Abeldane GUM membership referendum, 2020
The 2020 Abeldane GUM referendum was a referendum in Abelden asking whether or not the Abeldane Empire should join the Grand Unified Micronational, which the empire had left in 2018 following the 2018 GUM referendum. In total 50 people voted, 27 in favour and 23 against. The referendum passed with 54% in support, granting the government the power to ratify the charter of the Grand Unified Micronational and starting the process of officially joining the organization.
Discussion on joining the GUM had been a growing factor within the newly elected Renwick government following its inauguration on 1 April 2020. The Abeldane Empire had previously been a member of th GUM, but left in 2018 and majorly withdrew from the Microwiki community, focusing instead on the Konmalehth and it’s KommonStates community. Renwick, during his campaign for the Vorsitzendership had announced his intentions to re-integrate Abelden with the MicroWiki community, and the government saw GUM membership as an important steppingstone for such a reintegration. A bill scheduling a referendum on GUM membership was presented to the Reichsversammlung on 3 May by Renwick on behalf of Stephen Freayth.
Campaigning ahead of the referendum started nearly immediately after the passage of the Grand Unified Micronational (Referendum) Act on 3 May, but significantly ramped up the final week before the referendum took place. On 11 May an official debate/Q&A session was held between Vorsitzender Patrick Renwick, representing the Yes Campaign, and Edward Daniels, representing the No Campaign.
Joining the GUM received broad political support from both the government and opposition, with Vorsitzender Patrick Renwick’s Populares and the Opposition Party of Royalists and Cooperatism and Abeldane Social Ecology all endorsing GUM membership. The yes campaign also received the endorsement of the Amerston Post. Emperor Newton, though never officially endorsing the Yes campaign, actively argued in favour of joining.
The Yes campaign’s arguments centred around the important position the GUM could play as a stepping stone for Abelden to reintegrate with MicroWiki and expand its foreign reach and relations. It was pointed out that in the 2 year period since Abelden left the GUM in 2018 the empire had barely forged any new foreign ties, and the few that had been forged nearly all had been through Abeldane officials serving as GUM delegates for other nations. The Government officially announced during the campaign that it would ensure an equal focus by the Empire towards both the GUM and the Konmalehth.
The Yes camp campaigned through a combination of political posters, video ads and public debate.
The No side was mostly centred around the grassroots campaign group Coalition for a Better Abelden, headed by Emiel Hardy, and the Liberty Front, led by former Vorsitzender Edward Daniels, though it received significant other support outside political circles.
The No Campaign’s arguments centred around the belief that GUM membership would lead to a decline in commitment to the Konmalehth, and that Abelden should take a unique approach to foreign relations outside of the GUM. The no campaign also argued that Abelden had previously rejected the GUM in 2018, and earlier during a January 2020 opinion poll which showed 76% of Abeldanes opposed to GUM membership, frequently using the slogan “Abelden has already rejected the GUM”.
The Coalition for a Better Abelden produced a large number of campaign posters and 2 video ads in the lead up to the referendum, along with participating in open public debate.
|Source: Reichswahlkommission official report|
Following the referendum, as per the referendum act, the government immediately ratified the GUM charter and applied for membership in the organisation. Stephen Freayth, one of Abelden’s founders and former Emperor, was announced to be the Empire’s designated delegate.
Later in 2020, during the Concordiagate scandal which took place in July, it came to light that Stephen Freayth, who had initiated the process of holding the referendum, had conspired and attempted to unsuccessfully rig it in favour of the No side.