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No agreement between English and Welsh over national parliament


LONDON - Discussions between English and Welsh deputies in the Avalon Council regarding the composition of a national parliament have achieved little results, the Avalon Chronicle reported today.

The English delegates advocated a legislative system that had been a part of the region's history for centuries: a national parliament that would wield legislative supremacy over the nation, its political institutions, and territories. This bicameral parliament, they contended, would consist of an upper house (Legislative Council) and a lower house (the Chamber of Deputies). The lower house would be elected in a direct election, while the upper house would be appointed by the regional assemblies.

The Welsh, however, disagreed with the English proposal, stating that it would place "disproportionate powers of initiative in favor of London", and put forward their own proposal for an unicameral assembly with limited powers. Such an assembly, they said, would exercise clearly enumerated powers (through a written constitution), with powers not delegated to the assembly reserved exclusively to the regions. Moreover, half the deputies would be elected by the people, and another half appointed by the regional assemblies.

The ensuing debates saw little consensus among the English and Welsh deputies, yet the Avalon Chronicle contends that they at least outlined the goals and expectations of both sides on the topic. Hopefully, the delegates will make a breakthrough in the talks and take the initiative to establish a national legislature.
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Referendum for a Greater London Authority held

 

LONDON - While a national parliament was stalled in the Avalon Council, a regional assembly received the green light.

With the approval of the English Council, the London Council organized a city-wide referendum to assuage the level of popular support for a Greater London Authority (GLA), consisting of a mayor and a regional assembly. The question asked on the referendum form was: "Are you in favour of a proposal for the establishment of a Greater London Authority, made up of an elected mayor and a separately elected assembly?"

Voter turnout was fairly high, averaging 45.4 percent. After voting results were collected and tallied from London's boroughs, the results were announced: over 76.3 percent of the London electorate voted in favor, with 23.7 percent opposing - although the level of support was generally higher in the Inner Boroughs than the Outer ones.

With public support for a regional London assembly confirmed, the question on everyone's lips is whether the English Council should establish the GLA, or wait for a national parliament to convene so it could legislate the GLA.

Edited by JEDCJT
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Agreement reached on new national currency

 

CARDIFF - If English and Welsh deputies were bitterly in odds regarding a national parliament, they were surprisingly in agreement on a national currency. 
 
In talks held in Cardiff, English and Welsh representatives drafted a communique outlining steps to replace the British pound sterling with a new national currency, the avalon. According to the plan, the avalon will be decimalized and denominated based on the pound (for instance, one avalon will be divided into 100 pence; and the avalon will be issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 500), and the Bank of England will be authorized to issue the avalon banknotes throughout the nation for the time being. 
 
The pound will remain in circulation and function as the official currency of Avalon for a period of five years, after which it will be gradually phased out and replaced by the avalon (it remains unknown whether citizens will be required to exchange old banknotes for new ones in corresponding amounts). A new central bank will be established and given a monopoly over the issuation of avalon banknotes, and the Bank of England converted to a subsidiary branch along with a counterpart in Wales.

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National capital selected following debate

 

LONDON - Although Avalon had maintained a dual capital system in London and Cardiff for some time, the question of a permanent national capital and seat of government began popping up in discussions in the halls of Westminster and the Senedd.
 
In a special session of the Avalon Council, English and Welsh put forward proposals and counter-proposals in a storm of debate that often than not stretched well into the night. Although several deputies tried to emphasize the triviality of the capital issue (the formation of a national parliament was far more important than selecting some city to be the capital, they argued), the location of the Avalon capital nevertheless became a topic of contention between the English and Welsh deputies.
 
While it might seem to outsiders that all the English and Welsh did was argue over even trivial matters, the reality was that both were proud people, the former having been the dominant power over the British isles for centuries and the latter having been marginalized for centuries. Both had their goals, hopes, and expectations that more than not conflicted with each other. But, as some political pundits pointed out, the frequent debates and arguments were actual signs that a healthy political and social system was developing in Avalon and would play an important part in the forging of an Avalonian national identity.
 
Back to the topic at hand: the initial Welsh proposal for the continuance of a dual capital system was rejected by the English, who maintained that it was, at the very best, a temporary institution, meant to anchor the fledgling nation as it began its ascent to sovereign statehood. When the Welsh protested, the English stated that even the thirteen colonies didn't establish multiple capitals under the extremely weak Articles of Confederation. They, naturally, suggested London as the sole national capital, pointing to its political, economic, financial, cultural, and military significance. This was rejected by the Welsh, who continued to insist on the dual capital system, and even at one point insinuated on Cardiff as the national capital.
 
It was midst this storm that Norman Campbell, an English deputy from Oxford and avowed republican, stepped in. Knowing that the Welsh would never accept London as a national capital, and the English would never accept a dual capital system or even Cardiff as the capital, Campbell suggested his hometown of Oxford. Located around 50 miles to the west of London, Oxford was within English territory yet it was situated fairly close to Wales. While not as large as London, Oxford had a thriving, diverse economy in which manufacturing, publishing, science and technology, and tourism played an important role. Not only did Oxford have the largest publishing company in the world (Oxford University Press) and one of the oldest universities in the world (Oxford University), it also boasted a robust educational system, had a well-developed transportation network, and was the site of many breweries and pubs. In Campbell's mind, it was the perfect compromise.
 
While many Welsh delegates reluctantly accepted the compromise, not a few English deputies were outraged by this "blasphemy"; London not being the capital after so many centuries was all but unthinkable to them. It took Campbell and his supporters considerable time and effort - spanning many days and weeks - to get the English to come around, and the compromise narrowly passed the Avalon Council. 
 
To smooth ruffled feathers, the Council allowed several government offices to remain in London and Cardiff, even although major ones such as Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs, and National Defense had to relocate to Oxford. London and Cardiff would be designated "cities of significance" and would serve as secondary residences of the head of states. Furthermore, as a overture to the Welsh, Oxford was renamed Excalibur, removing the overly English connotations of the name. As a consolation to the English, London would remain a major economic, financial, and trading center of Avalon as well as its largest city.

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Long-awaited agreement finally reached on national parliament

 

CARDIFF - After three rounds of intense negotiations spanning over two months, English and Welsh delegates in the Avalon Council at last reached an agreement, more like an understanding, on the national parliament question.

The national parliament will be bicameral in nature, consisting of the Legislative Council and the House of Deputies, conditional on the basis that the English and Welsh regional assemblies be unicameral. Two councilors will be appointed by each region of England and Wales to serve a four-year term, and House deputies will be elected on a proportional basis through the first-past-the-post voting system; they will serve a two-year term. Moreover, to rectify the vast population disparities between England and Wales (53 million and 3 million, respectively) a balanced power system would be implemented in which the Legislative Council would consist of two councilors appointed by each region of England and Wales, and the House of Deputies would comprise of deputies representing 100,000 citizens each. Henceforth, the "Statute of Agreement on the Establishment and Composition of the State Assembly of Avalon" was drafted.

Although the English steadfastly rejected a written constitution, preferring an "unwritten" one consisting of statutes, minutes of parliamentary sessions and conventions, court judgments, works of authority, and treaties, they accepted - not without some persuasion - the Welsh proposal that a written "Statute of Enumerated Government Powers", which as the name suggests enumerates specific powers the Avalon government would be allowed to exercise on behalf of the people, be drawn up. A special conference committee was set up inside the Avalon Council to reconcile the differences between the expansive English and restrictive Welsh proposals of government powers.

According to the finalized draft of the Statute, the central government would have the express powers to: establish and collect taxes, duties, and other compulsory payments on an uniform basis; borrow money; regulate internal and external commerce; print and coin money and regulate their values; declare war and peace; raise and maintain a standing army and militia, and regulate them; call forth the militia to suppress insurrection and repel invasion; define and punish cases of High Treason and other felonies; establish and regulate the lower tiers of the judicial system; establish and maintain a postal system; and to pass legislation necessary to implement and enforce the aforementioned enumerated powers. Whatever powers not listed in the Statute would be relegated exclusively to the regional governments.

The "Statutes" on the national assembly and enumerated powers were ratified by the Council. Elections could now be held for the State Assembly. Exactly how it was to be conducted is yet to be determined.

Edited by JEDCJT
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New national flag selected

 

EXCALIBUR - The Flag Commission announced its final choice today.

Shortly after the formation of Avalon, a special project was established at the order of Councilors Aaron Collier and Gregory Davies, in which inhabitants could create and submit a national flag to a flag commission. The national flag had to represent Avalon on the domestic and international stage, and reflect its history, society culture, and values as well.

Over the weeks and months, the commission received hundreds of flag submissions, and eliminated hundreds through strict evaluations. Some of the flags were badly designed, some too simplistic, some too convoluted, and some too similar to the historic flags.

In a ceremony in Excalibur, Councilor Collier announced that the flag submitted by William Howe, Susanna Brown, and Robert Fleming, all from London, will become the official flag of Avalon. "Not only did the flag reflect a new dawn in our nation's history, but they also reflected the relationship between the English and Welsh people, and illustrated our national identity as Avalonians." Councilor Davies said as he and Collier personally congratulated the beaming Howe, Brown, and Fleming. The new flag received considerable public approval from large segments of the Welsh and to a smaller extent the English populations.
 

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The new flag is basically a Nordic cross flag, in which the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side instead of the center, with a hollow circle atop it. The red cross along with the white stripes are based on the English flag, while the green background comes from the Welsh flag. White represents peace and honesty, red strength, bravery, and valour, and green hope, joy, and love.

The new flag will be flown alongside the English and Welsh ones on government, military, and other designated buildings, including Avalonian embassies and consulates. Private citizens are welcome to fly the new flag in residencies and other property.

Edited by JEDCJT
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Election for Welsh assembly held

 

CARDIFF - Elections were held for the Welsh National Assembly for the first time in decades.
 
Four political parties (Plaid Cymru, Labour, Conservative, and Liberal-Democrat) intensely campaigned across Wales's 12 constituent regions for the Assembly's 60 seats. Plaid Cymru received considerable support in the South Wales Valleys, Rhondda, Islwyn, Cynon Walley, Neath, and Pontypridd, while Labor reached out to its support base in Cardiff West and South, Wrexham, Conwy, and Penarth. Likewise, Conservative focused on the regions of Newport West and East, Monmouth, and Aberavon, even going as far as to contest Plaid Cymru in parts of Phondda, and the Liberal Democrats did the same in Cardiff North and Central, Swansea East, and parts of Monmouth and Pontypridd.
 
The election was conducted in two parts. Voters were given two ballot papers, one to elect 40 members through the first-past-the-post system, and one to elect four members from each of Wales's five electoral regions (totaling 20). 
 
In the first part, Plaid Cymru received over 47.8 percent of the vote, followed by Liberal Democrat's 28.6, Conservative's 14.2, and Labor's 9.4. Henceforth, Plaid Cymru received 19 out of 40 seats, Liberal Democrat 11, Conservative 6, and Labor 4. In the second part, Plaid Cymru received 37.4 percent of the vote, Liberal Democrat 30.5, Conservative 16.7, and Labor 15.4.  Henceforth, Plaid Cymru garnered 8 seats, Liberal Democrat 6, Conservative 3, and Labor 3.
 
Altogether, Plaid Cymru garnered 27 seats, Liberal Democrat 17, Conservative 9, and Labor 7. However, although Plaid won a plurality of the vote, it did not attain the majority vote and thus will have to form a coalition government with the party with the second highest votes (the Liberal Democrats) as per Welsh electoral law. The Conservative and Labor parties will form the official opposition in the Welsh Assembly.
 
A presiding officer will be elected by the National Assembly for a four-year term to chair plenery sessions, maintain order, and protect the rights of Assembly members. The officer will be assisted by a deputy, and will not participate in Assembly votes.
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London mayor and Assembly elected, pressure for national elections mount

 

LONDON - Following the Welsh assembly elections, the London Council decided to call for elections for both the Mayor of London and the London Assembly, both which would constitute the Greater London Authority (GLA), without waiting for a national parliament to convene.

In the mayoral elections, Independent candidate Kenneth Wilson faced off against Liberal Democrat Sandra Brown, Conservative Robert Gordon, and Labor William Kramer in the first round. After first and second preference votes were tallied, it was found that no candidate received a majority vote. The top two candidates (Gordon and Brown) proceeded to the second round, where the eliminated Wilson and Kramer's second preference votes were distributed to Gordon and Brown's votes. After some tallying, Brown narrowly won the election with over 13.5 percent of the vote.

In the London Assembly elections, the parties faced off once again. The first round began with Liberal Democrat candidate Susan Wells campaigning for votes across London's boroughs against Conservative Steve Harrison, Labour Scott Fontaine, and Green Darren Johnson. As no candidate managed to get the vote of majority, Fontaine and Johnson were eliminated, and Harrison and Wells moved on to the second round, where the second preference votes of the eliminated candidates were redistributed to the top two's votes. After tallying, Harrison was declared the winner with over 14.7 percent of the vote, becoming Chairman of the London Assembly.

With the successful conclusion of the Welsh and London elections, pressure is mounting on the Avalon Council to authorize national elections for the State Assembly. Four political parties (World Party, Liberal Democrat, Conservative, and Labour) as well as several minor parties (among them the Nationalist, Social Democratic, and Socialist parties) have already announced plans to participate in the elections. "I beseech Councilors Collier and Davies to conduct elections as soon as possible," World Party leader Michael Knowle stated in a speech in Excalibur. "The people need a venue in order to have their voice heard."

Edited by JEDCJT
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Debate rages in Avalon Council regarding national military

 

EXCALIBUR - When members Robert Broderick, Aubrey Miller, Stuart Jackson, and Anthony Westerly stood and proposed the formation of a permanent standing army, they probably didn't anticipate the controversy that would reverberate through the halls of the Oxford House building.

The proposal for an "Avalon Legion" consisting of professional soldiers divided the Council into 'Legionnaires' (those who favored a standing army) and 'Militiamen' (these who favored the regional militias). The latter argued that the existing militias would "adequately perform the responsibilities, duties, and tasks" that a national military would normally perform in other countries. However, the former insisted that the Avalon Legion would "supplement and enhance the capabilities of the Avalonian state to defend itself in the anarchic international order."

The militiamen retorted that the so-called Legion was wholly unnecessary due to the high degree of order and stability under the "Concert of Athens." Given the hegemonic power of the Athenian Federation, no outside force would dare launch an attack on any part of Europe, including Avalon. However, the legionnaires stated that Avalon needed to have a military force "sufficient enough to defend itself as well as its allies if needed be", and that "it cannot be a damsel in distress, waiting for her Athenian knight in shining armor to show up to save the day."

Underlying these arguments were fears of a large standing army that was reminiscent to the Thirteen Colonies centuries earlier. As Avalon was a state constructed from the ground-up, and power flows upward from the people to the highest echelons of government, it was understandable that certain members were concerned about a powerful and well-equipped military force that would be accountable only to the central government. The militiamen pointed out that a standing army had the potential to "undermine and violate the social contract that was in the process of formation in Avalon", while the legionnaires contended that it would "strengthen Avalon internally and externally."

The debates continue to rage on, with seemingly no end in sight.

Edited by JEDCJT
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Regional governance of England and Wales formalized

 

LONDON - As newly-elected Steve Harrison of the Conservative party and Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru prepare to assume office in London and Cardiff, respectively, the English and Welsh councils initiated processes to formalize the political administrative systems in their respective regions.
 
Accordingly, England became a District and its administrative center set in London, and the same went for Wales in Cardiff. England will consist of nine regions, and Wales twelve principal areas. Specifically, England will be subdivided into metropolitan counties, non-metropolitan counties, metropolitan boroughs (including the London boroughs), unitary districts, and civil parishes; Wales will be subdivided into preserved districts, and into county boroughs and council parishes in turn.
 
As for the England and Welsh councils, they will be converted into executive offices headed by Consul-Generals appointed by the Citizen-Councilors with the approval of the newly-elected District assemblies. The Consul-Generals will be responsible for overseeing and maintaining their respective District's internal bureaucracies, implementing executive decisions, developing and coordinating policy, enforcing legislation, and commandeering militias whenever necessary, among with many others.
 
The same goes for the Avalon Council, which will become the executive branch of the central government. Citizen-Councilors Collier and Davies will jointly serve as the head of state of the Avalonian diarchy, while a First Minister will serve as the head of government pending national legislative elections.

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Election Day is here at last! Long-awaited national elections held

 

EXCALIBUR - Hundreds of thousands of citizen lined up at polling stations in the major cities, starting with Excalibur, London, and Cardiff, eagerly waiting to cast their votes for the political party of their choice. It was quite a sight to behold.
 
"The moment is finally here," Sally Watson, a London native, gushed at the Avalon Chronicle while bouncing on her feet. "It's time the people got to express their voice through a elected parliament, although I'm a bit disappointed that it took so long."
 
Councilors Aaron Collier and Gregory Davies, after final deliberations in the Avalon Council, at last allowed elections for the House of Deputies for the State Assembly to commerce, and the political parties - major and minor alike - immediately began their campaigns. 
 
Michael Knowle of the World Party, Tom Feldman of the Conservative Party, William Farron of the Liberal Democrat Party, and Melissa Bones of the Labor Party began campaigning across Avalon, reaching out to their target voters in their respective support bases in various regions of the country, raising campaign funds, and generally trying to garner as much public support as they could. The same went for the minor parties, such as the Nationalist, Social Democratic, and Socialist parties, which attempted to contest the major parties in many constituencies, with varying success.
 
The center-right Conservatives enjoyed wide support in most of the South East, South West, and East regions of England as well the Outer Boroughs of London, and eastern Wales, although they struggled to garner support in the northern parts of the country, particularly large parts of the North West, North East, and the Yorkshire regions. 
 
In turn, the radical centrist Liberal Democrats have received the strongest support in the West Midlands, parts of the South West, the southern part of North West, and specific cities such as Norwich, Eastbourne, and Exeter and their surrounding regions. A considerable part of London's Inner Boroughs gave their support to the Liberal Democrats, and so did central Wales.
 
The center-left Labor Party attracted support from scattered constituencies, particularly the Cardiff-Swansea regions in Wales, and the Liverpool, Sheffield, Worcester, and Stockport regions in England. They also managed to receive support in the southernmost boroughs of London, though not as much as the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, and had a toehold in the Yorkshire region in northeastern England.
 
Finally, the centrist World Party did remarkably well for a new party. Although they failed to attract support from most London boroughs, they succeeded in contesting the other parties in many parts of the South West (particularly fishing communities), scattered parts of the West Midlands, the northern part of the North West, much of the North East, and most of Yorkshire. They received support in northwestern Wales as well, but not much elsewhere in the region.
 
On Election Day, after votes were tallied, it was announced the Conservative Party won the election, receiving over 38.5 percent of the vote, followed by the Liberal Democrats (27.2), the World Party (18.7), and the Labor Party (11.6). The Social Democratic Party received 2.1 percent of the vote, the Nationalists 1.2, and Socialists 0.7.  Hence the Conservatives received 216 out of 561 seats, the Liberal Democrats 153, the World Party 105, and the Labor 65. Likewise, the Social Democrats received 12 seats, the Nationalists 7, and Socialists 3.
 
Interestingly, it was the first election in Avalon's recent history to return a hung parliament, in which no party received a majority in the House of Deputies. Consequently, Mr. Feldman and Mr. Farron will have to enter into talks to form a coalition government, with the World and Labor parties becoming the opposition. The Councilors will announce their choice for the post of First Minister after the coalition talks.
Edited by JEDCJT
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Coalition agreement signed, First Minister to form new government

 

EXCALIBUR - After several days of negotiations, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats signed an agreement detailing the formation of the Council of Ministers, and outlining their respective goals and objectives in several policy areas.

The agreement covered ten policy issues that needed to be addressed by both sides as part of a coalition government, ranging from tax measures to pensions and welfare to civil liberties. For instance, the agreement committed the upcoming administration to take "significant steps" to reduce the budget deficit and debt (left over from the previous British administration of Lord Protector Francis Urquhart), including but not limited to a £6 billion cut in the national budget for the next financial year.

Furthermore, the agreement stipulated a "Spending Review" of government spending under the Urquhart regime and the provisional Collier-Davies administration, in which the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats vowed to pursue fiscal responsibility for the next four years. Banking and immigration reforms were also on the agenda, especially the establishment of the Bank of Avalon, and so were education and civil liberties. The national identity card system instituted by the Urquhart regime would be scrapped, and the national surveillance system scaled back as well. Other plans include the establishment of a high speed rail network, and the implementation of a smart energy grid.

As for foreign policy, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats promised to pursue "positive and meaningful" relationships with the rest of Europe and the world, although they ruled out any possibility of joining the United Nations. National defense would be one of the "highest priorities" for the upcoming administration, although the agreement did not elaborate much on it.

Following the publication of the agreement, Councilors Aaron Collier and Gregory Davies invited Conservative winner Tom Feldman to form a government, which he graciously accepted. The new First Minister will announce appointments for the Cabinet of Ministers in a few days.

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Organization calls for return of monarchy

 

LONDON - As the First Minister was busy putting together a list of nominations for the Councilors' perusal, dozens converged in front of the Westminster Palace in central London.
 
Calling themselves the 'Organization for the Restoration of the Monarchy' (NORM), and waving the historic Union Jack flags, they called for the restoration of the monarchy. "The monarchy has been part of our history ever since Alfred the Great assumed the title of King in the ninth century," leader Arthur Goldsworthy said in a public speech in front of the Palace. "For the present Government to disregard centuries of tradition and historic development in favor of a republic is not only ahistorical, but has far-reaching implications for Britain itself." By instituting a republic, he continued, Collier and Davies were attempting to "distort British history for their self-serving reactionary agendas, and to impose upon the people of England and Wales a system that have consistently proved to be unworkable."
 
"Only once in its long history did Britain have a semblance to a functional republic - that is, if you can even call it that - and that was only sustained through a highly-unpopular dictatorship that ruled the British Isles in the aftermath of the English Civil War. It was an abject failure, for the monarchy was swiftly restored not long after Cromwell's death," Goldsworthy bellowed. "There is a reason that a long succession of regimes in Britain had been, one way or another, monarchies." He was referring to a number of past monarchies that included Proxia, Scotland, England, and most recently the United Kingdom following the invasion of Ireland by Tianxia, to punctuate his point that republicanism had historically been a failure and that a constitutional monarchy was the best system for Avalon to adopt.
 
Speaking on behalf of the Avalon Council, press spokesperson Michael Pressly initially acknowledged Goldsworthy's points, especially on historical precedence, but said that "just because something had been a failure over the course of history doesn't mean it will continue to be that way." While he made quite a case in his argument, Pressly said, Goldsworthy did not take into account the desires of the English and Welsh peoples. In taking the initiative to establish a functioning government from the lowest levels upwards, the people consciously chose to establish not a monarchy, but a republic in which power would derive from the people themselves. To disregard the wishes of the people, Pressly said, would not only be "counterproductive" but also "disastrous in the long run."
 
"If the people want the monarchy back, it will be restored," Pressly said. "But only in accordance to their wishes. We will not re-establish the monarchy if they do not desire it."

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Regions elect legislative councilors

 

EXCALIBUR - When the South East district assembly (in England) and the Ceredigion reserved district assembly (in Wales) concluded special elections, they became the last to appoint members to the 42-seat Legislative Council.
 
The Conservatives received 17 out of 42 seats, the Liberal Democrats 12, the World Party 8, and Labor 5. As the newly-elected councilors prepare to take their seats at the East Wing of the State Assembly building in Excalibur (along with 561 deputies for the West Wing), the process of government formation in Avalon is nearly complete.
 
One thing left to do is the establishment of a high appellate and constitutional court, and the appointment of justices.
 
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First Minister submits nominations for Council of Ministers, Opposition cabinet formed

 

EXCALIBUR - First Minister Tom Feldman submitted a list of nominations for the Council of Ministers to the Citizen-Councilors for their consideration today. The list goes as follows:
 

Council of Ministers:
- Deputy Minister: William Farron (Liberal Democrat)
- Minister of Foreign Affairs: William Hague (Conservative)
- Minister of Finance: Amy Purcell (Liberal Democrat)
- Minister of Defense: Miles Hammond (Conservative)
- Minister of Justice: Julius Grey (Conservative)
- Minister of Internal Affairs: Michael Jove (Liberal Democrat)
- Minister of Transportation: Teresa Womack (Conservative)
- Minister of Energy: Steve Davies (Liberal Democrat)
- Minister of England: Eric Warren (Conservative)
- Minister of Wales: Stephanie Fielding (Liberal Democrat)
- Minister without portfolio: David Clarke (Conservative)

 

If Councilors Aaron Collier and Gregory Davies approve, the nominees will be sworn into office and begin their official duties (they can be dismissed by the Councilors on the advice of the First Minister, though). If not, then the First Minister will have to resubmit a new list of nominees.
 
First Minister Feldman wasn't the only one to form a cabinet: World Party and Opposition leader Michael Knowles formed the Opposition Council, consisting of senior World Party and Labor frontbenchers. The list goes as follows:
 

Opposition Council:
- Opposition Deputy Minister: Frank Fontaine (Labor)
- Opposition Minister of Foreign Affairs: Sloane Hartman (World)
- Opposition Minister of Finance: Ed Balls (World)
- Opposition Minister of Defense: Alexander Melbourne (Labor)
- Opposition Minister of Justice: Yvette Cooper (Labor)
- Opposition Minister of Internal Affairs: Rosie Dawson (World)
- Opposition Minister of Transportation: Harry Potts (World)
- Opposition Minister of Energy: Mary Watkins (World)
- Opposition Minister of England: Frank Potter (Labor)
- Opposition Minister of Wales: Christopher Fleming (World)
- Opposition Minister without portfolio: Owen Williams (Labor)

 
The purpose of this Council is to monitor their corresponding Ministries in the Government, develop alternative policies, and generally hold the Government accountable for its actions and policies.

Edited by JEDCJT
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Nominations approved, national justices appointed

 

EXCALIBUR - Councilors Aaron Collier and Gregory Davies approved all nominations put forth by First Minister Tom Feldman, and the nominees were officially sworn into office as the first Council of Ministers of Avalon. The same went for Michael Knowles's Opposition Council.

 
Likewise, the Councilors appointed ten Justices to the High Court of Avalon, and eight to the Constitutional Court. The High justices will serve a term of ten years, and will generally review decisions or appeals of lower trial courts; and the Constitutional justices will serve a ten-year term, and will rule on the constitutionality of laws, acts, or regulations passed by regional or the national parliaments.
 
On an unrelated note, in its first session, the State Assembly passed a law officially naming the nation the Commonwealth of Avalon, and mandating its use in official government documents and communiques.

Edited by JEDCJT
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Military established

 

EXCALIBUR - After months of fierce debate in both houses of the State Assembly, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats managed to reconcile their disagreements, overcome strong opposition, and muster enough votes to pass the National Defense Act.

 
The Act establishes the military, to be officially called the Avalon Legion (AVLE). It will consist of three branches: Army, Navy, and Air Force. Reflecting popular and partisan concerns regarding the size and power of the military, as well the geopolitical reality in Europe, the Legion will be capped at 30,000 active personnel and 200,000 reserve personnel, and any future increases would have to receive prior consent from London and Cardiff.
 
Moreover, to mollify the pro-militia deputies, the Act authorized increases in the regional militias at the discretion of London and Cardiff. The English and Welsh indeed did so: their assembles passed legislation increasing the size of their respective militias, from 20,000 to 30,000 on the English side, and from 8,000 to 16,000 on the Welsh side.
 
Recruitment will be conducted by the regional governments, and training provided by the central government, and the Defense Ministry will procure military arms, equipment, vehicles, and aircraft both at home and abroad.

Edited by JEDCJT
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Drug liberalization legislation passed

 

EXCALIBUR - After weeks of haggling and debates, English and Welsh delegates in the State Assembly voted to pass the Sensible Drug Policy Act.
 
The Act officially decriminalizes all drugs save for the most dangerous ones, recognizes drug addiction as a medical condition instead of a crime, and establishes rehabilitation centers for drug addicts free of charge the first time around. 
 
It also sets a four-year prison sentence for any drug distributor found guilty of illegally tampering with their products, mandates increasing fees for subsequent treatment beyond the first instance, and stipulates that businesses selling certain substances be subject to government regulation at the district level.

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Éirinn agus Albain collapses, Avalon restores order

 

EXCALIBUR - Upon hearing rumors of the collapse of the neighboring Éirinn agus Albain, Councilors Collier and Davies ordered the Foreign Ministry to closely monitor all communications going in and out of Éirinn agus Albain, and issued instructions to the Avalonian ambassador in the Albain capital to conduct an investigation to ascertain the situation. When confirmation eventually reached the Councilors that their Irish-Scottish neighbors had indeed collapsed, Collier and Davies phoned the Athenian government through secure channels to inform them of the situation. In the meanwhile, they convened a secret session of the Avalon Council to discuss the situation.

A decision was reached. Avalon would take the initiative to restore order in Scotland and Ireland, and the Athenian government would be notified of this. Preparations were undertaken alongside the border between Avalonian England and Scotland, with police and border guards temporarily stopping civilian traffic in the border areas. Over 5,000 troops from rapid deployment brigades, supported by police officers, would begin moving into Scotland, prioritizing military bases, airfields, and civilian airports. At the same time, two squadrons of aircraft would begin to conduct protective patrols over Scotland in non-repeating patterns.

Ireland was somewhat trickier, due to the distance between the two regions, and due to Avalon's somewhat limited ability to project forces abroad. Still, the Government would try its best. Several landing ships would begin sailing from several ports in western Wales and England across the Irish Sea, and begin landing in designated cities such as Dublin and Belfast. The same went for the Isle of Man. Three squadrons of aircraft would likewise conduct patrols over Ireland. A few military transport aircraft would be readied with some difficulty and begin flying soldiers, supplies, and equipment back and forth from Avalon to Ireland. The goal was to have at least 15,000 reservist troops stationed in Ireland, along with police, to help maintain law and order.

Any existing Irish and Scottish civilian and military authorities would be propped up and strengthened whenever possible; auxiliary police, assisted by Avalonian federal police, would begin stamping upon crime and lawlessness that permeated parts of Ireland and Scotland. Criminals and hooligans would be arrested and detained, to be tried before a civilian trial. In Dublin, the Irish Protectorate Authority was proclaimed to establish civilian governance over the Emerald Isle under the purview of an ad-hoc Protectorate Management Bureau; the same went for Scotland, where the Scottish Protectorate Government was established in Edinburgh.

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Scotland admitted into Union, Ireland granted home rule

 

EXCALIBUR - After prolonged, bitter debate between English and Welsh delegates in the Avalon Council and the State Assembly, punctuated by repeated Welsh delaying tactics, a referendum on the final political status of the protectorate regions of Scotland and Ireland was authorized.
 
In the Scottish National Referendum, three options were included in the referendum forms: whether they wanted to join the Commonwealth of Avalon as a constituent country, become independent, or remain an Avalonian protectorate. In the Irish referendum, an additional option was added: whether they wanted to become a Sovereign Realm of Avalon (similar to a British Dominion).
 
After votes were collected, tallied, and verified, and after spoilt votes were invalidated by sharp-eyed referendum officials, it was announced that over 68 percent of the Scottish people voted in favor of joining Avalon as a constituent country, followed by 22 percent for independence, and 7 percent for protectorate status. In Ireland, public opinion was more divided regarding the referendum, and the final results indicated that over 44 percent of the Irish people opted for the Sovereign Realm option, followed by 38 percent for independence, 12 percent for full accession, and 10 percent for protectorate status.
 
Following the referendums, the State Assembly narrowly voted to pass the Scottish Accession Act 20XX, which formally admitted Scotland into the Union and allowed the Scottish National Assembly to send representatives to Excalibur. Likewise, the Statute of Dublin was passed, which established Ireland as a Sovereign Realm. While remaining under Avalonian sovereignty, Ireland would enjoy a high degree of legislative equality with Avalon and allowed to conduct its domestic affairs. A Governor-General would be appointed to serve as something of a liaison officer between Excalibur and Dublin.

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Scottish and Irish militias formed, Army expanded

 

EXCALIBUR - The State Assembly voted to pass a special resolution authorizing the formation of a Scottish militia, as well a modest expansion of the Avalon Legion (AVLE) to reflect this.
 
Under the Militia Expansion Act 20XX, the Scottish National Assembly will be allowed to raise and maintain a force of no more than 5,000 militiamen in peacetime, and no more than 8,000 in wartime. The same Act authorized the Irish Government to form a 15,000-strong Home Guard.
 
Moreover, the AVLE will be expanded to 40,000 active personnel and 250,000 reserve personnel. Out of the new 10,000 personnel, 7,000 will be stationed in Ireland and 3,000 in Scotland.

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Outbreak of War in Europe...Again
By William Stark

 

The long peace and stability that had reigned over Europe for years were abruptly shattered when the Norse Kingdom launched an aggressive, unprovoked attack against the Commonwealth of Avalon.
 
The casus belli? 
 
The Norse cited past "decades of English oppression throughout history" to justify their decision to forcibly liberate the Irish and Scottish peoples. They all but claimed the Avalon Government had been oppressing the Irish and Scottish peoples, which could not be any further from the truth. 
 
And that is after they nearly invaded the American Commonwealth territory of Greenland, if the movement of their forces toward Greenland in the past several weeks is any indication.
 
It seems the Norse either are profoundly ignorant of past history or deliberately chose to use an selective interpretation of history as a means to justify their aggressive actions. 
 
Exactly what did the Avalonian Government do to "oppress" the Irish and Scottish peoples in recent times? The Norse gave no specific, verifiable evidence to back up their claims. No, "decades of English oppression throughout history" is not a specific, verifiable evidence that can be used to justify aggressive military action, King Frederick. 
 
Is providing humanitarian aid to the Irish and Scottish peoples following the collapse of the nation of Éirinn agus Albain a form of oppression? Is allowing the Irish and Scottish peoples the chance to participate in a free and fair referendum a form of oppression? Is following the Scottish people's desire to join Avalon a form of oppression? Is giving the Irish Home Rule a form of oppression?
 
If the answer to the above questions is in the affirmative, then all nations around the world are guilty of such oppression, including the Norse Kingdom. It really is that simple.
 
It seems the Irish and Scottish peoples are punished for daring to express their voices, and the Avalonian nation is punished for daring to listen to such voices. This leads us to wonder what goes on in the head of King Frederick when he made that decision.
 
Once again, past actions by past British governments do not, and neither should they, excuse nor justify the Norse government's decision to use unilateral military force against Avalon, especially on a flimsy pretext. We cannot help but point out the irony that HRH King Frederick I claims a "kinship" with the Scottish and Irish peoples, yet he is willing to wreak death, destruction, and suffering upon them, disregard their wishes, and violate the UN Charter in the process. What kind of leader does that?
 
We could cite a certain leader with a toothbrush mustache as an example, but we will not go that way.
 
But what we will cite is the fact that Avalon had been attacked by force of arms, and now is being forced to retaliate by force of arms not only to defend and safeguard the Irish and Scottish peoples, but itself as a whole. As of this moment, Avalon is fighting a war of survival against an enemy hell-bent on tearing asunder the Irish and Scottish peoples from the Avalonian nation, and in carrying out the virtual destruction of Avalon as a sovereign nation.
 
We cannot help but shudder when we ponder the frightening question of what would happen should Avalon fall. Will the Norse, emboldened by victory in a passive and apathetic world, target Greenland next? Will they target others?
 
We do not know the answer, and we pray that we will not have to answer such a question.
 
But not all hope is lost. Prussian Chancellor Julian Müller has invited the Avalonian government to a peace summit in Munich to meditate a possible end to the conflict. As hopeful as we are for the ending of the war, however, we are of the firm opinion that such a conclusion should not be conditional on any cessation of sovereign Avalonian territory, including Ireland and Scotland. If this is the case, I am sure the Avalonian people will be more than happy to fight for a thousand years than cede an inch of land to the aggressive Norse.
 
We could say something to the effect that we will fight on the beaches, in the streets, and in the hills, but we will not go that way.

 

Disclaimer: This opinions expressed in this article is the author's alone. They do not represent the views of the Avalon Chronicle or the Avalon Government, and it should not be construed as such.

Edited by JEDCJT
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