Votes of no confidence in officers of the Grand Unified Micronational

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In the Grand Unified Micronational, votes of no confidence are a means of testing the support for the continuation in office of an officer of the GUM by the organisation's legislative body, the Quorum of Delegates, as well as an instrument for removing them if this confidence does not exist. Confidence motions in the Grand Unified Micronational always take the form of votes of no confidence; there is no institution of a vote of confidence in the GUM's parliamentary rules.

Under the terms of the GUM's Charter, any officer of the organisation, including members of the Supreme Court, may be subject to a no confidence vote if a complaint against the officer is signed by 15% of the organisation's full member delegations and filed with the Supreme Court. They are then removed from office if a special session of the Quorum of Delegates votes for their removal by a simple majority.

It is an implicit principle of the organisation, therefore, that the administration of the organisation must retain the confidence of Quorum to remain in office.

Votes of no confidence are formally defined in Chapter 8 of the organisation's Charter. Previously, they were defined in Article LXXXVIII of the original Constitution, though the process was less formal and did not involve the Supreme Court (previously arguably the Justice Commission).

A vote of no confidence was last called on 15 August 2022 against Chair Anthony Barauskis, who resigned the following day. In modern times, no confidence votes generally don't lead to actual hearings; either they are dismissed outright for legal reasons or the target of the vote of no confidence resigns rather than go through the Quorum process. One notable exception was the vote of no confidence in former Supreme Justice Abrams Wiucki-Dunswed, who was removed from office on 31 January 2022, for his role in removing around 2,000 people from the MicroWiki@Discord server.

Background

Confidence motions are used widely in parliamentary systems where the continued holding of office by an executive administration is contingent on that administration continuing to have the support of the legislature. Confidence motions are incredibly common in micronationalism; one of the most high-profile examples is the vote of no confidence against Mercian First Minister Alejandro Whyatt in 2016, but the institution of motions of confidence exist in most parliamentary nations.

Forms

Since the GUM's inception, and including motions in the statutory code that had the effect of removing an officer, there have been eleven confidence motions.

Confidence motions only take the form of votes of no confidence; votes of confidence do not exist in the GUM's parliamentary rules. Motions are initiated by delegations signing a petition to the Supreme Court requesting a special session of Quorum, generally chaired by the Supreme Justice of the organisation, to debate whether the organisation retains confidence in the officer at issue. Motions are only valid and only trigger no confidence proceedings if 15% of the full member delegations of the organisation sign on; with the current membership size, six signatories are required for a vote of no confidence petition to be valid.

If the Supreme Court receives a valid petition of no confidence, the Court must schedule an extroadinary Quorum session within two weeks unless they rule that the petition is vexatious.

Procedure

At a special session of Quorum to debate a vote of no confidence, the session is usually chaired by the Supreme Justice. Sometimes this is not possible, as was the case for the vote of confidence against Supreme Justice Wiucki-Dunswed, if the Supreme Justice has a conflict of interest or is otherwise incapacitated in such a way as to prevent them from chairing the session impartially. In such circumstances, the Chair of the organisation then runs the session, unless they too are incapacitated, in which case the Vice-Chair runs the session.

The chair of the special session has reasonably wide remit to set the rules and procedures of the session, but must do so in accordance with the norms of due process.

Following the session, Quorum votes on whether they retain confidence in the officer. That vote lasts 24 hours. If after that period a simple majority votes that they have no confidence in the officer, the officer is removed.

Votes of no confidence in the Chair

Votes of no confidence against the Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational have a unique effect in that in the event they are removed, created is what is called a casual vacancy in the Chair's office. In these circumstances, one of two things happens:

  • The Chair and Vice-Chair positions are both subject to re-election in the normal way, if the Chair is removed during the first three months of their term. The incumbent Vice-Chair serves as Acting Chair for the duration until a new Chair and Vice-Chair are elected;
  • The Vice-Chair serves as Acting Chair for the remainder of the previous Chair's term, if the Chair is removed during the latter three months of their term.

List of no confidence votes

This list includes motions from the 2016 version of the GUM's Statutory Code that had the effect of removing an officer.

Name State Officer Date Subject of motion Result
Bradley of Dullahan  Kingdom of Wyvern Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational 22 April 2012 Disregard for the GUM's Constitution, lack of knowledge of proceedings and conventions Successful; the Chair was removed from office
Fionnbarra Ó Cathail  Confederation of Leylandiistan and Gurvata Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational 10 September 2016 The vote was brought at Ó Cathail's own request Successful; the Chair was removed from office
Alexander Gibbs  Essian Commonwealth Media and Public Relations Secretary 6 August 2017 Unclear Successful; the Media and Public Relations Secretary was removed from office
Horatio Eden Edenic Compact Secretary of Public Relations and Press 12 September 2017 Unclear Successful; the Secretary of Public Relations and Press was removed from office
James Reginald Frisch  Serene Beaconite Republic Archivist 2 January 2021 Frisch was disinclined to continue in office[1] Vote dismissed; Frisch resigned as Archivist
Abrams Wiucki-Dunswed  Serene Beaconite Republic Supreme Justice of the Grand Unified Micronational 31 January 2022 Effective destruction of the MicroWiki@Discord server Successful; the Supreme Justice was removed from office
Vera Hewitt  New Richmond Republic Vice-Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational 17 June 2022 Disruption of the GUM server following her election defeat Vote dismissed; Hewitt resigned as Vice-Chair
Bradley of Dullahan  Kingdom of Wyvern Acting Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational 17 June 2022 Allegedly lacking handling of the special Quorum session to select a replacement for Vera Hewitt as Vice-Chair Vote dismissed; Newton von Uberquie was selected as Vice-Chair and automatically became Acting Chair, causing Bradley of Dullahan to leave office
Newton von Uberquie  Uber-Esse Acting Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational 17 June 2022 Unclear Vote dismissed; the petition was invalid as one of the signatories did not intend to sign
Varuna Sriraya  State of Vishwamitra Membership Development Secretary 13 August 2022 Unprofessional behaviour Vote dismissed; Roy resigned as Membership Development Secretary
Anthony Barauskis  Republic of Tinland Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational 15 August 2022 Misleading Quorum; insufficient progress towards manifesto commitments; executive staffing issues Vote dismissed; Barauskis resigned as Chair
James Bornstein  Desert District Vice-Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational 9 October 2023 Openly absent and unwilling to participate in the administration. Vote dismissed; Bornstein resigned as Vice-Chair

References