Politics of Gylias
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politics and government of
The politics of Gylias take place in the framework of a semi-direct democracy, organised as a federal republic. The Constitution is based on the principle of self-government, while the six codes of law establish a civil law system. At the federal level, legislative power is exercised by the Gylian Parliament; executive power by the Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister; and the judiciary is independent, headed by the Court of Cassation and the Constitutional Court.
Gylias has followed an atypical path of democratic development in Tyran. It is a successor to the Free Territories, and has accordingly been strongly influenced by anarchism. There is a strong tradition of direct democracy, manifested in the use of communal assemblies and the system of popular initiative. The allocation of responsibilities between the different levels of government is based on the principle of subsidiarity.
There is broad support among political parties for the Gylian consensus, which together with the direct democratic elements ensures a mostly cooperative political scene. A high number of parties is represented, leading to large coalition governments as a characteristic of Gylian politics.
Gylians have a high level of satisfaction with the political system, as measured by surveys. Gylias is regularly considered one of the least corrupt countries in the world by international organisations.
The Constitution was created through a popular drafting process, along with the six codes, and was approved by referendum in 1961. It is one of the shortest constitutions in Tyran — only 40 articles in length — and preserved many of the institutions and foundations of the Free Territories, giving Gylian politics unique traits within the region.
Power is vested in the people of Gylias, with the state being established on a temporary basis. The division of powers favours local governance, with larger bodies established for coordination and management purposes. The strong delimitations of administrative bodies' responsibilities and capacities means that in practice many officeholders are figureheads, who must rely on persuasion to gain support for their agenda.
The foundational principles of the Constitution include self-governance, equality of all Gylians, comprehensive human rights, common ownership of natural resources and the means of production, workers' self-management, and non-recognition of private property.
Gylias' form of government is based on direct democracy functioning in parallel with complementary representative democracy. The main instrument of governance is communal assemblies, weekly meetings at a community level, selected partly by sortition, where deliberations take place and decisions are made.
Through the system of popular initiative, Gylians can submit any proposal to a referendum, including constitutional amendments. Referendums can be organised at a local, regional, or federal level. Referendums can also be called to repeal existing laws passed by a municipal, regional or federal legislature, or to recall elected officials.
Communal assemblies and referendums are subject to Gylias' compulsory voting laws. As a result, they benefit from a high level of voter turnout in general, allowing for a robust system of participatory democracy.
Cooperative democracy is the term for additional forms of democracy at the local level, which augment both direct and representative democracy. Two main approaches to cooperative democracy are distinguished:
- Commissioning approach: the public participate in planning and decisionmaking with elected officeholders and the administrative agencies. The public thus has a commissioning role in developing local solutions and proposing new legislation. The commissioning approach includes municipal and regional advisory councils, formed of Gylians with the necessary competences, which advise governments on policy.
- Co-producing approach: the public are encouraged to take over the running of community centres and spaces, and engage in mutual aid and support groups. The co-producing approach places more of an emphasis on volunteering with support from governments, including incentives such as sectoral and time-based currencies.
Governance in Gylias is non-hierarchical and based on subsidiarity. Any legislative or executive institutions above communal assemblies only exercise the responsibilities and capacities that are delegated to them. The majority of powers are concurrent powers, shared by all levels of governance.
All Gylian legislatures are popular legislatures, whose members serve part-time and have another occupation besides being a legislator. This measure was adopted to prevent accumulation of power by the legislatures at the expense of communal assemblies. The result has been the primacy of direct democracy in Gylian politics, with representative democracy being used for coordination and handling issues more complicated than running daily affairs.
Legally, municipalities can assume any competence they wish, as long as it does not disrupt the constitutional foundation of Gylias. Regions are mostly responsible for local matters that require greater coordination and planning than municipalities can provide, and have an executive function, carrying out the implementation of policies made at the municipal or federal level.
Responsibilities assumed by municipal and regional governments include: culture, health, education, social services, policing, roads and transport, urban planning, housing, sanitation, emergency services, energy, public works, environmental protection, and civil registration. They are also responsible for local and regional currencies and the collection of local and regional taxes.
The federal level is characterised by a separation of powers and more limited responsibilities, which are mainly advisory, coordinating, and management roles.
The legislative branch is headed by the Gylian Parliament. It is composed of the Chamber of Deputies, whose 500 members are elected from local circonscriptions, and the Senate, whose 300 members are chosen by sortition and presidential appointment. The Parliament is a popular legislature which plays a mainly deliberative and delegative role in Gylian politics. Deputies are subject to imperative mandates and recall from their constituents.
The executive branch is represented by the Cabinet of Gylias, headed by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is designated by the President to form a cabinet, which must have the confidence of the Parliament. Cabinets function collegially, with ministers having equal prominence and autonomy in carrying out their duties. The Prime Minister assembles the cabinet, establishes its direction, and consults with the people and local governments over decisions to be made and matters of national importance. The cabinet as a whole is subject to both individual ministerial responsibility and cabinet collective responsibility. It prepares preliminary resolutions and decisions for Parliament to consider.
The judicial branch is headed by two supreme courts: the Court of Cassation, which deals with all civil and penal cases, and the Constitutional Court, which deals with constitutional compliance and administrative cases. Both have 9 members, appointed for a single 9-year term by the President, on the advice of professional bodies.
The President occupies a distinct role outside of the three branches. They are defined constitutionally as "the main counselor and arbiter of the people" — in practice a head of state, but without acknowledgement of the state. The President has a mainly ceremonial figurehead role, and carries out representative and practical functions with the advice of the cabinet.
Gylias has a rich party landscape. The profusion of parties makes majority government impossible, and coalition government the norm. Parties may confederate into electoral blocs based on ideology. The established electoral blocs have 5 member parties each, as Chamber of Deputies circonscriptions elect 5 members each.
At the federal level, there are currently 5 electoral blocs represented, as well as unaffiliated parties and independent members, commonly known as Non-inscrits.
The political landscape at the municipal and regional level is different. Large electoral blocs are disadvantaged by comparison, whereas smaller parties — particularly the UM, PPFN, FLP, and IRAM — and independent politicians predominate.
Due to the Law on Electoral Representation of 1960 restricting parties to one candidate per circonscription, municipal and regional elections feature a number of independent candidates who use descriptions such as "Independent Urban Movement", "Independent Democratic Forum" and so forth. These candidates, if elected, will caucus with the parties they have indicated they favour. The Constitutional Court has ruled that the practice is permissible only for non-inscrit parties at the local and regional level.
Each region has a regionalist party. These parties are customarily assigned a shade of purple as their colour. In addition to independent regionalists, regional parties can also enter into electoral alliances with electoral blocs, presenting up to 5 common candidates in a circonscription.
Gylias has a history of strong political involvement by ordinary people through popular movements. The dispersal of power, part-time legislatures, and focus on self-governance have produced a notable phenomenon: election candidates and elected officeholders who are eccentric yet capable, or simply come from outside politics, such as scientists, academics, qualified professionals, artists, sex workers, sportspersons, and others.
Notable examples of the phenomenon include poet Phaedra Metaxa, writers Virginia Gerstenfeld and Anaïs Nin, musician Hilda Wechsler, concert pianist Neira Tasei, soprano Sofia Demes, ballerina and philosopher Margot Fontaine, pornographic actresses Moana Pozzi and Ilona Stahler, historian Herta Schwamen, chemist Margaret Roberts, and scientist Dora Eðyn.
All Gylian elections use ranked voting: single transferable vote for legislatures, and instant-runoff voting for mayors, governors, and Presidents. All Gylians can vote if they are at least 15 years old and have a valid address; citizenship is not necessary. Voting is compulsory; turnout for elections and referendums is consistently high.
The Law on Electoral Representation of 1960 is the basis of Gylian election law. Each administrative level has its own independent electoral commission, and they are collectively federated into Elections Gylias.
Gylian parties are not allowed to submit more than one candidate for each circonscription. By-elections do not exist. In the event of a vacancy, the ballots of the election are re-examined, with the former candidate eliminated, and votes re-transferred. Vacancies thus automatically change the composition of a legislature.
Party political broadcasts
Political advertising on television or radio is illegal in Gylias. Instead, parties are allocated broadcast slots free of charge on broadcast channels, with a maximum length of 5 minutes. These slots are known as party political broadcasts (French: émissions des partis politiques), abbreviated "PPB" or "émpas".
The allocation of PPBs is determined by the National Broadcasting Office according to a formula, to not disadvantage small parties. PPBs with discriminatory, hateful, or anti-constitutional content are banned.
Gylias has a permanent and politically neutral civil service, embodied in the administrative agencies, which independently carry out policies and decisions. Local government departments and federal ministries are comparatively smaller, and more focused on deliberation, negotiation, planning, and policy formulation.
Officeholders are not allowed to interfere with the functioning of the public service, a crime known as "ministerial reign".
Gylias is active in international peace efforts and negotiations.
Gylias is known for its lively political culture, influenced by its anarchist heritage, direct democracy, and electoral system.