Welcome, World! By Haziz Roshani Welcome to the Grand Opening of the English-language version of the Hiremath Slate! As English is not an official language of Hirematia, we previously saw no need to run an English version. Now, we have opened our press to foreign readers with the release of the English Language Edition. We offer many different types of stories for you to enjoy. Our reporting includes:
Unbiased coverage on the latest current events
Editorials from noted thinkers all across the political spectrum
Clever breakdowns of complicated economic, social, and foreign affairs issues
Fact-checks on politicians' most egregious claims
Don't worry, our first article will be out soon. We look forward to the engagement of all our foreign readers in the upcoming months and beyond!
Referendum for Single Transferrable Vote Called: Which Option Should I Support? By Ilkanath Devasa With a stunning 87% Yes vote in the general population after the bill faced a narrow defeat, a referendum on a switch to the Single Transferrable Vote will be held, marking a significant milestone in electoral reform. In Hirematia, each electoral district elects five representatives to the Popular Council (PC). However, the way votes are counted is done using a bizarre and outdated method unique to Hirematia. This was not a problem in the past, when districts only sent three representatives and rarely had more than five candidates in the race. In the modern day, however, districts send five people to the PC, and races regularly include 15-20 candidates. This has caused a nightmare for Hirematian voters, and now the people are demanding a change to a single-transferrable vote (STV) system.
Unlike the current voting system, an STV system would ask voters only to rank the candidates in order of their preference, making elections much less of a headache for the citizens of Hirematia. An STV system would work similarly to the instant runoff voting method used in executive elections, except the threshold for being a winner is 20% of the vote, and extra votes for a candidate are distributed to their second choice. With the support of many prominent politicians on the Left, including PM Mechhai himself, the only party that has come out against the electoral reform is the Hirematian Nationalist Front, which may be set to lose up to 20% of its seats due to reform. The new voting system is expected to increase turnout in PC Elections from a measly 67% to 91% of the total electorate.
However, the STV does have its critics, despite the popularity of a referendum. While the Conservative Party has taken an official stance toward electoral reform, many within the party have criticized STV as being "populist" and "lacking checks and balances". The Conservative Party would favor multi-round voting, in which each person votes for one candidate until five candidates emerge as winners. While it would be similar to STV in outcomes, this plan would require multiple rounds of voting, and in the Conservatives' view, would "give voters time to reconsider".
Either way, with the vastly increased turnout and the high probability that this referendum will succeed, we should expect to see a totally different Legislature next election cycle.
STV Referendum Passes In Landslide, More Referendums May Be Called Soon By Ilkanath Devasa In a stunning 91% victory, the referendum to change Popular Council elections to a STV system was passed. It won all 99 districts as well, the first referendum to do so since the 1743 referendum to abolish the monarchy. Many politicians have come out in support of the referendum, while those who opposed it are remaining uncharacteristically silent. As PM Mechhai said of the referendum, "today marks a new period of representative democracy for all Hirematians, without the corrupt and outmoded red tape. The only ones who opposed this reform were the corrupt and their benefactors."
This has created an interesting scenario for Councilor Kudala Sima Mananatha of the Hirematian Nationalist Front, who was adamantly against the bill. He even travelled back to his native Kenive Hesa District to vote against it. However, internet users looked at the voter rolls and found exactly one vote against it out of the 5 million people who voted in his district. Also, the voter turnout was 95% in his district.
Daily News Briefing: Referendum Package, Counterterror Strike, and First Primary Candidacy By Murale Chandabyas First up today, a referendum package is being voted on next week. Pushed for by advocacy group Jasmanya Iga (Grassroots Now!), or JasIg for short, the package includes six different referendums. Hirematians will be voting on changing the primary elections processes to instant runoff voting, allowing parties to form coalition governments (something banned in the Hirematian constitution, thus it will require a 2/3 supermajority to repeal), setting up an internet voting program, requiring the Premier Minister to vote for major SLU legislation based on popular opinion (right now the PM votes based on Legislative opinion for all regional legislation), a measure to decrease airport security, and a plan to decrease tariffs in key industries. Polling data will be available in 3 days, and an in-depth explanation of the tariff referendum will be published later today.
Next up, the Hirematian Border Patrol and the Hirematian Navy launched a joint countertenor operation against pirates that were raiding Hirematian cargo vessels. Claiming to hail from the now-defunct state of Conwy-Shire, the pirates are estimated to have stolen ₹53,978,433 in goods, as well as intercepting an aid shipment headed for Paguio Empire. During this strike, the Hirematian government managed to sink 53 of the massive 78-ship fleet commandeered by the pirates, as well as interrogating the pirates to find the stolen goods. The Defense Forces also captured the pirate's ringleader, Fergus Rhyd'MacDavis, who prefers to be called "Captain Blondebeard". He will be facing charges of violent and destructive robbery, vehicle hijacking, the sale of stolen goods, and domestic violence (his wife brought forth this charge against him).
Finally, with primary season starting May 15, the first primary candidate has declared his candidacy: Councilor Maalukarjanatha Kudalasangam Stalinartha, better known as M.K. Stalin. Running for the candidacy of the New Left Front, Stalin wishes to unite his divided party and provide a "manifesto by which any upstanding citizen can stand." He aims to bolster the party by strengthening the left nationalist wing to attract Hirematian National Front voters, many of whom lean far more left economically than their representatives are willing to go. According to polling that he sponsored in his mostly-HNF district, 67% would support collectivization of key industries. While party leader Govindantha Ragavendra is skeptical that this strategy will work on a national scale, Stalin seems to be building up lots of momentum so far.
PM Mechhai discussing the benefits of the tariff proposal
Tariff Reduction Proposal: Good or Bad? By Haziz Roshani This week, one referendum is generating a significant amount of controversy: tariff reductions. In short, this bill lowers tariffs on retail, agricultural, and mining imports. The bill would remove import licenses for iron, gold, aluminum, chicken, wheat and soy, rice, cheese, furniture, paper, timber, and computer products. It would also bring computer tariffs down from 6.2% to 3.4%, cheese tariffs from 7.3% to 4.6%, furniture tariffs from 2.3% to 0.1%, soy tariffs from 5.9% to 3.0%, beef tariffs from 9.8% to 3.2%, and uranium tariffs from 8.3% to 2.1%. This referendum is the first instance of the Hirematian government letting the people directly decide economic policy, and the results are not exactly going smoothly so far. Proponents, including the Free Soil Party, Conservative Party, and Classic Liberal Party, say it will make consumer goods cheaper and open doors to foreign investment that could grow the economy. Opponents, including the New Left Front, Democratic Socialist Party, and Hirematian Nationalist Front, argue that it will harm domestic industry, especially the cheese industry. Even economists are sharply divided on the issue.
Protestors gather in Hiremath to push for tighter cybersecurity measures
BREAKING - HIREMATIAN GOVT. HACKED By Ilkanath Devasa After a law slashing the Hirematian budget by 50% was inexplicably passed while Hirematian officials were asleep, the Domestic Intelligence Agency (DIA) has concluded that hackers had implemented this bill via a hack of the vast computing network used to operate the Hirematian government, a task previously thought impossible. As a result of this loss, the nation went into mass panic before PM Mechhai was awoken at 4:15 AM to fix the crisis. The emergency restoration program has reinstated public sector spending, but is struggling to find the funds for National Defense and Policing, causing spiked crime rates and an overall lower sense of security. Funding cannot be granted to these departments until full funding is reauthorized by the bureaucracy. As of now, the public sector is being held up by an executive mandate and defensive spending is on life support, as police officers' and soldiers' wages have fallen to the national minimum wage. 30,000 active duty personnel and 25,000 law enforcement officials have been temporarily laid off until funding can be found again. This lack of funding is due to an article in Hirematia's constitution forbidding deficit spending, a clause that could face modification to provide exceptions for national emergencies.
Press Secretary Deepiki Padioni said in a statement that "the administration is working its hardest to restore the nation" and that "things should be back to normal in about a month." DIA director Hadiya Namaani has stated that her and her team "will not rest until the perpetrators of this national security disaster are found and captured." The Directory of Government Infrastructure has released an official notice saying that government will be switched "to an analog communications infrastructure until security problems were pinpointed and corrected." PM Mechhai himself could not be reached for comment, as aides say he is very busy in legislative meetings, but sources close to him express that he would like temporary foreign aid in national defense.
Protests are breaking out in every major city, and some have turned violent. There has been a near doubling in the number of looting taking place across the country. The last time the country faced such a national security crisis is when a coup was attempted back in 1949, and everyone in the country is still unsure of what to do about it.
Note: The Coalitions Referendum would amend the Constitution, and thus requires a 2/3 supermajority to pass
Polling Results are In By Haziz Roshani After a few days of gathering information, we have polling results for the referendums delivered. While some referendums such as the IRV and SLU popular vote referendum seem to be set for victory, others, such as the Internet Voting Referendum, appear to be dead. While the Internet Voting Referendum was originally predicted to pass in a landslide, it lost all popularity in wake of the recent cyberattacks on the government. Meanwhile, passionate political battles are being fought over the Tariff Reduction and Airport Security Referendums, and public opinion could shift dramatically on either of these issues. Our analysts predict that the Tariff Reduction Referendum will pass due to weakened dependence on industrial goods, while the Airport Security Referendum will fail due to weak argument on the proponent's side. There is little evidence that reduced airport security would significantly increase tourism (the main argument of the proponents), and while there is little reason to believe that it would significantly increase terrorism, the threat still lingers in people's minds. However, the most controversial of the referendums is likely to be the Coalitions Referendum. Voters sick of gridlock due to lack of inter-party cooperation are now in the majority; however, according to current polling, even if all undecided voters decide to vote for the referendum, it would receive 60.4% of the vote, shy of the 66.7% it needs to pass. Since inter-party coalitions are banned in the Constitution, the referendum qualifies as an amendment, meaning it must obtain a 2/3 supermajority to pass.
*This referendum was a constitutional referendum, so it required a 2/3 supermajority to pass, and was thus defeated ** The yes and no votes for this referendum were within 1,000 votes of each other, and thus required a recount (436 for this specific referendum)
Referenda Results In! By Haziz Roshani Voters took to the polls to decide their policies last night, and here are the results. The IRV referendum will greatly affect primary seasons from here on out, perhaps allowing less popular parties to put forward more electable candidates. This seems to hurt MK Stalin, but he is an untested political force and may appeal to the increasingly nationalistic New Left Front base. The SLU popular vote referendum gives Hirematians the power to vote on SLU resolutions that impact domestic affairs in a major way. A resolution to decrease airport security and a resolution to switch to internet voting failed even though these ideas are popular with the public during normal times. However, with increased terrorism in the SLU and cyber attacks on the Hirematian government, voters feel unsafe. Interestingly, the resolution for increased tariffs passed by just 436 votes. Many disgruntled voters are calling for another recount, claiming that the administration purposely miscounted the votes. None who have claimed this have produced supporting evidence. However, the referendum most likely to stir controversy is the one on coalitions. Despite the bill winning a comfortable majority, the resolution was not passed due to a 2/3 supermajority requirement. This has angered many who have voted for the bill, and JasIg has already called for demonstrations in front of federal government buildings. Such protests have a reputation for succumbing to violence, and one time protestors caused र्54,000,000 in property damage to the Councilors' Chamber.
Land Reclamation Projects Underway By Murale Chandabyas Today, the first fleet of ships in the multi-partisan SIBI (Sudharanal idh Bhuma Iga - Immediate Land Reclamation) Act was launched. Voted for 501-36 in the Islander's Congress and signed by PM Vijaranam Mechhai, the bill puts forth a bold, efficient, massive, and costly program to reclaim an area of land equivalent to 25% of the country's total landmass in the name of decreasing the effects of overpopulation on Hirematia's crowded cities and suburbs. With cities that are becoming hopelessly overcrowded, suburbs have become more populated, and the Hiremath metro area is estimated to have expanded into what was once farmland, gentrifying it into residences for Hiremath residents. The average round-trip commute for a city worker has increased from 36 minutes to 102 minutes in a matter of a decade. Opponents of the bill will tout its astronomical cost, totaling र्43.4 trillion over a period of 30 years, as well as its detrimental impact on certain aquatic migratory species. Proponents will argue that the new land is expected to increase economic output by 4% more than it would have without the bill (a figure which is highly contentious among economists, as some think it will exceed expectations, while others predict it will tank the economy). They also argue that it will increase quality of life, environmental health, public health, and possibly bring a deposit of precious platinum ore to the surface and make it easier to mine. Legal battles for the new land have already begun between provinces, but all reclaimed land will be federally administered until Year 10 of the project, when all land but the new island is reclaimed and ready for settlement. Also under question is the new island of Kemajuaavipa (Progress Island) and whether it should be its own province or be split between existing ones. Here is a rough map showcasing the estimated difference in shorelines from the current boundaries to the predicted ones.
BREAKING: DIRTY BOMB IN HIREMATH - 53 DEAD, 178 REPORTED MISSING By Ilkanath Devasa On August 25 at 12:08 PM, two unidentified individuals detonated a dirty bomb inside the Hiremath Stock Exchange in a suicide bombing. The resulting explosion severely damaged the building (damage costs are estimated at 73 million rupiahs) and resulted in 231 people dead or missing. In response, the Kaunihera idh Rajiya and the Premier Minister have instituted a Level 1 State of Emergency, which mandates the deployment of a military guard in major cities, temporarily suspends habeas corpus for terrorism-related charges, and keeps the other measures instituted under the Level 2 State of Emergency. The Kaunihera idh Rajiya held a moment of silence today, and Mecchai held a speech at Founders' Square. Here is an excerpt from his speech:
"Today, we have been stabbed. 53 beautiful people died today, and 178 are missing. Let's have a moment of silence for them and their families...... This is one of the worst terrorist attacks we have ever suffered. That is a fact. But at the same time, we have been through much worse. In our history, we have overthrown tyrants, defended our home from armies twice our size, and crushed a domestic rebellion. Tomorrow, we willbegin fightining those terrorists tooth and nail, and we will win. But today, we must come together and weep for the wonderful people that we lost."
Among the people lost in the attack were Vinara Mallya, CEO of NovaFone; Suharto al-Sheikur, CEO of Firecast; and Danusi Patua, CEO of KouraJewellers Inc. Many others were among the missing, including tourists, stock brokers, and others who worked at the stock exchange. The stock exchange building itself as well as everything within a 1-kilometer radius of the stock exchange has been temporarily closed off for repairs.
The government is currently taking action to asses how they failed to notice the threat, cleanup and repair work, body searching, and attempting to catch the perpetrators. The government expects that they will be able to find the perpetrators and assess their ties to terrorist groups. Death toll numbers will be updated as further developments are made.