Interim Speaker Report - November 2023

Day 5,835, 02:29 Published in United Kingdom United Kingdom by Speaker of the House

Order! Ooooorderrrr!

Welcome to the return of the Speakers’ report. I’ll be covering what non-administrative votes have moved through Congress since the 26th and present some mid-term stats on activity in the House.

Health of the House

Congress is currently constituted of 39 members, 13 TRS, 8 TUP, 7 UKRP, 5 BEP, 5 WRP and one independent. Congress has a short set of guidelines which outline expectations for how discussions and votes should be run, and how members should grant citizenship. They are pasted below.

Congress has a speaker who sets up feed posts and moves discussions to votes. Any Congress person can propose something. If it can be resolved in-game (i.e. by proposing one of the laws shown below) then it is voted on via the admin module. If it cannot be resolved by one of the below proposals then a vote starts after the discussion period providing the proposal receives a small number of backers.

Each Congressperson has the mandate and the ‘buttons’ to make the following proposals:

Change Taxes, Donations, Min Wage, Issue Money, President Impeachment, and Natural Enemy. Source - eRep Wiki

These are all voted on by every Congressperson, with the exception of Citizenship (which is why it is voted on outside of game mechanics). You can view the admin proposals on the Country Administration Page.

As such Congress plays an active role in the Governance of the eUK and requires a good working relationship with the Executive, which by merit of its own in-game powers, Congress is expected to hold to account. Congress is encouraged to participate in discussions and ask questions for this purpose, and to ensure that their own in-game proposals don’t catch their colleagues by surprise!

If you want to be in Congress, speak to your Party President.

Proposals since term-start

So far Congress has voted on 8 Donation laws, 1 Natural enemy Law and 3 Import Tax laws. If you have any questions about why, or what they were for, feel free to message me.

The topics voted on that could not be resolved via an in-game law were :

Congress Sign in & Guidelines approval.
23 Members Signed in.

A Citizenship vote. (Cit1).
19 Yes, 0 No, ended early as the applicant was prematurely admitted.

Approving a schedule of Donations. (This is done so donations are not proposed ad-hoc).
17 votes were cast all for Option 2 (MoF proposal +4 BoE donates).

A proposal to require 2 sponsors to move debates to vote if they cannot be resolved in-game.
13 Yes, 7 No.

An addition to the Congress guidelines stating the President can't vote on Congress matters except where it lets them participate in in-game laws.
16 Yes, 3 No.

A Speaker election.
16 votes for Mr Woldy, 12 votes for Sir Humphrey Appleby.

A Citizenship vote. (Cit2).
20 Yes, 2 No.

Topics Discussed before being voted on via the admin module include 2 import tax proposals and our donation schedule.

If you would like to propose something or have any ideas, drop me a message.

Participation and Vote Distribution


Those with long memories may recall that in previous stints as Speaker I reported on participation rates in Congress discussions (back issues available for March - April - May - June). I have updated how these work based on some feedback, and the fact that some members have found themselves facing criticism just for contributing. As such rather than calculate participation rates for debates and votes, I now use both to arrive at a total participation rate per proposal. I only calculate these for debate/vote events that move through the Congress thread in accordance to the guidelines.

At the mid-term point, participation in Congress proposals is as follows:

Click through to view a larger image.

Notes on the above :
The table shows the number of unique participants in debates and in votes by party. The overall participation rate ( % ) is based on the number of unique participants of both the debate and vote (or when there was a debate and the vote resolved in game, just the debate; likewise for citizenship proposals just a vote). In-game proposals generate a notification for members and are summarised by Plato on the Country Administration Page.

Vote Distribution

The below shows how votes were distributed by party for voting that could not be resolved via administrative proposals.

Click through to view a larger image.

Both of the above reflect the composition of Congress at the time of voting, going forward they’ll be adjusted to reflect MIK’s partyless status.

Congress Guidelines

Two tweaks have been made to the guidelines since term began, so they currently read as follows :

- Citizenship requests should only be approved following a 48 hour joint discussion and vote in favour. This begins after a report on the applicant is provided to congress or when there's only 48 hours left on the expiry of the application. The report will include anything found from basic checks of the applying profile and a statement from the applicant about reason for applying and if they have eUK contacts/sponsors.

If a debate requests a vote that cannot be done via the Country Admin module then:
- Two Congress sponsors in addition to the proposer are needed within the debating period to move it to a vote.
- That vote should not begin within the first 24hrs of the debate and will last 2 or 3 days (depending on size of debate).
- The voting period will be communicated at the onset of a vote.

The duties of the speaker should be undertaken impartially. Additionally, a Congressperson's status as speaker shouldnt be used to promote parties. Speaker elections can be held when a proposer has the required number of sponsors outlined above. Please respect the outcome of votes.

President's votes are not counted except for in the in-game proposals they are able to participate in.

Or if you prefer flowcharts :

Click through to see a larger image - it is not as complicated as it looks!.

These guidelines exist because getting 39/40 people to coordinate on proposals and agreements requires work! A common understanding of how to reach agreements benefits everyone, and most importantly fosters a functioning Congress.

Congress Challenges

You’ll have seen a couple of dramatic statements made across the media module over the past week which I would like to address.

First is the suggestion that the Country president can ignore Congress or decide what they can discuss. This is not entirely the case, Congress sets its own agenda and largely discusses whatever members wish to raise. Needless to say though, Congress can't force anyone to read anything or participate in discussions. Nevertheless Congress represents the entire voting eUK public, and Congress members have mandates to run proposals and vote how they see fit. Their role, as described above, directly impacts the governance of the eUK, and by merit of the proposals at their disposal involves ensuring the executive is held accountable. They do this on behalf of the public. Certain parties in Congress have been told to impeach or shut up. The majority of members believe that dialogue can solve more problems than ultimatums can. When the open dialogue between Presidents and Congress breaks down, difficult political circumstances arise and this risks people losing confidence that political solutions can be found. I personally think this should be avoided and strongly believe most of my Congress colleagues agree.

Second is the suggestion that certain parties are illegitimate, or traitors, and that the involvement of certain parties or individuals makes all of Congress illegitimate. This is a very extreme view, and has been levied at various parties over time, including in recent months TRS and BEP. It is exclusively justified in the event of PTOs, and outside that context is rarely valid. Congress represents everyone, and parties are judged on election days when their mandates are renewed. eRepublik confers various buttons to citizens, congress, and presidents. The Congress guidelines are a good example of people coming together and agreeing how to exercise the buttons Plato gives them. There are lots of areas where no guidelines exist, either because they are impractical, unenforceable, or both. We cannot with hindsight delegitimise people or parties based on actions where no consensus has been reached around what is or is not acceptable. Additionally, that consensus will never be reached if people or parties refuse to engage with each other or with Congress, which is why I take an active interest in participation rates as an important context to the country admin when evaluating Congresses’ effectiveness .

In other words… we should all aim for Congress to live up to its name and congregate to discuss the issues of the day and not ignore each other.

Thanks for reading!
Mr Woldy
Speaker of the House of Commons.
(with thanks to Rory for Congress graphics)