Grand Unified Micronational election, June 2022
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An election to select the 35th Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational took place in June 2022. Anthony Barauskis was elected Chair and took office on 1 July 2022.
The election was marred by controversy stemming from joke campaigns and the conduct of various candidates, culminating in an emergency Quorum being held on 18 June 2022.
The Charter of the GUM provides that "The Chair shall be elected every six months". Pursuant to this, the Chair is, by norm rather than specific policy, required to announce the opening of nominations within a reasonable time before the six-month period is up.
Any delegate to the GUM from a full member state may nominate themselves to run for the Chairmanship, provided they are not "already running for another post within the organization, such as the Supreme Court or another bureaucratic agency within the GUM". They may, however, "if they have been nominated to one of these offices... decline and be considered eligible to run for the post of Chair".
Five candidates could declare their candidacy throughout the election period, two of which, Leon Montan and Larry Martin, were criticised for being joke campaigns.
|Candidate||Experience||State||Party (if applicable)||Running mate||Campaign announcement date
|President of Tinland
Mentor in the GUM
Republic of Tinland
|N/A||Rory Leonard||18 May||N/A|
|Prime Minister of the New Richmond Republic
President of Commonwealth of New Virginia
Prime Minister of the Empire of Austenasia
Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational
New Richmond Republic
|Blair Mountain League||Newton von Uberquie||16 May|
|File:Montan in Sonora.jpg||President of Ponderosa Hills
Monarch of Epiclandia
Minister of Membership Attainment in the Cupertino Alliance
|¡Venceremos! - The Liberation Front||Simon Reeve||15 May|
|Monarch of Elmwycke
Vice-Chair of the Cupertino Alliance
Minister of Development and Interstate Co-operation of the Cupertino Alliance
Chair of EMPASA
|Competent Fools' Party||Thorin Neal||15 May|
|King of the Free City-State of Edenopolis
First Minister of Mercia
Lord President of the Democratic Union of British States
President of Silofais
Chief Minister of the Principality of Beacon City
|N/A||James Frisch||15 May||N/A|
|Candidate||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3|
Numerous delegates would declare their candidacy in the form of joke campaigns, tongue-in-cheek campaigns aimed at gaining entertainment from elections, much like political satire as a whole. Historically, joke campaigns have been an important part of micronational elections, such as the brief campaign of Zabëlle Skye conducted in the December 2020 election.[a] Unlike previous elections, however, the number of joke campaigns would be the same as the number of serious campaigns throughout the first three days of the election. Both the Montan and Martin campaigns, the two joke campaigns in the election, declared their candidacy on 15 May 2022.
The number of joke campaigns, combined with the controversy surrounding Brooklyn Hewitt throughout the election period and lack of campaigning from the Eden-Frisch campaign, is believed to have been a deciding factor in the victory of Barauskis.
Rumors surrounding the health of a community member began to circulate within the micronational community at the start of June, which eventually reached the GUM on 5 June. The rumours, later evealed to have been a personal joke gone rogue, stated that the micronationalist was suffering from bone cancer. The claims were supported by Twitter screenshots from the micronationalist, which later turned out to be faked, whilst memes created by individuals involved in the joke began to circulate within circles in the MicroWiki community. James Bornstein would eventually be suspended on 7 June due to allegations surrounding his association with the controversey, however his suspension would be lifted the following day.
Candidate Brooklyn Hewitt would later confirm that she was the creator of the rumor, which had originated in the New Richmond Republic Discord server. Hewitt stated that the joke stemmed from the absurity of such a joke, whilst also being influenced by comments made by the micronationalist which some pereceived as transphobic. Hewitt would later state that although she did not regret the joke, she regretted the controversey stemming from its spread across the community. Hewitt would later state that she believed that the controversey had hurt her chances of winning the elections, yet still believed that she would win the election by a landslide, primarily because of the joke campaigns and her percieved ineptitude of the other campaigns. As such, the events of the disinformation controversey are believed to have hindered the Hewitt-Uberquie campaign's position in the election, leading to Barauskis' victory in the polls.
On 15 June, the Montan camapign released their manifesto. The manifesto, continuing with the tongue-in-cheek theme of the Montan campaign, was notable for being a direct copy of the Nowell-Banks manifesto of the December 2021 election, which in itself was copied from the Banks-Valentinus campaign of the previous election. Much like the Nowell-Banks campaign, the Montan ccampaign would make few changes to the plagiarised manifesto in an attempt to satirise the Nowell-Banks campaign for their previous plagiarism.
In addition to the manifesto plagiarism, the manifesto also included a section dedicated towards "dealing" with the Cornish people, an ethnic group native to Cornwall[b]. Tongue-in-cheek comments about the Cornish people had been made by the Montan campaign on numerous occassions prior to the release of the manifesto, as the anti-Cornish sentiment was a key aspect of the Montan campaign. The Montan campaign promised to introduce policies aimed at eliminating Cornish people from the GUM, whilst simultaneously denying their existence as a whole. The section experienced a backlash from delegates for attempting to dehumanise Cornish people, referring to them as "disgusting collective of swine-like imposters to the position of being a human being" and presenting points aimed at either excluding Cornish people from the community or exterminating the ethnic group from southwestern England. Delegates opposed to the manifesto claimed that it dehumanised Cornish people, whilst also making a mockery of the organisation as a whole.
In response to the backlash surrounding the manifesto, Leon Montan would submit an advisory opinion to the Supreme Court, asking if it was "appropriate for several figures in administration to display public bias against a campaign for arguing [against] an ethnic group['s existence]?". The case was immediately dismissed for frivolity.
Anthony would be declared as the winners of the election on 17 June 2022, after drawing joint first in a tie with another candidate. The response to his victory would be mixed, ranging from surprise to ridicule from other candidates, namely Hewitt herself, in which she claimed that the chair-elect was "incompetent". Hewitt's behaviour would ultimately lead to a vote of no confidence against her as vice chair, after which she would resign and withdraw the New Richmond Republic from the GUM.
Standing chair Adam Belcher would delare his brief absence on the same day due to reasons outside of the community, which led to standing vice chair and losing candidate Brooklyn Hewitt to assume the role as leader of the GUM in his absence. After the announcement, Supreme Justice Bradley of Dullahan would declare the chairman incapacitated as a result of the perceived inability for Hewitt to lead the GUM, with Dullahan assuming the role of acting chairman. Shortly after this, Dullahan would call for an emergency Quorum to elect the new acting vice chair in Hewitt's absence. However, delegates would reject both Jonathan and Rory McPhail as the new acting vice chair, eventually leading to the appointment of Newton von Uberquie as the acting vice chair.
Following Newton's nomination as the acting vice chair, ten member states would propose a vote of no confidence against Bradley of Dullahan for various reasons including his conduct and respect for GUM laws, however the vote of no confidence would ultimately not be motioned in Quorum. This would later lead to a similar motion of no confidence against acting vice-chair von Uberquie, whom had assumed the position only 16 minutes earlier. The motion would ultimately fail, as two of the six signatories would state that the did not intend to sign the petition. In addition, numerous delegates would propose drastic actions, including to revoke the 2016 charter and dissolve the GUM entirely. By revoking the 2016 charter, the GUM would revert back to its position as a chatroom.
Barauskis and McPhail would last just over a month in office. Following a vote of no confidence petition being proposed, Barauskis resigned, an act which directly precipitated a special election in August 2022.
- ↑ Chapter IV: The Chair. Charter of the Grand Unified Micronational at MicroWiki. Retrieved 14 June 2020.