Ariddian government and judiciary
The People’s Democratic Social Republic of Ariddia is a multi-party, democratic republic, one of the two member States of the Federation of the Ariddian Isles. Although technically no longer sovereign since 2144, the PDSRA is fully self-governing, and behaves on the international stage as a de facto sovereign entity.
The head of State is also the leader of the State government, and holds the title of “Second Secretary”, subordinate (de jure) to the federal Prime Secretary. The Second Secretary heads the Council of Secretaries. The legislative branch is composed of a unicameral Parliament, the People’s Prime Parliament. The judiciary forms a separate branch of government, and Indigenous Ariddians retain significant rights of self-government as an Indigenous minority.
The Council of Secretaries
The Second Secretary is appointed by the federal Prime Secretary, subject to approval by the State Parliament. The Second Secretary must be a member of the ruling coalition in the People's Prime Parliament.
Once appointed, the Second Secretary selects the members of the Council of Secretaries, the ministers who make up the executive branch of the government. His or her choice is submitted to Parliament, where it must meet with the approval of 60% of MPs. In practice, the Second Secretary often retains the exact same government after an election, and its approval by Parliament is a mere formality.
The Second Secretary and the Council of Secretaries are empowered to suggest laws for Parliament to vote on. They may also veto all or part of a law project Parliament is debating, before it is voted on. The Council sets the government’s general policies, and these policies form the guidelines within which Parliament must operate. Parliament may, by a two-third majority vote, dismiss the Council and request the appointment of a new Second Secretary, while the Second Secretary may also dismiss Parliament.
The Second Secretary may veto a decision taken by the people by referendum, but must then immediately resign and call for fresh parliamentary elections. The citizens may also, at any time, call for a referendum to dismiss the Second Secretary, which requires a 60% majority vote by the people.
Finally, members of the Council represent Ariddia abroad, in their respective fields of expertise.
The People’s Prime Parliament
The People’s Prime Parliament holds ninety-nine seats, which are filled by Members of Parliament. They are elected simultaneously, every five years. All Ariddian nationals aged sixteen or over have the right to vote, as long as they are residing within the country. Voting is anonymous. Currently, the Democratic Communist Party holds ninety-seven seats, while the Ariddian Isles Blank Party holds the two remaining.
Each party draws up a list of ninety-nine prospective MPs, and submits it to the citizens, who cast a vote for a single list. Thus, voting is on a State level, rather than each island or region electing a representative to Parliament.
Parliament is the legislative branch of government, and any MP may subject a proposal for debate. The proposal is initially submitted to the Council of Secretaries, who may reject it summarily, then, if not rejected, is discussed and voted on by Parliament. The Council must also decide whether the matter is important enough to be submitted to the people. If they deem it sufficiently so, and if Parliament votes in favour of the proposed law, then the law is subsequently submitted to the citizens via referendum. To effectively become law, it must be approved by a 75% majority.
Parliament is referred to as “the People’s Prime Parliament” to distinguish it from any local community meetings. Local communities throughout the country (termed "community discussion centres") are legally autonomous to a significant extent, with local decisions made by citizens’ gatherings.
As indicated above, Parliament may dismiss the Council, just as the Council may dismiss Parliament.
The judiciary in the PDSRA is an independent branch of the government. New judges are appointed by a committee of their peers (the Judiciary Committee, or Comité Judiciaire), elected by judges. Judges are empowered to interpret legislation where there is ambiguity, on the basis of precedents, but an appeal may be lodged by the defendant or plaintiff in any case to have any such interpretation by judges of the Prime Court (Cour Première) reviewed by Parliament. The appeal is examined by the Judiciary Committee, which decides whether or not to forward the case to Parliament.
There are three levels of courts: Judiciary Court (Cour Judiciaire), Court of Appeal (Cour d’Appel) and Prime Court (Cour Première). Judges of the Judiciary Court may allow or refuse an appeal to the Court of Appeal. Appeals from the Court of Appeal to the Prime Court may only be lodged if the case is without legal precedent, or if a legal precedent has been ignored or overturned. The Judiciary Committee decides whether a case should be brought to the Prime Court. Finally, a case may only continue beyond the Prime Court and all the way to Parliament if the Judiciary Committee agrees there are grounds to consider the judges of the Prime Court may have misinterpreted existing legislation. Parliament will then clarify the relevant points of legislation, and will refer the case back to the Prime Court.
Any court in session consists in four judges and two “factual assessors”. There is no jury. It is the duty of the factual assessors to investigate the issues at hand, and present to the judges an objective, unbiased account of the facts. The judges may then question the defendant, plaintiff, witnesses, and any experts of their choosing, as well as any recommended by the factual assessors. Any person involved has the right to request to speak up at any time. The four Judges must then reach a unanimous decision, verdict and, where applicable, sentence.
The court may be addressed in Wymgani, French or English by any witness, expert, defendant or plaintiff, and the factual assessors and Judges may also express themselves in any of those three languages. Where necessary, translators will be present.
Wymgani are the Indigenous people of Ariddia, and currently comprise about 30% of the population, although there are no official statistics. To be deemed Wymgani, a person must be of at least partial Wymgani ethnic descent, must be recognised by a Wymgani community, and must report to a police station and declare him- or herself to be a Wymgani.
Wymgani meeting the requirements for Ariddian citizenship are Ariddian citizens will all the rights and duties such citizenship implies. However, in addition, they may be members of national and local Indigenous communities. On a federal level, the Wehela Iolih (Indigenous Parliament) is empowered to review any law passed by Parliament, and state whether special provisions are required for its application to Wymgani people, based on Wymgani customs, local Wymgani laws, or related issues. Decisions by the Wehela Iolih on such matters are binding on Parliament. Members of the Wehela Iolih are elected by Wymgani citizens for a five-year term. Similarly to the election of the People’s Prime Parliament, Members of the Wehela Iolih are elected from nation-wide lists, and not as representatives of specific regions, islands or local communities. This is to ensure that they attend to the needs of all Wymgani, on a national basis. One notable difference, however, is that the Wehela Iolih is a federal institution (elected by citizens of the entire Federation), whereas the PPP is a State institution (elected only by citizens of the PDSRA).
While Wymgani citizens attend the same courts as Sele'eosh (non-Indigenous) citizens, any Wymgani defendant or plaintiff may require that a recognised expert on Wymgani customs and culture be present in court, if two or more judges or one or both factual assessors are non-Wymgani, to inform the judges of any specific and relevant issues pertaining to Wymgani. The choice of the expert is subject to the approval of the defendant, the plaintiff and the judges, while the Wymgani person requiring his or her presence may decide whether or not to allow a non-Indigenous expert.
Any court may, in addition, decide to refer a Wymgani defendant to judgement by his or her local community, in accordance with traditional Indigenous law, if the plaintiff does not object.
There is also a Wehela Aui u Sheho (Indigenous Land Court), presided over exclusively by Wymgani, and which is tasked with reviewing Wymgani land claims. This Court does very little today, as most land claims have long since been settled.
In any area, village, town or city in which a majority of the population is Wymgani, Wymgani traditional law, as interpreted by the Wymgani local community, is recognised as overriding all other, conflicting legislation in most matters. Thus Sele’eosh minorities are subjected to Wymgani law on a local level, within certain minimal limits.
Wymgani communities consist in all Wymgani “adults” within a specified area. Traditionally, in pre-colonial times, Wymgani communities had no leaders, decisions being instead made communally. All Wymgani who had reached puberty were allowed a vote in community decisions. This is still the case today in fairly small Wymgani communities, but in cities, for example, it is deemed impractical. Thus, in any town or city with a Wymgani majority, all persons (of any ethnicity) who have reached puberty may vote to elect a committee of community leaders. In areas where Wymgani are a minority, local Wymgani communities retain significant authority to manage Wymgani affairs.
For a long time, the PDSRA maintained a highly centralised system of government. In 2142, however, decentralisation was adopted, confering significant political autonomy to local community discussion centres. Community centres were given the right to contradict or reject Acts of Parliament, within certain limits. This policy was presented as a step towards communism.
Semi-autonomous territories and provinces
- Gnatanamo is a "special province", with a limited amount of autonomy. It is administered from Rêvane and the Ariddian mainland, but elects its own Provincial Council which has some small amount of legislative authority.
- Eshyosha is also categorised as a "special province". Its population is too small for it to have its own council, but residents of Eshyosha are empowered to manage their own daily affairs, usually by means of informal debate and consensus. The province is, nonetheless, officially administered from Rêvane.
- The Ariddian Arctic Islands are officially described as a "semi-autonomous dependency", and are allowed greater autonomy than the two special provinces. Arctic Islanders elected their own leader, subject to approval from Rêvane; he or she holds the title of "Second Secretary". The current leader of the AAIs is Second Secretary Kieoata Choi.
- The latter's role is to supervise the Council of Chiefs. Some members of the Council are members by virtue of Islander tradition; others are elected by the citizens; others still are appointed by the Council itself. The Ariddian authorities play no part in deciding who will sit on the Council, and have only limited authority to overrule its decisions.
- Ariddian Antarctica, a virtually uninhabited territory, is directly administered by the Ariddian government in Rêvane.
- The Extraterritorial Sovereign Ariddian Territory is, de jure, a fully sovereign nation, landlocked within Ariddia's borders. In reality, however, its laws are those of Ariddia, and its leader, Secretary Christelle Zyryanov, was appointed by the Ariddian authorities.
- Ariddian government officials and diplomats
- Constitution of Ariddia
- Chart: How government works in Ariddia (prior to 2144)
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