New government confirmed amid scramble for posts and a Northern ultimatum

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Apollo Cerwyn speaking before Parliament

The 13th government of Sabia and Verona, led by Democratic leader Apollo Cerwyn, has been confirmed at the inaugural session of the 6th Parliament held today (28-5-2020) at noon in Alios.

The members of the new legislature, elected last Sunday (24-5-2020), were almost all incumbents save for the notable exception of former longtime Alios governor Étienne Boulin, who took Noa Dargany’s place as representative for the Alios list due to the Liberals’ dismal result in the capital. Boulin’s oath was warmly received by members of his party and the opposition alike, as the raccoon re-entered the Parliament for the first time since 2015.

A tense aura befell the Tairagiħrét legislative palace as the last MPs entered the chamber and stated their presence; negotiations for the composition of the new cabinet and for the Parliament’s own presidium continued up until the session started, after days of strong contests among Democratic MPs. The red party’s reinvigoration at the polls last Sunday meant the fight for power migrated from the inter-party to the intra-party plane, and there are only so many offices to fill.

In the end, incumbents were benefitted as the new cabinet is, for the most part, a repeat of Cerwyn’s first ministry, with some notable and colorful exceptions.

Musical chairs, but make it state administration

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The Tairagiħrét’s meeting chamber

For the first time since 2015, two new divisions will be added to the government.

Soraya Hreti has been moved from the Education Division to the newly formed Northern Division, accordingly created by Cerwyn to address the infamous Northern question and oversee the government’s policy on interregional articulation.

Hreti’s place in education will be occupied by Narcissus Clyne, who had been president of the Parliament in the past legislature and previously served as education secretary in Shounn Virny’s first Artist government; Clyne has a background in academia as he was a law professor at the University of Elinore and has been a visiting faculty at the Isadoran Uiversity since 2017.

Another inner cabinet move will see Suipom Goyo’s departure from the Defense Division and inauguration in the Humans Division, which will address human-specific affairs and execute public policy on interspecies relations; the new division’s creation is undoubtly a result of the questions raised by the opposition on the Cerwyn government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goyo’s place in the defense portfolio will be taken over by Sabia and Verona’s first minister of defense, retired general (RLA) Boris Tovinski, who had previously overseen the DST under Shounn Virny and had been the parliamentary magistrate of the Electoral Commission until last year.

Family matters in the Valtirian Parliament. Clyne’s vacancy at the presidium has been filled by his former deputy, Félix Gauvier, Pomme-Gabrielle Gauvier’s son and twin brother of Electoral Commission president Maximilien Gauvier. Hidram Cerwyn, the prime minister’s brother and chair of the National Bank, will serve as Félix’s deputy in turn.

Piper’s Northern ultimatum

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Piper delivering the special parliamentary commission’s report

The newly enshrined government is not getting a honeymoon. Right the ample Democratic majority gave Cerwyn’s government proposal its assent, MPs moved on to hear Ryam Piper’s special parliamentary commission report on the status of the Northern regions, a task given to the Democratic MP by Cerwyn in March, at the height of tensions within the government and with the Opposition on the hotly contested issue that began in November with Soraya Hreti’s Phonograph op-ed.

The commission’s findings were scathing and definitive. The Northern regions are, and have been for years, inaccessible to the Valtirian state. In Piper’s words, nearly 40% of the Kingdom’s population has been neglected for years due to the government’s inability to exert state power on the Valtir regions of Sabia, Verona and Lycem; according to the report, the last time this successfuly happened was in the 2015 regional elections to renew all of the Northern regions’ legislative assemblies.

The bipartisan commission’s ultimatum is clear: if Sabia and Verona wants to retain its sovereignty over the Northern regions, sweeping reforms must be made to the Kingdom’s legal framework – including the Constitution – in order to reflect the state’s precarious reach in the North, or else the very integrity of the Valtirian state could find itself in jeopardy.

Although the commission’s findings and recommendations are not legally binding, the Cerwyn administration has already committed itself to following through with them, and a refusal to do so could easily turn into a recipe for disaster for the new government in this high-voltage climate experienced in Alios. The government has interpreted its success at the general election as a vote of confidence on the resolution of the Northern question by whichever means possible, and although Cerwyn remains popular, he’s aware of the delicate nature of this matter.

The Opposition

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Virny speaking from the parliamentary podium

Shortly after the electoral results were announced late at night on the 24th, Liberal chief and leader of the opposition Shounn Virny’s impulse reaction was to make sure his plaque was still firmly attached to the leadership’s offices at the Liberal party headquarters. The former PM is too familiar with the destructive aftermath of an electoral loss, as he’s previously had to resign twice as leader of the now defunct Artists’ Guild.

Now it seems the Liberals want to follow Cerwyn’s “slow and steady wins the race”  approach (with which he found his way into the Gaovesiħrét after three years in the opposition benches), as the blue party has firmly closed ranks around Virny.

Dargany’s loss in the Liberal bloc comes both as a blessing and a curse. The reduced minority and loss of an experienced lawmaker are major blows to the blue party – not to mention the humiliation of a former prime minister and longtime party leader losing her seat in Parliament, but Dargany’s presence had been a disruptive force in the bloc ever since the fatidic leadership spill that made her lose the premiership to her former mentor, Andrew Blackhorse.

It remains to be seen whether the Liberals will manage to get past their infighting and reform their strategy ahead of next year’s contest, or risk losing further support to the Democrats.

The 13th government

The 13th government of Sabia and Verona, and Apollo Cerwyn’s second cabinet, is composed as follows:

  • Apollo Cerwyn – Prime Minister and Secretary of Diplomacy (incumbent in positions)
  • Snø Jens-Galieri – Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of Commerce (incumbent in both positions)
  • Narcissus B. Clyne – Secretary of Education
  • Pomme-Gabrielle Gauvier – Secretary of the Arts (incumbent)
  • Kastor Gevras Drigy – Secretary of Justice (incumbent)
  • Suipom Goyo – Secretary of Human Affairs (new position)
  • Soraya Hreti – Secretary of Northern Affairs (new position)
  • Hierba Kebragi – Secretary of Botany and Welfare (incumbent)
  • Boris Tovinski – Secretary of Defense
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The secretaries of the 13th government

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