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A referendum on the Emergency Powers Enabling Act was held on 5 September 4039. Voters were asked to approve the proposed state of emergency as established by President Antonio Battisti and Prime Minister Alessandro Senna, in the wake of the terrorist attack – nicknamed the Merchant Massacre – on 28 February that year. The attack, carried out by the left-wing extremist Istalian People's Brigades, resulted in 64 deaths, and 117 injuries.

BackgroundEdit

Attack on the Merchant CartelEdit

At 6.28 AM on 28 February 4039, a bomb placed by the Istalian People's Brigades (BPI) detonated at the Merchant Cartel, a medium-sized square in Romula traditionally occupied by local merchants. The blast immediately killed 58 people, all civilians, and injured 117. A further 6 died in hospital during the following six weeks, for a total of 64 deaths.

At 11.56 AM, the BPI published a video on the Internet, which later spread throughout social media, in which they claimed responsibility for the attack. A significant share of the Romulan police department was subsequently deployed in the manhunt for the suspects. At roughly 2 PM, the Romulan authorities announced that six members of the Istalian People's Brigades had been arrested at Strada dei Siliciani, a mere two blocks south of the Romulan Colloseum. The individuals were found in an apartment, which additionally contained over 98 kilograms of explosives.

Government responseEdit

The President of Istalia, Antonio Battisti, held a live televised address to the nation at 6 PM on the day of the attack, during which he announced an indefinite state of emergency. Istalian authorities were criticized by opposition figures for their perceived slow public response to the terrorist attack. In the aftermath of the incident, however, opposition leaders rallied around the government. The day after the attack, 1 March, Prime Minister Alessandro Senna addressed the Chamber of Deputies.

On 1 March 4039, the leaders of all the country's three main parties, PSI, PDS and AdCD, as well as other officials and public personalities, attended a mass mourning sermon honouring the victims of the attack. The sermon was attended by over 140,000 Istalians who filled the streets outside the church, according to estimates by the state television broadcaster, Rais.

Second attack and call for emergency powersEdit

The government of Alessandro Senna, a coalition consisting of the Istalian Socioliberal Party and the Socialist Democratic Party of President Antonio Battisti, passed the official state of emergency act in the Chamber of Deputies on 1 March, with the support of the opposition. However, there were calls from some Socialist Democrat deputies to grant further emergency powers to President Battisti, on the grounds that it would help tackle the Istalian People's Brigades more effectively. The proposal received a mixed response, and would, according to projections by DeputaTV, amass support from only 270–290 of the 630 deputies in the lower chamber of Parliament – at least 26 short of the required 316 votes needed for passage.

On 4 March, a second, smaller attack was made in the southern suburbs of Romula, once again by the BPI terrorist group. This second attack cost the lives of 4 citizens, and injured a further 37. In response, Prime Minister Senna announced his support for granting Battisti emergency powers, including the power to declare martial law, the seizure of commodities and direct and complete control of the armed forces. The centrist opposition party AdCD expressed reluctancy, however, and declared on 5 March that they would accept granting Battisti emergency powers only if the latter's Emergency Powers Enabling Act were approved in a referendum, citing distrust of his intentions. An amended Version of the Enabling Act was passed unanimously on 7 March by the Chamber of Deputies, and with 92 to 2 votes in the Senate, with 6 abstentions.

The amendment included a provision for holding a referendum on the matter of emergency powers in September; the plebiscite was ultimately held on 5 September 4039.

ResultsEdit

The referendum on emergency powers was held on 5 September 4039, with polling statins open from 8 AM to 8 PM. The question presented to voters was "Do you approve of granting President Battisti increased powers in order to strengthen the Republic's anti-terror measures?", with "yes" and "no" being available options. The referendum's wording was heavily criticized by some analysts and commentators, who described it as non-neutral and biased in favor of the "yes" camp.

Enabling Act referendum, 4039
Options Votes Result
#  %
"Yes, I support increased anti-terror measures" 26,487,995 94.1 chosen
"No, I oppose increased anti-terror measures" 1,667,043 5.9 rejected
Totals 28,155,038 100.0 passed

AftermathEdit

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