With a proposal before the St.Charlian parliament to merge the offices of President and Prime Minister, the Times interviewed current President James Lunam to get an in-depth perspective to why he is not in favour of the creation of a St.Charlian “Superpresident”.
Times: Good evening Mr. Lunam, and thank you for taking the time to be interviewed.
Lunam: Good evening, it’s an honour for me to be interviewed by the Sirocco Times.
Apparently there has been some debate in St.Charlie lately as a result of an idea from your Prime Minister. What has caused this, exactly?
Well, it is very simple. On September 12th the Government, through its official website, published a note in which there was written that they would propose a Constitutional Review concerning the unification of the charges of the Federal President and the Prime Minister. I contacted the Prime Minister and I explained him why this reform in St.Charlie would be very useless and, at the same time, very dangerous, even if there are some ways in order to “fire” this “Superpresident”. On September 17th, the President of the General Assembly started a session of the Parliament in order to vote this review together with another proposal concerning the extension of length of the General Assembly’s legislature. Yes, I’m also against this measure, because in November the elections should be start [sic] and this law, without any justified reason, would extend the current legislature too.
Anyway, yesterday I’ve sent a message to the General Assembly condemning the review itself, the fact that a session of voting started without any discussion between the MPs and also the fact that most of our citizens are completely unaware of these proposals. Some of them, both socialists and nationals, contacted me supporting my message and saying that they are very angry about how this thing took place.
Why do you consider the idea of a “Superpresident” useless and dangerous?
It is useless because our parliamentary system works better than presidential system. Yes, sometimes we could appear a bit bureaucratic, but, in this way to be, we have built a parliamentary system that works very well.
It is also useless because we cannot reach an higher level of activity [sic] through the removal of a strongly-democracy-useful-impartial institutional role such as the one of the Federal President of St.Charlie. On the contrary, it is very dangerous because the “Superpresident”, as well as its current powers, would be invested of the executive power too. At the same time, he wouldn’t be elected by all the citizens, but by the General Assembly, and that’s why I call this an “oligarchic, presidential regime”.
Now, let’s keep in mind how St.Charlie works.
Citizens vote at the Parliamentary Elections. The party who gets the majority of votes, obtains the majority of MPs and this absolute majority is sufficient to elect this “Superpresident”. Then, it would never be impartial because it would always be the expression of a political party while, for example, I represented this impartiality when I condemned this shameful review and I obtained the approval of citizens of St.Charlie, both nationals and socialists.
Moreover, with this review, citizens are not completely sure of who will be the holder of the executive power, while with the present electoral law they know who is the candidate Prime Minister.
In few words, a reform, proposed in order to make citizens more active, would only result in alienating more and more people from politics.
Why do you think people are not aware of this proposal to create a “Superpresident”? Is it the government not trying to get information out, or are some citizens not active in keeping up-to-date?
Because here, in Tor Pendente, the people aware of this proposal are about 7-8 (all politician) and our population is 23. Only after my message they fortunately incresed to 10-15.
The percentage is probably the same in the other Federations (except Nemkhavia in which there is only a Citizen, who is completely aware of the situation). In these days I’ve also spoken with some citizens of Greater Ridgeway, and no one was aware of this review.
I don’t think that the Federal Government is trying not to get information out, but, as I stated in my message, there is a very big lack of information between politicians and citizens. We have a Forum, two newspapers and a Youtube Channel which are very unproductive and underused. The only form of information used at the moment is our official page on Facebook and I am completely aware that not all the citizens own a Facebook account.
Yes, some citizens are probably not active in keeping up-to-date, but how can they try to be updated if the only way to be informed is the official page on Facebook? Why don’t politician try to involve citizens in the political life of St.Charlie? Maybe some citizens would remain inactive at all, but we cannot think that we could solve the problems of inactivity and lack of information through the establishment of a Presidential Republic that, in the way it was proposed, it’s more similar to a “parliamentary oligarchy”.
How much support is there for this proposal and how much opposition is there?
At the moment the support to this review came only from the socialist MPs who proposed it, while opposition came from the national MPs, some socialists politicians and some citizens of both political parties.
What effect would this proposal have on the current legislature and the upcoming elections?
Well. It would not have effects on the current legislature, because it would be effective only from the beginning of the next legislature, while no one knows how could affect the upcoming elections, because, as the review was drafted in a very bad way, as well as being unconstitutional, it doesn’t provide modification to the present electoral law. We have also to keep in mind that there is another proposal that extend, without motivated reasons, the current legislature. So yes, there would be a lot of chaos and no one have considered these undesiderable [sic] side effects.
Do you think that the Socialists will be affected by this in the election?
Sincerely, I don’t know. Some socialists citizens are very disappointed by the behaviour of their party but we have to consider that during this year our population increased, for example in the Federation of Tor Pendente citizens raised from 17 to 23, so it’s very difficult to say how the NSP would be affected by such moves in the elections.
Presumably you will hold the presidency until sometime in 2014. If this proposal were to be passed before you left office, would it affect you or would it be delayed until you stepped down?
As I stated, I will not promulgate any of these proposals, the former because is unconstitutional, the latter because the extension of the current legislature is not justified by any reason.
I am weighing up the pros and cons of my resignation and maybe it’s better for St.Charlie if I don’t resign until I will dissolve the current General Assembly in November for the upcoming elections, obviously without promulgate any of these law.
What would you like to say to the Prime Minister about this bill?
Well, I have already said to him what I think about this bill, both in a private and in a public way. Yesteraday evening, he answered to my message saying that “he represents the majority of the St.Charlian people” and that my ideas stop the changes that St.Charlie, in his opinion, needs.
Then, I would specify that he represents the St.Charlians, but the ones who voted for the NSP a year ago, because, as I said before, many socialists citizens would probably vote for NPSC in the upcoming elections, due to this bill itself and due to how it was presented at the General Assembly without any discussion.
Instead, my ideas are, as usual, super partes and they are appreciated and shared by citizens of both political parties.
And what would you like to say to the St.Charlian people?
I would like to say that they have to get indignant about how the politicians are far from citizens and, especially, they must get indignant about the fact that a single political party tries to change in that awful way our Constitution without any previous and needed discussion together with the other MPs.
Mr. Lunam, thank you very much for your time and best of luck with your efforts.
You’re welcome. It was a pleasure for me to be interviewed by your newspaper, so thank you.