Polls closed across Sanctaria at 10pm on Saturday night, and within minutes it was clear that the government had carried the question – Sanctaria was to undergo nation-changing reforms and become a federalised republic. While the full tallies and results won’t be known until lunch-time Sunday, exit polls done by various agencies and networks all have the Pro-Federalisation side winning by between 59% and 63% – averaged out, this is about 61% in favour, a significant win for the DLP government in office less than a year.
What this means in the long term is greater sovereignty for communities in Sanctaria; as the saying goes, all politics is local, so getting a new playground or having your local road fixed, or even the supply of houses in your area will now come under the purview of new state governments – recent estimates put “local issues” being discussed 43% of the time in the national parliament, something Devolution and Local Government Secretary Ben Jackson said was unsustainable.
But it’s not just trivial things like potholes that will fall under your new State Legislature’s control; social protection, some taxes, police, most criminal law and punishment, tertiary education, public transport systems, housing, election administration, and all community affairs are just some things you’ll now go to your local State government to deal with, not your local federal representative. It’s a significant change to how politics works in Sanctaria.
The passage of the referendum today will also mean that Sanctarian institutions will change. The Senate will undergo another reform, the second in the past five years. With the abolishment of administrative counties in favour of this new federal system of States, how the Senate is elected, and how many Senators there are, will also change. The number in the Senate will drop from 100 to 40; each of the nine states will elect four senators each, with the remaining four seats allocated to Sanctarian emigrants and citizens abroad, who will have to register with their local embassy to vote. It will be the first time emigrant representation will be in place in Sanctaria.
It also means that as of 00:00:01 on the morning of January 1st, 2019, the Divine Republic will no longer exist and in its place the Divine Federation will come into being. Though officially not a new country – we’re just changing the national description – it will definitely leave a new impression on the rest of the world; Sanctaria is bigger and better than before. So too will the title of our leader – Prime Minister Hendry will become Chancellor Hendry, and each new state will have a Premier or a Governing-Mayor. A lot of new things to remember.
State elections will take place in 2019 to elect new officials, legislatures, and governments for the nine new states; Aquitanium, Corpus, Galvium, Glorionis, Haven, Novum Aeternum, Novum Limium, Sanctus, and Terra Monticolarum. Handily for the government’s plans, city council elections were already planned in the three new city-states for 2019, meaning the country will be effectively fully federalised by January 2020.
The last thing to change will happen in 2023 when the House of Deputies will reduce in number, to be decided, and the states will be divided into electoral districts, each one electing a deputy to the federal parliament. A lot of national politicians will lose their seats, but it is rumoured many will instead seek to jump before they are pushed, so to speak, and run for local offices and legislatures in the new states.
All that is to look forward to over the next five or so years. In the meantime, the SNT will be providing analysis of the vote when it is officially announced.