OVERVIEW OF GOVERNMENT
This page describes the basic functioning of government in Lendosa.
Lendosa is a confederation of independent states. States may leave the Confederation at any time, although joining the Confederation requires the approval of the existing member states.
Levels of Government
- Confederate Government - The Confederate government is the most ppowerful level of administration, and is responsible for most primary functions of government, including foreign affairs, defence, justice, and some aspects of health and education.
- National Government - Members of the Confederation retain their own national governments, with each being arranged differently. National governments are responsible for some aspects of health and education, for major highways and railways, and for energy infrastructure.
- Regional Government - Lendia and Piolsa, by far the largeest members of the Confederation, are divided into seven Regions each. Regional governments exist primarily to co-ordinate the various local governments under them (with each region having at least five), although they also have duties relating to transport and the environment. In the four smaller members of the Confederation, there is no regional government - any functions which would be performed by it are dealt with by the national government directly.
- Local Government - There are two types of local government in Lendosa - major urban areas are administered as Municipalities (there are currently 51), while other areas are administered as Districts (there are currently 122). Local government is responsible for matters such as roads, water, and public transport.
Branches of Government
The Confederate government, which controls those matters which the Pact of Confederation delegates to central authorities rather than national ones, can be divided into three branches and three levels.
The three branches reflect the three basic sources of authority recognised in Lendosan political theory - autocracy, democracy, and meritocracy./font>
The functions of the three branches are clearly defined - the democratic branch decides what must be done, the meritocratic branch implements these decisions, and the autocratic branch ensures that both the others do not exceed their authority. More information on the three branches is available below, in the sections devoted to them.
- Autocracy - Although the word has a negative connotation in most countries, in Lendosa, it simply retains its literal meaning of rule by a single person. The autocratic branch of the Lendosan government appoints a single person (at its highest level, the Praetor) to exercise certain powers, mostly for use in emergencies. These powers are little different from the reserve powers that a constitutional monarch might have, or from the emergency powers given to a ceremonial president. The Autocratic branch of the Lendosan government is appointed by the heads of state of each of the Confederation's members.
- Democracy - The democratic branch of the Confederate government is, in practice, the branch which chooses the direction of government - the autocratic branch exists purely to act as a brake on the excesses of government, while the meritocratic branch exists to ensure the neutrality of the civil service; neither has a leadership role. Lendosan democracy involves the direct election of representatives to a council (at the highest level, the Senate) which acts both as a legislature and as an executive. The council appoints a leader from among its members - there is no directly elected leader suchh as a President.
- Meritocracy - The Lendosan civil service, known as the Andrade, has its own independent power structure - its members are not appointed by either the autocratic or the democratic branch, but are instead appointed purely on their achievement and their qualifications. This helps to ensure that the civil service is both competent and politically neutral - it is impossible for politicians to appoint their supporters to office, or to surround themselves only with people who share their views.
The autocratic branch of the Confederate government is tied directly to the member nations of the Lendosan Confederation. This is different from the other two branches, which operate completely autonomously from the member states.
The highest official of the autocratic branch is the Praetor. The Praetor is the leader of a council totalling seven members, called the Council of the Confederation. This is the highest theoretical body existing in the Lendosan Confederation, and is made up of the heads of state of each individual member nation - the First Councillor of Lendia, the King of Piolosa, the Speaker of Rabel, the Warden of Ranha, the Avatar of Kha, and the Patrician of Rioch. The First Consilium is the heart of the Confederation, and is the only element of governmental structure provided for in the Pact of Confederation, the document which incorporates Lendosa. Any other part of the government can be altered and changed as needs dictate, but the Council of the Confederation is integral. It is the Council of the Confederation that creates the rest of the government, as there are no councils or committees that could outrank the highest leaders of the Confederation's member states themselves. The Praetor, the seventh member of the Council of the Confederation, is appointed by the other members of the Council from outside, with no restrictions as to who may be selected for the post. The Council of the Confederation itself rarely meets, only doing so for matters of extreme importance. The tasks of the Council of the Confederation are performed on a day-to-day basis by the Praetor. Also present is an official called a Subpraetor, who is appointed directly by the Praetor as a deputy. The Subpraetor is responsible for some of the Praetor's workload and acting as Praetor when the Praetor is absent, as well as taking over the responsibility of the Praetoriate should a state of emergency be in place while the Praetor is unable to discharge the duties required.
The highest official in the democratic branch is the Consul, who is chosen by the Senate, the highest directly elected body in the Confederation. The Senate is elected by the people, with elections every second year. It consists of one hundred and fifty representatives in total, twenty-five of whom are also Administrators, being heads of the governmental departments known as Sections. Half the Senate is elected by the regions, and half is elected by proportional representation.
Lendia and Piolsa, the two larger members of the Lendosan Confederation, are each divided into seven regions. The four smaller members of the Confederation, Rabel, Rioch, Ranha, and Kha, are each treated as a single region, giving a total of eighteen electoral divisions. A total of seventy-five seats in the Senate are distributed between these eighteen divisions according to population - the most populous region has thirteen Senate seats, while the least populous has only one. Voters rank candidates in order of preference. At the same time, citizens also cast a vote for the political party of their choice. The remainder of the Senate seats (numbering seventy-five) are allocated to parties based on their share of this vote - if a party receives 10% of the vote, it will receive 10% of the seventy-five.The Consul is chosen by the Senate, although not in a direct election. Instead, the leader of the largest political party in the Senate is put to a simple vote of approval, with a 50% majority of votes in favour giving that candidate the Consulship. Should that candidate fail to gain the approval, the same process is repeated for the leader of the second largest party, proceeding all the way down until a Consul is approved. Should no party leaders at all win approval, the leader of the largest party takes the post by default. Also appointed is a Subconsul, who acts as the Consul's deputy. This position traditionally goes to the leader of the largest party excluding the party from which the Consul was chosen.
The meritocratic branch is based around the civil service. The highest authority in this branch is the Chancellor. The Chancellor is appointed by a council known as the Directorate, made up of the twenty-five Secretaries. A Secretary is essentially the co-leader of a civil service department (called a Section), governing along with the Senatorial representative (an Administrator). Each Secretary reaches their position through a meritocratic system in which the most skilled and capable manager in a particular Section rises to the top. This is assessed by a system of grading, whereby all the Controllers (heads of Authorities, which are a Section's subdivisions) in that Section secretly rank each other in terms of skill and the highest totalling member receives the position. The second highest scoring Controller becomes the Subsecretary, while still retaining their position as Controller. A similar system is used by the twenty-five Secretaries to appoint a Chancellor.
When the old Lendian Empire collapsed, the state which replaced it (the Free Confederacy of Lendian Republics, or FCLR) was committed to a radical form of democracy. The FCLR's plans would see every citizen given the right to vote on all governmental decisions, something which was intended to happen through telephone and internet voting. This system was only partially implemented before the FCLR itself collapsed.
In practice, the scheme was unsuccessful - while the network's coverage was good, it was not perfect, and poorer communities tended to be disadvantaged. Moreover, the large number of decisions (and the complexity of those decisions) meant that most citizens did not bother to vote except in important matters. Perhaps more importantly, however, it was eventually decided that direct democracy was too destabilizing in such a diverse state as the FCLR, particularly when the nation was faced with a crisis such as the West Uhlanian communist insurrection. The instability of the FCLR's direct democracy is, to a large extent, blamed for the breakup of the FCLR into the states that exist today.
The Lendosan Confederation is not a referendary democracy. The three basic reasons for this are:
This does not mean to say, however, that there is no element of direct democracy in the present Lendosan government. However, it is used much more rarely than the Free Confederacy of Lendian Republics had envisaged, with most of its activity being referendums initiated by the Senate.
- Referendary democracy places considerable burden on ordinary citizens to keep track of all affairs of state, including those that they have no interest in or that do not affect them. It is better to delegate governance into the hands of the people's chosen representatives, who can devote their full attention to it.
- Referendary democracy cannot yet be implemented fairly, as the state does not have the resources to give all citizens equal access to voting apparatus.
- Referendary democracy is not able to react with sufficient speed or strength to emergencies.
As mentioned previously, each member of the Lendosan Confederation maintains its own internal government, independent of all Confederate structures and institutions. The roles of the Confederate and national governments are clearly demarcated, although the interconnection is often complex, and cannot be described easily.
Each national government in the Confederation has different constitutional arrangements - there are no requirements imposed upon them by the Confederation, other than a requirement that they accept Confederate jurisdiction in all applicable areas. The governmental systems of each member state are outlined below.
The Free Republic of Lendia is a democratic republic. Its highest body is the Free Council, presided over by an officer known as the First Councillor. The Free Council is based on the old Imperial Council, which is also the basis of the Lendosan Confederate Senate. Elections to the Free Council are based on Lendia's own internal divisions, the Prefectures - these are unrelated to the Regions defined by the Confederate government.
The Kingdom of Piolsa is a constitutional monarchy. Its king is Dazelio III, of the House of Menduroso (also known as the House of Damaeon). This royal line dates to shortly after the Plague, and has links back to pre-Plague monarchies. The Piolsan monarchy is only ceremonial, however - in practice, administration is conducted by an elected body known as the Curia.
The Federation of Rabel is an alliance of a number of small islands. Each island, regardless of population, elects one representative to a body called the Chamber of Delegates, which governs Rabel. One member of the Chamber, chosen at random, takes the post of Speaker, and serves as Rabel's head of state.
The Republic of Ranha is a democratic republic. It is governed by the Hall of Ranha, a body elected based on traditional tribal lines. The leader of the Hall, and the country's head of state, is known as the Warden of Ranha.
The Avatariate of Kha is, technically, a constitutional theocracy. Its head of state is known as the Avatar, and is said to be infused with the essence of one of Kha's six deities. The Avatar is chosen from among the priesthood. Once, the Avatar's rule was absolute, but today, actual governance is usually handled by the Avatar's Advisors, elected representatives of the Kha people.
The Patricianate of Rioch is unusual in that its government is, technically, unconstitutional by its own law. According to Riochan tradition, the islands were once a kingdom, but many centuries ago, the king mysteriously disappeared. One of the islands' senior noblemen ("a patrician") stepped forward and volunteered to "maintain the king's law and administration" until the king was either returned or shown to be dead. The king's fate was never determined, and the patrician's reign went on indefinitely. On his death, he was succeeded by another prominent patrician who he had nominated as "a good replacement", and the island has been ruled by the Patricians (now capitalised) ever since. In theory, Rioch still awaits the return of its king, but in practice, the Patrician reigns.