It started out as an effort on the part of the Royal Government to update the Gotzborg constitution to reflect gender neutrality, and has ended with the Chamber of Deputies being closed by His Royal Majesty.
The Article 80 Constitutional Amendment Bill was designed to broaden the male-oriented conscription article to the more generic “all persons able to carry arms shall be liable by their person to contribute to the defence of the realm.” Despite concerns about conscription raised by Sir Benjamin Farzan, the bill was overwhelmingly passed by the Chamber as the bill under debate was to reword a pre-existing constitutional article, and not decided whether it should be removed from the constitution on the basis of its purpose.
With the positive vote in the Chamber normally signifying the approval of a bill, it came as a surprise when the Vice-President of the Chamber, Liam Sinclair, nullified the results of the vote and declared the bill rejected. According to Sinclair’s ruling, the Chamber did not have the constitutional authority to pass such an amendment given that it was not a constitutionally-formed body.
Under the Gotzborg constitution, the Chamber of Deputies is an elected-body, while in practice, since the beginning of the nation’s online existence, it has been open freely to all citizens as members. The constitutional amending process eventually ends at a vote by the general electorate (who currently make up the Chamber), but the constitutionally-formed Chamber must first grant its approval. In essence, the Article 80 bill had put the cart before the horse.
With the revelation that the currently-assembled Chamber had no constitutional authority or amending powers, King August Charles II has ordered the Chamber closed. Elections for a proper constitutional Chamber will be conduced in the New Year, likely in February.
The fate of the direct-democracy body which had been in place the past two years is by no means decided, as rumours have the Royal Cabinet discussing the merits of a constitutional amendment to legitimize that system of operation.