Aurora, Roseney --- Just a few days after it was announced that there will be a snap-election on August 7, 2031, several referendums have already gained enough support to be placed on the ballot. According to law, the two weeks after a new election is scheduled is dedicated to collecting signatures for island-wide or local elections, and already there have been numerous proposals sent to the Senate for ratification. Each referendum requires at least 10,000 signatures, and at least 1,000 from each county in order to be sent to the Senate. After that, the Senate will decide in order of how many signatures will appear on the ballot. In recent years, ballots have been limited to having between five and ten referendums, and this election will follow that tradition. The act which will dissolve parliament on July 7 of this year will permit seven referendums on the ballot, each representing a single county. Local referendums in various counties or towns will be allowed, although they too are limited depending on local laws and regulations. Among the significant referendums that are most likely to make it to the ballot this August includes a vote on the presence of Helvianir's soldiers and sailors in the Aurora-Holbrook Naval Air Base (AHNAB) and the nearby Penrose Army Base (PAB), which is shared by our military and the military of Helvianir since 1942. This issue in particular has become contentious, especially with the 2023 rape and murder of Esperanza Smith, a young woman attending Holbrook College, at the hands of three sailors from Helvianir who faced no punishment. Support for this referendum rests at a historic 43%, a major jump from the last time this issue was on the ballot in 1992, when only 19% of voters supported removal of these soldiers from the base.
Other referendums include one that proposes raising the drinking age to twenty-one, increasing the size of the reservation system for indigenous Roseneyans, making Saphirian a third official national language, and legalizing doctor-assisted suicide. The Senate has only approved the military base issue due to its importance, but some local referendums are also gaining some steam as well. Kingston will be voting on whether or not to change the town's name to Williamsburg, after William, Prince of Angelum and heir to the throne of Helvianir. Despite some other referendums which also propose renaming areas after new members of the royal family, a nationwide referendum is also gaining signatures on the issue of the monarchy itself. In 1980, a referendum solidified Roseney keeping the monarchy by 83%, but now support for the monarchy is cooling down. Some site the scandals of King Robert III as well as younger generations with no attachment to the institution. Currently, around 62% of the public support the monarchy, and only 13% support eliminating it entirely. Among those who dislike the monarchy, only half actively want it gone. No matter which referendums ultimately go through to the ballot after the Senate makes its determinations, it is expected to be nearly as exciting as the snap-election for the Assembly is becoming.
Although public attention is shifting to the capital once more as the Assembly prepares to dissolve ahead of the snap-election, another historic event is taking place in the south of our island home today. After a much-needed public relations moment after months of scandal, Premier Monica Nucci cut the ribbon while visiting Victoria to open up a new esplanade, which officially opened today as a project to beautify coastal towns across the country. The project began when local real estate developer Abraham Roth funneled $75 million into the esplanade which will bear the town's name. Stretching nearly a mile along popular beachfront property, the esplanade will include dozens of restaurants, shops, and even a pier that juts out into the water that will have an amusement park that includes a roller coaster and Ferris wheel. Included projects will also have a museum about local history, fishing, and whaling, while a beautiful scenic park is expected to host events such as weddings or parades. A movie theater also will be opening tonight with historic Roseneyan cinema being showcased there. Premier Nucci said at the ceremony that "The Victoria Esplanade shows the entrepreneurial spirit of our island home. It is my hope that this project can signal the start of new redevelopment projects across Roseney." Mr. Roth, who is seventy-nine and is joined by his son, Democratic Assemblyman Hiram Roth, said that "I am most proud of this project here in Victoria. This is where I was born, and this was where I raised my family." He was surprised to find out that the main pier jutting out into the sea is named in his honor, the Abraham Roth Pier, which includes a statue of the famous real-estate developer. Despite some protests as her government falls into crisis, the Premier received a standing ovation after cutting the ribbon, and a poll taken in the town shows that support for the Democratic Party has increased slightly after nearly a week of attending similar events around the country.