In a surprising turn of events, Mark Williams, controversial former Emperor of Freedomia, has been removed from office by a wide margin in a referendum.
The referendum had been scheduled for February 1 since the approval of the 10 January Accords, which also called for a more powerful Senate and the granting of independence to the seceding constituent states of Carlington and Rocklund. Though Williams had initially been amicably compliant with the democratic reforms, his opinion drastically changed as the date of the referendum neared. "His behaviour became increasingly erratic and paranoid," explained Yurt Kyong-yon, founder of the Freedomian Maturity and Pacifism Front and staunch pro-democracy advocate. "It became clear that Freedomia would not be operable with him in power."
On January 27, Titus Smith -- a democracy advocate and social democrat from the Oasis Islands -- gained Williams' approval in forming a diarchy, with Williams as a titular monarch and Smith as the head of government. Temporary stability was reached with this agreement, with citizens expressing support for the reduction of Williams' power; however, Williams frequently violated the terms of the agreement by declaring total control over the independent state of Rocklund and instating punishments such as stoning for "crimes" such as anti-Christian leanings and homosexuality. As pressure from opposition groups mounted, Williams increasingly disregarded the limitations on his power; in the run-up to yesterday's vote, Williams decried "neopaganistic liberalism" among his citizens and unilaterally expelled the President of the Sullivan Republic, a constituent state of Freedomia.
Though considerable support was projected for Mark Williams in the February 1 referendum, pro-democracy Freedomians came out in greater force than expected; 92% voted "No" to Williams' remaining as a ceremonial figurehead. Though Williams declared voter fraud as a result of detected proxies, Titus Smith and Yurt Kyong-yon acted quickly to declare him automatically removed from office. "Mark has clearly lost this referendum by a wide margin and therefore he
is immediately and automatically removed from office entirely. Titus I
is now the sole titular monarch of Freedomia," announced Yurt this morning.
With a monarch in favour of democracy and secularism, it is expected that executive opposition to the Senate will cease and that the legislative body will meet soon to draft a new Constitution.