The oldest party in Lendosa, the Imperial Party has dominated politics for most of its long history, losing power for the first time in 295 AP. It is responsible for shaping many of the aspects of modern Lendosa. The party is often considered difficult to categorize, not easily fitting into spectrums of "left" and "right". According to its own description, the Imperial Party stands for "pragmatism, justice, and reason", and the party casts itself as "the last bastion of order and stability". It frequently attacks "ideologues, populists, and dreamers" who seek rapid social or economic change, and claims that "real progress can only be achieved in small, cautious steps." The Imperial Party often emphasises devotion to "duty, diligence, and discipline", along with a focus on virtue and ethics. The party believes in maximising "social cohesion", trying to remove sources of conflict and discontent.
While its emphasis on pragmatism and caution would make it a "conservative" party in the pure sense (that is, it attempts to block rapid change), the party avoids comparison with foreign "conservative" parties, as different countries have different values and traditions to preserve. A good example of the differences would be the Imperial Party's approach to religion - while conservative parties in many countries support religious values, Lendosan tradition tends to supports secularity, and so the moral platform of the Imperial Party is based around philosophical ethics, not religious ethics. Similarly, the Imperial Party is not particularly concerned about the "family values" that other conservative parties often pursue, as these ideas are perceived (rightly or wrongly) as having been less important in Lendosan tradition.
The Imperial Party is the second largest party in the Senate, holding twenty-eight seats. The party is led by Reinaro da Tenio, and its deputy leader is Maria Quintanilha. Other important figures in the party include Laurio Valduro, Niana Elurea, Cantra Talriez, Julio Torm, and Constantina Aldara. The position of Secretary is currently held by Glorio Ralaro.
Colour and Emblem
The party's official colour is orange, and its emblem logo is the image of a castle.
The party's Lendian name is "lo Partido Imperiano", although the names "lo partido anziano" ("the old party") and "lo partido auriano" ("the golden party") are occasionally used unofficially.
"Our nation has lately seen many changes occuring in a short time. Only the Imperial Party can provide the stability, the leadership, the principle, and the resolve to keep this country on a straight course. The ideologues must not be allowed to disrupt rational, even-handed, and pragmatic governance."
The Imperial Party's stated goals in governance are "stability, justice, and duty". It frequently criticises both "ideologues with impossible visions" and "self-serving opportunists with no sense of responsibility", two classes of politician that the Imperial Party claims are dragging Lendosa downwards.
- Govern on the basis of reason, practicality, and common sense, not on the basis of ideologies and dogma.
- Modify the electoral system to limit the extent of "blind" voting where people vote without being properly informed. This could be accomplished by means of voting tests which measure awareness of current issues in Lendosa and the policies of various parties on them. Such a system would limit the influence of populists and ideologues who appeal to voters who lack the information and understanding to see through the deception.
- Guard against all attempts to remove Senate respresentation for the armed forces, police, and tribunes. The presence of these appointed senators helps to prevent the capture of the Senate by populists.
- Give cosideration to restoring the old monarchy, albeit incorporating the reform proposals drafted by Emperor Xavier shortly before the Empire's fall. A referendum would be necessary before any changes are made.
The Imperial Party is essentially centrist in its economic policies, although the economy is not a primary concern for them. According to the Imperial Party, imposing rigid controls on the economy and giving the market free rein are both equally dangerous.
- Generally encourage a mixed market economic system, refraining from adopting the destabilizing policies of either the extreme free market or extreme regulation.
- Maintain government control over key industries so as to not weaken state authority.
- Impose tarriffs on certain items in order to protect Lendosan interests, but otherwise maintain trade-friendly policies.
- Ensure that government policy rewards those who succeed by virtue of their hard work, while also making sure that those who are born to success do not get an easy ride.
The Imperial Party is fairly conservative by Lendosan standards, but (as mentioned in the introduction) this should not be taken to mean that it is identical to conservative parties elsewhere. The conservatism of the Imperial Party is based around a combination of social cohesion and secular ethics.
- Promote the idea of "integration without assimilation" for Lendosa's ethnic minorities, creating an all-inclusive Lendosan identity which encompasses all groups without loss of culture or traditions.
- Use schools to teach ethical behaviour and instill a sense of community in Lendosan youth, counteracting the increasing trend of materialism and selfishness.
- Encourage organizations such as the Falange, thereby instilling discipline, community spirit, and a sense of duty in Lendosa's youth.
- Protect Lendosa's secular heritage by fighting any attempt to insert religious values into the workings of government.
- Encourage citizens to volunteer their time and energy to worthwhile causes and charities, so as to foster a spirit of mutual support and unity.
- Use Lendosan national symbols (flag, anthem, emblems) wherever possible, thereby increasing national pride and unity.
- Maintain the severity of criminal punishments - it is critical that criminals are removed from society as rapidly as possible, minimising the harm that they can do to law-abiding citizens.
Issues Facing the Party
The Imperial Party, once a dominant political force, is now only the fifth largest party in the Senate, and it has had difficulty adjusting to the change. Many still accuse the Imperial Party of being too aristocratic and elitist, not paying enough attention to the views of the people. There is some degree of tension within the party itself over this matter - one faction of the party, the reformists, claim that the party must distance itself from the past and modernize, while others consider this position to be betraying the ideals and heritage of the party. The reformists say that the party must emphasise the best aspects of the party's rule, including its opposition to the brutal Emperor Carigo and its endorsement of Emperor Xavier's democratic reforms, while still holding true to the spirit of the party (which they summarize as "a dedication to our country and a desire to see it excel in all things"). The reformists have held sway since Reinaro da Tenio replaced the inflexible Siora Alvara as party leader. Maria Quintanilha, the current deputy leader, is also a reformist. Supporters of the traditionalists still remain, however.
The Imperial Party has only one subparty, the Monarchists. All non-Monarchists are not grouped into any subparties, being just ordinary members of the Imperial Party.
A subparty based on the restoration of the old Empire. According to the Monarchist Subparty, the monarchy provided an "anchor" for the government, giving stability without necessarily sacrificing democracy. According to the Monarchists, the Empire failed because of insufficient safeguards to restrict the power of the Emperor, not because of any intrinsic flaw in the concept. The Imperial Party, while having a troubled relationship with the monarchy for most of its existence, opposed the complete abolition of the imperial throne, instead supporting reform. Now, the Imperial Party has adopted an ambivalent stance on the monarchy, saying only that the matter will "be considered". The Monarchist Subparty advocates open support for a return to the Empire.
History of the Party
The Imperial Party is the oldest in Lendosa, being the first political party established at a national level. It was begun in 144 AP, although it did not acquire a full party structure until later. The origins of the party lie in the conflict between the Emperor and the Imperial Council. In theory, the Imperial Council was to conduct the basic administration of the Empire, while the Emperor made decisions on important policy and provided overall direction, but in practice, this was rarely the case - the Emperor and the Imperial Council were constantly attempting to gain power and influence at the expense of the other. It is this struggle that led to the Imperial Party's creation.
In 144 AP, the Imperial Council was powerful. Emperor Ravamiro, the founder of the Empire, had died two years earlier, leaving the throne to the inexperienced and embattled Emperor Virantoro. This enabled the Council to make significant gains. Among the powers extracted from the Emperor were the ability to control foreign policy and the ability to control taxation, things of great value to the Council. The leading members of the Council, however, realised that it would not be long before the Emperor was freed of his troubles and was able to reclaim those powers. As such, eight of the most prominent Councillors signed a document pledging to work together to resist the Emperor's demands. This was the beginning of the Imperial Party.
Initially, there was no party structure at all - simply an agreement between individual Councillors (each of whom came with a cluster of followers). The term "imperial party" was initially an informal term, and referred to the party's position as a national (ie, "imperial") party. Before the Imperial Party, the term "party" had been used informally for various shifting factions which based themselves on specific regions of the Empire, and the new group (besides being the first formal organisation) was the first empire-wide alliance.
The newly established alliance was highly successful at maintaining the power of the Council. Powers of taxation and diplomacy were retained, despite several attempts by Emperor Virantoro to recover them. The party enjoyed significant support from minor aristocrats, merchants, and the upper classes in general - at the time, the only people able to vote. Unlike the often erratic emperors, the Council maintained a relatively stable rule, enabling trade and industrialization to flourish. There were few wars, and thus no need for the high taxation that had characterized the militarist rule of the previous emperors.
In 160 AP, a rival bloc was formed in the Council. A number of aristocrats, unhappy at the decreasing power of the nobility and the increased prominence of the bourgeoisie, had decided to oppose the Imperial Council's strength by forming their own faction, one which would support an increased role for the Emperor, and one which would restore the tradition of appointing nobles to key positions. Emperor Virantoro, seeing a chance to regain some of his authority, enacted changes to the Imperial Council to formalize the status of political parties. This, he hoped, would protect the smaller faction established in his support.
As such, two official groups were formed within the Council - the new bloc formally adopted the name "the Monarchist Party", while the old faction adopted the name it was already known by unofficially, "the Imperial Party." By this time, a new meaning of "Imperial" was being promoted, with supporters of the party saying that the term indicated that "unlike the Monarchists, our party supports the whole Empire, not merely its ruler." Many people began to describe the conflict between the Imperials and the Monarchists as a fight "between the Empire's Party and the Emperor's Party", and when Monarchist councillors gave the traditional salute of "For the Empire and its Emperor", many Imperial Party members pointedly responded simply with "For the Empire".
Along with the formalization of parties, parties also gained structure outside of the Council, allowing private citizens to become members of a party and lend it support. Emperor Virantoro hoped that allowing wealthy nobles to act as patrons to the Monarchist Party would strengthen it. Virantoro misjudged the amount of support the Imperial Party could mobilize, however. Fearing the prospect of absolute monarchy once again, the bourgeois and merchant classes rallied behind the Imperials, undermining any attempt by the nobles to regain the upper hand. The Imperial Party also moved against the Monarchists by successively granting voting rights to more and more citizens, decreasing the property qualifications to include more of the middle class. The Monarchists, supported priniciply by the upper class, found themselves with a shrinking proportion of the vote. The Imperial Party managed to retain control of the Council.
The position of the Imperial Council was further strengthened when Emperor Virantoro died and was replaced by Emperor Tandisto. A more moderate ruler, Tandisto did not actively oppose the Council, although he did move to block attempts by the Council to expand its influence still further. The only significant challenge came in the form of communism, particularly the version articulated by the Lendian theorist Enrico Caletonez. The Imperial Party considered the ideas to be subversive, and soon made communism illegal in all parts of the Empire. No real attempt to actively fight it, however, occured until Enrico Caletonez's son, Paulo Caletonez, established the illegal Communist Party in 214. This triggered a large crackdown by imperial authorities, a move which had support from both the Council and the Emperor. In 230, Paulo Caletonez was arrested, doing considerable damage to the Communist Party and thereby reducing fears in the Council about growing support for communism in the working class. As such, the Imperial Party felt secure enough to abolish the property qualifications on voting, believing that the working classes had turned away from the disorganized Communists. In actuality, the Communists recovered, but the ban on communism still prevented them from entering the Council.
In 234, Emperor Tandisto died and was succeeded by Emperor Carigo, a strong ruler. By means of assassinations, threats, and bribery, Carigo attacked the Council directly, seizing back many important powers. The Imperial Party was plunged into disarray by the imprisonment and death of its most prominent leaders. Carigo embarked on a number of expansionary wars, draining the imperial treasury and causing deep resentment of the throne throughout the country. Harsh laws were enacted to protect the emperor. The Imperial Council became a symbol of resistance to the excessses of Carigo's regime, and gained support from almost all sectors of society - including, after 248, tacit backing from the Communists. This hostility to the Emperor removed the Monarchist Party from the Council altogether.
Emperor Carigo, realising that the Council was the greatest threat to his power, attempted to destroy the Imperial Party that dominated it. His attempts failed, however, due to opposition from the army and the Panopticate (the empire's secret police and spies). The Imperial Party gradually rebuilt itself, and began undermining the Emperor's support in whatever way it could. It won a major victory when an army unit fighting in West Uhlan, demoralized and disillusioned, refused an imperial order, instead insisting that all orders needed the approval of the Council. This was technically true, but the rule had become no more than a formality over the years, and had ceased to have any real meaning. Nevertheless, the army (by this time made up mostly of unwilling conscripts) enthusiastically transferred its loyalty to the Council. Without the threat of martial law hanging over it, the Council quickly moved to regain the powers it had lost, relegating Carigo to a secondary role again.
The Imperial Party quickly moved to strengthen the Council. Among the reforms it implemented was the legalization of two opposition parties. The Communist Party was legalized, partly in thanks for its earlier support of the Council and partly to allow it more scope to agitate against the emperor, although it was still barred from entering the Council. The Utopian Party, a pacifist organization which had previously been considered subversive, was allowed entry to the Council to help halt Emperor Carigo's expansionistic wars. The Council would subsequently allow the formation of the Ecological Party (environmentalist), the Feminist Party (women's rights), and the Advancement Party (mild communist). None of these groups had any considerable effect on the Imperial Party's dominance of the Council, however.
In 269, however, the leadership of the Panopticate was assumed by a supporter of Carigo, and the absence of any significant hardship had decreased army hostility to the emperor's rule. Carigo was able to wrest some measure of control away from the Council again, although not as much as he had before. The Council responded by broadening the public appeal of the Council once more, increasing the number of parties that could enter it - the Communist Party was granted the right to be part of the Council, for example, significantly increasing the support given to the Council by the working classes. With the Communist Party once again joining the attack on the emperor, and the outbreak of an unpopular war in West Uhlan once again, the tide began to turn against Carigo. When the Panopticate came under the control of a reformist again, Carigo's power collapsed. Before the Council had completely regained its strength, however, Carigo died, and a new Emperor was crowned.
Emperor Xavier was a much more reasonable monarch than Carigo, and the Imperial Party quickly developed a working relationship with him. The Council retained many of its powers, and gained a number of new ones. Public anger at the Empire did not diminish, however - people believed that the Emperor still held far too much power. A number of prominent Imperial Party politicians attempted to have the monarchy abolished, but the majority of the Imperial Party believed that with a "tame" Emperor, there was no longer any threat, and that radical reform would just plunge the country back into strife. Some Imperial Party councillors, however, did not accept this reasoning, and moved to form a new party, the Democracy Party, which campaigned for the end of the Empire and the establishment of a republic. The Democracy Party gained backing from the Communists and a number of others.
The Imperial Party opposed the Democracy Party's plans, saying that they would result in chaos. The Imperial Party claimed that after a period of conflict and tension, radical changes were dangerous, and that order and stability could only be maintained if the Empire was reformed, rather than destroyed. To this end, they campaigned in favour of the proposals advanced by Emperor Xavier - a constitutional monarchy with the Emperor as a ceremonial head only. However, the Imperial Party narrowly lost the 296 elections to a coalition led by the Democracy Party, paving the way for the Empire's demise. The Free Confederacy of Lendian Republics was born, with a weak central government. The Imperial Party survived as the largest single party in the Council of Confederate Citizens, the central body of the FCLR. When the leader of the Democracy Party was assassinated, and his party collapsed, the Imperials gained even more power in the CCC, although they could not gain a majority in favour of restoring the Empire.
When the FCLR began to collapse, the Imperial Party claimed that things were occuring exactly as they had predicted - only strong central rule could hold the country together, and radical reform would cause anarchy. They advocated a return to imperial government. The CCC, however, chose to pursue a different path - disolving the state altogether, and establishing a number of independent countries based on the key parts of the old one. The Imperial Party was split on the issue - some believed that this was the ultimate betrayal, while others believed that it was a necessity for the reestablishment of strong government. According to those who accepted the dissolution, the FCLR had been weakened to such an extent that it would be futile to try to hold it together, and that a fresh start was the only way forward.
The Imperial Party survived the transition from the FCLR to smaller states, integrating itself into the "core" of the Empire, the new Lendosan Confederation. In Lendosa's first elections, the Imperial Party established itself as the second largest political party, campaigning on the basis of stability, strict law, and the restoration of the Empire within Lendosa. It did not gain enough support to enact the last of its three key points, but the other two became major parts of Lendosan law. The Imperial Party remains a significant force in the Senate.
List of Past Leaders
- Alandro Siuno (144 - 161)
- Caradoro Camano (161 - 166)
- Verencio Balamino (166 - 178)
- Imoso Galreno (178 - 191)
- Sandro Meredano (191 - 216)
- Miguel Cardrono (216 - 219)
- Samansero Nuro (219 - 226)
- Melo Canduristo (226 - 241)
- Tavo Belsono (241 - 247)
- Lorenso Ladro (247 - 258)
- Tero Saramano (258 - 278)
- Meria Elurisa (278 - 287)
- Gioro Colmo (287 - 293)
- Coloniro Galtoro (293 - 297)
- Siora Alvara (297 - 302)
- Reinaro da Tenio (302 - )