SIKKIM CITY, SAJHA (BRAREL II) – Residents of Sajha have once again voted down a measure to secede from the authority of the Intaki Assembly and form an independent city-state within the Brarel star system.

Under the colony’s legal system, the matter falls into the “external affair” category, thus requiring a two-thirds majority. When voting ended just over three weeks, it appeared that the mark had been reached with 50,000 votes to spare. However, a group called “Preserving the Union” launched a recount effort. A manual recount showed that the measure actually fell about 200,000 votes short.

“We had nearly 70 million people cast ballots in this referendum, so I don’t think a sway of 250,000 votes is too extreme,” said Congressman Lok Bonjani, who is currently in charge of the Division of Election Integrity.

Reaction to the vote and subsequent recount have been mixed.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Hedessa Gurijala, a student in Sikkim. “The Assembly is out of touch with Sajhan values. I mean, they partnered with Caldari. Next they’ll have us swearing oaths of allegiance and signing up for corporate training programs. No thanks!”

Layla Saitana, a capsuleer and CEO of the Intaki Resource Allocation Group [IRAG], said she returned home to vote against the measure.

“Look, I’m not gonna say I like everything about the Assembly. There’s no government like no government after all,” Saitana said, adding that she had voted in favor of similar referendums in the past. “I just don’t think that right now — given everything that’s going on with the war, the Sansha invasions and all — that it’s a good time for Sajha to be going out on its own.”

Kimmer Muktheswara, the congressman who put forth the measure in Congress, said it wouldn’t be the last time voters would see such a measure.

“This is the closest we’ve come to voting for secession,” he said in press conference earlier today. “The people are growing tired of seeing the Intaki exploited; first by the Gallente and increasingly by the Caldari. If the Assembly will not address these issues, then we will have no choice but to cast off their regime and forge an independent identity.”

Nassir Vallurupalli, a senior spokesman for the Intaki Assembly’s Ministry of Colonial Relations, said that under the articles of agreement that formed the Assembly, each colony retains the right to leave if they so choose.

“Membership in the Assembly has been voluntary from the very beginning,” Vallurupalli said, noting that the settlers of Renarelle V had initially favored joining, but ultimately opted against. “However, our Sajhan cousins might find it a bit more difficult to leave the Federation.”

A bill to have all nine systems under the authority of the Intaki Assembly withdraw from the Gallente Federation was put forth this term by Sajhan Assemblywoman Desri Yauvani. The bill was co-sponsored by Vishta Kenchammana, of Rohaanar, in exchange for Yauvani’s co-sponsoring of a Rohaani bill limiting non-reborn births to one per couple throughout the Assembly.

With a co-sponsor on board, the secession bill was advanced to the Instellar Relations Committee, but stalled there when Committee Chairman Zheet Chandrark, of Kapda, declined to schedule it a hearing. Yauvani protested, but was unable to raise enough votes in the committee to force the issue forward.