of Muslim children reporting bullying in school, and 62% of Christian children in English-language schools. Spanish-language schools had a much lower rate of Christian bullying, at 22%.

The Aelurian Independence Party (AIP), currently led by Nazario Macías, attempted to scrap the school worship ban in 2016, but were blocked by the Lauchenoirian Supreme Court. The AIP have assured Lurites that it would be the “first thing to go” in an independent Aeluria. Support for the AIP has always been high amongst Lurites, with 62% of Lurites supporting the AIP in 2002, a time when the party had seemingly no chance of winning any elections.

Religion is said to be one of the major issues of the debate, with Aelurians far less enamoured with the secularism of Lauchenoiria than the atheist-majority mainland. Historically, the 1952-1993 communist regime attempted to ban all religion, leaving Lurites on Aeluria to practice underground. On the mainland, the number of Christians dropped dramatically, from 82% of the population in 1950, to a mere 14% by 1995. However, on Aeluria, Lurian remained steadily practiced, despite the central ban.

It is said that if Aeluria wins independence, it will be down to Lurites. Therefore, for all those interested in the outcome of the referendum, religion is the issue to watch.

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Lauchenoiria » Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:40 pm

Liaville Times - Referendum Special

Pro-independence rally interrupted by Lauchenoiria First amid rumours of Kerlian interference
16th February 2019

A massive pro-independence demonstration due to take place all Saturday afternoon in the centre of Liaville had to be cut short following a counter-demonstration led by controversial far-right figure Paul Doberman threatened to cause a disturbance.

Over 20,000 Aelurians gathered in the city, waving Aelurian flags and singing songs. The atmosphere was cheery and there was no hint of any animosity towards the opposition. The organisers of the demonstration had pledged it would be “inclusive, family-friendly and peaceful”. The event started at midday, and passed without incident until 2:30pm when around 100 Lauchenoiria First members arrived.

The Lauchenoiria First leader reiterated the commonly-held belief that the Feminist Party is a Kerlian front, and that their support for independence is a “plot to make Aeluria a Kerlian colony”. He accused female supporters of independence of being Kerlian spies, and called for the suspension of all female members of the Aelurian Parliament, pending investigation. He also made allegations that Alyssa Robinson, chief of staff for First Minister Nazario Macías is in fact a relative of Councillor Carmen Robinson of Kerlile.

A spokesperson for Ms Robinson told the Liaville Times: “Alyssa Robinson is of no relation to the Robinson family of Kerlile. Robinson is a common surname, and those spreading this rumour should note that both former Prime Minister Laura Moore and President Moore of Gonhog share a surname, and yet are clearly of no relation to each other.”

The Aelurian provincial government and the central government of Lauchenoiria issued a joint statement reminding voters that Sanctaria was providing security for the referendum, and assuring voters that there was no chance of Kerlian interference.


Issue Focus – Education

While education is already a devolved issue, and thus policy and curriculum are decided in the Aelurian parliament, the main point of contention is the provision in the current (suspended) Lauchenoirian constitution mandating secular government. The Lauchenoirian Supreme Court have previously interpreted Aelurian attempts to allow prayer in schools unconstitutional. While the Haven Accords have mandated the writing of a new constitution, it is expected the commitment to secularism will remain.

While the Aelurian Independence Party do not advocate mandating religious worship in schools, they support allowing it for those who wish to practice Lurian, the major religion of Aeluria. They have not clarified whether or not they would extend this to followers of other religions. Most opponents of independence also oppose permitting any kind of prayer in schools.

Opponents of independence claim that an independent Aeluria would introduce too much religion into schools, putting science education at risk, and taking the island on a “backwards road” towards superstition and rejecting established facts. Opponents worry that some hardline Lurite independence supporters publicly advocate mandating prayer in schools, even though the mainstream AIP have made repeated assurances they do not support this policy.

The other major matter for debate regarding education policy and independence is the budget. Currently, the Aelurian administration is reliant on the central government to allocate funds, and as such they are restricted in how much they can spend on certain areas. The AIP advocates massively increasing the education budget, with the goal of correcting what they see as the historic educational discrimination against Aelurians.

During the 1952-1993 communist regime, Aelurians were restricted in their options for higher education, and often many were forbidden from studying at mainland universities. This was due to strict security measures placed on Aelurians following their initial greater opposition to the regime than other provinces of Lauchenoiria. Even those who were allowed to study on the mainland often experienced discrimination, especially indigenous or mixed-race Aelurians.

The Feminist Party, who have publicly supported Aelurian independence, believe that schools should be segregated by gender. They believe that this may be possible in an independent Aeluria, as traditionally boys and girls were educated separately in Lurian schools before these were banned in 1952. They advocate a return to this to “avoid distractions to children’s learning, and ensure that girls are not exposed early to the harmful stereotypes that can limit their development”. Opinion polling shows that 64% of independence supporters would also support gender segregated schools, compared with only 17% of opponents to independence.

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Lauchenoiria » Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:51 am

Liaville Times – Referendum Special

17th February 2019

Issue Focus – International Relations

Independence would be a chance for Aeluria to truly have a place on the world stage, and to advance their interests without the interference of the Lauchenoirian central government. At least, that is how supporters view it. Opponents claim that such a small island, and consequently such a small country, would have no real representation, and that Aeluria is better off as part of Lauchenoiria in terms of international relations and trade.

When the topic of international relations comes up, proponents of independence are likely to point out that, following the unilateral declaration of independence in May 2018 (since retracted), the would-be fledgling Aelurian state was quickly recognised by both Gnejs and Kivasek, the latter of whom provided military support to the island during the war. Meanwhile opponents will add that there were far more nations unwilling to accept Aeluria than those who were.

According to the AIP, an independent Aeluria would seek to maintain friendly relations with almost the exact same list of countries that Lauchenoiria was on friendly terms with prior to the war. In the aftermath of the war, independence supporters have begun to argue that Lauchenoiria has lost a lot of goodwill in the international community, and that Aeluria has a better chance of making their voice heard as an independent country rather than a Federation which faces suspicion from many other nations after the brutal war in which so many of them were involved.

Both the Liberal Party and Communist Party have stated that only together can Lauchenoiria start to rebuild the relationships with other nations that deteriorated during the war. They argue that an independent Aeluria could indeed face more suspicion, as a breakaway state from a nation recently embroiled in civil war only serves to increase division and prevent healing.

One of the most controversial questions in the Aelurian debate is over what the relationship between an independent Aeluria and the matriarchal state of Kerlile would be. The Feminist Party, who officially support independence, have stated that they would like to see improved relations between Aeluria and Kerlile (and between Lauchenoiria and Kerlile, in fact), although they are quick to clarify that they do not condone some of the more violent parts of the Kerlian justice system. The AIP, however, have remained silent on the Kerlian question.

It is likely, given the agreed nature of the referendum, that in the event of a vote for independence, the international community would respect the result. This counters many of the arguments of the anti-independence campaign from the past, who argue that Aeluria would be abandoned and ignored. Aelurians eagerly await the response from foreign nations to the referendum campaign.

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Lauchenoiria » Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:01 am

Liaville Times – Referendum Special

18th February 2019

Pro-Lauchenoiria parties issue joint statement against Aelurian independence

The Liberal, Communist, Conservative and Social Democratic parties today issued an unprecedented joint statement calling on Aelurian voters to reject independence in the referendum scheduled for the 1st March. Josephine Alvarez, leader of the Liberal Party stood alongside interim Communist leader Javier Flynn in front of the Federal Parliament in Buttercity to make an emotional plea to Aelurians to stay with Lauchenoiria.

Alvarez asked Aelurian voters to consider “the shared history between the people of Aeluria and the wider Federation of Lauchenoiria, and that Lauchenoirians everywhere would be heartbroken to see the island leave.” This was followed by Flynn, reiterating her sentiment and adding that “Aeluria is a valued part of Lauchenoiria, and no Lauchenoirian wants to see the island leave forever.”

Meanwhile, Conservative leader Thomas Averforth was on Aeluria, speaking to voters in various town halls, echoing the words of his Liberal and Communist counterparts. “I have family on Aeluria,” he told the Liaville Times, “and I don’t want them to become foreigners. While it’s true that many Aelurians dislike both the Liberals and the Communists, that is no reason to abandon the rest of Lauchenoiria to these two constantly fighting parties, instead of using their influence to try and change things.” Cassidy Laurens, leader of the Social Democrats was also on Aeluria, knocking on doors and speaking to voters.

Nazario Macías, First Minister of Aeluria and leader of the Aelurian Independence Party, countered the joint statement, telling Aelurians: “nobody wants to cut off all relations with the mainland. If we vote for independence, we will maintain close ties with our friends and neighbours in Lauchenoiria. Regardless of what the leaders of the Lauchenoirian parties say now, if we vote against independence, it won’t be long before they ignore us once more.”

In other referendum related news, a group of independence supporters have begun to camp in the city centre of Liaville, stating that they will not leave “until independence is achieved.” Meanwhile, a new opinion poll carried out over the last 2 days shows support for independence is currently at 48%.

Issue Focus – Potential Supply Shortages

During the 2018 Lauchenoirian Civil War, the regime led first by Suleman Chaher and later Charissa Clarke blockaded the island of Aeluria for two months from the 20th June until the 19th August. During this time, the island suffered from a variety of food and medicine shortages.

This has been used by some opponents of independence as the main reason why Aeluria should not become independent. They claim that as the island is presently incapable of supporting its current population, and if Aeluria was to become independent, it would be overly reliant on international trade.

Proponents of independence do not directly dispute the island’s inability to survive without outside trade. However, they argue that unlike in the war, it would be highly unlikely that Lauchenoiria, or indeed other nations would be willing to cut them off completely. Opponents say that while a similar situation to the blockade is indeed unlikely, that the people of Aeluria can’t afford to take the chance.

Some independence supporters even claim that the lack of support from the Lauchenoirian government to Aeluria is directly responsible for their low agricultural production in the past several decades. They claim independence would be a solution to the food supply problem, rather than the food supply problem making independence impossible.

Among farmers on Aeluria, the question of independence receives a mixed response. Around 57% of farmers support independence, with those who are also Lurite being much more likely to support it. Pro-independence farmers say that they will receive greater support from an independent Aelurian government than they ever have from Lauchenoiria. Meanwhile opponents say it would restrict trade and could have a detrimental impact on all Aelurian industry, including agriculture.

The question of supplies is a major issue in the independence debate, especially after the effects of the blockade during the war. It is seen by many as evidence that Aeluria simply cannot become independent. If the pro-independence parties want to succeed, they will need to come up with a persuasive argument to counter this.

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Lauchenoiria » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:58 pm

Liaville Times - Referendum Special
19th February 2019

Youth campaign for independence publishes ‘manifesto’ of their vision for Aeluria

Independent Generation, the youth organisation set up to campaign for independence, today published a 30-page manifesto detailing their vision of an independent Aeluria. The organisation, which is separate from the Aelurian Independence Party and other pro-independence parties has published their ‘unique’ vision for the ‘long-term future of Aeluria’.

The manifesto differs measurably from the plan set forth by the AIP, and many members of Independent Generation are in fact not members of a political party. The campaign group states that they welcome members of “all parties and none”, with the goal of “promoting independence regardless of other political views”.

The manifesto states that they wish to see an “independent, democratic and secular Aeluria,” in a major departure from the AIP’s opposition to secularism. Independent Generation assured voters that while they support secularism, they are opposed to the “anti-religious discrimination perpetuated by the Lauchenoirian government”. It is thought this refers to the banning of all religious worship and material inside state-owned property, including schools.

Speaking to the Liaville Times, Montse Martell, one of the organisers of Intendent Generation said: “young people are being energised by this referendum. For the first time in many years, the possibility of real change is being presented, and it’s important that young people get involved and shape the direction in which we’re headed, because after all – it’s our future.”

She added: “independence is a chance for the people of Aeluria to have a real say in our future, instead of constantly being outvoted in the federal parliament by the rest of Lauchenoiria, who have different priorities than us. We see this in the fact that there is so much unused land owned by the federal government on this island, that they won’t open up to the agricultural industry. The federal government does not, and never will, have our best interests at heart. Independence is a chance to finally actually get what we vote for.”

On the other side of the youth debate, President of the Young Communists of Aeluria, Fred Prescott, responded to the launch of the manifesto by saying: “it’s unlikely that this group would get a single thing off their wishlist in an independent Aeluria. Half of it is completely at odds with the AIP’s vision, and if this group supports secular government and more job opportunities for young people, they are much more likely to achieve those aims within Lauchenoiria.”

Opinion polling currently puts support for independence amongst the 18-25 age group at 54%, higher than the general population. This group is the least likely to be religious, but amongst young Lurites, support for independence is much higher, at almost 96%. However, this group makes up a tiny fraction of the electorate.


Issue Focus – Health & Tobacco

Lauchenoiria has a comprehensive National Health Service, and currently no legal private alternatives, though a majority of political parties wish to introduce the option. Health is a devolved area, and therefore health policy for Aeluria is decided in Liaville rather than Buttercity. Therefore, there are only two main areas relating to health that independence could make a difference to: the legality or otherwise of private healthcare, and the consequences of the brief (disputed) legalisation of tobacco during the war.

It is likely, although not certain, that after the next Lauchenoirian federal elections, that private healthcare will be legalised. The three parties that support Aelurian independence – the AIP, the Greens and the Feminists – are curiously the most neutral on the issue of private healthcare. However, opinion polling suggests that only 42% of Aelurians support the existence of private healthcare, a much lower figure than that of all Lauchenoiria – 63%. While this would be a question for the first government after independence, it is likely Aeluria would be less likely to change the current policy than Lauchenoiria.

The question of tobacco is one that is unique in being completely attributable to the war. Shortly before the beginning of the blockade, a force of Kivasekian volunteer soldiers landed on Aeluria, welcomed by the government that had issued the unilateral declaration of independence. This force brought with them large quantities of tobacco, which they then shared with the local population, in violation of Lauchenoirian federal law, which prohibits the importation or use of tobacco products under any circumstances.

Following the actions of the Kivasekians, the Parliament of Aeluria retroactively legalised tobacco, several weeks into the blockade. If one considers the Aeluria of the war to have been an independent state, as stated by their government, and recognised by Kivasek and Gnejs, then tobacco was legal for this period. However, if Aeluria was not indeed independent during this period, which is the prevailing view, then the law passed was illegitimate, and thus the activities concerning tobacco were fully illegal.

Regardless of the legality issues surrounding the period during the blockade, the effects of that period are widespread. A considerable amount of Aelurians became addicted to nicotine during the summer, and with tobacco certainly illegal once more, many are turning to the illegal drug trade to get their fix. The health impacts of this period are already being felt by the Aelurian health service, and it is predicted medical costs associated with it are only going to rise.

As aids such as nicotine patches, commonly used by those aiming to stop smoking, are banned by the Lauchenoirian government, these avenues are not legally available to Aelurians who are trying to cope with the aftermath of the summer. According to the AIP, an independent Aeluria would allow such aids to be used, which would help people quit more easily, and would reduce their reliance on illegal drugs. The black market has surged on Aeluria in the aftermath of the war, and criminal activity has massively increased. Pro-independence forces say this is the result of Lauchenoiria’s no-exceptions policy.

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Lauchenoiria » Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:27 am

Liaville Times – Referendum Special

20th February 2019

Feminist Party financial contribution to independence campaign rejected after Council of Kerlile comment on independence

Yes Aeluria, the official non-party campaign for Aelurian independence today rejected a 20,000 Cookie donation from the Feminist Party, citing concerns over how the party received their funding. Rumours that the Feminist Party have been secretly funded by Kerlile have plagued the party since their foundation in 2003. A spokesperson for Yes Aeluria told the Liaville Times that “until we can prove beyond all doubt that the money is not coming from Kerlile, we cannot accept it”.

Leader of the Feminist Party, Katherine Wright, has disputed the claims they are funded by Kerlile, stating: “the Matriarchy of Kerlile has little interest in electoral politics. These rumours are spread by opponents to women’s rights, who seek to tie our movement in with the atrocities committed by Kerlile. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and we are greatly disappointed that this propaganda by anti-feminists is now affecting the Aelurian independence campaign.”

This comes shortly after the Council of Kerlile issued an official statement on the matter of Aelurian independence. The short statement is reproduced below.
The Council of Kerlile would like to express our support for Aeluria in the matter of independence. The island has long since had a different outlook to the rest of Lauchenoiria, and it is our belief that the island would thrive as its own nation. We urge all the women of Aeluria to use their votes so as to not be outvoted by men, as happens so often in democracies. If Aeluria chooses independence, we look forward to establishing relations between our two countries.
It is expected that if the statement has any effect, it will reduce support for independence, due to the fact that Kerlile is widely disliked throughout Lauchenoiria, with Aeluria being no exception. Most political commentators consider this statement foolish, if indeed Kerlile does support independence. It is similar to President Joanna Greenwood’s endorsement of the Women’s Alliance in the December elections in Laeral, which was widely considered a mistake on Greenwood’s part.

There have been rumours that Kerlile is attempting to sabotage the independence campaign by ‘pretending’ to support it are beginning. There is no evidence to support these claims. First Minister Nazario Macías has today stated: “regardless of what the Council of Kerlile says about independence, their view does not matter. Every Aelurian should make up his or her own mind, rather than allowing the opinions of foreign governments to influence their decision.”

Issue Focus – Defence

In 2017, at the Liberal Party conference, then-Prime Minister Laura Moore stated, after announcing cuts to the defence budget: “the likelihood of Lauchenoiria being invaded in the 21st century is about the same probability as a butterfly being elected the next President.” Her statement is now, obviously, known to be wrong. Regardless of the likelihood of invasion, every country ought to prepare for the possibility. And the same would be true of an independent Aeluria.

Currently, defence is a matter reserved completely to the central government. As such, Aeluria has no defence force of its own. The closest they have is a handful of volunteers ‘trained’ by the Kivasekians during the civil war, however this group has since been disbanded. If Aeluria was to become independent, they would have to build a military from scratch.

How necessary is it for Aeluria to have a large military? The leader of the newly-formed Pacifist Party, Samantha Clavell, who is neutral on the issue of independence, does not think it is necessary at all. Her party claims that if Lauchenoiria hadn’t had the capacity to fight a war, that it would have been easier to find a diplomatic solution, as the alternative would not have been available. Opponents of her party say that could have ended up with Lauchenoiria as a Skodenian, Conternian, Gonhogian or Kerlian colony (or split into pieces by these nations).

In the aftermath of the Lauchenoirian war, most people agree that it would be necessary for Aeluria to have some kind of military, to protect the island from would-be invaders. Which raises further questions of how an independent Aeluria would pay for this. Supporters of independence are quick to point out that they would no longer be contributing to the Lauchenoirian defence budget, nor a number of other things, which would free up funds.

The other question is how an Aelurian military would recruit personnel. Aelurians are far less likely to join the military than Lauchenoirians in general, especially Lurites. Lurian is a pacifistic religion, and discourages its followers from pursuing such careers, although does not outright prohibit it. Lauchenoiria has no form of national service or conscription, and it is highly unlikely that an independent Aeluria would go down that route.

The issue of defence is one that could prove highly contentious for the independence camp – although, for pacifists, it provides certain opportunities that remaining with Lauchenoiria does not.

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Shuell » Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:46 pm

Attached is Director of International Affairs Hoffman's full speech on the Aeluria Referendum.
Director Hoffman: Thank you for coming here today, once again, to hear me speak. As King Stieler the 4th said to his many wives, I won't keep you long.

[laughter]

Director Hoffman: If you all will take a moment to check your public database, I'm sure you all are aware of the recent civil war in Lauchenoiria. If any Lauchenoirian refugees are currently listening, I'd like to express my congratulations on your former country successfully quelling a communist coup. It will be a calm 10 days before the next one takes place.

Director Hoffman: Now, listed in your public database - take a moment to look through the information provided, please. Specifically, the section related to the island of Aeluria.

[pause]

Director Hoffman: Thank you. Now, as you all should have correctly grasped the situation down there, I'm sure it will be no surprise that I intend to see my doctrine see its first use internationally.

Director Hoffman: The island of Aeluria is suffering a small health crisis, would be defenseless if independent, and would face possible shortages of valuable supplies such as food. From the information provided to the ISS, we can see solutions to all of these issues.

Director Hoffman: Thanks to all of you wonderful people who have decided to fill out SFAIP forms and help us make the Hoffman Doctrine a reality, an independent Aeluria wouldn't need to suffer from these crises! We have what is needed to help solve their problems.

Director Hoffman: Nations that will remain unnamed have promised their own support which, to be quite frank, is just a chance for them to create simple puppet states, dependent on them and completely subservient, like slaves!

Director Hoffman: The critics of our nation will no doubt see our assistance as our chance to do the very same thing. In my perhaps ill-judged attempt to dissuade them, I will say this. Our solution to this problem is not to have them act as leeches, using our valuable material and protection. Instead, we will provide them the means to handle health crises, to stay safe and protected, to no longer face the chance of starvation!

Director Hoffman: This is my, and through extension, Shuell's promise to an independent Aeluria. You will be helped in establishing your own nation, not just an extension of Shuell.

[clapping]

Director Hoffman: Moving on to the topic of the nation of Lauchenoiria. They've been torn apart by civil war, similar to us just 46 years ago. I'm sure many of you remember the hardships we faced. Buildings torn apart by artillery, land destroyed through bombing and chemical warfare, starvation, and suffering. Thanks to the doctrine and its volunteers, Lauchenoiria won't have to face these same problems!

Director Hoffman: This is why I made this doctrine: I believe in the capacity of yours and mine to ensure the mistakes of the past not be repeated. By helping rebuild these nations that have been marked by war or ensuring newly-made ones don't become failed states and stopping the spread of communism. I implore those of you who haven't done so already to help us, to help Shuell, in the task of fulfilling our responsibilities to the world.

[applause]

Director Hoffman: I, myself, will be leaving Shuell to visit representatives of other nations at a summit tomorrow. I hope to see many more of you departing Shuell as well to help make the doctrine reality.

Director Hoffman: Have a nice night, all of you listening.

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Lauchenoiria » Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:20 am

Liaville Times – Referendum Special

21st February 2019

Aelurian Government responds to comments from Shuellian Director of International Affairs on the referendum

Earlier today, Director of International Affairs Hoffman, from the Incorporated States of Shuell, made a speech regarding the question of Aelurian independence, in which he pledged to support the island in the event of independence.

His comments come at a time when the anti-independence campaign have been focusing on the supposed lack of international support, and as such are welcomed by many pro-independence campaigners. However, among supporters of the Communist party, the remarks, which also included a promise of aid to Lauchenoiria, have received a more hostile response.

Shuell, known for its anti-communist stance, is widely disliked among members of the Communist Party, who view the announcement with suspicion. In contrast to the Communist perspective, however, the comments have been tentatively welcomed by most other parties, including the Liberal Party. Josephine Alvarez stated that “this will assist us in rebuilding after the war, and should be welcomed.” However, some are still concerned over Shuell’s authoritarian nature.

First Minister of Aeluria, Nazario Macías, today welcomed the news out of Shuell, saying: “an independent Aeluria would seek to develop a positive relationship with as many nations as possible, including those who have previously had little to do with Lauchenoiria. As such, we would welcome support from Shuell.”

A new opinion poll out today puts support for independence at 45%, down three points from the previous poll, with eight days to go before the referendum.


Issue Focus – Culture

Unlike mainland Lauchenoiria, indigenous Aelurians still make up a considerable proportion of the population of the island, and have managed to preserve certain aspects of their culture, which makes the island considerably different from the rest of Lauchenoiria. Native Aelurians make up 44% of the population, with a further 8% being made up of mixed-race individuals, many of whom have some native Aelurian heritage. The major religion of Aeluira, Lurian, is the religion of the native people of the island, although it has been adopted by a number of the descendants of colonial settlers.

Native Aelurians traditionally lived in small villages rather than large settlements, which shows itself still today in the fact that Liaville is the only city (although there are a number of smaller towns), and the island still has more small villages per capita than mainland Lauchenoiria. Aelurian tribes also tended to be ruled by a matriarch of advanced years (often cited as a potential reason for the Kerlian support of the island, even if it is somewhat socially conservative in other ways).

Aelurians are also less likely to celebrate holidays such as Christmas, which, while originating in religion, is still celebrated by many Lauchenoirians who are not practicing Christians. Aelurian shops and restaurants do not close early on Sundays, unlike in mainland Lauchenoiria, as Sunday holds no special meaning to most Aelurians. In fact, many more Aelurians work on Sundays than people on the mainland.

The language of native Aelurians, Aenian, has declined consistently since the beginning of the 20th century. In the last census, only 22% of Aelurians said they could speak Aenian fluently or almost fluently. Campaigners for the promotion of the Aenian language suggest that with independence, it would be easier for the language to be protected and promoted to the population. Currently most road signs on Aeluria are in Spanish and English, but miss Aenian entirely, as almost all Aelurians speak either Spanish, English or both.

Proponents of independence suggest that without independence, Aelurian language and culture will be gradually subsumed by that of the mainland, and to protect it, independence is necessary. Opponents argue that Aeluria contributes its own uniqueness to wider Lauchenoirian culture, and enriches it, and that nobody on the mainland is trying to destroy or alter Aelurian culture.

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Zamastan » Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:12 am


Zamastan | International | Politics | Entertainment | Lifestyle | Opinion | Business
The Tofino Times
Friday, February 22nd, 2019
VOL. XXXII .. Num. 5495 | In the News: 2019 Tofino Leaders Summit Underway | President Bishop Breaks Silence on Aelurian Referendum
President Bishop Breaks Silence on Aelurian Referendum

President Bishop, taking a quick break to talk to reporters following meetings with Cadair and Libertas Omnium Maximus diplomats during the Leaders Summit, addressed the recent developments of the Aelurian referendum and the Shuellian statement regarding their support for independence. Asked by our Tofino Times reporter Kevin Nelson Jr. whether the President would support the independence movement or refer to the campaign as a faulty political move, she responded in support. The following is the transcript of her response:
Nelson Jr.: Madam President, yesterday, the Director of International Affairs Hoffman, from the Incorporated States of Shuell, made a speech supporting the movement of Aelurian independence. Would you, in the case of the referendum currently being prepared in the region of Lauchenoiria, consider supporting the nation post-independence should that be the outcome?

President Anya Bishop: Zamastan firmly stands in support of the individual rights of people everywhere and the ability to choose what is best for one's people. Lauchenoiria is a friend of ours, and we appreciate the relationship our two nations have from many aspects including trade, diplomacy, and in many other views. With that said, however, I do give my full backing behind the Aelurian's and their quest for independence. We see many opportunities to develop an even stronger partnership with both the government of Aeluria as well as the government Lauchenoiria should the referendum pass, and we also see ourselves in a position to assist them in their strides to be a unique and separate culture. Economically, an independent Aeluria could open up more trade possibility with Zamastan, and diversify the region in terms of trade. So, to answer your question, yes. We support Aeluria in their goal of independence. We will accept the results of the referendum regardless of what they are, but we definitely have a more economic preference when it comes to the actual vote in just over a week. I will be in contact with leaders from both sides of the issue in the coming days and I will, of course, be having productive conversation with many world leaders on this topic as well as others.

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Lauchenoiria » Sat Feb 23, 2019 2:53 am

Liaville Times – Referendum Special

22nd February 2019

Campaign leaders gear up for tomorrow’s debate as campaign enters final week

First Minister Nazario Macías and leader of the No campaign Ally Wallis are set to face each other in a televised live debate tomorrow at 7pm local time. With one full week to go before the referendum, the number of Aelurians who have yet to decide how they are voting has declined from 18% two weeks ago to a mere 7% now, but both campaigns hope that the debate will help that remainder come to a decision.

The presence of the campaigns on the streets has increased rapidly as the referendum date approaches, with some residents in Liaville and the larger towns having several individuals knock their doors on the same day. Some residents have complained about the intrusion, while others welcome the increased political engagement across the island.

The question of independence is the main topic of conversation in many arenas, from universities and schools, to places of worship, and even in the corridors of hospitals. With only a week to go, it is unavoidable. Today, Lurites, who pray at sunrise and sunset, were among the first to discover that overnight, all of Liaville had been covered in Aelurian flags by some enterprising pro-independence individual.

In other independence news, today the President of Zamastan issued a statement of support for Aelurian independence, in a move that was warmly welcomed by the pro-independence campaign, who had lost support following the endorsement of the widely-disliked Matriarchy of Kerlile. It is expected the endorsement of a democratic state will provide a boost for the campaign.

In tomorrow’s Referendum Special, the Liaville Times will post a partial transcript of the debate for our readers, instead of the usual issue focus.


Issue Focus – General Political Differences

The political landscape in Aeluria is markedly different to that of mainland Lauchenoiria. The Social Democratic Party, fifth in national polls, enjoys much greater popularity on the island, and of course there is the large amount of support for the Aelurian Independence Party. Notably, both the Liberals and the Communists have much less support on the island.

As the Liberals and the Communists are the only parties with a feasible chance of gaining power at a federal level, this means many on Aeluria usually feel unrepresented by the federal government. Many supporters of independence list political differences as their main reason for supporting independence.

The civil war has only exacerbated these differences. Due to the prominent position of both the Liberals and the Communists in the two opposing factions during the war, support for the parties has fallen across all Lauchenoiria, but even more so on Aeluria. Support for the Liberal Party on Aeluria has dropped to a record low of 9%, while support for the Communists is not much higher at 11%. Proponents of independence point to these figures as evidence that Aeluria will never get the governments it votes for while it is part of Lauchenoiria.

Opponents of independence argue that Aeluria still has representation in the Federal Parliament – and, indeed, has had disproportionately larger representation per capita in recent years. Some opponents of independence even argue that Aeluria leaving Lauchenoiria would be unfair to the other opponents of the big two parties, as it would decrease the amount of opposition, and further cement their rule. Those who support this view suggest that Aeluria would be ‘abandoning’ the rest of Lauchenoiria to its fate.

Regardless of the outcome of the referendum, the political divide between Aeluria and Lauchenoiria seems set to only increase. If Aeluria remains within Lauchenoiria, it will undoubtedly be a point of contention in the future.

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Lauchenoiria » Sun Feb 24, 2019 12:24 pm

Liaville Times – Referendum Special

23rd February 2019

At 7pm today, a debate between First Minister of Aeluria Nazario Macías and leader of the anti-independence campaign Ally Wallis took place, broadcast live on television. A partial transcript of the event is reproduced below (translated from Spanish):

Moderator: hello and welcome to Liaville Town Hall, regularly called one of the most beautiful buildings on Aeluria. With just under a week to go until the independence referendum, we have brought together two big names in the campaign. Representing the Yes campaign, we have First Minister Nazario Macías, leader of the Aelurian Independence Party. And on the No side, we have Ally Wallis, former leader of the Social Democratic Party, and the current spokesperson for the No campaign.

Moderator explains debate rules. Candidates will have five minutes to speak, followed by questions and then closing remarks. From now on speakers marked as M – moderator, NM – Nazario Macías, AW – Ally Wallis

M: Earlier a coin was tossed, and it was decided that First Minister Macías would be the first to speak. First Minister?

NM: Thank you. Friends, we are standing on the cusp of a historical moment for Aeluria. After many years as part of Lauchenoiria, we finally have the opportunity to grasp our independence and move forward to build a better nation. I know many of you are conflicted about the paths that lie in front of us. To those people, I say this: our opponents say independence is a risk. But without taking risks, we can never move forward, never strive for better. I hope that by Friday you decide this is a risk worth taking.

NM continues, outlining the basic AIP case for independence that is detailed elsewhere.

M: Thank you, First Minister. Ms Wallis, you now have five minutes.

AW: We on Aeluria are fortunate. We have our own culture and our devolved government, while also having the protection and friendship of the mainland as part of Lauchenoiria. It truly is the best of both worlds. I am proud to be Lauchenoirian, and I know that view is shared across the island. If we were to leave, so many people would be heartbroken, as family became foreigners, and visas were needed to visit friends. The people of Lauchenoiria do not want this outcome, and I have confidence that the people of Aeluria will see that the consequences of this separation will be devastating too.

AW goes on to quote speeches from former President Leanna Walker and various Lauchenoirian figures talking about Lauchenoirian unity.

M: Thank you, Ms Wallis. We will now move on to questions from the audience. Questions have been pre-selected beforehand, and audience members will be called upon to ask their questions one at a time. The first question is from the gentleman in the front row on the left.

Q1: If Aeluria becomes independent, how difficult will travel between the island and the mainland become?

Moderator repeats the question and then indicates that AW should answer first.

AW: Thank you for your question. The main problem with discussing travel after independence is: we just don’t know. No guarantees have been given – indeed, cannot be given due to the fact the post-war elections are still to come – from the mainland government about what the process would be. There is no reason to believe Aelurians would receive special treatment after independence. There is every chance we would have to apply for a visa, just like any other citizen of a foreign country. This would make visiting friends and family extremely difficult, and could potentially tear apart families.

And the AIP have given us no assurances that Lauchenoirians would be able to visit the island easily. In fact, they have stated they want to restrict immigration after independence! In truth, I cannot answer your question with certainty, because uncertainty is all independence gives us.

NM: My counterpart here is exaggerating the situation. Currently, foreign nationals do not even need a visa to enter Lauchenoiria for up to three months for the purpose of tourism. Yes, those who wish to remain for longer, or who wish to work or study there have to apply for one – but this process is hardly difficult. Lauchenoirian immigration rules are notoriously lax, and almost everyone who applies is granted one. If Lauchenoiria truly considers Aeluria part of their ‘family’, then it would be absurd if they started applying stricter visa rules for Aelurians than, say, Laeralites or Sanctarians.

As for the question of Lauchenoirians coming here, nobody wants to prevent the family and friends of Aelurians coming to visit. The AIP’s desire to partially limit immigration is only to ensure that a large influx of immigrants does not lead to the erasure of Aelurian culture, as the 1952 communist regime sought to do. I myself was born in Carville, adopted by an Aelurian couple at three months old. Nobody wants to deport mainland-born residents, that is purely scaremongering.

AW: But the fact of the matter is, you cannot give us any guarantees the Aelurians would not be subject to strict visa rules to visit the mainland after independence, because it is not in your power. That is the problem with this whole independence question – everything is uncertain.

NM: Life is uncertain. If you want certainty in everything, I have bad news for you. The fact of the matter is that the worst-case scenario you are suggesting is highly unlikely to happen.

AW: Like it was highly unlikely Lauchenoiria would be invaded?

Chuckles and murmurs throughout the audience.

NM: This is a completely different matter. Nobody could have foreseen Suleman Chaher’s actions. The facts are, if Lauchenoiria truly does care about Aeluria, as your campaign frequently says, there is no reason for them to make things difficult for us.

M: Thank you both. We will now move on to the second question.

Q2: What currency would an independent Aeluria use?

NM: If Aelurians vote for independence, we would aim to continue using the Lauchenoirian Gold Cookie for a transition period, with the aim of establishing our own currency to use at the end of said period.

AW: (Laughs) Again, we have no guarantees that Lauchenoiria would permit us to use their currency after independence. As for a new Aelurian currency? It could be an absolute disaster. Market speculation could seriously affect the value of a new currency. This kind of uncertainty could massively impact upon the lives of Aelurians.

NM: I think you’re unnecessarily scaremongering. The Haven Accords mandate five years transition period between the declaration and implementation of independence. This is plenty of time to ensure the economy is stable, and make the necessary arrangements.

The pair continue to debate, repeating the same points multiple times.

M: okay, I think we’re going to move on now.

Q3: Everyone knows that with independence, there will be more support for Lurites. But what about religious minorities like Christians and Muslims?

AW: The AIP want to end secular government. They want to allow Lurites to pray in schools, which is a small stepping stone away from requiring prayer in schools. This would be devastating for the rights of religious minorities! In Lauchenoiria, the rights of followers of all religions are respected because no one religion is favoured. Secular government protects the rights of minorities, and the AIP want to end this protection.

NM: Quite the contrary. Lauchenoiria has never supported religious minorities. During the Communist regime, all religion was outlawed. Lauchenoiria will never support any religious people. They favour atheists, and the religious are often discriminated against, treated as ‘primitive’ and stupid because they are willing to believe in something that cannot be proven. This is unfair! With independence, religious people of all religions will be granted more rights to worship.

AW: We all know of the rights you intend to grant Lurites. But you’re very vague on what the status of other religions would be.

NM: Of course, it’s a policy we need to develop further. And, I remind you, we are a democracy, the AIP is not the only party, and we are not guaranteed to be in government after independence, so our policy will not necessarily be what happens.

AW: So your policy on religious minorities is losing an election so you don’t have to worry about it?

NM: Not at all, we…

AW: You don’t have one.

NM: If you’ll let me finish, I…

AW: Will you protect minority religious rights?

NM: Yes, of course we will.

M: Please don’t interrupt each other. The question of religion can often cause intense debate, but we have other issues to move on to.

Q4: Will smoking be legalised in an independent Aeluria?

NM: The question of the legalisation of tobacco is one for the Aelurian Parliament after independence. If the AIP was elected, we would immediately allow for aids for quitting smoking, such as nicotine patches, to be used, which the Lauchenoirian government is currently prohibiting. The import of tobacco from Kivasek during the war has had a considerable impact on our health service. The black market has spiked since the war, with people looking for illegal cigarettes. Something must be done.

AW: As the First Minister said, the impact of the brief so-called legalisation in the war on the health service has been massive. Smoking was banned because the health impacts were huge. Legalising it once more would definitely be a step backwards, and I hope that even if the disaster of a Yes vote is to happen, that this will not. Smoking must remain illegal, and we must crack down on the illegal drug trade.

NM: Upwards of 40% of adult Aelurians now smoke, whereas before the war it was under 1%. Think about that difference. Are we going to put nearly half of the island in prison? I don’t think so. We need to help people to quit, rather than forcing them through an incredibly painful and uncomfortable withdrawal process. This is a social problem, which should have a social solution rather than a criminal one.

AW: I agree there should be support for people to quit. But we should not be damaging the health of the island further by allowing smoking. What comes next? Cannabis? Cocaine? It’s a slippery slope, and recreational drugs simply must remain illegal.

Further questions asked on the issues of defence and education, the arguments for which were detailed in issue focuses last week.

Q7: During the war, while the island was blockaded, strict food rationing was implemented due to the lack of supplies. Can you assure us that after independence, we will have sufficient food?

AW: The independence campaign cannot assure anyone of that. We would be completely reliant on imports from foreign countries, who could decide to cut us off at any time. Our very lives would be in the hands of other nations, a very dangerous situation.

NM: More scaremongering from the opponents of independence. The fact is, the chance of every other country in the IDU conspiring together to starve us is virtually non-existent. We’ve already had statements of support from Shuell and Zamastan. Last year both Gnejs and Kivasek recognised us as independent. Sanctaria has pledged to recognise the result of the referendum. And, may I remind you, we were supposedly part of Lauchenoiria during the war – and it was they who caused that situation. Being in Lauchenoiria does not protect us.

AW: You say you want independence? Well, how exactly is relying on foreign countries independence?

NM: In an increasingly globalised world, every nation is somewhat reliant on others. That is simply how things work. We do not advocate isolationism, we merely want the power to make our own decisions. And we would not be reliant on imports for food forever. There is a lot of unused land on Aeluria, confiscated by the communist regime and still in the hands of the central government, who refuse to either use it or give it back. If we become independent, this land will be available for agriculture, and we will be able to increase production to a point where we are not reliant on imports.

M: Thank you both. Now, we are running short on time so if we could move on to closing statements. First Minister, you are up first.

NM: With independence, we will always get the governments we vote for. We will be free to decide our own priorities, instead of our needs always coming second to the mainland. We would finally have our own voice in the world, and we would no longer be at risk from injustices such as last year’s blockade, and the many decades of communist rule. Independence will allow Aeluria to move on and have a bright future. It will produce hope for the people of this island. I hope you choose to vote for independence, so we can build a better nation, together.

AW: We are better together with Lauchenoiria. For many decades, our culture has complemented that of the mainland. People from the rest of Lauchenoiria have made their home here, and Aelurians throughout Lauchenoiria. Aelurians have studied in Lauchenoiria, worked in Lauchenoiria, fallen in love in Lauchenoiria. We have had so many opportunities as part of this great nation, it would be a shame to leave now. Separating ourselves would devastate so many. Aeluria is a vital part of Lauchenoiria, and Lauchenoiria is a vital part of the lives of so many Aelurians. I hope the voters decisively reject separation, and choose to remain part of the great nation that is Lauchenoiria.

M: Thank you both. Well, that’s all from us here tonight. I hope this debate has been informative and has helped some of you come to a decision. The referendum will take place on Friday 1st March. Join us here for live results from 10pm onwards that night. Thank you for watching, goodnight!

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Lauchenoiria » Mon Feb 25, 2019 12:49 am

Liaville Times – Referendum Special

24th February 2019

New opinion poll shows a majority for independence

A new poll carried out for the Liaville Times has shown that (with undecided voters removed) 52% of Aelurian voters would now vote for independence. This in a large increase, of 7 percentage points, from our previous poll three days ago. This result comes after last night’s debate, and the endorsement of independence by the states of Shuell and Zamastan, and a pledge from Sanctaria’s Charlene Hendry to recognise an independent Aeluria if Yes wins the referendum.

First Minister Nazario Macías has welcomed this poll, saying: “This is proof that when voters listen to discussion around the issues of independence, they are more likely to support it. The people of Aeluria are waking up to the fact that as part of Lauchenoiria, we cannot ever reach our full potential. We need independence to make our own decisions, have our own voice on the international stage, and ensure the prosperity of the Aelurian people.”

Meanwhile, Ally Wallis is not confident that this means victory for Yes: “There is every chance this poll is an outlier. Every other poll has shown that most Aelurians want to remain part of Lauchenoiria, and I am confident that this is the option voters will choose at the ballot box. Independence would be a huge risk, and it’s one we don’t need to take.”

From now until the referendum, the Liaville Times will be conducting a daily opinion poll on the question of independence.

Issue Focus – Trade

As previously mentioned, Aeluria relies on imports for many things, including food and medicine. So, the question of international trade after independence is on the minds of many voters. The AIP promise that the level of imports from, and indeed exports to, mainland Lauchenoiria will remain the same if the island becomes independent. The No campaign say that this is uncertain.

As well as trade with mainland Lauchenoiria, the pro-independence camp says, an independent Aeluria would be able to trade on its own terms with other nations throughout the IDU. With the support for independence shown recently by Shuell and Zamastan, and during the war by Gnejs and Kivasek, all these nations are considered likely future trading partners for an independent Aeluria.

There is one major problem, say the opposition. All four of these nations are hardly geographically close to Aeluria, which makes trade more difficult and expensive, especially for goods such as food. Abandoning the island’s nearest neighbour in order to trade with nations in all the other corners of the world would be foolish, say the anti-independence campaign.

Supporters of independence are adamant that it would be an excellent opportunity for the island to develop better trading relationships with nations across the globe, and also to reduce the island’s reliance on Lauchenoiria. They say the blockade during the war has eroded trust in the mainland amongst Aelurians, and that the island can no longer rely on them, lest something similar happen again.

Opponents argue that Lauchenoiria has long-standing trade agreements with other nations, and as an independent country, Aeluria would have to negotiate all its own trade deals, which could take many years, and end up with the island having much worse deals than what it currently has as part of Lauchenoiria.

The question of trade is on the mind of many Aelurian voters as the referendum approaches. And most agree – the state of future trade deals could very easily make or break an independent Aeluria.

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Lauchenoiria » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:33 pm

Liaville Times – Referendum Special

25th February 2019

50/50 split in opinion as business leaders speak out against independence

Today, a group of Lauchenoirian business owners operating on Aeluria issued a statement opposing independence on the grounds that it “would cause large amounts of uncertainty, and could have a devastating impact on the market and our economy”. The group have raised concerns about the ability of an independent Aeluria to ‘prosper’.

“There are absolutely no economic benefits to independence,” claims Piers Coombs, the CEO of Butterfly Solar, a manufacturer of solar panels which provide a considerable amount of Aeluria’s electricity. “In fact, the uncertainty of independence could be devastating for businesses and for the economy.”

Coombs is the spokesperson of the group, however he attracted controversy in 2016 when he was accused of tax evasion. No case against him was found. However, not all businesses are on Coombs’ side.

Windwallow Dairy is the largest producer of dairy products on Aeluria. They own acres of land across the island and as well as producing products for the island, they also export to the mainland. Nevertheless, their elderly owner Jem Wilkins, 88, is a staunch supporter of independence.

“I’ve voted AIP since the party was formed, and supported independence for longer than that. I remember the communists so-called revolution in 1952, and I was reminded of that last year when Suleman Chaher’s coup took place. Lauchenoiria will never be a safe place for business owners, or for Aelurians.”

Today’s opinion poll shows almost an equal split, with 50.1% for Yes, and 49.9% for No with don’t knows removed.

Issue Focus - Environment

One of the main deities in Lurian is Arbrera, Goddess of Trees and Nature. Respect for the natural environment is one of the virtues Lurites are meant to embody. It is no surprise, then that, second to the AIP, the green is one of the most popular parties for Lurite voters. And with the high proportion of Lurite supporters of independence, it is perhaps unsurprising that the Green Party has chosen to endorse independence.

The AIP and the wider Yes campaign have made repeated assurances that if Aeluria becomes independent, new environmental protections will be enacted quickly and comprehensively. The island already receives 87% of its electricity from renewable sources, thanks to both sunny weather and high winds. An independent Aeluria would aim to increase this to 100%, say the Yes campaign.

But is independence strictly necessary to achieve this goal? Opponents of independence say no. Lauchenoiria is hardly anti-environment, they say. After all, before the coup, the country was governed by a Liberal-Green coalition, and Lauchenoiria consistently met its carbon emission targets before the war (during the war, emissions increased dramatically, however all are agreed that was a temporary effect of the conflict).

The environment is a non-issue in the independence debate, say opponents. But supporters of independence disagree. While the Liberal-Green coalition may have had excellent environmental credentials, there is no guarantee subsequent governments will. And the central government has a long history of interfering in Aelurian affairs, often to the detriment of both Aeluria and the mainland, in a show of strength, they say.

Aeluria’s environment was damaged by the communist regime, say supporters of independence, and the central government are still blocking the island from fixing some of the issues caused. Opponents say this is simply not true, and remind the pro-independence side that the communist regime has been consigned to the history books. The question is: after all that happened last year, will anyone believe it?

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Lauchenoiria » Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:25 pm

Liaville Times – Referendum Special
26th February 2019

Pro-independence side asks Kerlile to quit making statements supporting them

The leadership of the pro-independence Yes Aeluria campaign have sent a request to the government of the Matriarchy of Kerlile to ask them to avoid making any further statements in support of Aelurian independence. This comes after Councillor Electra Georgiou, who recently attended the Tofino Leaders Summit in Zamastan in a break from Kerlile’s previously semi-isolationist policy, issued a statement supporting Aeluria.

“Aeluria has a fascinating culture, and I hope the island becomes independent so that perhaps we could have some kind of cultural exchange programme, which Lauchenoiria would never allow,” Georgiou told the state-run Kerlian News Service, which publishes stories online for foreign readers. This itself was a break from custom, and marks the first (known) time a Kerlian Councillor has been interviewed for the KNS since the foundation of its online international edition.

First Minister of Aeluria, Nazario Macías, however, was not happy with the statement. “An independent Aeluria would hold no exchanges with the Matriarchy of Kerlile while that nation continues to commit atrocities against its own citizens, and the AIP does not welcome any ‘support’ that Kerlile offers.”

Controversial Lauchenoiria First leader Paul Doberman has jumped on this statement, citing it as proof independence is a ‘Kerlian plot’: “if Aeluria leaves Lauchenoiria, it won’t be long before it becomes a Kerlian colony. This will give Kerlile a place to launch an invasion of Lauchenoiria. Other nations nearby, such as Conternia and Libertas Omnium Maximus should also be worried.”

Ally Wallis, leader of the no campaign does not agree with Mr Doberman’s comments, however she has stated her concern around Kerlile’s endorsement: “Kerlile does nothing without an ulterior motive, and Councillor Georgiou’s unusual behaviour should worry all of us. If Kerlile supports Aelurian independence, it is because they think it will weaken both the island and the mainland.”

When asked by this paper for comment, a spokesperson for the Kerlian government said: “we don’t talk to foreign patriarchal propaganda outlets.”

Today’s opinion poll shows support for independence has dropped back to 49%.


Issue Focus – Law & Order

Historically, Aeluria has had lower crime rates than mainland Lauchenoiria. Since last year’s war crime has increased somewhat throughout Lauchenoiria, however, it has increased dramatically on the island, to the point where crime on the island is now higher than the mainland.

Most people, on both sides of the independence debate attribute this to the rise in drug use following the brief contested ‘legalisation’ of tobacco during the war. After tobacco was once more banned, some of those who had begun to smoke during the war chose to turn to drug dealers to get their supply. And due to having to interact with these dealers, some have even begun to take harder drugs, such as cocaine. This number is small, but certainly not negligible.

The increase in drug crime has been followed by an increase in some kinds of violent crime, notably domestic abuse. Theft is also on the rise, but only some commentators attribute this to Aeluria’s drug problem. Others say this is down to the fact that wages have stagnated, while living costs have increased considerably following the blockade, as food suppliers increased prices to make up for lost revenue during the war.

Both sides of the independence debate are agreed on what the situation is. However, they are generally at odds about how to solve it. In general, opponents of independence believe that greater numbers of police, government programmes to help drug users quit, and time to allow the post-war symptoms to pass will solve most of the problems, all of which do not require independence.

The AIP say that allowing very limited imports of tobacco could be the answer, which would indeed require independence. They also blame the mainland for the rise in food prices, saying the island is being unfairly punished for what happened to it during the war. But some supporters of independence prefer a more radical view. The Green Party is in favour of the decriminalisation of drugs, while a very small minority of independence supporters believe in full legalisation. Both of these policies would require independence.

Supporters of independence say it would allow them to develop radical new policies to tackle crime on the island. Opponents say these policies are unnecessary for Aeluria to get crime back down to pre-war levels. Both sides agree there is a problem, however, and regardless of the referendum result, this is something that will need to be tackled in the future.

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by conterniasgloriousleader » Wed Feb 27, 2019 12:06 am

Lynnberg Evening Standard - 26/02/2019

"They are an independent culture, with a right to be considered as such" - Bloomberg shocks with Aeluria turn

Addressing parliament today, Prime Minister Etan Bloomberg spoke in favour of Aelurian independence, expressing his hope for a yes vote in the forthcoming referendum.

"The people of Laeral have been campaigning for their independence for years, and I am glad to see the matter finally being democratically voted on. In my years of encounters with Aeluria and its people, I have seen that they are an independent culture, with a right to be considered as such. I sincerely hope that Aelurian voters will choose a more autonomous, forward-looking future, and if they do they can be assured of Conternia's support."


His words attracted shock from many commentators, breaking as they did with his prior comments on the issue. In 2008, he said he "understood the sentiment" behind Aelurian independence campaigns but did not "consider it a practically achievable reality at this time"; while in 2011, he retweeted an article by commentator Kathleen Browning arguing for a closer relationship between Aeluria and Lauchenoiria. Asked about his change of opinion, the Prime Minister responded:

"I don't deny that I once believed differently to how I do now; owing to a mixture of changes in the global climate and my own experiences, I have come to revise my stance on the Aelurian question, as I believe anyone should have the right to do. I am committed to supporting the possibility of an independent Aeluria."

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Laeral » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:36 am

Adapted from an article from Le Laeralien
President Liu Expresses Opposition to Aelurian Independence
February 26, 2019

Laeralsford- With the Lauchenoirian state of Aeluria set to hold a referendum on independence in the coming days, the majority of Laeralian politicians have adopted attitudes of studied ignorance, with few politicians willing to discuss the matter in the excitement of the government-formation process. President Liu Mei-han broke the silence today during a press briefing at Republic House, announcing her personal hope for a no vote in the upcoming referendum.
"At this time, it is my opinion that all of Lauchenoria is stronger and better off united," she said, noting issues including national defense, trade, and economics. "I do not believe that Aeluria can stand on its own, not economically, politically, or militarily, and so I believe that the people of Aeluria should reject full independence in favor of further devolution. This offers the Aelurian people the options to take address their legitimate grievances, while remaining stronger through their union with the mainland."
Liu clarified her comments in response to follow-up questions, saying that her government is "concerned" by the possibility of Kerlian interference in the referendum, and that should Aelurian voters support independence, she would support their decision and "work towards further partnership to ensure the security and prosperity of Aeluria, Lauchenoiria, and the greater Central Hespian region." President Liu also expressed her wishes for a free and fair vote and said that she is "proud of the opportunity granted by the Haven Accords for the Aelurian people to choose their own way forward".
On the campaign trail, Liu rarely mentioned the Aelurian independence movement, despite her background in foreign affairs. Under the terms of the Haven Accords, signed to end the Second Lauchenoirian Civil War, Aeluria would be granted a referendum in which voters in the island province would be offered a choice: to become a further-devolved state of Lauchenoiria, or to seek full independence. The option to remain with the status quo was rejected by Sanctaria and the Lauchenoirian government, headed by known independence supporter and former Aelurian First Minister Keitha Noguera.
With polling showing a close race between supporters of devolution and full independence, national leaders including Zamastanian President Anya Bishop and Conternian Prime Minister Etan Bloomberg have announced their personal support for a 'yes' vote. On the domestic front, Conservative Delegate and former presidential candidate Bernard Errante is among the few Laeralian political leaders to voice their opinion, announcing his support for rejecting independence.

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Lauchenoiria » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:51 pm

Liaville Times – Referendum Special

27th February 2019

Religious groups on both sides of the independence debate speak out

With two days to go before the referendum, statements have been issued by a multitude of religious groups, asking (and in one case, warning) their followers to vote one way or the other in the referendum. Mainstream Lurite and Christian groups have been the main voices, however some fringe groups have also commented.

The Confederation of Village Lurites, CVL, is an organisation that links the majority of Lurian congregations in small villages across the island. While Lurian has no official centralised body, CVL links small congregations in areas with less than 1000 residents, and the organisation has often issued statements on the behalf of its constituent congregations. The statement of the CVL on independence is unambigious:

“Independence is the right way forward for Lurites, especially those in small areas, which have been consistently neglected by the central government as they try to force the population to move to cities and abandon our way of life. Independence is the way forward, and all Lurites should vote yes.”

Meanwhile the Aelurian Christian Association has issued a statement advising Christians on the island to vote against independence: “the AIP has given us no assurances that the rights of minority religious groups would be protected. Independence is a risk for us all, as an independent Aeluria could fast become a Lurian state.”

Aside from mainstream religious groups, in this last week a ‘cult’ has formed, calling themselves the Church of Destruction, who claim that Aelurian independence would bring about a nuclear war, which would wipe out non-believers and leave the survivors to be ruled by Councillor Jennifer Hale of Kerlile’s unborn child. Nazario Macías has called this theory “preposterous” and Ally Wallis of the No campaign has been quick to distance them from the cult.

In other news, Laeral’s President Liu Mei-han has announced her opposition to Aelurian independence, stating “it is my opinion that all of Lauchenoiria is stronger and better off united”. Meanwhile, aid workers from Shuell, who have supported independence, have begun to arrive on the island and on the mainland to help with the efforts to rebuild following last year’s civil war.

Support for independence is down from yesterday, at 47%. Some suggest this is a result of the statement from Councillor Georgiou of Kerlile.

Issue Focus – Economy

The issue of the economy is consistently ranked among the top 5 topics for consideration by undecided voters on the question of independence. Among voters who have already decided, those who consider the economy a top issue are more likely to intend to vote against independence.

Opponents of independence are quick to point out that uncertainty is almost always bad for the economy, and independence would necessarily cause a lot of uncertainty. The figures back them up – if Aeluria votes for independence, it would have an immediate negative impact on the economy.

The long-term impact is more up for debate. Supporters of independence say that this ‘brief dip’ is a fair price to pay for the ‘freedom’ of independence. They also say that the economy will recover quickly, and some even argue the Aelurian economy will be better off than as part of Lauchenoiria. They claim that the central government has damaged Aeluria’s economy through their ‘neglect’ for the island and their prioritising of mainland industries that have no foothold on the island.

Opponents vehemently disagree. There is no scenario in which the economy would be better off with independence, they argue. Independence is a needless risk which would destroy the economy, leave people across the island poorer and lower standards of living. Independence is simply not worth is.

What is life without risk? Say supporters of independence. Yes, independence could have a negative impact on the economy at first, but in the long term it would recover, and would be grow without the interference of the Lauchenoirian government, who do not care about the island as much as the mainland.

The issue of the economy is an important one for many people, but with the two sides disagreeing on the very facts of the matter, it is one that voters are going to have trouble deciphering and making a decision on.

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Lauchenoiria » Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:18 pm

Liaville Times - Referendum Special

3rd March 2019

Referendum result – independence rejected
4:17am

With all votes now counted, the island of Aeluria has rejected independence by 56% to 44%. The result became clear at around 3am, when No took a decisive lead. Turnout for the referendum was a historically high 87%.

First Minister Nazario Macías began the night optimistically, stating that this was a “historic moment” for the island, but as the night went on, it became clear he wouldn’t get the result he wanted. Ally Wallis, leader of the No campaign issued a statement at around 4am:

“I am thrilled to see that the people of Aeluria have decisively rejected independence in favour of further devolution. This is the right result for the people of Aeluria, and I am glad that we will remain part of Lauchenoiria. Now we can work together to build a better future.”

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Lauchenoiria » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:41 am

Liaville Times - Referendum Special

Lauchenoiria remains united as independence question is settled
4th March 2019

Following the rejection of independence in yesterday’s referendum by a 12-point margin, people throughout Lauchenoiria have been commenting on the result. Lauchenoiria is united – but many say the divisions formed by the referendum on Aeluria will take longer to heal.

First Minister Nazario Macías issued a full statement this morning on the result:
While the Aelurian Independence Party, and myself, are disappointed in this result, we respect the will of the people in this matter. We are committed to continuing to work representing Aelurian interests in Lauchenoiria, and ensuring that the voice of the Aelurian people is listened to.

I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the referendum campaign on both sides for organising a peaceful, informative campaign which truly allowed the voters to make up their minds. While now is clearly not the time for independence, I’d like to assure all those who voted Yes that the dream of independence is not dead forever. We may need to wait a little longer, but our time will come.
Meanwhile in Buttercity, leaders of various pro-unity political parties have been celebrating the result. Josephine Alvarez, leader of the Liberal Party issued a message to Aelurians, saying:

“I’m thrilled that Aeluria has voted by such a decisive margin to remain part of Lauchenoiria. Aeluria will always hold a special place in Lauchenoirian society, and I look forward to us all building a new future together.”

Her sentiments were echoed by Javier Flynn, interim leader of the Communist Party, the main rivals of Alvarez’s Liberals. “Aeluria holds an important place in the hearts of Lauchenoirians,” he said “and this is why I am so overjoyed they have voted to remain.”

Also in the Lauchenoirian capital, interim Prime Minister Keitha Noguera, herself a former First Minister of Aeluria, made a statement today after staying out of the referendum debate due to her position.

“First I would like to thank everyone who voted in the referendum for participating in the democratic process. I understand some people will be pleased with this result while others will be disappointed. It’s important now that all communities come together so Aeluria can move forward. I give my assurance that further powers will be devolved to the island following the creation of a new constitution and new elections.”

Supporters of independence have been taking to social media to voice their disappointment in the result. Independence campaigner Elijah Yates, who spoke to the Liaville Times several weeks ago posted:

“Sad day for all Aeluria :( . I won’t give up yet though – we will be independent one day! #YesForever”

Most commentators say that the issue of self-sufficiency was the deciding factor in the referendum. After the Lauchenoirian Civil War, during which the island was blockaded for two months, it became very clear that the island could not support itself, with strict food rationing having to be implemented during the blockade, and shortages in spite of that. This, along with economic issues and defence were consistently listed as the top priorities by people intending to vote No during the campaign.

The issue of religion seemed to have less of an effect than predicted, with turnout amongst worshippers of the Lurian religion considerably lower than anticipated. With Lurites far more likely to have supported independence, it can be argued this low turnout adversely affected the chances of the Yes side winning.

The causes of the rejection of independence aside, however, the result is clear. Now, it is time for Aelurians and Lauchenoirians alike to move forward together, finish rebuilding after last year’s war, and face the future.

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Re: Aelurian Referendum

Post by Gnejs » Wed Mar 06, 2019 10:20 pm

Weekly joint processing cabinet meeting. Location: Office of the Prime Minister, Meridian, Port Kejm.

"Very well, that brings us to item fifteen on today's agenda. The topic is the question of Aeluria, a province within the Federation of Launchenoira, and what, if any, actions the Union should take in this regard, based on the circumstances, previous and current. The Minister for Foreign Affairs brings the matter to us, and if there are no initial remarks from those present, I give the word to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. No remarks? Good. Grethe, please proceed."

Prime Minister Tangeus Oxwald took his seat while gesturing with his left-hand, prompting the Foreign Minister to stand and clear her throat. She positioned herself at the far end of the table and greeted the joint cabinet with a nod of her head.

"Thank you, Prime Minister. Comrades, while I am aware that most of you are intimately acquainted with the circumstances surrounding our current predicament, I, and the Prime Minister is in agreement, remain convinced that restating and contextualising the vital points of this matter will benefit our impending discussion and inevitable decision-making."

"On the 12th of May 2018, the Launchenoiran island province of Aeluria declared its independence. At the same time a series of tumultuous events unfolded on the mainland, which eventually turned into a full-scale civil war engaging many states on continental Hespia. On the 16th of May, former Foreign Minister Svein Hellvik composed a now infamous note, which was subsequently sent to Aelurian First Minister. The poetic prose – equally infamous – of what has colloquially become known as the "Hellvik Letter" made it a somewhat opaque and vague message; nonetheless, it was quickly interpreted as a formal recognition of Aelurian independence on the behalf of the Union. And as you're all sorely aware, in addition to the note, former Minister Hellvik also enclosed a small rock, shaded granite."

As the Foreign Minister left her words lingering, all present raised their left hand and positioned it on the middle of their chest while closing their eyes and mumbling unintelligibly.

"We have discussed this matter on two earlier and separate occasions – please see articles 35 to 38 in your enclosed briefs. In June of 2018, we agreed to uphold Hellvik's gesture of granting Aeluria the Rock of Friendship, and in extension our recognition of their declaration of independence; the two having become so intertwined that any real separation was deemed utterly impossible. The discussions were extensive and at times intense, as I'm sure you can all remember. Portions of the cabinet argued that Hellvik's actions were frivolous and a soiling of our diplomatic standards and policy of non-aligned neutrality. Others pointed out that his use of The Rock was an affront to tradition. However, despite the flippancy of the initial imbuement, and the resulting difficulties in diplomatic relations with the Launchenoiran Federation, in the end it was the view of this cabinet that the act of granting Aeluria our friendship could not be undone. One does not retract a Rock of Friendship once given."

The Foreign Minister paused and looked at her colleagues. Many nodded to indicate their approval of the cabinet's earlier decision.

"On the 4th of September the Launchenoiran civil war was ended with the signing of the Haven Accords in the west. On the 6th of September the matter of Aeluria and the Union was brought before the cabinet once more. The Union's recognition of Aelurian independence was somewhat of a non-issue during the hostilities, seeing as everything, for many even life itself, was of an undecidable nature at the time. With the ending of hostilities and a return to normalcy, our predicament resurfaced, with Aeluria itself retracting its declaration of independence on the signing of the Accords, with its included articles detailing a referendum on the question of independence."

"At this time I argued that the Union should seize the opportunity and retract our recognition of their initial declaration. I deemed this a way of clearly untying the matter of independence from our Friendship, circumventing the need to retract the Rock of Friendship. Once again, discussions were passionate. In the end, it was decided that we would await the results of the referendum. Retracting our recognition before the people of Aeluria – our Friends – were given a chance to speak their mind at the ballots was decided to not be in accordance with the Customs of Friendships. Furthermore, several members of the cabinet pointed towards the fact that not recognizing Aelurian independence, while still holding them in a position of friendship, would lead to the unprecedented situation of the Union embracing a part of another state in friendship, but not that state in itself."

Grethe paused and poured herself a glass of water. After emptying it, she scanned the faces of her colleagues, making sure to make eye contact with as many as possible. She then continued speaking.

"On the 3rd of March, the people of Aeluria voted to remain a part of Lauchenoiria. I have three suggested courses of action. On the one hand, we could retract the Rock of Friendship…"

The whole room started bustling and the Minister for Fisheries and Coastal Affairs jumped out of his seat and shouted "Desecration!"

"Quiet, please."

Tangeus Oxwald's voice was calm but firm.

"Grethe, please continue, but spare us frivolity and unnecessary provocations."

The Foreign Minister nodded to the Prime Minister and continued.

"Thank you, Prime Minister. Believe me, I know how it sounds, and it pains me just as deep, but there is the fact that the Rock of Friendship is contingent on independence. We simply cannot recognize one part of another sovereign state in the way that Friendship implies while keeping our position of neutral non-alignment towards the other parts. Granting the Rock of Friendship to one province clearly gives the impression that we devalue the other parts. It would severely damage our reputation."

"A Rock of Friendship means something. This is known, known throughout Hespia. A Rock given is a bond, and a bond that we always honour. This is our reputation. One does not retract a Rock of Friendship."

It was Niels Sträng, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry that was speaking. Several of the other ministers nodded in agreement and shouted their approval.

"That brings me to my second suggestion," Grethe said.

"The Rock was given to Aeluria. However, they voted to stay a part of Launchenoira. One possible way forward would therefore be to extend our Friendship to the entire federation."

The minister's faces were grim.

"Like one Rock given in facetiousness isn’t enough? Two wrongs does not a right make, say I."

Anna Karena, Minister for the Environment and Energy, looked at the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister as she spoke. She continued

"A Rock given is a bond. Few Rocks have been given, and never in the history of the Union have we ever retracted one. This is fact. The Rock in question was given to Aeluria, but it was intimately connected to the question of their independence. This is the heart of our troubles. Aeluria has voted to reject independence. Does this not mean that they also reject our friendship? I say before you that it was they who returned the Rock of Friendship by rejecting the very independence that the Rock was given in conjunction with, effectively annulling our bond."

The room fell silent. Minister Sträng was the first to speak

"Hm, semantics," he said and crossed his arms.

Grethe looked at the cabinet members and then the Prime Minister. Tangues Oxwald had shifted his chair and was looking out of the window. After a few minutes, he spoke.

"Semantics or not, it is a way out of our troubles, I suppose. I propose that we take the last two suggested actions to a vote at the end of our session. Now, that brings us to item sixteen on today's agenda. The topic is the question of the depreciation of structural quotas. The Minister for Fisheries and Coastal Affairs brings the matter to us, and if there are no initial remarks from those present, I give the word to the Minister for Fisheries and Coastal Affairs. No remarks? Good. Lennart, please proceed."

Four hours later, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Minister Grethe Nebb sat down at her desk, exhausted. Several of her senior members of staff were standing beside her, eager to hear the latest developments.

"Well," said Grethe and sighed. "I need you to give me an outline of an official letter to the First Minister of Aeluria, explaining that their rejection of independence effectively means they've annulled our bond of friendship. Please try to make it sound plausible and not like a badly concealed way of retracting our Friendship. Oh, yes, and apparently we want our rock back. Shaded granite."

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