2021 South Staynish independence referendum

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South Staynish independence referendum
12 July 2021 (2021-07-12)

Should South Staynes be an independent country?
LocationSouth Staynes
OutcomeSouth Staynes rejects independence and remains a constituent country of Great Morstaybishlia
Results
Results
Votes %
Yes 47,171,802 43.00%
No 62,524,523 57.00%
Valid votes 109,696,325 99.89%
Invalid or blank votes 117,115 0.11%
Total votes 109,813,440 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 131,443,360 83.54%

An independence referendum was held in South Staynes on 12 July 2021. The poll was the second to be held in the country since their reintegration into the MBE in 1977, previously having been an independent nation between 1975 and 1977.

Independence was rejected, with 56.93 percent of voters opposing such a change, a big increase since the 1997 independence referendum in which 66.5 percent voted "no". Turnout was 83.54 percent. Since the outcome of the referendum, the referendums for devolution and a name change was triggered.

Background

South Staynes was annexed by Staynes in the 13th century. It remained as territories of Staynes until the end of the Auroran Imperial War, where a controversial independence referendum led by Greta Vardem saw the southern Staynes territories become South Staynes. After struggling to find international recognition, and after suffering some of the highest casualties and economic depression of the war, South Staynes collapsed when President Vardem was assassinated. After months of talks in Sani Bursil, an interim government formed political union with Morstaybishlia which integrated South Staynes as a constituent country.

National identity continued despite being integrated into the MBE. The governments involvement in the Meremaa Civil War was greatly opposed by the South Staynish people. Politicians and other interested peoples capitalised on this and formed identity groups and factions in the mainstream parties, leading to popular support of an independence referendum in 1997. This failed, and these identity groups did not survive into the 2000s.

After serious violence and terrorist attacks in the MBE, The prime minister denied a proposed independence referendum by MP Berinter Fokes for the city of Aegis in South Staynes that was set out in a clause of the Aegis Area Agreement of 1975 and 1977. The Supreme Court of Great Morstaybishlia ruled his denial of the clause unlawful. The prime minister flew to Andel, the capital of Axdel and conferred with President Diego Corbinn where they ruled out the clause as void due to the clause not bring brought over from signatory state Norograd to Axdel. After the prime ministers' address, many South Staynish Labour MPs organised a faction within the party, known as Valerian Labour, which fought for better representation for the constituent country and for a more appropriate national identity. The South Staynes Secretary of State Nellie Hermin resigned and conveyed a public speech to millions of viewers, prompting for the resignation of the prime minister.

The 2021 general election saw the governing Labour Party remain as the largest single party in the House of Representatives, loosing its small overall majority and relying on an 11 seat working majority after a net loss of 47 seats. A total of 54 MPs within the Labour Party identified with the Valerian Labour faction and Barvata signed a special arrangement with their leader, Nellie Hermin, on the basis that South Staynes be allowed three votes; one for independence, and if that failed, one to hold a name referendum and another for a devolution referendum.

Administration

Date

The Morstaybishlian Government announced on 12 May 2021 that the referendum would be held exactly two months later, on Monday 12 July 2021

Eligibility to vote

Under the terms of the 1990 Draft Bill, the following people were entitled to vote in the referendum:

  • Morstaybishlian citizens who were resident in South Staynes;
  • Citizens of other Morstaybishlian Commonwealth countries who were resident in South Staynes;
  • Citizens of other Auroran countries who were resident in South Staynes;
  • Members of the House of Peers who were resident in South Staynes;
  • Service/Crown personnel serving in the MBE or overseas in the RAFOTE or with His Majesty's Government who were registered to vote in South Staynes.
Ballot paper options.

Convicted prisoners were not able to vote in the referendum. The voting age was 18 for the referendum.

In the House of Representatives, Conservative MP Bridget L. Ghalmarsi argued that the rest of the MBE should be allowed to vote in the independence referendum because it would affect the whole nation. This argument was rejected by the Morstaybishlian government, stating that "the independence referendum of South Staynes is a matter only for South Staynes".

Ballot options

The referendum offered two options to the question on the ballot "Should South Staynes be an independent country?", "Yes" and "No". If the majority of the people voted for independence, a second and third referendum on devolution and name change would be triggered.

Voting process

Voting for the referendum commenced on 12 July 2021, with the receipt of ballots by postal voters. On the day of vote, a record 131,443,360 eligible voters had registered.

The referendum was counted overnight as votes came in, and poll stations closed at 04:00. Votes were counted for broadcast at 08:00.

Outcome of the vote

The Morstaybishlian Government stated that, if a simple majority of the votes cast were in favour of independence, then "South Staynes would become an independent country after a process of negotiations". If the majority was against independence, South Staynes would continue to be a part of Great Morstaybishlia, and two further referendums would be triggered. Franklin Barvata stated the outcome of the referendum would "be binding and not contested". In the week before the referendum, both sides said that they would abide by the result. Nellie Hermin told people to "go out and vote, the time has never been more important"[1].

In the event of a majority for Yes, the Morstaybishlian government had no proposed date of independence, other than it will "form an agreement with a South Staynes Independence Comittee". The MBE government would have the power to delay a set date of independence.

Campaigns

Vote YES campaign in Khaeron.

Cost and funding

In the 1990 Draft Bill, the Morstaybishlian government outlined one allocated campaign organisation for each outcome, both of which would be permitted to spend up to ♅20 million on their campaign and to send one free mailshot to every household or voter in the referendum franchise. There was to be no public funding for campaigns.

Campaigning organisations

The campaigning organisation in favour of South Staynish independence was Vote YES, the same organisation established for the 1997 independence referendum. They were established on 5 September 1996, and during the referendum were headed by Alwic Bonarp. The campaign was supported by the Valerian Labour faction, and all pro-independence parties in South Staynes (although none were present at this time in the House of Representatives or Peers).

The campaigning organisation in favour of unionism with Morstaybishlia were Why Leave?, which was established on 16 May 2021, and was led by former Prime Minister Ramsay Logrin, who was the first, and at the time of the referendum, the only South Staynish person to be elected prime minister.

Issues

UNAC

Both Nellie Hermin and the Valerian Labour faction have been strong advocates for UNAC membership, and have stated on multiple occasions that an independent South Staynes would seek membership with the UNAC.

There was no precedent for a UNAC member state becoming two separate sovereign entities after joining the UNAC. Independence supporters said that the country would be eligibe to become a UNAC member state by default, whilst opposition said an independent South Staynes would require an application and to be voted on by each member state.

The prime minister of Durentria Harelda Jarmisch said in an interview on 3 June 2021 that "we would respect the decision of the election, but would not support membership of South Staynes to the UNAC. With many Auroran countries suffering from their own secessionist movements, including Durentria, voting for their admission would only encourage secessionism - an intrinsically weak trait Aurora needs to avoid to remain important in the world".

IRSA

Nellie Hermin and the Valerian Labour, the largest faction of any party which represents the sole interests of South Staynes in the House of Representatives, stated that "If my faction formed government in an independent South Staynes, we would not be seeking membership with IRSA".

Leader of the Valerian Conservative party Todd Stewart, which currently has no seats in the House of Representatives, stated that if his party formed government of an independent South Staynes, he would wish to remain apart of IRSA.

International relations

King Lambertus VII.

The white paper on independence proposed that an independent South Staynes would seek to establish around 150 embassies around the world within the first couple of years. Prime Minister Franklin Barvata suggested that an independent South Staynes would not replace the MBE on the International Forum Security Council, and its political weight would be "like everyone else". Former Prime Minister Walter Johannes said the International Forum would likely not remove the MBE from the Security Council if South Staynes were to become independence, "simply because it would still be a superpower".

Monarchy

Pro-independent political entities favoured republicanism over the prospect of Lambertus VII remaining as King of South Staynes, should the nation become independent; this in in contrast to when South Staynes declared independence from the MBE in 1975, where the itnerim government under Greta Vardem favoured the institution remain.

The King's official position on South Staynish independence was neutral. In private conversation before the election, Lambertus VII said he would respect the outcome, "however hard it may be".

Responses

There was large international reaction to the prospect of this independence referendum after its date was made official in May, for 12 July. President of Axdel Diego Corbinn said he'd support the outcome of a regional referendum on the matter.

MBE PM Franklin Barvata was asked for his personal opinion by journalists outside of Flarin Street, on 12 May 2021, but he refused to make any comments.

The Tavari Prime Minister Žarís Nevran Alandar noted "the Kingdom of Tavaris will be pleased to recognise an independent South Staynes so long as the process is done democratically, fairly, and with the full faith and backing of all parties involved, including South Staynes and Great Morstaybishlia as a whole".

Maui Uye-Ahua, Prime Minister of the Oan Isles, said "The referendum on the independence of South Staynes from the United Kingdom of Great Morstaybishlia and Justelvard is a matter for that nation and its laws. We respect the rule of law and international law insofar as this matter is concerned. We are satisfied that Great Morstaybishlia has the political and institutional maturity to undertake such a process peacefully. We will continue to work with Great Morstaybishlia on issues affecting Aurora in whatever form it emerges from this process and we hope to maintain collaboration with other UNAC member states on Auroran issues. We will express no further opinion on the matter as we do not wish to be seen as interfering in Morstaybishlian affairs".

Johanna Sverdrup, Prime Minister of Norgsveldet stated in a interview that "We has always been supportive of self determination of any nation's people, as long it is done in a orderly manner. Should South Stayne's people want independence then that is something the Morstaybishlian goverment lead by Franklin Barvata must accept, no matter his personal oppinion of the matter. May the result of this referendum be peaceful and stable, no matter which way it goes. If South Staynes become independent after this result, may best of luck be for their nation building and I will hope that the relations between Norgsveldet and South Staynes be better, then one my goverment currently has with the current Great Morstaybishlian goverment."

Both the crown and prime minister of Alksearia made preliminary comments on the referendum. Queen Dorothea said in an interview "While Alksearia and the MBE don't see eye to eye very well, it is with a heavy heart to see South Staynes giving into a fringe movement", and "The ideal of separatism and being independent should be a majority approval not based on one third of the populace. However, if those living in South Staynes really do want to be independent, then let the referendum show it". The website for the Office of the Prime Minister made an official statement: ""We support the efforts of democracy for the people in South Staynes. Let the people of South Staynes decide their future. May the will of the people be fulfilled".

Lokanian Prime Minister Arngrímur Sigurdarson stated in a message to Franklin Barvata that "it would be sad to see South Staynes break away [from the MBE], and we [the Lokanian Government] support unionism." This sentiment was expressed further by Rodenian leader Kirk Santon, who said "an independent South Staynes would be bad for the MBE, for Aurora, and for the balance of power at the top of world's politics".

Vothetrian Prime Minister Clauzia Sarohart said she "looked forward" to working with a new Auroran nation should independence win in the referendum, but added she "would respect the outcome" and work with the MBE afterwards as if "nothing changed".

Opinion polling

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/client Sample size Yes No Undecided Lead
6-10 Jun MBC/Opinion polls 2,000 40% 46% 14% 6%

Opinion polling between a four day period from 6th until 10th of June were conducted by the MBC with a random selection of 2,000 eligible South Staynish citizens. The poll covered all age groups, from 18-23 all the way to 75+. In the poll, people were asked "Should South Staynes be an independent country?", 40 percent ticked "Yes", 46 percent ticked "No", and 14 percent was undecided. This is a big swing in contrast to a poll the MBC conducted in 2019, where voting results for the same question saw over 66 percent ticking "No" for independence and 31 percent ticking "Yes". That left 3 percent undecided, and was a lead of 35 percent of voters who wanted to remain.[2].

Voting

Voting places and times

Voting took place between 19:00 and 04:00 UTC+7 in "polling places", which included schools, church halls, libraries and community centres. Those who were still queuing when polls closed were not denied the chance to vote.

Vote counting

Counting began after polls closed at 04:00. Votes from each province were counted and announced by each area separately. Results came in between 06:00 and 07:30, with the first result being from Mauge, and the last being from Tissany.

Results

56.93% of votes were against independence, with a turnout of 83.54%.

A turnout of over 80% in South Staynes has never happened in any local elections, or in MBE elections to Kalmington, apart from the 2005 general election, which received a 76% turnout. The next closest was the 1975 referendum, where 74.2% of people voted, though there was significant boycott at that time. In contrast, the province with the highest turnout was Tuskinay, at 93%, and the lowest turnout was Montepul, with 74%.

Polling evidence indicated support for independence was highest among voters aged 18-24, and also among the working class, whilst support for unionism was highest among voters aged 50-56 and among the middle and upper classes. There was a significant discrepancy in voting between those living in the most deprived areas and those living in the least deprived areas, with those in more deprived areas being significantly more likely to vote in favour of independence and those in more affluent areas being more likely to vote against independence.

Totals

Results
Votes %
Yes 47,171,802 43.00%
No 62,524,523 57.00%
Valid votes 109,696,325 99.89%
Invalid or blank votes 117,115 0.11%
Total votes 109,813,440 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 131,443,360 83.54%

Analysis of voters' reasons

On the day of the referendum, Lord Vantis conducted a poll of over 10,000 voters to identify the major reasons for their voting choices. This poll found that among No voters, more than half (53%) stated that national pride was one of the most important factors in their decision. Among Yes voters, the biggest single motivation was "political strangulation by Kalmington".

Reactions to the results

Domestic

International

References

  1. MBC, 12th July 2021. Hermin "Excited" For Tonight. https://forum.theeastpacific.com/mbc-t3205-s135.html#p247789
  2. MBC, 12th July 2021. South Staynes Hits the Polls Tonight. https://forum.theeastpacific.com/mbc-t3205-s135.html#p247789