Politics of the Erishlands
|State type||Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
|Constitution||Constitution of the Erish Realm|
|Name||Realm Diet and Confederal Council|
|Presiding officer||Hjome Wang|
Speaker of the Realm Diet
|Head of State|
|Head of Government|
|Current cabinet||First Geralkson cabinet|
|Chief judge||Hrůbert Hendreson|
|Chief judge||Frůde Gotfriþsdohter|
The politics of the Erishlands take place within the framework of a federal representative democratic constitutional monarchy. Under the Constitution of the Erish Realm, the authority of the state derives from the public will.
The Erish political system operates as a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, wherein the monarch, currently Queen Ljowsne III, is the ceremonial head of state whilst the prime minister—whose official title is "President of the Confederation"—currently Erik Geralkson, is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the cabinets of both the federal and state governments. Federal legislative power is vested in the Realm Diet (parliament of the Erishlands) and the Confederal Council (representative body of federal and state governments). The judiciary is independent of the executive and legislative branches.
The Erishlands have a multi-party system with two large parties at the federal level, the conservative Royalists and center-left Democrats, and several other smaller but influential parties. The Realm Diet is directly elected by a mixture of two-round proportional and double mandate voting. Voting in federal elections, as well as for state parliaments, is compulsory. The Realm Cabinet is exclusively accountable to a two-party subchamber of the Diet, leading to governments consistently being minority governments.
The Erishlands are an asymmetric federation, wherein the 20 Lands and the Shire of Fjørjborg (states) are cosovereign with the Realm (the federal government), but Førjborg has less autonomy. The forms of government used by the Lands and Shires resemble the federal government, with cabinets that are accountable to a subchamber of their otherwise unicameral, elected legislatures.
- 1 Political culture
- 2 Constitution
- 3 Monarchy
- 4 Executive branch
- 5 Legislative branch
- 6 Political parties
Modern Erish political culture is marked by a general consensus on social security ensured by the state, a social corporatist economy that includes capital and labor, and a cooperative federation where the federal and state governments both influence one another. Another important aspect of the political culture is an emphasis on collective exercise of political power. The Erish prime minister, for example, is first among equals in the Realm Cabinet, and casts their vote in the Confederal Council on the instructions of the Cabinet.
Coalition governments, in the sense of multiple parties coming together to form a governing majority, are non-existent in Erish politics. The Realm Cabinet is only responsible to the Senators of the Realm Diet, who always come from a majority and minority party. In the contemporary era, these parties have generally been the conservative Royalists and the center-left Democrats. Democrat Cabinets do traditionally include Representatives from the Labour Party, and Royalist Cabinets from the Freedom Party. The presence of multiple parties in both the Realm Diet and Confederal Council has facilitated a culture of negotiation and compromise. Though this gives political minorities greater influence in the political process, it can lead to gridlocks.
In Erish political culture, the Government and Opposition are considered to only include parties with ministers in either the Realm or Opposition Cabinets respectively. All other parties are considered independent, and not necessarily for or against the current Government.
The system of government of the Erishlands is parliamentary, but its dynamics can resemble those of presidencies. The Senators of the Realm Diet effectively function as a standing electoral college for the prime minister and Cabinet. Unlike a presidency, however, the Cabinet can be forced to resign through a vote of no confidence by Senators, and Cabinet decisions are made on a collegial basis, instead of necessarily at the direction of the prime minister.
The Constitution of the Erish Confederation (Erish: Grundlogo Ærskbondem) is the supreme law of the Erishlands for both the federal and state governments. It establishes the principles of Erish democracy, lays out a bill of fundamental personal, political, civil, and social rights, and sets the framework for federal and, to a lesser extent, state politics. All of these are binding upon all bodies of the state; to enforce this, the Constitutional Court is able to exercise judicial review over any law or policy.
An important aspect of the Erish constitutional order is the relationship between the federal government, known as the Realm (Erish: Rejkeð), and the state governments. As in other federations, the federal and state governments are cosovereign, and each have exclusive powers in particular areas. However, though federal laws take precedence over state laws, neither level of government is considered supreme, and both levels are able to influence the other. This is most visible in how the official name of the Erishlands is the Erish Confederation (Erish: Ærskbondeð), but it presents itself in international relations as the Erish Realm (Erish: Ærskrejkeð) due to federal jurisdiction in that sphere of politics. Unusually (but in historic compromise between monarchists and republicans), this technically makes the Erishlands a republic, as the prime minister's title of "President of the Confederation" (Erish: Vorsitzern Bondem) implies they are the head of state for the Confederation. In practice, however, virtually all duties of head of state are exercised by the Monarch, who is the head of state for the federal government.
Most amendments to the Erish constitution require approval by three-fifths of the Realm Assembly and of the Confederal Council twice. The second vote takes place after the beginning of the next four-year legislative term. Amendments to certain components of the constitution such as fundamental rights, emergency powers, or the amendment process itself require a two-thirds majority twice.
The Erish monarch, officially the "Queen of the Erish" (Erish: Ido Ærskem) (or "King of the Erish" Iden Ærskem when male) and currently Queen Ljosne III, is the Erish head of state. They have other titles, such as High Priest of the Ardist Order, but these are not official and do not have any bearing upon their duties of state. They are the formal source of executive power, but also symbolically represent the unity of the realm.
The Erish monarch is formally afforded several powers, such as appointing the Realm Cabinet, commanding the Realm Guard, or receiving foreign dignitaries. Because of the language used in the constitution, however, it is clear that almost all powers are to be exercised on the advice of the Realm Cabinet; refusal to sign off on the Realm Cabinet's actions constitutes reserve powers, though these have not been exercised since the late 1800s, and could be overridden by the Realm Cabinet. The monarch is considered, however, to still have the right to be consulted, to advise, and to warn members of the Cabinet during monthly meetings.
In this light, the role of the Erish monarch is embodied in the Royal Oath they must take before the Realm Diet before taking the crown, and further reinforced by their constitutional responsibility to ensure that the laws are exercised according to their spirit. They are a ceremonial head of state, ruling according to the framework of the constitution and the democratic mandate expressed through elections. However, they are also a guarantor of the constitution: within the limits of the powers they are granted by the constitution, the monarch is expected to halt any unconstitutional or immoral action of the government, even if such an act would effectively be symbolic.
The constitution formally vests executive power in the "Office of the Crown", but in practice grants it to the Realm Cabinet. Led by the Erish prime minister, the Cabinet's members, called Ministers, each head a particular Bureau, which is in charge of some aspect of the national bureaucracy. All Ministers, including the prime minister, are accountable to the Senators of the Realm Diet, who can appoint and remove them. In the event of a successful vote of no confidence by an absolute majority of Senators for a Minister or the entire Cabinet, they are forced to resign, and a simple majority can then appoint a replacement.
Head of government
The Erish prime minister, officially the President of the Confederation (Erish: Vorsitzern Bondem), is the Erish head of government. Officially the head of the Confederal Affairs Bureau (Erish: Bondssakorbyróen), they are the first among equals presiding officer of the Realm Cabinet as well as the Confederal Council. Like all other ministers, they are required to be a Senator from the Realm Diet, and, because they must command the support of the majority of them, have thus always been the leaders of the majority party of Senators. The prime minister is constitutionally required to be a Senator.
The Erish prime minister is the leading political figure in Erish federal politics, but compared to prime ministers in other parliamentary democracies, the Erish prime minister is fairly limited in their power. This is because the Realm Cabinet originally operated, and to a great extent still operates, more as a collegial body of equals than necessarily at the direction of a particular minister. The Erish prime minister was originally called the Realm Minister, who just represented the Cabinet in the Confederal Council (the title being analogous to those formally of Land or Shire Minister for state Confederal Ministers). Despite then (and still) being the only constitutionally recognized minister, the Realm Minister was, though important, not the leading figure of the Cabinet, with the Foreign, Interior, and Defense Ministers being more prominent. During the late 1800s, the Realm Minister gradually gained more and more influence, such that by 1889 they were chairing meetings of the Cabinet. In 1925, some of the office's roles were constitutionalized and they gained the title of President of the Confederation. This development is unique to the federal government; in the states, either the interior minister or a dedicated president minister has taken on the role of head of state government.
The Erish prime minister's original, and still constitutionally first role is to preside over the Confederal Council, and represent the Realm Cabinet's positions in its proceedings. Their position as the presiding officer of the Council is somewhat ceremonial. The prime minister also chairs the weekly meeting of the Realm Cabinet, and can set its agenda. Cabinet decisions, however, are made collectively or by individual Ministers, instead of at the direction of the prime minister. Nevertheless, the prime minister serves as the face of the Cabinet to both the Confederal Council and the public.
The current prime minister, the Democrat Senator Erik Geralkson, took the office for the first time on 6 December 2020. Following the norms of Erish politics, he is the leader of his party, and his Cabinet is a minority government. In the first Geralkson Cabinet, 10 Ministers come from the Democrats, and 5 from the Labour Party.
Cabinet and government departments
The Realm Cabinet (Erish: Rejkesrådeð) is the leading executive body at the federal level, composed of Ministers (Erish: Þegner) who are each responsible for some component of the national bureaucracy which executes federal laws. Apart from the prime minister, whose position is constitutionally established, each Ministry is an office established by federal law to lead a particular Bureau (of which there are currently 15). There are no junior ministers or ministers without portfolio. Only Senators and Representatives are allowed to be Ministers; by custom, the Foreign, Interior, and Defense Ministers are Senators, whilst the others are Representatives.
In Erish politics, the Cabinet is always a minority government, which since 1971 has been formed by either the Democrats or Royalists, though the two parties respectively appoint Labour and Freedom Representatives as part of their cabinet by convention. The number of Ministries split between parties in Democrat-Labour and Royalist-Freedom cabinets is traditionally based off the share of the vote in the first round of votes for Senators in a federal election. However, because only Senators from the Government and Opposition parties are allowed to participate in a vote of no confidence, the junior partner cannot participate in one; customarily, junior partners are thus allowed to contradict the Cabinet's positions, insofar as they do not contradict their own portfolios. Loss of supply is not considered a vote of no confidence, and a vote of no confidence does not (and cannot) trigger a snap election, but simply leads to a new Cabinet being appointed.
The Bureaus which each Minister leads are composed of smaller departments headed by directors, and are tasked with executing some aspect of the Bureau's area of policy; they themselves are composed of smaller agencies that comprise the vast majority of the actual civil service. These directors and other high officers are appointed by the crown on advice of the relevant Minister, and are obligated to follow the policy directives of their Minister. However, they can only be removed by the monarch exercising their reserve power to dismiss executive officials; though many have terms that by statute are aligned with elections, they are expected to be politically neutral servants who work in their posts regardless of which party is in power. However, because much federal law is executed by state governments (which the federal Ministers can give policy directives to with the consent of the Confederal Council), the size of the federal bureaucracy is relatively small, comprising only 100,000 employees.
Like all other Representatives, any Minister that is a Representative is required to hold a town hall meeting with their constituents at least once every three months. Due to their role, these have more media attention, and usually more attendees.
The federal legislative branch of the Erishlands consists of two separate parliaments, the Realm Diet and the Confederal Council. The Realm Diet is for certain purposes, namely confidence in the Realm Cabinet, divided into two chambers, the Realm Assembly and the Great Assembly, only the latter of which can hold a vote of no confidence. The Confederal Council represents the governments of the Lands, the Shire of Fjørgborg, and the federal government. With the different powers and responsibilities between the Realm Diet and the Confederal Council, the Erish federal legislature is in effect bicameral in most regards.
The Realm Diet (Erish: Rejkesdagen) is the Erish federal parliament, and the only directly elected institution of the federal government. It resembles a lower house in other federal parliamentary democracies.
Members of the Realm Diet are divided into two classes, Representatives (Erish: Vortred'rer) and Senators (Erish: Ældrer), who represent the Erish people as citizens of their states and the confederation respectively. The total number of Representatives and Senators increases every twelve years in response to population growth, with the current number as of 2020 being 208 Representatives and 69 Senators. The entire Realm Diet is elected every four years by citizens over the age of 21. Representatives are elected using double mandate voting, which combines plurality and proportional into a single vote that elects the two Representatives in each constituency. Senators are elected nationally through a two-round election, where the two parties that receive the most votes in the first round gain Senators, with their share of seats being determined by their proportion of the vote in the second round two weeks later. A midterm election can only be called by the Cabinet over a deadlocked bill, with the newly elected Diet serving the remainder of the four-year term.
The Realm Diet has several roles in the Erish political system. Along with the Confederal Council, which it is considered independent of, it is a main body in the federal legislative process. It is the more powerful of the two, as it has de facto unilateral authority over matters of exclusively federal jurisdiction. In practice, though, many federal laws relate to areas of shared jurisdiction with the states, and thus the consent of the Confederal Council is required for them. For certain purposes, the Realm Diet itself operates like a bicameral legislature.
2020 federal election
The Erishlands held federal elections on 21 November 2020 to elect the members of the 58th Realm Diet. At stake were all 271 seats of the previous Realm Diet, as well as 4 new Representative and 2 new Senator seats as a result of the 2020 federal census. After the Republicans and Royalists gained the greatest amount of votes in the votes for Senators, they proceeded to a second round on 5 December 2020.
The Democrats won the highest percentage of the Representative vote with 24.1 percent, as well as the two rounds of the Senator vote, leading it become the Government and the largest party in the Realm Diet. The Royalists suffered their worst losses in decades, falling almost four percentage points in their Representative vote, but still managed to win Opposition and the second largest amount of seats, despite polling in the preceding months suggesting the Federalists might be poised to gain Opposition. On 6 December 2020, the day following the second round of votes, the Royalist Næsz Cabinet tendered its resignation, and joined with Democrats in nominating the Opposition Cabinet, led by Democrat Senator Erik Geralkson, to become the new Realm Cabinet. On 3 January 2021, the 58th Realm Diet began its term.
|1st round||2nd round|
|Freedom Party (FR)||2,171,941||14.8||31||2,284,726||15.6||–||–||–||31|
|Labour Party (AR)||1,920,696||13.1||28||2,307,135||15.8||–||–||–||28|
|Justice Party (RH)||747,873||5.1||10||–||–||–||–||–||10|
|Christian Democrats (HR)||728,933||5.0||9||–||–||–||–||–||9|
|Tarkalter Party (TK)||357,375||2.4||6||–||–||–||–||–||6|
|New Right (NH)||160,542||1.1||2||–||–||–||–||–||2|
|Source: Realm Election Commission (2020)|
The Great Assembly (Erish: Stůrþingeð) consists of the 69 Senators of the Realm Diet. Due to the Senators being elected by two-round voting, it is a two-party chamber with a majority and minority party. Senators of the majority are unofficially known as the Government (Erish: Vorwaldingo), and the minority is constitutionally recognized as the Opposition (Erish: Oppositjóno); in common language, these terms are extended to include any party with a minister in the Realm or Opposition Cabinet. As of 2021, the Government consists of 37 Democrat Senators, and the Opposition of 32 Royalist Senators.
Its most important function is control over the Realm Cabinet. Each and every Minister of the Cabinet is nominated by a simple majority of Senators and then appointed by the Monarch. The absolute majority of Senators can remove a Minister or the entire Cabinet through a vote of no confidence. The confinement of this control over the executive to the Great Assembly limits the fusion of powers between the executive and legislature that arises through the parliamentary system.
The other important role of the Great Assembly is that it is the national platform for the Opposition. The Opposition has the right to appoint a shadow cabinet, the Opposition Cabinet, which presents the alternative to current Government policy, and gets to comment on all bills proposed by the Realm Cabinet before they are introduced to the Realm Diet. It also questions the Government during the weekly Question Time, can convene the Realm Diet, instigate parliamentary inquiries, or challenge the legality of laws or Cabinet policies with automatic standing.
The national election of Senators, and the use of the two-party election, is intended to allow for indirect election of the Realm Cabinet. It also supplements the local perspectives of Representatives with a more national, long-term view to federal politics. In most cases, the same two parties are elected to have Senators until a major political realignment occurs, enabling Senators to have longer average incumbencies. Moreover, with the Opposition Cabinet having a right to confidential briefings from senior executive officers, it ensures smooth transitions of power. Indeed, it has been a constitutional convention since 1908 that, after it is clear the current Government has lost an election, the Cabinet resigns and joins with the Opposition to immediately appoint the new Cabinet, instead of waiting for the next legislative term to begin.
The Realm Assembly (Erish: Rejkesþingeð) consists of the 208 Representatives of the Realm Diet. Its functions are less visible than the Great Assembly's, but are just as important, as they further preserve a separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. It is the sole body which can authorize military deployments, legislate with regards to the judiciary and independent oversight institutions, or instigate impeachments. It also approves the boundaries drawn up by the Realm Electoral Commission every twelve years for the redistricting of its constituencies.
Representatives originally represented local constituencies along with Senators, with Senators merely being a class of Representatives they elected. In 1900, voting was reformed to the current electoral system of Senators being nationally elected, but Representatives remaining locally elected. The double mandate system has facilitated the rise of a Multi-party system and the occasional seating of independent Representatives whilst preserving constituency-based representation. It has also caused Governments to consistently lack majorities in the Realm Diet, helping establish through necessity the modern culture of negotiation and compromise. To maintain their link with their constituents, all Representatives are constitutionally required to hold town hall meetings at least once every three months.
The Confederal Council (Erish: Bondsrådeð) is a constitutional institution that has a role most similar to upper houses, though it is formally neither a legislative body nor even a body of the federal government. Nonetheless, the Council takes part in the legislative process alongside the Realm Diet, having an absolute veto on legislation affecting state jurisdiction and a suspensory veto on all others. The Council meets at a separate place from the Realm Diet, which it all but completely carries out its functions independently of. Under certain circumstances, it can be convened at the same time as the Realm Diet, but it never meets in joint assembly, even for the annual Speech from the Crown.
The Confederal Council consists of 22 Confederal Ministers, each of whom is a minister of a state or federal cabinet dedicated to their representation. In conformity with the principle of collective responsibility, they are not free to vote according to their own position, but must instead represent the position of their cabinet. Moreover, each delegation has a vote weighted in degressive proportionality to the population of their state; in the case of the federal delegation, it has always had one vote. As the Council represents the state and federal cabinets, other Ministers are entitled to attend, participate, and vote in Council proceedings, in which case the votes are cast as a bloc.
Because the Council represents the state and federal governments, apart from the federal delegation, its makeup is independent of the federal election times. Thus, the makeup of the Council can potentially change every year. States are constitutionally mandated to have their parliaments follow a model akin to that of the Realm Diet, with a class of legislators elected through a statewide vote who have control over their cabinets. Consequently, not only are state and federal delegations of a single party, but they are indirectly elected.
The Confederal Council is presided over by the federal Confederal Minister, the prime minister, although their stature as presiding officer is somewhat ceremonial. Duties such as setting the agenda are carried out by the two Deputy Presidents, with the prime minister only becoming involved in such decisions in the event of a tie.
Every six months, the Confederal Council convenes as the Confederal Diet (Erish: Bondsdagen), with the prime ministers of the federal and state governments attending along with the Foreign, Interior, and Defense Ministers of the Realm Cabinet. Apart from legislation referred to it by the Council, the Confederal Diet does not vote on legislation, but instead meets to help set the general political agenda of the country. Whilst the Confederal Diet submits a report of its agreed-to (but non-binding) positions to the Realm Diet, the actual proceedings are not public.
The Erishlands have a distinct mixture of two party and multiparty politics. In Erish politics, control over the Cabinet normally alternates within a pair of "Big Two" parties until a major political realignment occurs; since 1971, the center-left Democrats and conservative Royalists have been the "Big Two". However, parliaments regularly seat several more parties, with the current Realm Diet seating 9 different parties as well as 2 independents, and the Democrats and Royalists have consistent coalitions with the Labour and Freedom parties respectively. This results in a political climate where the single party in power has a fairly stable government that is principally supported by the majority of the electorate, but coalition-building and compromise is a necessity.
The Democrats (Folkstøjrers, FS), also translated as the Republicans, are a center-left political party in Erishland. It is currently the major left-wing party in Erish federal politics, after supplanting the Labour Party in 1973 as one of the "Big Two" parties. It is currently led by the Erish prime minister, Erik Geralkson, and is in Government of the federal government and 6 Lands.
The Democrats' politics are often compared by observers to social democracy, but they are considered within the Erishlands to be a revival of the tradition of Erish republicanism. Its slogan, Owte Fryxte ("without fear"), is a reference to the Constitution's definition of freedom in classical Erish republican terms. The party stands for a comprehensive welfare state, labor, minority, and states' rights, and regulatory measures to combat concentration of economic power, but distinguishes itself from the Labour Party in a firm commitment against transitioning towards a socialist economy.
The Democrats trace their origins to the republican movements that led to the creation of the Constitution in 1840, but there is no clear lineage from the short-lived Republicans (1840-3) to the modern Democrats. The Democrats of today were founded in 1919, presenting themselves as a middle road between the then-Big Two parties, Labour and Freedom. Democrats recognized the need for meaningful social security, labour reforms, and even some degree of capital redistribution, but were skeptical of nationalization of industry, promoting collectivization, and supporting the at-home economy. Democrats initially enjoyed only limited success, only making gains in urban areas without strong labor movements; but thirty years before it would become one of the Big Two, it had only 7 seats in the Realm Diet in 1941.
Between the 1940s and 1970s, the Democrats began to emerge as the predominant left-wing party, consistently making gains alongside the Royalists in areas traditionally held by both Labour and Freedom. With some adjustments to its platform, namely shifting towards support for the Realm Health Service, its message gained a significantly broad appeal across the Erishlands. It first gained Senators in 1965, forming the Opposition to the Royalists for the first time, but lost its Senators in 1969 to Labour the following election. In 1973, it was elected to Government for the first time, and has since stayed one of the Big Two parties.
The Royalists (Idetrowgers, IT) are a conservative political party in the Erishlands. It is currently the major right-wing party in Erish politics, replacing the Freedom Party as one of the Big Two after the 1961 election. Following the defeat of prime minister Ulle Næsz in the 2020 federal election, Senator Stærkwig Gerþrøjsdohter has taken leadership of the Opposition; the Royalists are in Government in 7 Lands.
The Royalists have a conservative platform embodied by their party slogan Ett voreneð Rejke ("one united realm"), which implies a singular, traditional Erish country ruled by a central government. Royalists advocate a strong federal government, traditional values, and greater autonomy for the capital city, Fjørgborg. Despite their commitment to a social market economy to maintain traditional Erish egalitarianism, they also believe the part-time economy by itself does a considerable amount in its preservation.
The Royalists emerged during the early 1900s through the merger of the Seskland Loyalists, the last remnant of one of the original Big Two parties, and the Conservative Party. Royalists originally, as their name suggests, had pro-monarchism as an important component of their platform, but this issue faded out of political relevancy by the 1940s. Royalists synthesized the original Loyalist platform of pro-centralism, pro-tradition, and pro-at-home economy with moderate support for a welfare state, and a firm commitment to constitutional democracy. Much like their present rivals, the Royalists were originally limited in their influence, and were even derided as "the dying clutch of the Loyalists". Through the 1930s, they were strongly associated with Seskland and Fjørgborg.
The Royalists ascended at the same time as the Democrats, as the political tides began to shift away from the socialist-liberal divide of the Labour and Freedom parties. Just like the Democrats, its acceptance of the Realm Health Service was a major turning point for the party, helping to break conservatives away from the Labour coalition. After being elected to the Opposition in 1961 instead of the Freedom party, it has consistently elected Senators and remained one of the Big Two.
The Federalists (Bonders, BN), alternatively the Farmers, are a centrist, federalist party in the Erishlands. They are the oldest extant political party in the Erishlands, having been one of the original Big Two parties between 1843 and 1889. At the federal level, they are led by Representative Fjælkel Balkesson, and are currently in Government in Winskland, Bredfjelth, and Sjobeck.
The Federalist platform continues a commitment to Endrahten end Systerskapen end Samærbdingo ("Concord, fraternity and cooperation"), the confederal motto. Federalists are particularly committed to the representation of rural interests, decentralization, and the free market, but political centrism and, at the state level, direct democracy plays an important component of their modern political platform.
The Federalists were one of the original political parties of the Erishlands, forming through a temporary split in the republican movement between hardline federalists and the more moderate republicans. They gradually declined in federal prominence during the late 1800s, losing their stature as one of the Big Two after the elections of 1892. Instead of fading into obscurity, the party has continued to play an important role in Erish politics. Since Cabinets began to include more than one party starting in 1918, the Federalists have made it a part of their political platform they will only take part in a Government or Opposition if they have elected Senators. Originally, this was an attempt to excite voters, but it has instead come to be the basis of the convention that parties without ministers in the Realm or Opposition cabinet are considered independent.