Political culture of Gylias
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The political culture of Gylias is famous for its colourful and lively character. This is the result of various factors, mainly the strong tradition of direct democracy and political involvement by ordinary people.
The Gylian consensus prevails in mainstream politics, resulting in popular expectation that governance provide social security and execute public instructions, and the economy be centred on maximising human well-being. The egalitarianism and sense of collective responsibility that characterises Gylian society is reflected in general support for social security, public services, social liberalism, and multiculturalism within the framework of a common identity.
Gylias' multiparty system has traditionally been dominated by left-wing, liberal, and conservative forces, with a strong influence of anarchist, green, and diverse forces gathered under the Non-inscrits banner.
Factors which have shaped Gylian political culture include the following:
- Geography: The disconnect between the size of the country and its population produces a popular perception as a "small country". Gylias' position at the south-eastern end of Siduri and its accompanying distance from other countries has encouraged the development of a unique identity.
- Demographics: Gylias has been multi-ethnic since antiquity, and Gylian identity stresses the multicultural and cosmopolitan aspect of society.
- Religion: Gylias is dominated by ethnic religions, and has a history of clashes with monotheist and universalist religions.
- History: Gylian democracy is defined by its foundation in the resistance to Xevden, and was shaped by the anarchist Free Territories, whose features have largely been preserved in modern Gylias.
- Sociology: Gylias' evolution into an urban and industrial society took place late and at a dizzying pace under Alscia and the Free Territories.
The confluence of direct democracy and atypical influences on political development have shaped voting blocs and issues in Gylian politics. Social issues are generally absent among political divisions, as a result of the marginalisation and exclusion of social conservatism from mainstream politics. The main debates between opposing parties tend to revolve around economic and quality of life issues.
Statism and anarchism
The transition to a stateless society is commonly accepted as the ultimate goal of the Gylian polity, and inscribed as such in the Constitution, but divisions occur over how to achieve this goal.
In general, the left-wing of Gylian politics and part of the right-wing favour anarchism, while liberals and conservatives are more accepting of the state as a means to coordinate governance and direct the economy.
The market's role
The demopolitan movement views cities as the driving force of economic development, therefore economic policy should favour urbanisation.
The debate around how to deal with harmful behaviours and goods is based on whether reinforcement through shaping choices and levying taxes is more effective than directly banning behaviours and goods through legislation and enforcement.
Consumption is one of the key drivers of the Gylian economy, within a strongly environmentalist framework.
Gylian political culture is strongly participative, reflected in the popular slogan "Everyone shall take part" (Tous participera). Decision making power is concentrated in communal assemblies as the main instrument of direct democracy. A robust civil society maintains high levels of social and civic engagement among the populace, and contributes to a public taboo against refusing to participate in public life.
Participation is further enhanced by the Information Bureau's status as a trusted arbiter in public life, ensuring a higher degree of restraint and sanctions for propaganda and deliberate misinformation.
As a result of the wide dispersal of power, formal institutions of representative democracy are subordinate to direct democracy, and have a mainly coordinating and counseling role. Legislatures only exercise the responsibilities and competences delegated to them by communal assemblies, and are all popular legislatures whose members serve part-time.
The federal Gylian Parliament in particular is seen as more of a national discussion forum with associated responsibilities. In general, political parties see the Parliament as a venue to represent their viewpoints and influence public opinion, which shapes their activities and campaigns accordingly. The same dynamics are in evidence to a lesser extent in regional and local legislatures, which have more responsibilities due to proximity to the local level.
The Law on Cabinet Representation of 1971 further incentivises parties to maintain a mass membership drawn from all walks of life.
Even when it was directly elected (from 1962 to 1995), the Senate was popularly regarded as a chamber whose membership served to recognise the contributions of distinguished Gylians and ensure representation of all voices in public life. Parties accordingly downplayed political aspects and nominated a mix of esteemed figures from civil society and popular culture (such as the "fine arts salon"), as well as ordinary Gylians from diverse backgrounds and occupations.
This aspect was strengthened with the switch to a sortition-based Senate — "senator" is used in various Gylian languages as a term to denote respect towards a person's expertise or achivements.
The presidency and accompanying elections are another significant manifestation of the ethos, with politics being relatively downplayed and parties supporting diverse candidates or esteemed civic or artistic figures for election. This aspect led to some commentators likening them to "populist politics done well".
The confluence of participative political culture and complementary institutions is the primary contributor to the lively character of Gylian politics. Since Gylians govern themselves through direct democracy, elections are seen as festive occasions, reflected in the customs of Election Day.
Gylians generally perceive politics as not just the art or science of governance, but also a means of enjoyment. Engaging in politics should be fun and rewarding for Gylians — an insight carried from the education system's emphasis on learning through play. The "ideal politician" is thus someone who is both adept with policy debates and details, and possesses a charismatic and memorable image.
Many politicians have cultivated distinctive public images to complement their message and win popularity:
- Nancy Cowell used the image of a singing cowgirl to promote the FLP's agrarian socialism platform. Famously, she once brought a horse into the Chamber of Deputies during a debate on animal welfare legislation, citing the principle of "nothing about us without us".
- Market anarchists, particularly through the UI, have managed to gain acceptance as a harmlessly eccentric presence in mainstream politics by cultivating an image of decadent glamour strongly inspired by Weimar culture.
- Emilia Malandrino's ARENA similarly secured itself a niche, initially by presenting a watered-down post-Futurism before abandoning political elements entirely in favour of cultivating an image of attractive and cultured power, styled after rezy antas.
- The PPFN has become the most successful "molehill party" due to its successful invocation of a demopolitan atmosphere with socialised luxury aesthetics.
The use of ranked voting for all elections and a restriction of one candiate per circonscription significantly contributes to the lively atmosphere of Gylian politics, ensuring voter support for the presence of colourful candiates or parties, and enthusiasm for preferencing them first. The LND's breakthrough in the 1990 federal election came in part due to Moana Pozzi's humorous slogan, "If you want to waste your vote, vote for us!".