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Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational

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The Chairman of the Grand Unified Micronational, officially the Chair of the Quorum of Delegates, is the executive leader and chief administrative officer of the Grand Unified Micronational. Akin to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Chairperson is the most senior of the three recognised leaders of the GUM, with the office taking precedence over all other political appointments and positions in the organisation. The Chair exercises a wide range of powers within the organisation, though they have little direct control over member states and their representatives, with the vast majority of their powers being technical and administrative. The Chair is the presiding officer of the Quorum of Delegates, serving as a de facto speaker for that chamber, and exercising many of the powers usually vested in the speaker of a legislative chamber.

Chair of the Quorum of Delegates
BradleyPope.jpg
Incumbent
Bradley of Dullahan

since 13 March 2014
StyleMr./M./Mme. Chair
Esteemed Chair
His/Her/Zer Excellency[1]
AppointerQuorum of Delegates
Term length3 months
Inaugural holderKalvin Koolidge
Formation15 February 2009
SuccessionElection

Contents

Creation

The post of Chairman was first formally established on 15 February 2009, over a month since the founding of the Grand Unified Micronational. In his capacity as the founder of the institution, Jacob Tierney had been acting as the de facto leader of the GUM, presiding over meetings of what would become known as the Quorum on an informal basis. As the institution began to grow and expand, it soon became apparent that it required a clearly defined leader and administrative chief. As such, it was decided that the organisation would be headed by a Chairperson, who would be elected quarterly alongside councils. Kalvin Koolidge became the first Chairman of the GUM on 15 February, serving until 12 April, being succeeded by Robert Lethler. With the implementation of the GUM Constitution later that month, the posting officially became known as the Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational. The role of the Chair remains to this date largely defined by Koolidge and Lethler, in addition to the Constitution.

Election

Since the establishment of the post in February 2009, the Chair has been elected on a quarterly basis by a ballot of all members of the Grand Unified Micronational who have voting rights (with the exception of the period of inactivity which the organisation suffered between September 2010 and August 2011). The results of such elections are always announced on the 11th of December, March, June and September (January, April, July and October before the reforms of James von Puchow), with the transfer of power taking place at midnight on the 12th/13th - under no ordinary circumstances may the term of a Chair be lengthened nor shortened. Once they have served two consecutive terms in office, an incumbent Chair becomes ineligible for re-election and must stand down, often in favour of a successor. A Chair who has reached their term-limit can stand again for election after a break of one or more terms. To date, no candidate has ever secured two consecutive terms in office.

Towards the end of their term, the Chair establishes a period in which nominations for election are opened - by convention, nominations must be voluntary, though there is no rule that prevents a member state from nominating a candidate from another nation. In order to be eligible to stand in the election, a candidate must fulfil a set of strict criteria: they must be a Delegate to the Quorum; they must have the permission of their government; they must be representing a full member state and they must not be simultaneously standing for election as Supreme Judge. As such, though it is theoretically a matter of member states voting according to their own national interests, the election of the Chair is usually decided by Delegates to the Quorum as individuals on the basis of personality. Usually, only perceived "political heavyweights" or so-called "elder statesmen" will seek election to the office.

Nominations open two weeks before the 12th, with voting opening one week prior to the last day of the quarterly term. The election itself occurs under a system of first-past-the-post in which each member state has a single vote which it casts in favour of a specific candiate - the candidate who wins a plurality (more votes than their closest rival) is declared the victor. In the event that two or more candidates should tie for the leadership, an emergency run-off ballot is held to decide on the new Chair. Subsequently, it is traditional for the outgoing Chair - if they were not re-elected - to meet with the incoming Chair for a formal transfer of power at or around midnight on the 12th. When a new Chair presides over their first Quorum, it is customary for members to make every effort to attend and pay their respects to the new head of the organisation.

Upon standing down from their office, former Chairpersons traditionally return to the Quorum as normal Delegates. However, upon standing down, all former Chairs are officially elevated to the Official Diplomatic Staff of the Grand Unified Micronational, becoming advisers and de facto civil servants to the administration of the day. They do not, however, become legal experts on the GUM or its Constitution - this privilege is reserved exclusively for former Supreme Judges.

Political independence

In the interests of fairness, the Chair of the Quorum is expected to be largely politically independent in order to ensure they demonstrate no bias in the exercise of their powers. For this reason, candidates for the Chairpersonship during an election are usually experienced diplomats who have made a name for themselves and earned the trust and respect of the Quorum as a whole, even though any Delegate has the theoretical right to stand. Though they continue to represent their nation to the GUM, Chairpersons are expected to put the interests of the institution before that of their own nation. In debates at Quorum the Chair usually speaks to represent their personal and professional opinion, rather than that of their nation, though they may note - and clearly distinguish - both opinions. Often, the Chair will usually be the last member of the Quorum to cast their vote on a specific issue, in order to ensure that they are not allowing their politics or national allegiance to influence other members.

Powers of the Chair

By all accounts, the first responsibility of the Chair is to provide direction to the general work of the institution and to serve as an independent mediator between member states. To this end, the Chair enjoys a wide range of powers and rights, though almost any of their decisions can be overruled by a simple majority vote in the Quorum of Delegates. Together, the collective range of powers enjoyed by the holder of the office are referred to being exercised at the Chairperson's prerogative.

Members

Perhaps the most important range of powers the Chair has access to are those over the general membership. The Chair is responsible for supervising member states and their representatives to the institution. Whenever a micronation applies to become a GUM member state, the Chair and the Chair alone decides whether or not their application will go forward for voting and - if it does - what kind of membership will be voted on, though this power is subject to extensive conventional limitations. Furthermore, the Chair has the power to unilaterally suspend member states from the GUM, though they must report this decision to the Quorum and it can be easily over-turned through a Quorum vote or judicial ruling.

Presiding officer

As the unofficial speaker of the Quorum of Delegates, many of the Chair's functions and powers relate to the Quorum itself. The Chair, along with their deputy, is entirely responsible for supervising the work of the Quorum.

Prior to each weekly meeting of the Quorum, the Chair of the day is responsible for setting an agenda for items to be discussed and voted on, which is typically based off of discussions with and requests by member states. The Chair has freedom to decide what issues will be discussed and in what order they shall be discussed, though every member has the right to raise a point not included on the agenda towards the end of each session. There are conventions that dictate how an agenda should be outlined and how issues should be prioritised, but the final decision ultimately rests with the Chair of the day. In addition to the agenda, the Chair is responsible for receiving and tracking absence notice from members. One of the Chair's most important functions is to set the actual venue and time of Quorum sessions.

During Quorum sessions themselves, it is the responsibility of the Chair to preside over the meeting for its full duration - though the rules of the chamber are relatively relaxed in comparison to those of a national legislative organ, the Chair is nonetheless a vital part of Quorum meetings. They are given the task of mediating debates between delegates, ensuring all participants are adhering to the rules of the chamber and showing one another the proper respect - the Chair has the ultimate power to terminate a debate prematurely and advance the agenda if they see a pressing need to do so. Though they do not require their permission to speak, Delegates can nonetheless be ordered to stand silent if the Chair commands they do so, and the Chair has the right to give the floor to a Delegate who wishes to make an uninterrupted statement. When the Chairperson is speaking at length themselves, Delegates are expected to observe respectful silence.

Furthermore, Delegates are entirely at the mercy of the Chair when it comes to their status as representatives of their nation. If a specific Delegate should prove to be a persistent rule-breaker or otherwise become an intolerable nuisance to their fellow members, the Chair has the full power to strip them of their status and expel them from the Quorum. In such a case, it is the responsibility of the nation who dispatched the Delegate to find a suitable replacement.

When a matter that has been debated comes to a vote, the Chair is responsible for receiving and counting the ballots of individual member states. They announce the matter being voted on, allocates time for votes to be received and ultimately declares the outcome of a vote once the voting time has expired. Only the Chair may receive private ballots, though they can be ordered to present these to the Supreme Judge in order to prevent any potential fraud. The same general rules apply to GUM elections.

Representative

As the highest recognised leader of the Grand Unified Micronational, it cannot be doubted that one of the Chair's most important functions is to serve as its high representative. The Chair promotes the public image of the GUM and is responsible for representing it in bi- and multilateral discussions. Chairpersons since the foundation of the GUM have been actively involved in the processes of conflict mitigation and intermicronational mediation, frequently leading diplomatic teams in peace talks. The Chair meets regularly with heads of state and government from across the MicroWiki community, in addition to leaders and representatives of other institutions. They have a great deal of freedom to decide how the GUM will respond to and tackle a specific international or diplomatic crisis or issue.

List of GUM Chairpersons

# Portrait Name
Origin (nation)
Vice-Chair Term of office Political affiliation
1   Kalvin Koolidge
Republic of Petorio
N/A 15 February 2009 13 April 2009 Independent
Considered Moderate
One of the original members of the Grand Unified Micronational. During his term a judicial branch was created for the organization, a constitution was written, the Altanian War began, the Meissner-Antifan War was ended with peacekeeping efforts by the GUM Security Council and the Grand Empire of Fuzzel was dissolved. Played a major role in the creation of future conventions still used by the GUM today. The Camurian War began during his term and ended towards the end of Robert Lethler's term.
2   Robert Lethler
Democratic People's Republic of Erusia
Kalvin Koolidge
(from 31 May)
13 April 2009 13 July 2009 Erusian National Communist Party
Previously served briefly as the first de facto Supreme Judge of the GUM. Wrote the original version of the constitution, which was adopted during his term. Introduced a new voting system, the creation of a Vice-Chair, attempts to reform the Advancement and Security Councils and a greater emphasis on the core ideals of the GUM. Several intermicronational conflicts involving the GUM happened during this term. Had served 91 days at the end of his term.
3   Jamie Sutherland
Democratic Duchy of Francisville
Alexander Reinhardt
(until 27 September)
13 July 2009 13 October 2009 Independent
Considered Moderate
Served a full 92 day term. Similarly to the previous Chairman, Sutherland saw a multitude of conflicts occur during his term and aided their mediation. Also oversaw the introduction of Spanish as an official language of the GUM.
4   Robert Lethler
Democratic People's Republic of Erusia
Wilhelm von Hartmann 13 October 2009 22 December 2009 Erusian National Communist Party
First Chairman to successfully secure a second term; resigned his powers on 22 December and vested them in the Vice-Chair. By the end of this term had served 71 days.
  Wilhelm von Hartmann
Empire of New Europe
Acting Chairman
None 22 December 2009 13 January 2010 Independent
Considered Conservative
First Vice-Chairman to act as Chairman. All powers and duties of the Chair fell to Wilhelm von Hartmann, who served 22 days as Acting Chair.
5   Jacob Tierney
Renasia
Ben Lawson (until Feb)
Alexander Reinhardt (from Feb)
13 January 2010 13 April 2010 Independent
Considered Moderate
Founder of the GUM. He spent his term largely inactive due to personal reasons. Alexander Reinhardt served as "Vice-Chairman with emergency powers" during the majority of his term, but did not officially assume the role of Acting Chair. Served 90 days.
6   Robert Lethler
Democratic People's Republic of Erusia
James von Puchow 13 April 2010 25 July 2010 Erusian National Communist Party
First Chairman to successfully secure a third term, held for 103 days; holds the record for being the longest-serving Chairman. By the end of this term he had served 265 days in office. Term was extended as a consequence of the withdrawal of the only candidate from the election in July 2010.
7   Will Sörgel
Democratic People's Republic of Sandus
James von Puchow 25 July 2010 28 July 2010 Citizens' Communist Party of Sandus
The Grand Unified Micronational's only elected Chairman to step down from his position before the first Quorum of his term. As a consequence, James von Puchow, Vice-Chairman, was given the position of Acting Chair of the GUM for the remainder of M. Sörgel's term.
  James von Puchow
Antarctic Community Of Landashir
Acting Chairman
None 28 July 2010 13 September 2010 Independent
Considered Progressive
Second Vice-Chairman to act as Chairman, due to the resignation of Will Sörgel. Presided over the GUM when both its influence and levels of activity were rapidly declining. Entered into failed negotiations with the OAM regarding a proposed merger, and attempted to initiate a reform of the organisation, the only aspects of which that were actually implemented were bringing back the election schedule by - and therefore reducing his own term by - one month, and removing the last chances for the organisation to return to activity in the short term by dissolving the Councils. Announced that he had "dissolved" the organisation on 20 September 2010.
N/A N/A N/A 13 September 2010 14 August 2011 N/A
No Chair was in office during this time, as the Grand Unified Micronational entered a long period of inactivity. Although von Puchow had not had the legal authority to do so, most of the community accepted his "dissolution" of the GUM, with ineffective challenges to the legality of his declaration being initially raised in early 2011.
  Jacob Tierney
Renasia
Acting Chairman
Will Sörgel 14 August 2011 13 September 2011 Independent
Considered Moderate
Informed various "former" member states that the GUM was de jure merely dormant, gathered together a Quorum and was elected Acting Chair. Led the effort to bring the organisation back from inactivity, and arranged for constitutional elections to take place a month after the "re-birth" of the GUM. Held office during the Yablokogate Scandal.
8   Jacob Tierney
Renasia
Will Sörgel 13 September 2011 13 December 2011 Independent
Considered Moderate
The first constitutionally elected Chairman in over a year, and the first Chairman to be elected as such immediately after holding the position of Acting Chair. Oversaw the restoration of activity of the Security Council, the restoration of weekly national reports, and a large growth in the organisation’s membership. Served a full 91 day term.
9   Jonathan Nobilissimus Caesar
Empire of Austenasia
Sebastian Linden (until 18 Dec)
Lucas Campos (from 18 Dec)
13 December 2011 13 March 2012 Theodorist Party of Austenasia
The first Chairperson to appoint their Vice-Chair directly (albeit with approval from the Quorum) rather than have them elected. Successfully implemented a reform of the Constitution by codifying conventions and removing needless bureacratic or defunct features. Oversaw the restoration of activity of the Advancement Council, the creation of a micronational human rights treaty, the establishment of the GUM Lounge and the status of observers, and a further large growth in the organisation's membership. Served a full 91 day term.
10   Bradley of Dullahan
Kingdom of Wyvern
Will Sörgel
(from 14 March)
13 March 2012 22 April 2012 Wyvernian Liberal Party
Oversaw the de facto abolition of permanent observer status and encouraged several projects of the Advancement Council. Created the offices of Secretaries of the Advancement and Security Council. The first Chair to be made to resign through a vote of no confidence, after being accused by a majority of member states of incompetence and a lack of knowledge on the Constitution, conventions, workings and proceedings of the organisation.
  Will Sörgel
State of Sandus
Acting Chairman
Jonathan Nobilissimus Caesar
(from 25 April)
22 April 2012 13 June 2012 Citizens' Communist Party of Sandus
The third Vice-Chairman to act as Chairman, due to the vote of no confidence passed against the Duke of Dullahan. Oversaw a large growth in membership.
11   Jonathan Nobilissimus Caesar
Empire of Austenasia
Jacob Tierney
(from 17 June)
13 June 2012 13 September 2012 Theodorist Party of Austenasia
Re-elected to a second term as Chairperson. Restored permanent observer status and oversaw a regulation of the Official Diplomatic Staff. Chaired the first physically held in-person Quorum session on 15 July 2012 in London, and chaired and helped to organise the 24 Hour Quorum held a month later which raised over £80 for various charities. Held office during the creation of an application form for non-members.
12   Jacob Tierney
Free State of Renasia
Yaroslav Mar
(from 16 September)
13 September 2012 13 December 2012 Independent
Considered Moderate
The first (and only other) Chairman to be elected to a third term since Robert Lethler, beating his record to become the longest serving Chairman. Changed Quorum meetings from weekly to fortnightly.
13   Yaroslav Mar
Republic of Lostisland
Bradley of Dullahan
(from 16 December)
13 December 2012 19 January 2013 Lostislandic National Congress
Oversaw the creation of the GUM Post. Resigned as a result of controversy arising from accusations he plotted to remove political opponents from the GUM with the complicity of the Vice-Chair and the Secretary of the Security Council.
  Bradley of Dullahan
Kingdom of Wyvern
Acting Chairman
None 19 January 2013 19 January 2013 Wyvernian Liberal Party
Became de jure Acting Chairman upon the resignation of Yaroslav Mar as Mar's Vice-Chair, but resigned after 46 minutes in office, the shortest term in GUM history.
  Jonathan I
Empire of Austenasia
Acting Chairman
Tom Turner
(from 20 January)
19 January 2013 13 March 2013 Theodorist Party of Austenasia
Became Acting Chairperson after the resignation of Yaroslav Mar and Bradley of Dullahan. Oversaw the restoration of the organisation after the 2012-13 GUM leadership scandal, with many members who had left rejoining.
14   Richard Cunningham
Dominion of Burnham
Leon Simpson
(from 17 March)
13 March 2013 13 June 2013 Independent
Considered Theodorist
Suspended the Security Council on the grounds of inactivity and vulnerability to corruption. Oversaw the creation of a new GUM website, membership application form and official Chair e-mail address. Also increased the quota of provisional member slots from five to ten.
15   Jacob Tierney
Free State of Renasia
Will Sörgel
(from 30 June)
13 June 2013 13 September 2013 Independent
Considered Moderate
Elected to a record fourth term. Presided over a period of declining activity, acknowledging himself at the end of his term to have been a "placeholder and peace-keeper".
16   Quentin I
Kingdom of Wyvern
Kuri Kabanov
(from 15 September)
13 September 2013 13 December 2013 People's Party of Wyvern
Served over a period of general inactivity in the GUM, the zenith of which the organisation reached when it failed to properly organise the December 2013 elections. Oversaw the abolition of the membership cap. The first chairman to represent and originate from the same country as a former Chairman.
17   Ciprian
Kingdom of Juclandia
Adam I
(from 15 December)
13 December 2013 13 March 2014 Independent
Considered Radical
Oversaw the expulsion and demotion of several inactive member states. Moved part of the duties of the Quorum to a new venue, the forum. Re-founded the Press Secretariat for the GUM to serve as its PR office. Brought back the weekly Quorum meetings. Oversaw the opening of a Constituent Assembly and the successful abolition of the Constitution and ratification of a Charter for the GUM, which involved a structural reform of the organisation, by abolishing the Advancement and Security Councils, the abolition of all past GUM legislation, more powers for the Vice Chair, and different systems for approving or expelling member states, as well as other provisions.
18   Bradley of Dullahan
Kingdom of Wyvern
Arthur Lobão
(from 16 March)
13 March 2014 Incumbent Wyvernian Liberal Party
Oversaw the formalisation of the Diplomatic Staff as a permanent GUM organ, as the Advisory Council. Created the GUM Staff, an organ made up of all GUM officers.

References

  1. This an informal style, used only on occasion, often by parties outside of the Grand Unified Micronational.