Polls to open in 5th Sandum national elections

The royal coat of arms of the Sôgmô, Gaius Sörgel Publicola.

For the fifth time in the history of the State of Sandus, polls have opened in the national elections concerning the reign of the Sôgmô Gaius Sörgel Publicola and determining whether he has the lawful legitimacy to govern Sandus for another year. The elections will begin on 10 December 2015 and will close at 11:59 on 20 December 2015; election results will be published the following day on 21 December 2015. Since the Act on Democracy of September 2011, the State of Sandus has had its system of elective monarchy in place and — over the years — it has grown into a dynamic republican system. Each year on the Winter Solstice, Sandum citizens gather to vote in a democratic election concerning the reign of the State’s highest authority.

The election will consider only the two traditional topics asked at elections: re-election of the Sôgmô and petitions to the Central People’s Government. No referenda questions are to be asked at this year’s national election.

The election of the Sôgmô, as it is often called, is not so much an election as a re-election. According to Article 2 of the Act on Democracy of September 2011, one of the “antiqué laws,”

The Sôgmô on each Winter Solstice shall be subject to a free and democratic election of the people, which shall make apparent the people’s sovereign will on his tenure and office; the people shall have the option to vote for the Sôgmô to retain his tenure for the following year or to pass lawful protections against his arbitrary power before a following election, which must deem his rule and the people’s protections legitimate and in-force for the following year.

In other words, if the Sôgmô does not achieve a simple majority of affirmative votes on his legitimacy to rule as Sôgmô,

the Sanôba or Phanem Representative must represent the people’s sovereign will and advise the Sôgmô on the protections he must enforce in order to maintain the legitimacy of the people.

— Article 3 of the Act on Democracy of September 2011

The Sanôba/Phanem Representative position, similar to the role of a minister to a monarch, was disestablished in February 2012. The Sôgmô, however, continues this function for himself and must still seek to establish constitutional protections for his arbitrary power. Nonetheless, the Sôgmô has never received a negative vote and all elections have returned unanimous or nearly unanimous support for the Sôgmô’s reign.

The position of Sôgmô, a term which translates into ‘king’ or ‘chief’ in English, was established on 13 April 2011 by the Founding Law of the State of Sandus. In Article 1 of the Founding Law, the State of Sandus is described as established on the principle of popular sovereignty “under the power of the Sôgmô”; in Article 3, as the decisive and most famous clause reads, “All power is to the Sôgmô.” Today, however, the republican system of Sandus appears so distant from this autocratic-sounding law. While it is undeniable that the Sôgmô possesses the largest de facto share of power and authority in Sandus, the Sandum constitution today now comprises the Party and the Council — making it nearly impossible for the Sôgmô to act unilaterally against the popular mandate. The Act on Citizenship of September 2011 was the first constitutional change in the young State which set it on the long course towards a republic, completed only as recently as last December with the ratification of the Council plan by referendum at the 4th national elections.