Counties of Caldia

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A geopolitical map of Caldia, showing the 26 contaetha in their respective regions.


The counties of Caldia (Ghaillish: contaetha na Ghlítteacht) are sub-national divisions that are used to geographically mark areas of local government. These land divisions were first formed following the arrival of the Verique in imitation of the counties then in use in the Kingdom of Embria. In Embria, counties were used as units of local government. The main function of the county was to impose royal control in the areas of taxation, security, and the administration of justice at both local and regional levels. Through the concept of county corporate several cities were to a status which was deemed to be no less important than the existing counties in which they lay, such as Scariff and Clyte. This double control mechanism of 25 counties plus 5 counties corporate remained unchanged for a little over two centuries until the early 19th century, since then counties have been adapted and in some cases divided by legislation to meet new administrative and political requirements. Over time the counties home to major settlements such as Spálgleann would be absorbed by the municipality entirely. Likewise, in the case of Garrafrauns and Invertwinc lands from their original counties were distributed to neighboring counties following their reorganization into a municipality based county.

Today, Caldia is made up of 26 counties. The counties have a permanent constitutional status. Under the Caldish Constitution, all 26 counties are equal in status. Each county is governed as a such, with the exceptions of Spálgleann, Garrafrauns, Invertwinc, and Shanbally, all of which are both a municipality and a county.

Types of counties

Caldia has 26 counties, the majority of which use the County Commission model. However, there have been three other types of counties in Caldia. They are counties corporate, metropolitan counties, and autonomous counties.

County Corporate

First created during the Middle Ages, counties corporate were small autonomous regions that had the same authority as a county. While they had the same rights and powers as a standard county, counties corporate officially remained part of the county to which they belonged. These were in effect the first city governments in Caldia. The first county corporate was established in the 14th century. While Spálgleann had been established as a chartered city, it remained the only official city in Caldia until the 17th century. Other large settlements instead became counties corporate. The first county corporate was Shanbally, which was officially part of County Clane. Counties corporate were slowly phased out starting in the 17th century, when Garrafrauns received its charter. Elsewhere, they remained in effect until 1965 when they were abolished under the Instrument for Governance of 1965, which amended the constitution to abolish counties corporate.

Metropolitan County

Caldia has four metropolitan counties: Spálgleann, Garrafrauns, Invertwinc, and Shanbally. A metropolitan county is a city that has the same rights as a county. It is similar to a county corporate, however it is both de jure and de facto self-governing. Initially, the only city that was also a county was Spálgleann and this was not by design. Urbanization starting after Caldia began to industrialize saw the city's effective borders envelope the entirety of the County of Spálgleann. Overtime, many of the other municipalities in the county voted to become a part of the City of Spálgleann. The government expanded upon this model with the Instrument for Governance of 1965, which established Garrafrauns, Invertwinc, and Shanbally as metropolitan counties. Many of these cities have populations that are higher than most counties. The government determined separating these highly-populated municipalities from counties would allow for more efficient and representative governance at a county level.

Autonomous County

Currently, the only autonomous county in Caldia is Caithia, which was seperated from Oileáin Oirthir in 1978 via the Caithian Home Rule Bill. An autonomous county has similar rights to a regular county, but is granted a greater level of autonomy, with the devolved government and legislature having the power to legislate in all areas not reserved by the Tionól. In this respect, autonomous counties have far expanded duties than their commission counterparts, and are generally considered closer to devolved rather than local government. Another key difference between autonomous and regular counties is that autonomous counties are granted protection under Caldish law, meaning that they cannot be altered without the approval of their devolved administration.

Politics and governance

County governments have three components:

  • The County Commission (contae coimisiún) serves as the county legislature. National law specifies that the commissions may contain between seven and fifteen seats. Due to the small sizes of the commissions and the possibility of electing an exactly split legislature with the inevitably resulting deadlock, an odd-numbered commission is required.
  • The County Executive (contae feidhmiúcháin) is the head of the county's government. The Executive is chosen differently in each county. Counties either have a popularly elected county executive or an executive elected by the commission from among its members. Terms vary from county to county, but typically last between one and three years.
  • The County Governor (contae gobharnóir) is the ceremonial head of the county. Governors are formally appointed by the monarch on behalf of the national government. This office mainly functions as a supervising authority over the county and municipality administrations and their decisions can be appealed to him or her. County governors also play a very ceremonial role and act as an official representative of the national government, acting almost as an ambassador.

The four municipalities that are also counties, Spálgleann, Garrafrauns, Invertwinc, and Shanbally, do not follow the County Commission model the rest of the counties do. The county executive is the Laird or Lady Mayor and the legislature is the city council. Likewise, Caithia is an autonomous county and is governed in accordance with the Caithian Home Rule Act of 1978. The county executive is the Chief Minister and the county legislature is the Cynulliad.

Elections

The means of election of the commission varies from all members being elected in districts to all members being elected at large with various systems in between.

For the single-member districts, Ní Dochartaigh method of single transferable vote or first-past-the-post is used. This depends on how districts, known as wards, are established by the individual county. A county will have as many single-member districts as it will commissioners and each district contains an approximately equal population. Some counties have multi-member constituencies with at least two members. These districts are not always equal in population, as a county with seven commissioners may have a ward with three members and another with four. The Ní Dochartaigh method is employed for all of these multi-member districts.

Some counties elect their commissioners at-large, meaning they represent the whole of the county and not a specific electoral district. These counties use the Ní Dochartaigh method or open list proportional representation. It is most common in counties with commissions with more than eleven members.

If a special election takes place and there is one seat at stake, first-past-the-post is used regardless of the county's regular electoral procedures. Counties that use the Ní Dochartaigh method have at times criticized this practice.

The diversity in electoral systems has been criticized as confusing and inefficient. However, among the counties themselves and national governments there has been little desire to standardize the system. The constitution gives counties the right to determine how their commissions are selected.

Regular county elections are held every five years nationwide. The last election was on 12 June 2015.

Duties

Counties are responsible for supervising local state administration that is not otherwise assigned to government agencies. The elected county commission oversees the governance and bureaucratic affairs of the county, primarily in regards to public transportation, waste services, education, and culture. Counties are also responsible for fire and ambulance services and were previously responsible for police services.

County commissions are responsible for working with the elected health boards and implementing their resolutions.

There are several government agencies that are organized on a county basis. Some of these agencies include the national police service, employment and social services, and public assistance services.

County governments also coordinate their political goals with the national government, often through the Ministry of Urban Affairs and Municipal Relations.

List of counties

Arms County
(contae)
Type County seat
(suíomh contae)
Population Region Code TCs Governor
(gobharnóir)
Executive
(feidhmiúcháin)
Coalition
Arms of the Earl of Chester.svg Aerach County Clyte 761,402 Southern I 31 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Liberty-Caldish Dems
Macqueen of Corrybrough arms.svg Ballina County Mhothair 29,102 Highlands V 3 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Centre
Earl of Menteith.svg Bouladuff County Cahir 614,502 Southern G 26 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Liberty-Caldish Dems
Caithian Shield.png Caithia Autonomous Lloidas 46,128 Oileáin Oirthir Z 1 Órla Ní Fhlannagáin Duane ap Drummond Forward-Trawlers Interest-SDPC
County Cork arms.png Clane County Scariff 494,287 Southern H 24 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Clane First
CoA of Aberdeen.svg Garrafrauns Metropolitan Garrafrauns 973,261 Central B 43 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person SDs-Greens
Earl of cromartie arms.svg Fahamore County Portnahinch 233,744 Southern N 11 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person SDs-Caldish Dems
Blair of Blair arms.svg Folcthagh County Scillimona 247,962 Lowlands P 11 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Liberty-Centre
Blason Es famille Abaitua (Biscaye).svg Holyhead County Inagh 240,785 Southern E 11 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Liberty-Holyhead Independents
Waterford coa.png Invertwinc Metropolitan Invertwinc 782,587 Lowlands F 33 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person SDs-Labour-Greens
O'Flaherty.png Knockdale County Kildale 47,953 Sudreadharr Y 3 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Centre
Arms of Strachan of Inchtuthill.svg Liathróidí County Benderloch 45,049 Highlands U 3 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Centre
Arms of Renton of that Ilk.svg Liscannor County Abbeyfeale 250,590 Central J 11 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Liberty-Independents
Hannay of Kirkdale arms.svg Longford County Dunore 436,869 Highlands K 19 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Liberty-Caldish Dems-Independents
Blason Stonehaven.svg Mannes County St. Paul 358,291 Southern C 16 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Liberty
McPhie of Townsville arms.svg Oileáin Oirthir County Leòdhas 246,942 Oileáin Oirthir T 11 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Centre-Liberty
Macorquodaill of that Ilk arms.svg Sackmannan County Cloghel 56,948 Highlands W 3 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Centre-Liberty
Arms of Nicolson of that Ilk.svg Scalghan County Kilkelley 178,579 Lowands Q 7 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Liberty-Caldish Dems
Garden of that Ilk arms.svg Scarp County Hushinish 54,405 Sudreadharr X 3 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Scarp Independence-Liberty
Lord Borthwick arms.svg Skryne County Glennock 374,962 Central L 16 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Liberty-SDs
Ged of that Ilk Arms.svg Shanbally Metropolitan Shanbally 549,839 Southern D 26 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Shanbally Interest
Riddell of that Ilk arms.svg Shillelagh County Roscrea 264,015 Central M 12 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Liberty
Coat of arms of the Lordship of Ireland.svg Spálgleann Metropolitan Spálgleann 1,372,565 Southern A 61 Person Mac Person Dorotea Fuertes i Lluís-Malloy SDs
Lindsay CoA.png Taois County Benbaun 92,457 Highlands S 4 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Centre-Liberty
Russell of Charlton Park arms.svg Tarenny County Cobh 148,465 Lowands R 6 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person Caldish Dems-Centre
Fletcher of Fletcher arms.svg Tóinderry County City of Tóinderry (City) 401,583 Lowands O 18 Person Mac Person Person Mac Person SDs-Caldish Dems
Total 9,257,180 399

Map

With county codes, which have been official since 1965.

Proposed regions

Caldia's county system has been criticized as outdated and inefficient. Critics of the system have begun to advocate for a transition to a regional model for subdivisions. They argue this would bring the country more in line with subdivisions seen elsewhere in the Euclean Community. Some also claim that consolidating counties into regions would save money, as fewer sub-national governments would be operating and providing public services. These new, consolidated subdivisions would reflect Caldia's geographic and cultural regions.

Supporters of the county system argue that it allows for more direct, representative government and for public services to better serve the people who use them. There are some concerns that the consolidation of counties into regions would allow for the metropolitan counties to dominate the new subdivisions, taking resources away from other areas. This is especially the case for Southern Caldia, which is home to both Spálgleann and Shanbally.