Matbaa has seen its fourth zatriarch ascend to the throne in less than two months following a short period of upheaval under Zatriarch Ostatheos III (better known as Guido Zambelis). Ostatheos, who became the micronation’s third zatriarch on 31 July following the resignation of the reformist Zatriarch Sfeir VII, was forced out by a vote of the national legislature following arrest by the Mayor of Matbaa City, Pete James.
Mr. James moved to place the Zatriarch under arrest following a planned merger with the micronation of Houland, of which Ostatheos was leader, as well as on the basis that Ostatheos did not respond to comments in opposition to the merger for over twenty-five hours. Ostatheos’ ignorance of the Khanaushia (legislature) throughout his short reign made him unpopular amongst several highly regarded Matbaaics, including the founder of the micronation, Maximos Qutreh Bar Idwharioun.
Tensions began shortly after Ostatheos announced plans to move Matbaa to new SMF-powered forums without consultation with the legislature. Responding to opponents of the unilateral decision, Ostatheos noted that “I work only for the good of Matbaa, and if I so chose, may be infallible,” and further noted that the legislature had constitutional powers over purely “simulatory” [sic] aspects of the micronation. His declaration of a “Holy Christian Empire” between Matbaa and Houland, brought further demands for a Khanaushia vote and accusations that he had destroyed the historic image of Matbaa. Yeremiah Bet Sarqis (Jeremy Belleamy) quipped that Ostatheos was “no more a Zatriarch in my eyes than Saddam Hussein is.” Ostatheos received limited support from Charles deMontford of Lovely, who stated, “the new Zatriarch was appointed to act in such a way as he see’s fit. Anyone who dissents is treasonous.”
With popular opinion cascading against him, Ostatheos largely disappeared from public life in Matbaa soon into his reign, and on 12 August a vote was undertaken in the legislature to name a replacement. The sole nominee, Mr. James, was declared the new zatriarch and, in his ordination today, took the title of Zatriarch Michaelos-Sfeir.
The new Grand Vizier, Bar Idwharioun, released an extensive list of policy initiatives upon taking office today while sombrely reflecting on the difficulties that have afflicted the micronation. In his first address, he noted, “this summer has seen three wars, a coup … the actual loss of the sovereignty of our beloved nation to an illegal merger … we are hindered and weak … by excess baggage of bureaucratic ministries and institutions and inactivity.” During his term as Grand Vizier, he intends to abolish much of the bureaucracy and implement a wide range of reforms, including one that will make any merger involving Matbaa illegal, even if it has legislative approval, though that proposal has met with reservation from the new Zatriarch.
In a throw back to the reign of Sfier VII, Matbaa will continue with the ‘summer purge’ that is intended to free government positions from inactive citizens, which some Matbaaics believe conveys a negative message of there being little means for a potential new citizen to contribute to the micronation’s development. Meanwhile, Ostatheos’ planned move of the national forums will be scrapped.