With little more than a week to go before the 2012 Archons are sworn into office, talk has begun anew of instituting direct elections to choose the 35 Animals who form The Park’s government each year.
The Mammalian Daily has learned that, as one of their final acts, the 2011 Archons have struck a special committee to investigate the feasibility of using the ballot box to choose Archons. The committee’s report is due in the second half of this year and will be presented to the 2012 Archons before the end of their term.
The incoming Archons (and all others who have served throughout the 30 years since Zoocracy was established) were selected by the process of sortition. Also known as the “allotment” or “lottery” method, this is the system that was put in place by Jor, The Park’s first leader and the founder of modern zoocracy.
Proposals for change in the Archon selection process have been made for over a decade. Any movement toward direct elections has been blocked, however, by those who believe that this method leads to favoritism and can result in representation that is not balanced.
“Sortition allows for a balance of species in the Archon mix,” says Sylvana Rana, of the anti-election group, Save Our Political System (SOPS). “Direct elections can become a personality contest and the result could be the loss of adequate representation of many species.”
Those who favour elections, however, are quick to point out that the current system already yields a government in which some species of Animals are underrepresented.
“Thirty-five Animals cannot hope to represent The Park’s population in a balanced way,” says Antoine Lézard, a longtime Park resident who says he thinks direct elections might bring more fairness to government.
“Already there are too many Mammals among the Archons. They draw lots from six basic Animal groups, but the majority of the extra [five] Archons always seem to be Mammals.”
The names of those who were chosen to serve as Archons for 2012 will be announced on January 15. The swearing-in ceremony will occur at the Ancient, Open-Air Theatre the following day.