Europeia Sleepwalking to Small Senate
Written by PhDre
With the election of the 84th Senate only a day away, it appears likely that the new Senate will have either six or five seats, with five being the minimum allowed by law. Earlier this week, Europeians gave the 83rd Senate low marks overall, but voiced interest in having a larger Senate.
The Europeian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) conducted exclusive exit interviews with all current Senators and asked them what they thought about the size of the 83rd Senate. The overwhelming majority of current Senators felt that their five seat senate was too small, and were hoping for a larger Senate. A smaller Senate is more reliant on each individual member to remain active. Speaker OldeDelaware told the EBC that this has “been a quieter term with less passionate debate.” There is little doubt that perceptions of a less active Senate extend to the electorate at large.
The Elections Act sets the size of the Senate based on the number of candidates running in the election. If no additional candidates run for Senate, Europeians will vote between a six and a five seat Senate. Relevant text from the Elections Act is quoted below:
Since March 2021, there have been two Senate Terms with seven seats - the rest (four terms) have had five Senate Seats. No Senate has had six seats since the August 2020 General Election.SS2ii) The options available to vote for shall be the options for numbers of seats of the Senate with the lowest option being 5 Seats, increasing in increments of a single seat per option, to the highest option of seats being the number of Candidates minus two or 10, whichever is fewer
Vice Chancellor Istillian opened the General Election with a plea for citizens to participate in the Senate elections, and framed elections as “some of the greatest occasions in our community where we celebrate the fight of ideas, we assess the good and the bad suggestion that are out there, and fundamentally we use both of them as a stepping stone that then dictates how our community functions, in some cases, over the next many years.” Without a last minute behind the scenes push from power players to encourage greater participation in the election, it is likely that Istillian’s plea for more political participation will fall on deaf ears.
Senate Speaker OldeDelaware is another prominent political figure who implored citizens to become more involved in Senate proceedings, telling citizens “if you are on the fence about running, I implore you to just jump in with both feet.” In the same speech, OldeDelaware announced he was not seeking another term in the Senate, saying “I am just tired and it is just not worth putting in additional effort just to be dogged by negative comments and criticism.” OldeDelaware is not the only Senator to raise concerns about criticism - Gem responded to the EBC End-of-Term Senate Poll, saying “it's really disheartening to make a concerted effort to be more active, and to have your approval drop anyway.”
Another reason why citizens seem unwilling to stand for election is concern over the activity level needed to be a Senator. 44% of respondents to the EBC End-of-Term Senate poll said they were not active enough to run for Senate. A bright spot for advocates of larger Senates is that 39% of poll respondents were considering running for Senate. Should a last minute campaign for more candidates succeed, Europeians could see a much larger Senate next term.