Difference between revisions of "West Aurelia"

(Created page with "{{Infobox country | conventional_long_name = Republic of West Aurelia | common_name = West Aurelia | linking_name = | image_flag = Flag of West Aurelia.png | alt_flag =...")
 
(Executive branch)
(3 intermediate revisions by the same user not shown)
Line 274: Line 274:
  
 
* '''Department of Justice''':
 
* '''Department of Justice''':
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is responsible for law enforcement and domestic security, and is headed by the attorney general. The current attorney general is Sara Halsey.
+
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is responsible for law enforcement and homeland security, and is headed by the attorney general. The current attorney general is Sara Halsey.
  
 
* '''Department of Home Affairs''':
 
* '''Department of Home Affairs''':
Line 309: Line 309:
  
 
* '''National Science and Innovation Initiative''':
 
* '''National Science and Innovation Initiative''':
The National Science and Innovation Initiative is responsible for conducting and funding scientific research for the benefit of West Aurelians.
+
The National Science and Innovation Initiative (NSII) is responsible for conducting and funding scientific research for the benefit of West Aurelians.
 
 
* '''Office of Special Counsel''':
 
The Office of Speical Counsel (OSC) is responsible for auditing, evaluating, and investigating all branches of government and ensuring the protection of government whistleblowers. The OSC maintains autonomy from political interference.
 
  
 
===Legislative branch===
 
===Legislative branch===
Line 344: Line 341:
  
 
===Foreign relations===
 
===Foreign relations===
[[File:Stephen_Hayes_and_Carl_Tobin.jpeg|300px|thumb|right|West Aurelian President Stephen Hayes greets Carlosian [[Supreme Chancellor of Carloso|Supreme Chancellor]] [[Carl Tobin]].]]
+
 
 
West Aurelia has an established structure of foreign relations and is an active member on the world diplomatic stage. Since its foundation, West Aurelia has long maintained a policy of idealism in international relations and non-interventionism in foreign conflicts, having never gone to war in its history.
 
West Aurelia has an established structure of foreign relations and is an active member on the world diplomatic stage. Since its foundation, West Aurelia has long maintained a policy of idealism in international relations and non-interventionism in foreign conflicts, having never gone to war in its history.
  
Line 350: Line 347:
  
 
===Military===
 
===Military===
[[File:F-15E_Bratislavian_Civil_War.jpg|300px|thumb|right|An F-15E takes off during training operations, 1992.]]
 
''{{Main|West Aurelian Armed Forces}}
 
  
 
Administered by the Department of Defense and with the president as commander-in-chief, the West Aurelian Armed Forces is composed of four branches: the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Marine Corps. Each of these branches maintains its own reserve force, collectively known as the Armed Forces Reserve, which is mainly deployed to deal with domestic issues such as large riots and natural disasters, but is also capable of deploying anywhere in the world when it is needed. The Senate is responsible for authorizing the use of force, and the Senate Armed Services Committee provides oversight of the military.
 
Administered by the Department of Defense and with the president as commander-in-chief, the West Aurelian Armed Forces is composed of four branches: the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Marine Corps. Each of these branches maintains its own reserve force, collectively known as the Armed Forces Reserve, which is mainly deployed to deal with domestic issues such as large riots and natural disasters, but is also capable of deploying anywhere in the world when it is needed. The Senate is responsible for authorizing the use of force, and the Senate Armed Services Committee provides oversight of the military.

Revision as of 09:30, 16 August 2019

Republic of West Aurelia

Motto: "The eternal state, conquered by no enemy"
Anthem: "The Eternal State"
CapitalRiverside
Largest cityRockwell
Official languageEnglish
Recognised regional
languages
Spanish
Demonym(s)West Aurelian
GovernmentUnitary presidential republic
• President
Stephen Hayes
• Vice President
John Harper
• Chief Justice
Joshua Ramsey
LegislatureSenate
Establishment
• Independence from Coldwater
September 16, 1903
Area
• Total
830,178 km2 (320,534 sq mi)
• Water (%)
1.34
Population
• 2015 estimate
83,000,000
• Density
99.98/km2 (258.9/sq mi)
GDP (nominal)2015 estimate
• Total
$4.565 trillion
• Per capita
$55,000
Gini (2015)Positive decrease 30.7
medium
HDI (2015)Increase 0.916
very high
CurrencyWest Aurelian dollar (WAD)
Time zoneUTC+8 to +11
Date formatmm/dd/yyyy (CE)
Driving sideleft
Calling code+990
Internet TLD.wa

The Republic of West Aurelia, commonly known as West Aurelia, is a unitary presidential republic consisting of 12 states and one national administrative district - the capital city of Riverside. Located within the wider Atlas geographical region, it has a population of 83 million people and covers an area of 830,178 square kilometers.

West Aurelia was first settled by Coldwateran merchants from the East Vaaldhaven Trading Company (EVTC) in 1640, and was declared a colony the same year. Quickly blossoming into a post through which Coldwater could trade with the nations of Vaaldhaven, the population grew steadily in the subsequent decades as Coldwaterans and foreign migrant workers alike arrived in search of job oppurtunities. The colony became self-governing in 1823 and an independent state in 1903, following a referendum amid growing anti-colonialist sentiment throughout Atlas.

West Aurelia ranks highly on measures of human rights, civil liberties, education, healthcare, economic freedom, life expectancy, quality of life, standard of living, and public safety.

Etymology

West Aurelia was founded by the merchant Adam Baker, who was from the Coldwateran city of Aurelia and served with the EVTC as the first governor-general of the Colony of West Aurelia. As the colony was to the west of his hometown, he named it "West Aurelia." In various Indo-European languages, "Aurelia" is a female given name derivated from the male form "Aurelius," itself descended from the Latin word aureus, meaning "golden."

The standard way to refer to a citizen of West Aurelia is as a "West Aurelian," or, unofficially, simply as an "Aurelian."

History

Colonization by Coldwater

File:Adam Baker.jpg
A portrait of Adam Baker sitting in his office.

The Governor and Company of the East Vaaldhaven Trading Company was chartered by the Coldwateran Senate in 1640 with the intention to pursue trade, exploration, and colonization in eastern Vaaldhaven. Its first governor and the head of the first fleet sent to Vaaldhaven was the wealthy merchant Adam Baker, who hailed from the port city of Aurelia. The first fleet of 12 Coldwateran ships left port on May 3, 1640, led by Baker's personal ship, the Leviathan. On August 7, the fleet landed in an uncolonized part of Vaaldhaven, within the Bay of Madrigal region. Baker named the territory "West Aurelia" after his hometown.

The EVTC established a small town in the Bay of Madrigal, which was named Rayport after Baker's late father, Ray Baker. Today, the bustling port city of Rayport is the second most populous in West Aurelia. As explorers went inland to chart West Aurelia, they were surprised at the complete absence of indigenous groups, despite the large amount of habitable land and natural resources available that would have made the land ripe for settlement.

On August 21, the Coldwateran Senate officially declared the territory to be the Colony of West Aurelia based on the principle of terra nullius, and authorized the EVTC to possess quasi-governmental powers over the colony. Baker established a colonial government with himself as governor-general. With a government formally established, the EVTC sent for more settlers to arrive from Coldwater and began to trade with the surrounding states.

By mid-1641, four towns had been incorporated: Rayport, Griswall, Rockwell, and Riverside, in order of formation. Riverside was in an extremely habitable area, and grew quickly to be the center of West Aurelia's bustling trade-based society. Named after the Church River which flowed through it and provided it with a source of water, Riverside was soon named as the colony's capital.

Expansion of borders

File:LewisClarkImg.jpg
Captain James Paul Duke (left) and his second-in-command, Second Lieutenant Peter Hamilton (right).

With trade flowing, Baker began a campaign to expand the colony's borders to the north, east, and west. Three military expeditions - the Northern, Eastern, and Western Expeditions - were launched in the spring of 1643 to further this goal. The expeditions were headed by Coldwateran Army officers, who led men mainly drawn from the EVTC's private military forces and local militias.

The Northern Expedition, led by Captain Charles Taft, headed north with the intention to traverse the Paradise Mountain Range. However, tragedy struck as Taft and many of his men succumbed to illness just as they had reached the range. The expedition was terminated at that point and the remaining men headed home. The Eastern Expedition, led by Captain James Paul Duke, moved through the steppes and plains of the east until they arrived at the Aedian border, where they established a trading post. The Western Expedition, led by Captain Ernest McAllister, headed west until they reached a large bay, where they established a small settlement and port.

The expeditions returned home with a hero's welcome. They were successful in expanding West Aurelia's borders, and the modern state's current borders are the result of the expeditions. Duke and McAllister were promoted to the rank of major following their expeditions, while Taft received a posthumous promotion to the same rank. The expeditions also resulted in the discoveries of new flora and fauna, the collection of geological data, and the production of better quality maps.

Baker's death

Baker died suddenly of a heart attack on April 19, 1661 at the age of 63, having been in power as governor-general for over 20 years. He had amassed a large personal fortune, and dedicated much of it in his will to philanthropic causes. This included the University of Riverside, which was established as the first university in West Aurelia the following year.

With Baker's death came the unraveling of the EVTC's power in colonial West Aurelia, as the Coldwateran government successfully gained control over what was proving to be a highly profitable trading post. The Coldwateran Senate swiftly moved to replace him as governor-general with the veteran diplomat Thomas MacMillan and removed the EVTC's quasi-governmental status.

MacMillan instituted policies that brought more trade revenue back to Coldwater instead of into the coffers of the EVTC. The company still maintained influence within West Aurelia, being the colony's largest employer and supplier of goods, although its status as an effective monopoly was diminished as more companies began trading in the colony.

Industrialization and autonomy

West Aurelia rapidly industrialized in the 1800s and 1810s, and the population began to grow due to widespread immigration. Foreign migrant workers as well as Coldwaterans arrived in search of newly-available job opportunities. During this period, life expectancy, health, and wages greatly improved while infant and overall mortality dropped.

The Industrial Revolution also resulted in growing independence from its colonial masters, as West Aurelia became less of a conduit for trade between Coldwater and the states of Vaaldhaven and was now a more self-reliant territory. Protestors began demonstrating in front of the Governor-General's Mansion in Riverside, seeking independence from Shadowville. The demonstrators were supported by substantial sectors of West Aurelian society, although the Coldwateran government refused to let go of what was still seen as a highly-valuable colony.

Ultimately, in the summer of 1822, the Coldwateran Senate voted to allow West Aurelia to have greater autonomy but not independence. The change was effective on January 1, 1823. The changes allowed residents of West Aurelia to elect a governor and Senate and divided the colony into 12 states for administrative purposes. A national administrative district - the capital city of Riverside - was also created, separate from any state. The new government had authority over the territory's internal policy, although Coldwater remained in control of its defense, foreign affairs, and aspects of its trade policy.

The first elected governor was Haymish Galloway, whose political campaign was largely financed by wealthy, pro-Shadowville elites who maintained business ties with Coldwater, giving him an edge over his opponents. He was widely seen as a puppet of Shadowville, to the ire of nationalist West Aurelians who still desired independence. He was criticized for keeping in place many of the colonial government's trade policies, which favored Coldwater rather than the local economy. However, the Coldwateran government declared that independence was not an option and threatened to quash any violent pro-independence movement with force if necessary.

Road to independence

File:1903 riots.jpg
The "Black Line" of Coldwateran cavalry facing demonstrators in Riverside during the November 1902 riots.

By the turn of the 20th century, growing anti-colonialist sentiment throughout Atlas had spread to West Aurelia, spurred by a sense of unfinished business following the colony's failure to gain independence in 1823. One of the most prominent pro-independence activists was John Henry Lancaster, a descendent of one of the original traders who arrived with Baker and the EVTC. Lancaster was famous for stressing the need for a non-violent pathway to independence, rejecting the many calls for West Aurelians to take up arms against their colonial masters.

Many West Aurelians believed that the colony did not have to rely on Coldwater for support, and especially criticized policies that were seen as holding back the colony's economic development in favor of increased revenue being sent back to Coldwater. Additionally, there was also a long-standing sense of nationalism, as after 260 years of existence, the colony had developed its own sense of identity and culture separate from Coldwater.

Pro-independence protests in November 1902 quickly broke out into riots in Riverside, Rockwell, Rayport, and other prominent cities. Several government buildings were ransacked and burned, leading to a crackdown by Coldwateran troops. The famous Barkley Road incident took place on that day, as a West Aurelian activist was photographed protecting a Coldwateran soldier from a mob of rioters in front of the Governor's Mansion, emphasizing Lancaster's non-violence principle. The mob was eventually contained by military reinforcements from a nearby garrison.

By early January, the liberal Coldwateran Senate became increasingly sympathetic to independence movements across Atlas, and believing that West Aurelia deserved the same, authorized an independence referendum that would take place on March 16. The referendum passed in support of independence with an overwhelming 76.1% majority. The vote took effect six months later, on September 16, 1903, and the new Republic of West Aurelia was born.

Post-independence era

File:John Henry Lancaster.jpeg
The first president of West Aurelia, John Henry Lancaster.

West Aurelia was one of the only states to have gained independence peacefully in the early 20th century, largely due to the activism of Lancaster, his wife Elizabeth Stamford, and many others. On September 23, a week after independence, presidential and senatorial elections were held. Lancaster won the presidential election with 62.4% of the vote, and his Freedom Party took a majority of the seats in the Senate.

The elections were only for temporary terms, with the republic's first government tasked with dealing with the issues surrounding decolonization. Coldwateran troops and government members were sent back to their homeland, diplomatic and trade relations were established with Coldwater and surrounding states, and the institutions of the old colonial government were replaced. New laws formally establishing West Aurelia's system of government were enacted, forming a de facto constitution that exists to this day.

Proper elections for full four-year terms were held on May 2, 1904, with Lancaster and the Freedom Party once again securing victory.

Post-war era

In 1945, West Aurelia introduced universal healthcare, under a new program known as Medicare. Under the program, all residents of West Aurelia are required to obtain government-provided health insurance. Over the next decade, Medicare was hailed as a vast improvement over the previous free-market system, with improved efficiency and quality of healthcare and lower costs per person.

In 1949, the Senate passed legislation prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons by the armed forces following their creation and use by other nations. President Peter Carlton called nuclear weapons a "moral evil" and signed the bill into law, while also urging other states to do the same.

Cold War era

During the Cold War, West Aurelia maintained a non-interventionist foreign policy. Nevertheless, West Aurelia remained a capitalist nation and thus fears of a communist takeover or invasion were real. The Senate authorized record levels of military spending to boost the country's national defense capabilities, including the purchase of advanced weaponry, raising of troop numbers, and infrastructure development. Despite the main focus on foreign policy during this era, the nation's non-interventionism also allowed it to focus considerably on domestic and economic policy.

Modern history

All drugs were decriminalized in West Aurelia in 2001, and all jailed offenders were released. Less harmful substances, such as cannabis, were legalized and taxed in 2008. These actions resulted in a sharp decline in the national incarceration rate, which had previously been at 132 people per 100,000 inhabitants. It is currently at 72 per 100,000 inhabitants.

On March 18, 2002, West Aurelia legalized same-sex marriage with the passage of the Marriage Equality Act, being one of the first countries to do so. This was hailed as a watershed moment for the LGBT equality movement.

The current president of West Aurelia is Stephen Hayes of the Freedom Party, who was first elected in 2012 and who won his reelection campaign in 2016. The Hayes administration has placed an emphasis on foreign policy, especially with regards to upholding human rights and peace and enhancing diplomatic, military, and economic relations with other states. He has also sided with the Social Democrats and the Green Party in pushing for stronger action to combat climate change and global warming, which he called "the defining issue of our time."

Geography

Located within the wider Atlas geographical region, West Aurelia covers an area of 830,178 square kilometers.

The north of the country is covered in forests and mountainous terrain, and includes the Paradise Mountain Range. Its highest point is the famous Raven's Rock, located within the range, which stands at 4,478 meters above sea level. The mountain is regarded as a symbol of West Aurelia and is featured prominently on coins, banknotes, and stamps. It was first ascended in 1892 by veteran mountaineers James Rutherford and Edward Halifax. The north is a major tourist destination for skiers, snowboarders, and mountaineers.

The lowest point in West Aurelia is Wolf Valley, with a depth of 77 meters below sea level. It is located in the central state of Wyvern, known for its grassy steppes and plains.

The south of the country is renowned for its beaches and resorts, especially in the Bay of Madrigal region. This includes the famous Emerald Beach in the resort town of Emerald Cove, Freeport. The south is a major tourist destination for and divers and other vacationers.

Biodiversity

West Aurelia is home to some 16,000 species of insects, 20,000 species of algae, 1,800 species of lichen, 1,050 species of mosses, 2,800 species of vascular plants, 7,000 species of fungi, 550 species of birds, 200 species of mammals, 120 species of freshwater fish, 150 species of saltwater fish, 1,000 species of freshwater invertebrates, and 3,500 species of saltwater invertebrates. Of these, 3,500 are protected by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) under the Endangered Species Act.

The bald eagle is considered the national animal and symbol of West Aurelia, and features prominently on the national flag, as well as on coins, banknotes, and stamps. Other species sometimes considered the national animal are the grey wolf and moose. These animals are mainly concentrated in the country's northern regions.

There are 19 national parks and hundreds of other parks, forests, wildernesses, greenbelts, and wildlife and dark sky preserves managed by the NPWS. These areas are protected from human interference to ensure environmental sustainability and to protect endangered species.

Demographics

The government agency responsible for the census is the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which is part of the Interior Department. A census is conducted every five years to determine population statistics, and in turn the number of seats in the Senate. The ONS also collects other relevant data on West Aurelia's population.

Population

Race Population Percentage
White 62,250,000 75
Asian 16,600,000 15
Other 4,150,000 5

The ONS estimates the country's population to be 83,000,000. The ONS estimates the country's population to to be 75% white, 20% Asian, 5% other races. Foreign citizens (excluding dual West Aurelian citizens), who are mostly highly-skilled professionals and international students, comprise 21% of the country's population.

Language

Language Population Percentage
English 74,700,000 90
Chinese 5,810,000 7
Spanish 1,660,000 2
Other 830,000 1

English is West Aurelia's official language. This means that all material produced by the government for widespread general use must be written in English, although additional translations are allowed. The language receives no other benefits. State, county, and municipal legislatures are allowed to add additional official languages. The state of Dorado has Spanish as an official language. The ONS estimates that 90% of the country's population speaks English as a first language, with 7% speaking Chinese and its dialects, 2% speaking Spanish, and 1% speaking other languages.

Religion

Religion Population Percentage
Non-religious 62,250,000 75
Christianity 16,600,000 20
Judaism 2,490,000 3
Other 1,660,000 2

West Aurelia has freedom of religion and a separation of church and state. The ONS estimates the country's population to be 75% non-religious (65% atheist, 9% agnostic, and 1% other beliefs), 20% Christian (13% Protestant, 5% Catholic, 1.5% Orthodox, and 0.5% other denominations), 3% Jewish, and 2% other religions. Like most developed countries, religion is in decline, and irreligion is growing rapidly, especially among those under the age of 30.

Government and politics

West Aurelia is a unitary presidential republic, and the government is split into the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Each branch of government acts as a check on the others' power, in a concept known as the separation of powers. Executive power is decentralized, and there are four levels of government - national, state, county, and municipal - plus a national administrative district which holds the powers of both a state and a municipality.

West Aurelia has an uncodified constitution, where the fundamental rules of government are detailed in a range of statutes. These statues, which have been passed and extensively modified throughout West Aurelian history, are treated the same as any other law.

Political parties

West Aurelia has operated under a three-party system for most of its history. Although they are elected separately, the presidency and a Senate majority are usually held by the same party as elections take place on the same day. The center-left Freedom Party, center-right Conservative Party, and center-left Social Democrats have dominated politics since the country's founding, although the latter has not been as successful as its counterparts. Regardless, it remains a major force in West Aurelian politics.

Executive branch

File:Stephen Hayes and John Harper.jpg
Stephen Hayes (right) and John Harper (left) celebrate their victory in the 2012 presidential election.

The executive branch's role is to execute and enforce laws. It is headed by the president, who is both head of state and head of government and is elected every four years by popular vote. The president serves a four-year term, with a two-term limit. The president is the commander-in-chief of the West Aurelian Armed Forces. Most legislative bills must be approved by the president, unless it passes by a two-thirds majority, upon which it immediately becomes law.

Presidential elections are held every four years on the first Saturday in May using the alternative vote method, with the president and vice president running on the same ticket. Election cycles begin 60 days prior to the election date. The president and vice president begin their terms on June 1 of the same year. The current president and vice president are Stephen Hayes and John Harper, respectively, of the Freedom Party. They have been in office since 2012.

The executive branch is comprised of eleven departments: the Departments of State, Defense, the Treasury, Justice, Home Affairs, Commerce, the Interior, Health, Transportation, Energy, and Education. The heads of each department are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Along with the president and vice president, they form the Cabinet.

  • Department of State:

The Department of State (DOS) is responsible for foreign affairs and trade, and is headed by the secretary of state. The current secretary of state is Mehdi Hussein.

  • Department of Defense:

The Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for national security, and is headed by the secretrary of defense. The current defense secretary is David Rutherford.

  • Department of the Treasury:

The Department of the Treasury, commonly reffered to simply as the Treasury, is responsible for fiscal policy, economic policy, and financial regulation, and is headed by the secretary of the treasury. The current treasury secretary is Michael Valls.

  • Department of Justice:

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is responsible for law enforcement and homeland security, and is headed by the attorney general. The current attorney general is Sara Halsey.

  • Department of Home Affairs:

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA), commonly referred to as the Home Office, is responsible for homeland security, civil defense, and immigration, and is headed by the secretary of home affairs. The current home secretary is Hugo Norton.

  • Department of Commerce:

The Department of Commerce (DOC) is responsible for economic regulation and labor policy, and is headed by the minister of economic affairs. The current economy minister is Harold Soh.

  • Department of the Interior:

The Department of the Interior (DOI) has a broad range of responsibilities, including environmental protection and agricultural policy, and is headed by the minister of the interior. The current interior minister is Elise Pilkington.

  • Department of Health:

The Department of Health is responsible health policy, and is headed by the secretary of health. The current health secretary is Elizabeth Pfeiffer.

  • Department of Transportation:

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for transportation policy, and is headed by the secretary of transportation. The current transportation secretary is Maria Walsall.

  • Department of Energy:

The Department of Energy (DOE) is responsible for energy policy, and is headed by the secretary of energy. The current energy secretary is James Fraser.

  • Department of Education:

The Department of Education is responsible for education policy, and is headed by the secretary of education. The current education secretary is Amanda Peake.

There are also several independent agencies of the West Aurelian government, which are not part of any executive department or any other branch of government. They are the following:

  • Bank of West Aurelia:

The Bank of West Aurelia is the central bank of West Aurelia, and is responsible for monetary policy and financial regulation. The Bank maintains autonomy from political interference.

  • National Electoral Commission:

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) is responsible for elections management and campaign finance regulation throughout all levels of government.

  • West Aurelian Space Administration:

The West Aurelian Space Administration (WASA) is responsible for West Aurelia's civilian space exploration and research programs.

  • National Science and Innovation Initiative:

The National Science and Innovation Initiative (NSII) is responsible for conducting and funding scientific research for the benefit of West Aurelians.

Legislative branch

File:WA Senate House.jpg
The Senate building in Riverside.

The Senate of West Aurelia is the unicameral legislature of West Aurelia, consisting of 449 senators elected every four years by popular vote. An MP serves a four-year term, with no term limits. The Senate is responsible for passing laws. The power to authorize the use of force and impeach senior members of government also lies with Senate.

MPs are elected using the mixed-member proportional system. 249 MPs are directly elected from local constituencies around the country using the alternative vote method. Each of the 12 states is represented in the Senate with constituencies proportionate to its population, with each state entitled to at least one constituency. Additionally, the capital city of Riverside, not part of any state, supplements the Senate with six MPs based on its population. Seats are apportioned among the states and Riverside by population following the census (which occurs every five years), and come into effect during the next election.

200 more MPs are elected using the Sainte-Laguë method of proportional representation, with an open-list format. There is no electoral threshold necessary for a party to enter the Senate. Whether an MP is elected as a local representative or as a member of a party list has no effect on their powers. Senate elections are held every four years on the first Saturday in May. Election cycles begin 60 days prior to the election date. MPs begin their terms on June 1 of the same year.

A key concept in West Aurelian politics is the impartial speaker. An election is held by MPs and MPs-elect to select a speaker from among a list of candidates. The speaker serves a four-year term, with a three-term limit. The speaker is not considered an MP, and thus has no powers to introduce legislation or vote. His or her role is to ensure fair debate and enforce parliamentary procedure without favoring any particular party. The current speaker is Marcus Briggs, who has been in office since 2008.

States, counties, and municipalities also have their own legislatures, whose members are elected using the same method.

Judicial branch

File:Supreme Court Building WA.jpg
The Supreme Court Building in Riverside.

On both the national and state level, a legal system operates based on common law. The West Aurelian legal system recognizes four sources of law: written statutes, judicial precedent, international treaties, and administrative regulations.

West Aurelian maintains an independent national judiciary, which is made up of a three-tier court system. The lowest tier are the district courts, followed by the circuit courts of appeals and the Supreme Court of West Aurelia, which acts as the court of last resort. The Supreme Court is made up of eight associate justices and one chief justice.

Each court, with the exception of the Supreme Court, is divided into different branches for different types of cases, such as criminal and civil courts. The two lower courts are required to hear any case brought before them, while the Supreme Court operates under discretionary review. There are 34 judicial districts and three judicial circuits, each with its own district court and circuit court of appeals, respectively.

The West Aurelian state judiciary mirrors its national counterpart, with each state having their own district courts, circuit courts of appeals, and supreme courts. The number of state judicial districts and state judicial circuits depends on the size and population of the state.

Administrative divisions

West Aurelia consists of 12 states and one national administrative district for a total of 13 administrative divisions. The 12 states are Alternia, Artemis, Chadstone, Demeter, Dorado, Freeport, Leasath, Lumeria, New Harmony, Prisnia, Rutannia, and Valtonia. States are headed by a governor, who is elected every four years by popular vote with a two-term limit. Each state has its own senate, whose members are elected every four years by popular vote with no term limits. State senates can pass certain types of laws, such as state tax laws.

The national administrative district is Riverside, which is the capital city of West Aurelia. Riverside is headed by a mayor, who is elected every four years by popular vote with a two-term limit. Riverside's legislature is the City of Riverside Assembly, whose members are elected every four years by popular vote with no term limits. In addition to the powers of their municipal counterparts, the mayor takes on the same role as state governors and the Assembly takes on the same role as state senates.

Foreign relations

West Aurelia has an established structure of foreign relations and is an active member on the world diplomatic stage. Since its foundation, West Aurelia has long maintained a policy of idealism in international relations and non-interventionism in foreign conflicts, having never gone to war in its history.

West Aurelia hosts foreign embassies and consulates throughout the country. The premises of diplomatic missions remain under the jurisdiction of foreign governments, while foreign diplomatic and military personnel enjoy varying degrees of immunity.

Military

Administered by the Department of Defense and with the president as commander-in-chief, the West Aurelian Armed Forces is composed of four branches: the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Marine Corps. Each of these branches maintains its own reserve force, collectively known as the Armed Forces Reserve, which is mainly deployed to deal with domestic issues such as large riots and natural disasters, but is also capable of deploying anywhere in the world when it is needed. The Senate is responsible for authorizing the use of force, and the Senate Armed Services Committee provides oversight of the military.

The armed forces is comprised of 157,300 active and 51,200 reserve personnel, for a total force of 208,500 personnel. The Defense Department also employs 94,080 civilian employees. Military service is voluntary, and conscription has never been instated. All military positions, including combat roles, have been open to women since 1917, with women being held to the same fitness standards as men.

Law enforcement and crime

Law enforcement in West Aurelia is primarily the responsibility of state police agencies. The Special Detective Unit (SDU) has nationwide jurisdiction, conducting investigations into serious crimes and providing support to other law enforcement agencies as needed. It also holds a dual role as a domestic intelligence service, and is thus responsible for counter-intelligence, counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, and dealing with other domestic threats to national security.

Incarceration of inmates is the responsibility of the Department of Corrections (DOC). West Aurelia has an incarceration rate of 72 per 100,000 inhabitants. The incarceration rate is at an all-time low, following the decriminalization of all drugs in 2001 (when it was at 132 per 100,000 inhabitants) and the legalization of less harmful drugs in 2008. West Aurelian prisons have a primary focus on rehabilitation of inmates rather than punishment.

Crime rates in West Aurelia are low. The murder rate is at 0.9 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Government finance

Taxes are the primary source of government revenue, and are levied at the national, state, county, and municipal level.

Human rights

West Aurelia has maintained a long tradition of upholding human rights and the rule of law, and it is considered a world benchmark by human rights groups. Human rights violations by the government have been routinely punished throughout history. Women's and minority have long been protected in the public sphere. Women's suffrage has been in effect since the country's foundation and the death penalty has never been instated.

The rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, privacy, asylum, and a fair trial are protected by law. West Aurelia is also known for its strong whistleblower protection and shield laws, with government whistleblowers and anonymous sources receiving protection provided that the information disclosed is in the public interest.

Economy

File:Rockwell Skyline.jpeg
The Rockwell central business district at night. The city is a leading financial center.

West Aurelia has a highly developed mixed-market capitalist economy, dominated by free-market ideals but combined with government regulatory oversight and a robust welfare state. With a highly skilled labor force, advanced infrastructure, and low corruption, the West Aurelian economy is ranked among the most innovative, productive, competitive, and business-friendly in the world, allowing it to attract a high degree of foreign investment. West Aurelia has received top-tier AAA sovereign credit ratings from multiple credit rating agencies.

The West Aurelian economy is dominated by the service sector (especially finance, insurance, accountancy, real estate, and tourism), which contributes approximately 71% to the national GDP, with industry contributing 28% and agriculture contributing 1%. West Aurelia's nominal GDP stands at WA$4.565 trillion and its nominal per capita income stands at WA$55,000, with real GDP growing at a steady 2.7% per annum. West Aurelia's highly-regarded universal healthcare and public education systems have been credited with ameliorating poverty and wealth inequality, with 7.6% of the population living below the national poverty line. The unemployment rate is at a low 3.5%.

West Aurelia's official currency is the West Aurelian dollar. Banknotes and coins are issued by the Bank of West Aurelia, the country's central bank.

Education

File:University of Riverside Dorms.JPG
Dormitories at the University of Riverside in winter.

Primary and secondary education in West Aurelia is overseen by the Department of Education, and is provided by a mix of public and private schools. Around 80% of schools receive public funding, which is mainly handled at the local level. A small number of West Aurelians are homeschooled. Many schools in West Aurelia are comprised of students from kindergarten to grade 12, although this system is more common in private schools. Unlike many developed countries, education is not compulsory at any level in West Aurelia.

The official Education Department-sanctioned curriculum for schools in West Aurelia is the National Accredited Curriculum (NAC), which is in use by 95% of public and private schools in West Aurelia. All public schools offer the NAC, although some also offer international education programs. Upon successful completion of the NAC, students are awarded the National Certificate of Education (NCE).

Tertiary education is also overseen by the Education Department, and is dominated by public institutions, with only a handful of private providers. The prestigious University of Riverside has been consistently ranked as the top university in West Aurelia, especially in the fields of law, political science, international relations, business, and economics. Other highly-regarded universities include Rockwell College, the Leasath Institute of Technology (LIT), and the University of Rayport.

West Aurelia has an over-15 literacy rate of 99%.

Infrastructure

Transportation

File:Emerald Cove Train.jpg
The Spirit of Freeport passes through Emerald Cove, Freeport.

The National Highway System, linking all 12 states and Riverside, began construction in 1955.

The public transport industry is dominated by state-owned enterprises. Public buses, light rail systems, and rapid transit systems are usually owned by the governments of the county or municipality they serve.

Airports in West Aurelia are usually owned by county or municipal governments with oversight provided by the Transportation Department. The civil aviation industry is completely privatized. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is responsible for regulating the industry, which includes enforcing safety standards and ensuring the airworthiness of aircraft, and investigating air accidents.

The Transportation Department also issues driving, pilot, and boating licenses.

Health

File:Riverside General Hospital.jpg
The Riverside General Hospital.

West Aurelia maintains a highly efficient universal healthcare system, known as Medicare, which was introduced in 1945 and is overseen by the Department of Human Services. Residents of West Aurelia must obtain health insurance under Medicare, which is funded by income and payroll taxes. Approximately 99% of West Aurelians have health insurance, and most citizens also have complementary insurance for costs not covered by Medicare.

Medicare covers between 75% to 100% of a patient's costs, depending on varying factors including the patient's income, the type of treatment, and the cost of treatment.

Around 65% of hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare institutions are publicly-funded, with the rest being privately run. The healthcare system is decentralized, with local governments responsible for the majority of public healthcare funding.

West Aurelia has a male life expectancy of 81 years, a female life expectancy of 86 years, and an overall life expectancy of 83.5 years. The leading causes of death in the country are cardiovascular diseases, cancer, stroke, and road traffic accidents. West Aurelia has a mortality rate of 3.42 per 1,000 people.

Culture

Media

The three major broadcasters in West Aurelia are the Rockwell Broadcasting Company (RBC), West Aurelian Broadcasting (WAB), and the National Broadcasting System (NBS). NBS is an independent, not-for-profit public broadcaster, although it is not owned or funded by the government. Around 85% of West Aurelian households have cable or satellite TV.

Prominent newspapers include The Riverside Standard, West Aurelia's most widely circulated newspaper and often considered the country's newspaper of record, and The Rockwell Post. The Riverside Standard is renowned for its investigative journalism, maintaining a long history of exposing government misconduct, corruption, and scandals.