Micras loses significant micronation

GENEVA –  Since its foundation more than 15 years ago, Alexandria has played a central role in the Micras community, building its reputation from a shaky start under the name of Madland to one of community leader. Its story has now been consigned to the history books.

In an open letter to the Micras community on July 25, Alexandria’s founder and first-and-only monarch, Edgard Carrillo, announced its sudden dissolution. “I feel creatively constrained and bankrupt. The focus on creating something fun and engaging for myself was shifted towards winning petty squabbles with other Micran participants,” explained Carrillo.

Recent years arguably saw Alexandria’s core activity decline into persistent squabbling, contributing significantly to Carrillo’s stated loss of focus. Largely sustained by election campaigns and parliamentary debates in which political parties sparred, often over repetitive issues, Alexandria’s ability to focus development on other aspects of its identity became impaired. That squabbling translated to the intermicronational community where it found itself primarily involved in rival alliances, the resulting conflicts, and very much motivated by an imperialistic desire to expand its Micras world map territory.

“The time for judging Alexandria’s strength and progress by post counts and pixels is over,” said Carrillo with an implied sigh of relief.

Yet, as with other micronations that have made similar announcements in the past, there remains the possibility that Alexandria may one day rejoin the community. Such a decision, according to Carrillo, will be guided by his ability to regain the passion and creativity necessary to create the Alexandria that he always wanted, as opposed to the one it became.

As for Carrillo’s personal involvement in the Micras community, he will remain a contributor to other micronations and efforts.

Read more about Alexandria’s history by visiting our archive of 295 related news articles published since 2004.


FMF World Cup Week 1 ends

SVORGAS – This year’s FMF World Cup, the first since 2015, is underway in Senya as the Micras community comes together once more in it’s most popular international competition. Today marked the conclusion of the first week of the five-week tournament.

If there was one take away from the past week, it is that this year’s tournament will be marked by an unusually high goal scoring. A total of 64 goals were scored across the 16 matches played, including 8 between Natopia and Elwynn in their July 10th match. The week also included two 6 – 0 shutouts, as Craitland and Mercury dominated Gotzborg and Jingdao, respectively.

The result was particularly disappointing for Gotzborg, which finished at the top of its group with 14 goals-for during the qualifying round. It will attempt to recover when it plays next on July 17th; it faces Birgeshir, which it last played to a one-all draw in 2015. Jingdao, meanwhile, fell further back today in a scoreless draw with Nova England. It will seek its first win as a World Cup competitor on July 18th against the also winless Natopian team.

As the tournament moves into the second week, Lakkvia, Alexandria, Craitland and Mercury lead their respective groups with six points apiece.

Alexandrian economy lurches left

A distinct socialist hue has blanketed Alexandria’s economy as government legislation controlling rents received Royal Assent this week. The legislation imposes maximum rental rates on landlords until the end of 2020, in an attempt to reduce the cost of living for average Alexandrians.

The Rent Control Law of 2017 represents the most significant encroachment into the free market by the Alliance Liberal government of Primo de Aguilar. With the legislation having received Royal Assent on March 28, landlords in Alexandria are no longer permitted to increase rents until 2018, when a maximum increase of 5 pc of 2016 market prices will be allowed. The allowable increase in 2019, which is required to remain in-force until the end of 2020, will be 10 pc of the 2016 price.

Controlling rents is a policy largely predicated on a belief that Alexandrians are downtrodden and unable to afford home ownership. “It secures [the average Alexandrian] a decent home at an affordable rate,” said Mr Aguilar in tabling the bill.

It is however unclear whether a decent home will result from the measures. With annual inflation in Alexandria trending at 2.3% last year, any freeze requires landlords to cover the associated higher maintenance costs from their own pocket in 2017. While generally equalized with inflation in 2018 and 2019, landlords again must cover such a loss in 2020. Any unforeseen major capital or maintenance costs, or inflation above 2.5%, would place landlords at a clear net financial loss throughout the period.

This financial burden imposed by the government is likely to be offset with less investment and maintenance in existing properties and a lack of new construction. According to an Alexandrian Broadcasting Corporation report, the shuttering of rental properties is also being considered, if the tenants are unable to buy the units out. Such a reaction may trigger a housing crisis in the near term; in the long term, the need for landlords to spike rents in 2021 to recover losses and fund deferred maintenance may trigger a similar crisis.

Landlords who are tempted to violate the controls to offset any financial burden the government has imposed will face fines ranging from 200 pc to 500 pc of any charge in excess of the maximum, as well as business licence revocation and hard labour. Such punishments are, in the government’s view, required to correct an economy in which the average Alexandrian spends 35% of income on housing.

For his part, Mr Aguilar, in celebrating the law’s passage, suggested that Alexandrians use their personal savings from the controls to “earn a decent return and safeguard capital that may lead to owning [a] home.”

It is unclear whether that goal will be achieved. With extra cash in their pockets, Alexandrians may instead buy household wares, food or luxuries as opposed to investing in a downpayment for a home. If that is the case, Mr Aguilar’s celebration may be premature.

Alexandria expected to legalize marijuana

A bill presently being voted on by the Alexandrian Imperial Parliament is soon expected to pass, resulting in the legalization of marijuana in the micronation.

The Marijuana Legalization Bill, tabled by First Consul Antonio Verini’s Liberal Alliance government to meet a June election commitment, aims to regulate the production and sale of the drug. If the Bill receives Royal Assent as expected, all individuals, aged 18 or greater, would be lawfully permitted to consume marijuana and to purchase it from licensed vendors, who would in-turn be supplied through licensed cultivators.

Alexandrians will not have carte blanche to smoke marijuana without consequence, however. The Bill criminalizes the operation of any motor vehicle, industrial equipment, aircraft or watercraft while under the influence of the drug, imposing penalties similar to drunk driving. Those who contravene the provisions of the Bill governing underage sales and unlicensed production will also be subject to a stiff range of fines – up to $20,000 – or a term of imprisonment of up to 16 months.

Consistent enforcement of the Bill’s provisions may nonetheless be difficult, as the Imperial Parliament will download licensing powers to each of the provincial governments. This may serve to create differing local enforcement regimes, leading to confusion amongst travelling Alexandrians or those involved in interprovincial trade.

That complication was seen as a trade-off for the Imperial Government as it attempts to meet another campaign commitment to empower local government and allow for greater revenue opportunities for them. “[Provincial and local governments] will be able to levy an excise tax to fund programs that they deem important for their unique needs,” said Mr Verini during parliamentary debate.

Any such local excise tax on marijuana would range up to 50% under the provisions of the Bill, and would be in on top of a 50% national excise tax to benefit Imperial coffers. Neither tax would apply to medical marijuana, suggesting that the Imperial Government is hoping to create a beneficial revenue stream through taxation of marijuana use as a vice. Of the taxes collected, at least 5% would be directed to addiction treatment programmes. With the economy slowing last month, it is unclear how much revenue will be realized from the legalization of marijuana, and no such estimate was provided by the government during debate.

Perhaps more definitively for government finances will be the retroactive decriminalization provision included with the Bill. That provision will commute the sentence of individuals previous convicted of most marijuana-related offences, potentially reducing the nationwide prison population considerably. The Bill will also expunge most convictions from individual criminal records, allowing many Alexandrians to regain access to the job market.

Voting on the Bill is continuing as of press time. The Liberal Alliance and the Socialist Party, which dominate parliament, are both in favour of the Bill, suggesting that its passage is a foregone conclusion. The vote will formally conclude on August 8, with Royal Assent expected to follow soon thereafter.

Liberal Alliance regains Alexandrian government

In an effort to re-invigorate its languishing parliament amid a political drought, the Empire of the Alexandrians held its latest election for the Imperial Assembly this week, with the role of government again changing hands.

The defeat of the Parti Socialiste government and First Consul Felicia Sánchez was unlikely as the election kicked off on May 29, as the party and Sánchez led the polls with 49% approval each. Within days, however, the approval rating for both in national polls nose-dived, to 40% for the party and 30% for Sánchez, as a result of a lack of campaigning by her and other party officials.

In the end, the Liberal Alliance, which the Parti Socialiste had previously unseated from government in its historic January election win, won 96 of 200 Imperial Assembly seats, regaining the government and cementing its reputation as Alexandria’s natural governing party.

Yet the victory was a muted celebration for the Liberal Alliance, as it achieved it without any active input from its leader, Primo de Aguilar, who was noticeably absent from the campaign trail. The extensive campaigning on which the party achieved its victory was carried out single-handedly by a previously-obscure deputy, Antonio Verini. His focus on criminal justice reform, free trade, conscription, Internet freedom, and empowering local communities allowed the Liberal Alliance to climb 25% in opinion polls leading up to the election and allowed it to nearly double its number of seats in the Imperial Assembly.

With Aguilar’s continued absence, Verini now appears to be the favourite to assume the leadership of the Liberal Alliance, and with it, become Alexandria’s next First Consul.

Alexandrian socialists aim for power, likely to gain official opposition

With results of this month’s parliamentary elections in Alexandria expected to be published in short order, the opposition minority Parti Socialiste (PS) appears to be in a strong position the make influential gains in the next sitting.

Pre-ballot public opinion polls released on January 11 indicated that the PS was the only one of the three major political parties to gain ground, launching into second place behind the incumbent Alliance Liberale (AL) while the populist Union pour un Mouvement Démocrate (UMD), the official opposition during the last sitting of parliament, slipped to third place.

The PS, led by Felicia Sánchez, was also the only political party to publish a manifesto during the campaign period. The document, enthusiastically-titled “What we will do in government,” focused the party’s promises in four general areas: economic development, decentralization of the state, education and national defence.

Seeking to improve working conditions throughout the micronation, and to build on the recently-enacted Alexandrian Labour Code, the PS committed to granting workers the right to form unions and to creating Occupational Health and Safety legislation.

It’s pro-labour agenda would include the creation of a vocational school that would form an integral part of a wider plan to tackle perceived inequalities in the education system. “Education is a human right,” said Sánchez in announcing a promised tuition-free education system. “Finance must not and cannot hinder the advancement of the people.”

In a non-traditional move for a socialist party, the PS also committed to an extensive decentralization of state powers, from the Imperial Government down to the various provincial, regional and municipal governments. While scant on detail, the party would seek to enshrine a code for the division of powers and to grant provinces the right to raise funding in support of local initiatives. Perhaps controversially, given that it enjoys a wider tax-base to finance more costly infrastructure projects and policy programs, any nationally-raised tax would be limited to Imperial Government programmes under the PS plan, possibly limiting the ability of the provinces to undertake significant works on their more limited revenues.

While the PS conducted the most publicly-engaged and transparent campaign, many pundits, and public opinion polls, nonetheless indicate that the incumbent AL will return to government, though the PS appears likely to take over the role of official opposition from the ailing UMD.

Labour Code proposed for Alexandria

GENEVA – Alexandria’s Liberal Alliance government has unveiled new Labour Code legislation that aims to enshrine statutory leave requirements, a generous workers savings bond programme, and a minimum wage for the micronation.

The Alexandrian Labour Code of 2015 will standardize worker rights across the micronation, including providing workers with the option of demanding a written contract prior to employment. The Code would formalize a standard eight-hour work day, while ensuring that workers enjoy a two-day rest period each week. Also provided are generous leave entitlements, including fourteen days of paid vacation leave and seven days of paid sick leave each year, in addition to seven weeks of paid maternity/paternity leave.

“We know how hard you work,” First Consul Primo de Aguilar said during his press conference announcing the measures. “Thank you for contributing to the growth of the Alexandrian economy!”

As a further reward to workers for their contributions, the Code will allow participation in a generous savings bond programme with a guaranteed 5% return on investment, with the proceeds from the interest being tax-exempt.

The Code may prove popular with most workers and businesses within Alexandria; however, it’s arguably protectionist provision that requires the new worker benefits to be funded through a 5% tariff on all imports may prove unpopular with the micronation’s trade partners and with businesses who depend on foreign sales.

Mr. Aguilar did not respond to a request for comment on the tariff by the Coprieta Standard prior to this article going to press.