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Balder Foreign Update

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The Realm of Balder
Foreign Update, 19 April 2017

Balder Forum

Population - 5,320 nations ~ Delegate Endorsements - 191 ~ Endorsement Cap - 15 ~ Forum Posts - 117,068

Monarchy 

Queen - Rach Eriksen 
Crown Prince - North East Somerset

Statsraadet (Executive)

Statsminister - Tomb
Minister of Foreign Affairs - OnderKelkia
Minister of WA Affairs - Fake
Minister of Integration - Plembobria
Minister of War - North East Somerset
Minister of Culture - Ervald

Storting (Legislature)

Lawspeaker - Fake
MP - Linkin Talleyrand
MP - OnderKelkia
MP - Plembobria
MP - Tomb

New Storting Elected

Fierce campaigning for the April Storting elections commenced at the start of the month. The Storting functions as Balder's unicameral legislature and the centre of regional politics. Each of the candidates produced a manifesto and proposed policies in an effort to persuade the electorate to support their bid to claim one of the five Storting seats. Prominent issues in the campaign included the standardisation and readability of legislation, selecting the right person to serve as Lawspeaker and the need to promote participation among the region's newer members. After heated debate and a tense three-day voting period, the results of the election were as follows:

Fake 12 (12.9%)
Tomb 17 (18.3%)
Rain 10 (10.8%)
OnderKelkia 18 (19.4%)
Plembobria 12 (12.9%)
Linkin Talleyrand 13 (14%)
Ervald 11 (11.8%)

OnderKelkia, Tomb, Linkin Talleyrand, Fake and Plembobria were accordingly elected to serve in the Storting over the course of April and May. The new members of the Storting quickly convened to select their presiding officer for this term, the Lawspeaker. Fake, the outgoing Statsminister, was the only elected candidate who sought this role and obtained majority support to claim the position of Lawspeaker on a promise to review and improve the laws of Balder.

Apart from the elections for the Storting, this was the first round of elections to feature a poll for the new position of Formand. The Formand will serve as presiding officer of the Folketing, a deliberative body where citizens may compose legislation. Bills approved in the Folketing are then sent for consideration by the Storting. Cinder, an outgoing member of the Storting, was elected to this position after receiving widespread support from across Balder's political spectrum.

Statsminister Tomb Takes Office

Following previous service in the roles of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Culture and Lawspeaker, Tomb put himself forward for the office of Statsminister this term. With a platform headlined 'A Balder to Believe In', Tomb presented a comprehensive programme for radical change across the domestic and foreign affairs policy portfolios. He committed to providing active leadership that focuses on the challenges facing the region. On the basis of this agenda, it did not take long for Tomb to be unanimously approved to hold the office of Statsminister at the first sitting of the newly elected Storting. He was subsequently appointed as Statsminister by the Queen.

Upon assuming office, Tomb promptly announced the members he has selected to serve in the Statsraadet for this term and expressed confidence in the high ability of his ministerial team. Tomb confirmed that OnderKelkia, Ervald and Crown Prince NES would continue serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Culture and Minister of War respectively, having occupied these positions under Statsminister Fake in the previous term. By contrast, fresh appointments were made at the Ministry of Integration and the Ministry of World Assembly Affairs. Plembobria has been brought on board as Minister of Integration to increase forum participation and improve communication with the on-site region. Previous Statsminister Fake takes over from Zander Cerebella with the job of enhancing our World Assembly engagement as Minister of WA Affairs.

Storting Debates Accountability and Identity Bills

Since the last foreign update, the legislative agenda of the Storting has been dominated by two proposals. The 'Accountability Act' was the first of these bills and was debated in late March, prior to the recent Storting elections. It was introduced by Rain, then a member of the Storting, on behalf of Wycliffe, who was not a member of the Storting but devised the proposal. In essence, it suggested that the Folketing be empowered to repeal laws passed in the Storting and proposed a recall mechanism for members of the Storting. There was concern that allowing the Folketing to repeal legislation passed by the Storting would undermine the functioning of Balder's parliamentary democracy and went beyond the intended purpose of the Folketing as a place for new citizens to gain experience with legislative drafting. Following debate, Wycliffe decided to drop this proposal and instead pursue an alternative safeguard on the power of the Storting through the introduction of a royal veto with appropriate override provisions.

In the new session of the Storting, discussion is ongoing concerning Lawspeaker Fake's proposal for a 'Regional Identity Act'. The purpose of this bill is to create a single statute regulating all markers and symbols of Balder regional identity. In particular, the bill codifies the latest version of the flag of Balder and clarifies that "The Realm of Balder" shall be preferred to "The Grand Nordic Order of Balder" as the region's official designation. So far, some concern has been expressed that the bill as written might prevent the Executive from conferring official status on other symbols of regional identity and that the codification of core cultural items should not require the Executive to obtain primary legislation for the purpose of creating other official markers as needed. Debate on the merits of the Regional Identity Act continues within the Storting.

#DraftBalder Campaign Launched

Under the direct oversight of Statsminister Tomb, the Ministry of Integration and the Ministry of War have rolled out a joint initiative to encourage all citizens to join the Jomsvikings. Following high levels of activity in early 2016, the Jomsvikings have conducted relatively few operations in recent times, but the administration is determined to re-establish Balder's military capability as a valuable instrument of our foreign policy. Apart from an effort to persuade existing members of the forum to sign up for the Jomsvikings, all World Assembly nations in Balder have been contacted and encouraged to participate. The scheme has already resulted in several military applications.

In order to develop their experience of reinforcement occupations, new members of the Jomvikings have been specifically assigned to support the occupation of The Union of Red Nations and deter any hostile 'liberation' efforts. The operation in The Union of Red Nations is jointly commanded by The Land of Kings and Emperors and United Kingdom, which are both allies of Balder and fellow Independent powers. Balder is delighted to deploy the Jomsvikings as reinforcements for the Imperial Army and the British Armed Forces. With our renewed emphasis on military development, we look forward to further collaboration with the militaries of our allies in support of mutual security and political objectives.

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