The States General of the Kingomd have just begun the official debate about the new bill recently submitted by the government. The proposal, personally announced by Grand Pensionary De Witte-Beulen last week as a way to put an end to the long political crisis which gripped the Kingdom after the death of Landsraad Lord President Prince Maximiliam Van Sondenburg, is intended at radically changing the political and administrative structure of Tarajani overseas territories, and particularly Meisjegronden.
Despite its merits, the proposal already aroused vehement criticism from many sides: first of all, the Major Houses of the western half of the Kingdom already subtly affirmed their intention to look very closely at any possible development and to be quite skeptics about the bill itself; not openly-declared obstructionism, then, but neither a positive opening. The Eastern Houses expressed also some doubts in the first Landsraad session this morning, though they welcomed the proposal as "overall positive, though possibilities for improvement exist, and must be not overlooked." as stated by Duchess Wilhelmine V Van Adelaar during her intervention at Palace Van Geldern.
While the discussion is, for the moment, far more calm than was at first expected, there are many unknown factors which could come into play to radically shift the balance: particularly, it is still to be seen what the role of the Royal Governors (i.e. those representing the Royal States, and thus the King, inside the Landsraad) will be, since the King, in full compliance with Tarajani legislative customs, has not expressed his opinion on the matter. However, never before the opinion of the King mattered more: if passed, the bill would de iure deprive House Van Vinkel of its high sovereignity over the overseas territories and Meisjegronden, instead linking it to the Crown.
In the meanwhile, people in Meisjegronden are already clearly expressing what their position on the issue is: starting with today, massive protests have been organized in Groenestadt, capital of the archipelago, and other major cities, with the clear intent of putting pressure on the States General to approve the bill. Moreover, the local Landsraad, in a special session (significantly not chaired by the Governor-General) released a statement calling for "immediate approval" of the bill "in order to give Meisjegronden and the other Overseas Territories a new role in the structure of this Kingdom, to which their people had contributed to much in the past, and still contribute today." No comment has come from the other Territories at the moment.
Protests have kept a very peaceful character until now, but the situation is extremely tense. Rumors point toward a possible decision by the Governor-General to declare martial law in Groenestadt and the other affected cities in order to quell the protests; however, such a decision would have unpredictable, and possibly very dangerous, consequences.
What's happening to the King's power in New Tarajan? That's the question analysts and politicians alike are asking these last days, and that's a question which is hard to answer at the moment.
A year-long political deadlock inside a part of the States General resurrected the spectre, once thought dead, of a severe fracture between the western and eastern halves of mainland Tarajan, a deadlock which King Friederick Wilhelm, though not scrimping energies and efforts, was unable to resolve without accepting one or the other's sides requests. In this case, the Eastern Houses obtained what they asked for, a Lord President coming from their own ranks. However, apparently it was the King who paid the highest price. With the Western Houses now looking at him more suspiciously and less fond of his policies (as the absence of some prominent representatives during the inaugural celebration at Palace Van Geldern testified), the Eastern Houses are far from being aligned to those same policies, and indeed they are showing no signs of regret at asking for the approval of a bill which, if made into law, would actually weaken the position of House Van Vinkel inside the States General.
Ironically also, the Eastern part of the Kingdom, and the Overseas Territories overall, have always been the less keen into accepting the so-called Liberal Project inaugurated by Friederick Wilhelm after his accession to power and the 2010's attempted coup; thus, the King effectively undermined his own policies in order, possibly, to avoid a larger fracture which could have determined a more serious crisis for the Kingdom. Now he faces the distinct possibilities of loosing a substantial part of his control over the Overseas Territories, being forced to re-negotiate with Meisjegronden and the other former colonies in order to gain their adherence to his own project for the Kingdom; and there's no negotiation without bargain.
His position is made more precarious by the sudden, unexpected, ambiguity shown by Grand Pensionary De Witte-Beulen: once thought to be more or less a creature of the King himself, as the successor to Duke Van Aardenne-Gliefen after he was forced to resign, and thus with less control over the States General, he instead showed an unprecedented freedom of will and action, and a strong capacity of re-compacting the Blue Party under his flag even after the dèbacle of the Anti-Religious Discrimination Law (first approved and signed by the King, but later repealed by the sovereign himself). Inside the Diet, the TSDP doesn't hide its preferences for a compromised solution of the issue (despite some sympathies toward the King), while the Republikeinse Partij is just preparing itself for what many of its members see as the showdown with the King.
However, Friederick Wilhelm is not devoid of allies either: inside the Landsraad, both Western and Eastern Houses still show favour for him, personally, and his policies, and the Lord President itself could be a powerful and authoritative mediator with his eastern allies. In the Diet, the KTCP of Count Carl Van Houden is firmly supporting the King on all issues, and it is to be expected that its role in the States General will be critical. Finally, the King can still exercise his power both through his own constitutional privileges (though this is unlikely if we look at Friederick Wilhelm's precedent decisions) and the Royal Governors: the latters, in particular, are mostly members of branches of House Van Vinkel itself, and thus doubly-linked to the King and his interests.
What will the King do, then? It is hard to predict. Friederick Wilhelm has shown an unprecedented respect for Tarajani constitutional procedures, and it is unlikely that he will break with it just now. What is more likely, is that he will ponder, possibly using this crisis as an opportunity to attempt a restructure of the Kingdom toward his liberal goals. Whether he will succeed, though, and whether he will be able to do that without sacrificing the Monarchy's power, it is even harder to predict.