Realm Parliament

Realm Parliament
116th parliamentary term
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
Leadership
Speaker
Saul Ryan, Social Democratic
Majority Leader pro tempore
Zoe Nilsson, The Greens
Minority Leader
Ronald Chump, Yohannes First
Clerk of the Whole Committee
Sansa Lovebright, Christian Democratic
Structure
Composition after last election
Political groups
Executive Council
  •      Christian Democratic (148)
  •      Consumers and Taxpayers (2)
Confidence and Supply Agreement
  •      The Greens (57)
  •      Independents (13)
Non-aligned
  •      Free Cannabis (1)
  •      The Alliance (1)
The Opposing Forces
  •      Social Democratic (146)
  •      Yohannes First (67)
  •      Family Values (2)
Elections
Personalised proportional representation
Part of a series on
Rule of Law (Yohannes)
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The Realm Parliament is the unicameral legislature of Yohannes. The Limited Separation of Powers, which established the Electoral College in 1781, and thus created the Nineteen Countries legislature, used the term "Imperial Parliament" rather than "Parliament." However, Parliament and Realm Parliament (Yohannesian: Yohannesischer Reichstag) soon came into popular usage, and in latter years especially have been used as a lazy shorthand term for both the institutions of the Electoral College and the Realm (archaic: "Imperial") Parliament. Not until the First Amendment came into force on 5 August 1861 did "Parliament" also become an official constitutional term.[1]

Parliament today, broadly speaking, consists of the Assembly of Electors in the Nineteen Countries (Collegian Electors of the Nation State) and the Realm Parliament (Members of the Realm Parliament) itself. The role of the President of the Electoral College, who is also the elected Yohannesian Emperor at the same time, is purely formal. She or he is constantly absent from the Chamber of Electors to fulfill their executive duties and obligations as chief supervisor of the Executive Council. The real business of Parliament is carried out by the elected Realm Parliament, with members of the Electoral College themselves often attending the Realm Parliament's meetings to voice their views on day-to-day state matters.

The functions of Parliament are to enact laws; to provide an Executive Council, i.e. federal government; to vote for departmental and non-departmental appropriations, e.g. supplying money; and to examine the way the money is spent. Most importantly, Parliament also serves as the highest debating chamber in the land on public issues, and has the ultimate authority to redress citizens' grievances on petitions.

Personalised proportional representation

The first recorded general election in the Nineteen Countries took place for over six months in 1786, in time for Parliament to establish its first Act. The Foreign Mission Act 1787 sent 350 Yohannesian academics and aldermen abroad to observe Western economic, political and legal cultures. Because of the urgency of the Act, the voting process involved was poor compared to today's standards. The Realm Electoral Act 1871, amended further in 1939 and 1990, laid the foundations for the subsequent development of Parliament's modern-day standardised decision-making procedures.

There are 19 constituent countries in Yohannes. Each country undertakes general election with their own electoral rules. To provide an Executive Council—that is, government at the federal level—however, there were two sets of rules used before the adoption of contemporary Yohannes' electoral system: the first and for the longest time, the first-past-the-post (FPP), and the second unofficially brief system, mixed-member proportional (MMP).

The first-past-the-post was adopted from the Constitution of Maxtopia and other industrialised countries at the time. It was a widely used electoral system in the Western world and a small number of civilised countries in the Orient. Besides these, Yohannesian academics and technical supervisors were also sent to other major regions, such as the North Pacific and the International Democratic Union.

Under FPP, the candidate who secured the highest number of votes in their electorate would become a Member of Parliament (MP). Some larger urban zones in Yohannes also had multi-member electorates to reflect their high population density. In a multi-member electorate, more than one candidate would be selected to become an MP. The FPP and multi-member electoral rules were used until the 1988 referendum and the subsequent 1990 parliamentary election. Thereafter, MMP became the prescriptive electoral rules.

MMP was also an adopted foreign system. It allowed for two types of members: Electoral and Listed. An Electoral member is the candidate who has secured the highest number of votes in their electorate. A Listed member is the candidate who has been chosen by their political party. MMP was an unofficial temporary replacement, intended to make way for the introduction of an indigenous set of rules developed in Yohannes—an offshoot of the personalised proportional representation (PPR) system.

Adopted since the 1998 parliamentary election, PPR is the prescriptive rules used in modern-day Yohannes. It combines features of FPP and MMP to create a specialised system more in line with the Nineteen Countries' laws and national spirits. It was also created to support the central agenda of the government at the time: the slow but steady growth of Yohannes' trade, commerce and industry.

Similar to MMP, the Yohannesian offshoot of PPR was designed to ensure that the make-up of the legislature would better reflect the make-up of the population, such as by looking at a voter's political allegiance, race or religion. Just like MMP, a registered voter could vote twice in the general election: first, for a candidate from their electorate, and then for the political party they so desired. The electoral candidate who has secured the highest number of votes will become an Electoral member. The second vote for the political party allows for the entry of Listed parliamentary members, so chosen by their respective parties' leaders.

Zoe Nilsson as Majority Leader pro tempore, 2019[2]

Unlike MMP, strict restrictions are in place regarding the type of individuals listed by their party. The candidates listed must be an accredited Business Leader, Community Leader, Innovator, or Research Fellow. The Justices of the Peace are tasked with giving the government's Certification and Accreditation. They are as follows:

  1. A Business Leader, someone with proven trade and commerce experience at home or abroad;
  2. A Community Leader, someone with noteworthy social and community work experience at home;
  3. An Innovator, someone with a patented invention at home or abroad; and
  4. A Research Fellow, someone with a professional accreditation or trade certification at home.

A candidate listed by their party must also pass the fifth and final criterion—with reference to the World Assembly Resolution # 198 Preventing Multiple Trials, they must have no original criminal conviction history, whether at home or abroad.

Electoral history

Citizen Lewis Castellon featured in The Financial Diary—Issue 10 June 2019. In 19th-century Yohannes, he would be forbidden to vote.[3]

The modern Nineteen Countries has practically general suffrage. The right to vote in public, political elections is held by all adult inhabitants, 20 years and over, who meet the qualifications for citizenship and permanent residence, provided they are (1) not registered as mentally unfit (e.g. to stand trial), (2) not a prisoner detained in a prison and thus unable to register as a voter, and (3) not a guilty party to corrupt practices in Yohannesian election law (e.g. bribery). In Yohannes, it is compulsory to enrol as a voter, but the act of voting in and of itself is completely voluntary.

The Electoral Amendment Act 1990 amended the summary of rules and procedures relating to the applications of approved member of Parliament candidates, the registration of voters, the separation of general electoral boundaries, and the recording of parliamentary elections, with detailed procedures already given by the Redistribution of Seats Act 1871. Certain sections of the rules and procedures are considered "out-of-limit"—that is, further amendments will require the supermajority approval of MPs and must pass the Electoral College. This mainly applies to provisions in relation to the Council of Representation, list of proportional representation formulas, qualification of voters, and secret ballot process. The statutory limitation is, however, repealable, meaning Parliament can amend some parts of the 1990 Act with a simple majority, provided the Electoral College agrees to it also.

Historically, the original Electoral Act 1790 introduced limited franchise only. Only men could be registered as an elector, and only men with a freehold estate worth 20 Quertz russling or more—or those who rented an urban dwelling worth 20 Quertz russling or more—could vote. In theory, this was meant to be a fair arrangement at the time. In reality, some property owners had more than one vote. Women, the poor or the landless men, and black and native Yohannesians and other ethnic minorities (e.g. Asiatics) were restricted from voting. In 1901, four special seats reserved for "Ladies," formally known as the "Ladies' Seats," were created specially for the Electoral College. This was merely a formality to accommodate the wife of the incumbent federal head of state, and changed little of the fact that Yohannes was still not the land of liberty.

Marion mentioned Barack and Amina Omaha after a post-Cabinet press conference for the press gallery. In 19th-century Yohannes, she would be forbidden to hold public office.[4]

The first major extension of franchise only came with the Alexandrian General Franchise Act 1914, which gave the vote to all renters, women, and ethnic minorities in the Kingdom of Alexandria. This marked the beginning of a slow trend where the other 18 constituent countries gradually followed suit. The Ladies' Seats were abolished two years later, heralding the beginning of theoretically general franchise in Yohannes. Thereafter, subsequent changes applied to the reality of franchise in Yohannes were comparatively minor in nature.

In the early years of the original Electoral Act, a person could vote by raising their hand in public, unless a poll was demanded by an existing electoral candidate, or at least one-third of the legal voters in the electorate. Blatant bribery and public drunkenness were widespread, harming the collection of electoral rolls and the processing of vote at the poll. In 1901, legislation relating to the registration of voters, the regulation of elections at the state and federal levels, and corrupt practices prevention legislation had eliminated some of the more clear and obvious cases of abuse, but not until 1914 was the secret ballot finally introduced.

Nevertheless, this was made conditional only on the call for a poll in every general electorate of the country. The secret ballot was fully embraced by the Electoral College in 1918, but was not introduced in every general electorate until 1933. And although elections in Yohannes have from the middle of this century been administered with propriety, there have been the sporadic complaints about impropriety in the preparation of electoral rolls, transparency in the polls, or counting during the voting itself. The 1990 Act further improved on the underlying structures of the conduct of elections already created by previous amendments, which produced the electoral system in the present-day Nineteen Countries.

Today, on election day a voter is alone, and can therefore voice their opinion freely and openly by voting. A lower officer of the Justices of the Peace observes the official count in every general electorate and certifies the election results. Candidates may apply for a recount to a Regional Court judge, and election petitions about corrupt practices are taken seriously by the National Court of the Justices of the Peace.

Parliament House Administration

Ronald Chump as Minority Leader, 2018[5]

The first administrative appointments to Parliament were those of the Office of the Clerk of the Whole Committee (archaic: Field Marshal of Imperial Subpoena), Second-in-Command, and the 19 Generals of Realm Election in 1787. The early appointments of other major officers include the Librarian of the Library of Parliament in 1800 and the Electoral Hansard and Debates Chief Reporter in 1803. The former has been known as the Parliamentary Library Custodian since 1945, and the latter as the Editor of Electoral Debates since 1990.

The rapid expansion of the parliamentary establishment since the 19th century saw the development of legislative departments to carry out varying administrative duties. At first, these were answerable only to both the President pro tempore of the Electoral College and the Speaker of the Realm Parliament vis-à-vis the investigation and reporting of all matters. In 1914, a working group tasked with administering legislative agencies was established, which eventually replaced most of the Speaker’s administrative responsibilities. This commission, however, remained answerable only to the Justices of the Peace, and was protected by the Office of the President of the Electoral College. It was not dissimilar to the Administrative Financial Security Commission established by the Fourth Amendment.

The Parliament House Administration Amendment Act 2011 tabled by the Seventh Social Democratic Executive Council amended this system, taking control of the provision of service away from the old commission to give it to Parliament. To replace the original working group, the amendment created the Parliament House Administration, which comprised of three Elected Collegians and two MPs from the Executive Council and its confidence-and-supply partner and two Elected Collegians and two MPs from the Opposing Forces. The President pro tempore of the Electoral College acts as chairman of this body.

The Parliament House Administration is responsible for the provision of secretarial services, taxpayer-funded internal catering, and information technology and other support services to every parliamentarian. It administers secretarial and business support for individual parliamentarians, both in Parliament and their general electorates; oversees personnel and security services; ensures messengers are provided; provides funding for administrative or management supply purposes; superintends public and official government reception and tours; administers building and maintenance of Parliament House; finances travels and accounts; and looks after many other important things for the day-to-day running of Parliament House. The administration also works together with Archives Yohannes to update the legislator database and to support the Electoral Debates Hansard, Library of Parliament, and the research units of every eligible political party, i.e. meeting the six per cent threshold to enter Parliament.

Letter to the Stoklomolvi Embassy, signed by the Clerk of the Whole Committee[6]

The Realm Electoral Amendment Act 1990 reformed the Office of the Clerk of the Whole Committee to be separate from the Parliament House Administration. The Clerk of the Whole Committee is the most important permanent officer in Parliament, and has the responsibility to advise the President of the Electoral College, Speaker of the Realm Parliament and elected members on parliamentary law and procedures. With the permission of the Speaker, the Clerk oversees bills' reprinting as amended by the Committee of the Whole. They must also prepare and print questions, motions, petitions and other papers; and provide advisory and administrative support to the select committees.

The Clerk takes care of the Notes on Parliamentary Law and Procedure—the official record of Parliament's business. They also take care of the certification and printing of legislation proposals and Acts of Parliament and Statutes of the Realm, and other official submission papers tabled in Parliament. The Clerk of the Whole Committee protects existing general election and ballot papers. The Second-in-Command has the responsibility to ensure discipline in the debating chamber under the supervision of the Speaker.

Right to petition

By historical convention, the second oldest function of Parliament is to redress citizens' grievances. Parliament receives petitions from those who feel they have been wronged, or who want to suggest for something to be done by the Executive Council. All citizens and permanent residents of the Nineteen Countries have the right to petition Parliament. As it happens, at least 10,000 petitions have been lodged in Parliament every year since 2010, ranging from very trivial matters, such as the Lack of Communist Youth Representation (June 2011) and Citizens Against Male, Pale and Stale Generalisation (May 2015), to the most important matters, such as Free Milk and Breakfast in Low Decile Primary Schools (February 2014) and Justice and Protection for Family Violence Victims (November 2016). In 2016 alone, there were 67,119 petitions presented to MPs, and 41,444 of these were tabled successfully before the Whole Committee.

An excerpt from the Imazighen Declaration of Independence—Ambassador Cäcilie Bärwald discussing a petition for her firm[7]

Petitions are usually addressed by the member from whose electorate the petitioner resides. Petitions can talk about almost anything—with the exception when the petitioners have not used up all their legal avenues of redress, such as an official complaint to a duty solicitor, or where the petitioners have lodged a petition on a similar subject with a preceding petition, unless there have been new important information presented since the previous similar request was made and lodged. Lodged petitions must at the very least be legible: they can be written in informal language, though they must be respectable; and they must be communicated in either Yohannesian or English.

Parliamentary petitions are studied by the MPs concerned with assistance from the Office of the Clerk of the Whole Committee. Every step concerning the tabling of petition must follow existing standing orders; failure to do so could result in a rejection by the Speaker. After petitions have been presented, they are distributed by the Clerk of the Whole Committee or their deputies to the relevant select committee. Once examined, a follow-up report about the subject of the petition can be made by the chair of the committee involved. Until its dissolution in 1990, the Select Committee on Petitions and Redress handled all matters concerning petitions and redress. Since then, the respective select committees concerned handle all relevant petitions within their delegated duties and areas of responsibility.

Lawmakers

The first Electoral College had 19 members chosen by the Yohannesian Emperor and elected to serve for a term of 12 years. Elected Collegians could serve for life, provided they were re-elected through the proper channels, though they could lose office for absence without leave (AWOL) for two sessions or more. The Redistribution of Seats Act 1871 created the Estates General of the Nineteen Countries, increasing membership rapidly to 41 compared to a lower population growth rate in late 19th-century Yohannes, after which the protocol was created to limit membership to a quarter of existing members of Parliament. From 1871 onwards, appointments were made by the Head of State of each constituent country in Yohannes, subject to the approval of the Head Judicature of the Justices of the Peace. From 1925, the term of office of an elected Collegian was changed from a 12-year term to an eight-year term.

Princess Elisabeth informed members on the Saarkon Bill, 27 November 2019[8]

There were 51 members of Parliament representing 43 general electorates in the Nineteen Countries. Until 1871, large towns were treated as single constituencies which returned more than one member, and between 1879 and 1900 the then four largest urban areas in Yohannes—Altbrandenburg in Lindblum, Royal Burmecia in Burmecia, Halsten in Alexandria, and the Noble Republic of Treno—were likewise single constituencies returning at least four members each. Since the Electoral Amendment Act 1901 (the first to amend the original Act), there have been single-member electorates only.

The Realm Parliament had 237 members in 1857, 293 in 1871, 386 in 1901, and thereafter rose to eventually reach the modern-day 437 members. Since 1990, the maximum number of electorates for the three largest constituent countries in Yohannes—the Kingdom of Alexandria, the Regency of Lindblum, and the Kingdom of Burmecia—has been set at 261 members. The number of electorates in the smaller 16 constituent countries is calculated by dividing the number of registered electors by the average number of people in every electorate from the three largest countries. Therefore, the total number of general electorates in Yohannes would take into account the population growth rate of the 16 small countries. If the opposite happens—that is, no growth occurring—then nothing much will change, as there already is the restriction of 261 general electorates for the three largest countries. This way, the 16 small countries have a much greater opportunity to influence government decision-making at the federal level.

The affluent Charlotte Bridge over the Main suburb, Yohannes' oldest constituency[9]

As lawmakers of the land, members were paid a sum for travel expenses and a daily (later sessional) allowance from 1871 onwards. These did not add up to an adequate salary, however, and parliamentary service was looked at as a secondary job, hobby, or an honour for the well-endowed or the community-minded. Not for almost a century did the Fourth Amendment truly mature so that pay and state employment conditions could allow not just the upper class to make a career in politics. The Legislature Amendment Act 1901 established a standard monthly consideration by statute. This was increased further in 1925 and 1939. It was still less, however, than what a public doctor, lawyer or even a senior first-rate secondary school principal could make in Yohannes. Tax-free spending benefits in addition to transport allowances were introduced only in 1945, which changed the game, and the add-on pension scheme introduced in 1990 turned an MP position into a lucrative and prestigious job almost overnight.

There was no provision for the regular review of members' salaries until the Realm Services Amendment Act 1953. Then, provisions were made for review by the Commission of Realm Services after every parliamentary election; and despite the nil growth in 1954, both allowances and salaries grew substantially in real terms over the next three decades. The Electoral Amendment Act 1990 gave the Administrative Financial Security Commission the power to administer state allowances, pensions and salaries. The Commission also decided the salaries and conditions of judges; the chief executive officers of some state-owned enterprises; specified statutory officers; and until 1990, the mayors and Councillors of the three largest metropolitan areas in Yohannes, i.e. Greater Halsten, Greater Royal Alexandria and Greater Treno.

Alexandria's capital city has one of the highest population densities of any general electorate in Yohannes.[10]

In theory, a member's salary is meant to be good when compared with existing full-time jobs in the private sector. This would allow a member of Parliament to devote their time fully to the job while supporting their family. A member's salary should give them equal compensation for the job's sacrifice in terms of time and privacy. There is some doubt, however, that some members meet these criteria: a successful businessman or lawyer, for instance, who had become a Collegian or MP, almost always would have to accept a drop in earnings. Besides the basic earnings, starting from $174,000 for a backbencher, spending benefits are also given. They include a basic state benefit, an electoral benefit paid on a set scale for high density electorates and a sliding scale for sparsely populated electorates depending on size, and day and night allowances based on the number of sitting days every term. Stationery, postage, telephone calls (non-international), transport and domestic flights are also paid for, and non-domestic flights are subsidised. Secretarial support is given to lawmakers in Parliament and in their electorates, and their electoral office expenses are partially subsidised.

Select committee

The Law Commission's report to the select committee in 2017[11]

The Nineteen Countries Select Committees are committees of lawmakers who are appointed to examine, consider, and report on matters referred to them by Parliament. One example of a well-known select committee is the Select Committee on Justice and Public Security, which as its name suggests is tasked with handling justice and public security matters.

There are two types of select committees in Yohannes: permanent committees, which stay in existence for the entire term that Parliament is assembled, and extempore committees, which are created only for a specified period of time so that they can fully examine and consider one or more matters of imperative importance. Before the Second Industrial Growth era (1850-1900), when the state of political party administration was poor compared to today's standards, permanent committees were originally established only for a single parliamentary year. Since then, they have been appointed for the entire term that Parliament meets.

As a working group, the select committee has been an important building block in democratic legitimacy since the passing of the Foreign Mission Act in 1787. The first Standing Orders task group was created by the Founding Monarchs to examine the rules and procedures of the newly formed legislature. Since then, the select committee and its predecessor entities have always been appointed by Parliament, usually on the motion of the government organisation most closely involved in the committee's work. During the hearing of evidence, members of the public and the press can access select committee business items. However, by unanimous resolution, a select committee may conduct a hearing in private. Classified evidence and minutes can be read by visiting the Library of Parliament, though permission by the Office of the Clerk of the Whole Committee will be required.

The International Diplomacy and Advisory Committee monitors trade bills[12]

The 32nd Christian Democratic Executive Council began a major reform of the select committee system in 1972, reforming 12 "individual" committees. They were as follows: Continental Security, Domestic Commerce, Engineering and Science, Export Industry, Equality and Social Welfare, Health and Human Services, International Diplomacy and Advisory, Justice and Public Security, Navy and Merchant Navy, Rural Industry and Development, Urban Development and Planning, and Ways and Means.

As well as the 12 original committees, over the years there have been formed two permanent "urgently formed" committees: Ethnic Diversity, which monitors and makes recommendations on proposed legislative reforms vis-à-vis net migration and migrant integration; and Exiting International Incidents and Nation-State Neutrality, which has the huge and difficult task in trying to ensure a coherent government approach in relation to Yohannes' long-standing military isolationism policy.

Voter enrolment

RWT was accused of being "too politically correct" for refusing to disseminate a controversial news article in 2017.[13]

The Reichsamt für Wahlintegrität (Realm Office for Electoral Integrity, abbreviated as RWT) is a state-owned enterprise created by the provisions of the Electoral Amendment Act 1990. RWT is responsible for voter registration and identification. It also deals with matters indirectly related to voter registration, such as logistics—for instance, providing voters with all the right equipment so that they will be able to vote more easily. The head of RWT is a chief executive officer (CEO) appointed by the Chancellor triennially. The CEO is responsible to the Advisory, Press and Private Committee and has the power to delegate some of their own authority to any officer of the Realm Electoral Court. This power cannot be sub-delegated further without a special obligations contract allowing the chosen officer to act as the CEO's representative.

Countless appointed voter registrars help RWT operates in over 500 constituencies across the Nineteen Countries. Unlike an Officer of the Voters, whose task is to control elections, a registrar has the power to keep electoral rolls in their assigned general electorate only. The Limited Separation of Powers stated that only an employee of the Justices of the Peace could sign up to become a registrar. They are appointed either by name or as the holder of a specified office; and they must be stationed nearby their local electoral office for the duration of voting, as well as the subsequent counting period. At the highest level, the CEO is assisted by a senior employee from the Ministry of Justice. RWT officers are forbidden to hold any political party membership or formal voluntary association with a partisan organisation.

Minimum threshold

A political party in the Nineteen Countries can be represented in Parliament by reaching the minimum threshold—that is, either by securing the highest number of votes in at least two general electorates, or meeting the six per cent federal party votes threshold. The general election for the 116th term of Parliament was held on Saturday, 8 December 2018.[14]

Yohannes First Party

Marion as Yohannes First and GOP leader, November 2018[15]

Yohannes First, listed on Vote2018 as the Yohannes First Party, is the third largest party in Yohannes. Along with Family Values and the Social Democratic Party, Yohannes First forms the Grand Coalition of Parties (GOP)—an alliance of socially right-wing but economically centre-left parties in the Nineteen Countries. The leader of Yohannes First is Marion Maréchal-Le Men, who has served as the 18th and current Yohannesian Emperor since January 2018. Most pundits say Yohannes First's platform is "all over the place." Officially, Yohannes First claims to be a "pragmatic centre party" on economic issues and a "right-wing party" on social issues. Critics say the party is a collection of populists and nationalists working together, to opportunistically create a platform for disenfranchised blue-collar workers and ethno-nationalist voters. The party has consistently attracted the most elderly and military veteran votes since the turn of the century. Yohannes First supports such measures as the extension of superannuation plans for military veterans and pension subsidy for the elderly through the Central Provident Fund.

Although mocked as a party for "racists, sexists and opportunists" in Parliament on many occasions, Yohannes First attracted the highest number of African and native Yohannesian votes in the January 2018 presidential election. It also became the first party in the Nineteen Countries to nominate a woman to become the first fully elected head of state of Yohannes. Yohannes First is a strong pro-Christian and anti-Asian immigration political party. The previous leader of the party, Loseton Petres, was nicknamed the "Grand Wizard of the Islamophobic Clan" for his many incendiary comments about Asian and Muslim immigrants in Yohannes. On 1 July, 2017, Maréchal-Le Men was appointed to replace Loseton Petres as party leader, and soon thereafter was elected to replace Jeremy Robyn as GOP leader. She has since pursued the twin policies of big-tent conservatism and political moderation to reform the image of the party—and the Grand Coalition as a whole.

Party for the Forest and the Environment

Greens co-leader Zoe Nilsson, General Election 2018 Leaders' Debate[16]

Party for the Forest and the Environment, listed on Vote2018 as the Green Party and often called the Greens, is the fourth largest party in Yohannes. Along with the Christian Party, Christian Democratic Party and the Consumers and Taxpayers Union, the Greens form the Christian Democratic Union (CDU)—an alliance of socially left-wing but economically right-wing parties in Yohannes. The leader of the Greens, Zoe Nilsson, is the incumbent Electoral member for the Cowrie electorate. Almost one-third of the Green Party's members in Parliament are Listed members.

The Green Party is the most economically left-wing in the CDU—it wants to tax "dirty" enterprises to cover the indirect costs of pollution, it supports fair and ethical trade initiatives, and it believes that purely economic indicators such as fundamental net debt and real GDP growth are not the be-all-end-all to judge a country’s prosperity. The Greens believe that purely economic indicators must go alongside "social justice" indicators: equality of opportunity for every citizen, for instance. Another example is the protection of the rights of minority by the majority.

Although it was an eco-friendly initiative, the Greens did not support Marioncare[17]

Opponents of the Greens have pejoratively called it not just a "purely green and environmental party" but also the "party for idealistic young university students and social justice warriors." The Green Party was the party responsible for the Gender, LGBT, Racial and Religious Minority Act 2016; without the party’s backing, the Queen of Alexandria would not have continued with the legislation. The Greens have also been described as a partisan environmental party. The party will not necessarily support green legislative instruments proposed by socially right-wing parties for the sake of point-scoring, and would instead concentrate on non-environmental social initiatives. This is further complicated by the fact that most political parties in Yohannes have already embraced the evidence for climate change—they only disagree in the way to go about meeting those goals.

The Greens want to look long-term into the future. Therefore, they very strongly support immigration and multiculturalism—the party agrees with the CDU that the ability of the Nineteen Countries to be a welcoming place for new settlers will decide its future as not just a high-growth economy, but also a "culturally connected" country. The party believes in an "open and humanitarian" border policy to achieve an "international sisterhood of peace and prosperity."

The Greens very strongly oppose capital punishment. It was the first party in Yohannes to advocate for the rehabilitation of offenders, believing it will bring more long-term benefits in comparison to "incarcerating them for eternal lives," which would lead to "ballooned" government spending. The Greens believe that the money could be used instead to fund eco-friendly initiatives. The party believes that the deregulation of the Yohannesian education system will be good for the country. It believes in the long-term strength of charter schools and investor-funded state institutions—that is, stronger involvement by private players, especially green companies, in the education sector.

The Greens supported the international Climate Bonds Initiative, 2018[18]

The Greens very strongly support "the individual’s choice" in terms of abortion. In terms of state religion, the party believes that the Nineteen Countries should be a more secular, multi-faith country. The Greens very strongly oppose the individual right to bear arms. The party wants to ban the ownership or possession of firearms. The Greens believe that police officers should only carry concealable and non-lethal self-defense weapons. The Greens do not support the gradual reduction and removal of mandated minimum wage at the federal level. The Greens somewhat agree that reducing taxes for high-income earners will help the Nineteen Countries prosper. However, the party believes that lower corporate taxes should only be given to eco-friendly and socially responsible businesses.

The Greens are the strongest supporters of greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets in Parliament. However, the party believes that the fight against climate change should not harm the economy or result in unnecessarily higher taxes and "wasteful" subsidies. The party disagrees with the CDP in that the Greens believe the public sector must work together with the private sector to bring about the Yohannesian environmental revolution into the 21st century.

Party of Social Democrats

The Party of Social Democrats (SDP), listed on Vote2018 as the Social Democratic Party, is the second largest party in Yohannes. Along with Family Values and Yohannes First, the Social Democrats form the Grand Coalition of Parties (GOP)—an alliance of socially right-wing but economically centre-left parties in the Nineteen Countries. Its leader, Saul Ryan, has been the 54th and current Speaker of the Realm Parliament since 2015. He is also the incumbent Electoral member for the Weirconsin electorate.

Excerpt from Chapter 1—"Mister Ambassador," GOP Speaker Saul Ryan talking with the Archbishop Emeritus of Burmecia[19]

Unlike the Christian Democratic Union, the GOP is less centralised and more fragmented—its voters will not necessarily vote for the other parties in the alliance. Social Democrat voters tend to come from the Bible Belt and Heartland electorates. The Social Democrats have strongly supported blue-collar workers, the individual right to bear arms, government-sponsored enterprises, and the religious right in conservative politics since the 1970s. Together with Yohannes First, it began to gradually adopt the Southern Strategy to appeal to widespread anti-Asian and anti-immigrant sentiments in the southern constituent countries. The SDP supports a World Assembly "which respects the sovereignty of its member-states." Hence, the Social Democrats aim to move Yohannes away from the Federalist faction in the World Assembly and align the country closer with the position of the World Assembly's National Sovereignty faction.[20]

The Social Democrats have the most working-class Electoral and Listed members in Parliament. Despite being the second largest party, the Social Democrats control the most general electorate seats in Parliament. The party supported the nomination of Yohannes First's Marion Maréchal-Le Men for the January 2018 presidential election.

Buildings and symbols

Parliament sat in the Halsten industrial conurbation, the economic centre of Lindblum, from 1786 to 1801. The political centre was once again moved to the capital of the Kingdom of Alexandria in 1802, where Parliament first sat in the former Royal Alexandria Regional Council buildings on Parliament Square. A number of upgrades were added to these buildings over the years, including a new Electoral College chamber, which was built in 1848.

The Sword of Yohannes (right), 2019

The Victorian Gothic Library of Parliament building was constructed in 1871, but not used by the legislature until 1880. After the disastrous fire which laid waste to the main parliamentary buildings in 1910, new buildings were built for the debating chamber and legislative offices. Most of them were opened by 1925. The provision of office space was insufficient for the purposes of the legislature by the turn of the century, and a new complex was needed. Modern-day Parliament House was designed by the Radimostanian military engineer Jiří Vahala. When it was finally completed by the turn of the century, the new building allowed for a more comprehensive accommodation and better seismic protection.

Today, the debating chamber, the Library of Parliament, and other parliamentary services are all housed in the newly renovated Library of Parliament building complex located just across the street from Parliament House. An underground pedestrian walkway colloquially referred to as the Road of Bipartisan Negotiation connects both buildings. It slowly acquired its name because the underground walkway, which connects the Executive Council quarter in Parliament House and the Opposing Forces quarter in the Library of Parliament, has long been the place where lawmakers from all sides of the political spectrum meet and greet one another on a daily basis outside the debating chamber.

The most potent symbol of parliamentary authority is the personification of the Nineteen Countries, Claudia, which is the symbol displayed on the front page of the Electoral Debates Hansard of the Nineteen Countries publication. Two statues symbolising parliamentary authority are also located in front of Parliament House in the Kingdom of Alexandria and the Executive Council Buildings Historic Reserve in the Regency of Lindblum’s old Parliament Square. The sheriffs of the kingdom—royal appointees with the authority to arrest at the request of the king and his Parliament—often carried the symbol; and the earls of the kingdom, swearing their loyalty before their overlord and the personification of their kingdom. Since then, the inauguration day of the newly elected Yohannesian Emperor would begin with the arrival of the 15 earls, tasked with starting the ceremony by giving an engraved shield and a steel longsword to symbolise the transfer of power from the electors to the newly elected head of state.

Criticisms and mockery

An edgy teenager on the internet mocking Parliament[21]

Parliament has been mocked and criticised many times in the Nineteen Countries. It has been criticised by political groups from all sides of the political spectrum.

Many Yohannesian conservative think tanks have repeatedly mocked Parliament as an expensive, slow-moving talkfest, paid exclusively by hard-working taxpayers' contributions.[22] For their part, liberal advocacy groups and internet subcultural communities have regularly ridiculed parliamentary politics as a specialised pursuit of the privileged few—from where the ruling class could impose their will on the oppressed masses.

References

  1. Ministry of Education. (2017). Archive of the Government of Yohannes Act 2017. North Halsten, Yohannes: Halsten University Press (HUP).
  2. National Election Commission. (2020). 33 Provinces in 33 Days (News in Laeral). Laeralsford, Laeral: World Assembly Central Library Complex (WACLC).
  3. From the Beltway to Freedom Street. (2019, June 10). Financial Diary. Retrieved from https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=35792395#p35792395
  4. University of Yohannes Vice-Chancellor. (2019). As it is in Heaven. In The Archbishop and His Mission (p. 8). Royal Alexandria, Yohannes: World Assembly Universal Library Coalition (ULC).
  5. Vote2018 Issue #3: The Empire of the Rising Sun. (2018). Retrieved from https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=34638894#p34638894
  6. A blast from the past—Stoklomolvi/Yohannes. (2018). Royal Alexandria, Yohannes: WACLC.
  7. Office of the Library Custodian. (2019). Cäcilie Bärwald and Thaddäus Neumayer. In Declaration of Imazighen Independence (p. 30). Royal Alexandria, Yohannes: World Assembly Universal Literary Exchange Network (ULEN).
  8. Schäfer, E. M. (2019, November 27). To the members for the general electorates in Parliament assembled, on Friendship and Amity between the Federation and the Realm [Web log message]. Retrieved from https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=36472996#p36472996
  9. Goldwert, A. (2020). Prologue. In Yohannesian Peace (p. 2). Royal Alexandria, Yohannes: WACLC.
  10. Library of Parliament. (2019, June 25). Inside the Beltway and the Flower Garden and Natural Heritage Reserve. Financial Diary, p. 6.
  11. Realm Law Commission. (2017). Judicature Modernisation Summary (Annual Report 2017). Royal Alexandria, Yohannes: Parliament House Administration Publishing Office (PHO).
  12. Office of Embassy and Consulate Programme. (2020). Friendship and Amity between the Federation and the Realm. In Embassy Exchange Programme of Yohannes (p. 1835). Royal Alexandria, Yohannes: ULC.
  13. Westwood-Wilhelm, A. (2017, November 1). Woman spat at after abuse by migrants—the Sharia Law spreading across the nation. The Realm. Retrieved from https://www.nationstates.net/page=dispatch/id=1040462
  14. Realm Office for Electoral Integrity. (2018). Parliamentary Conclusion—Last Day Customary Address. In Yohannes Parliamentary Debates (p. 83). Royal Alexandria, Yohannes: ULC.
  15. Punch. (2018, November 14). New friends, new trade—Fecaw and Yohannes. Retrieved from https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=452342
  16. Marie, M. (Producer and Moderator). (2018, September 18). First Leaders' Debate—Education (Television broadcast). Royal Alexandria, Yohannes: Parliament Channel.
  17. Bank of Yohannes. (2018, August 28). When populism helps the environment and the green industrial future. The Royal Alexandria Times, p. 2026.
  18. Bank of Yohannes. (2018, August 30). Taking the green fight to the next level—investing in a sustainable future. The Royal Alexandria Times, p. 2028.
  19. University of Yohannes Vice-Chancellor. (2019). Mister Ambassador. In The Archbishop and His Mission (p. 1). Royal Alexandria, Yohannes: ULC.
  20. Ardchoille. (2009, August 13). Re: Sweepings from the floor [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=419040#p419040 and https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=2094593#p2094593
  21. Setsuzoku Social Network. (2021, November 20). The Greens discussing the Trouble in Bagongo. Retrieved from https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=36454474#p36454474
  22. Office of Private Secretary. (2019). Queen Sansa in an Age of Wolves—Gholgoth. Royal Alexandria, Yohannes: PHO.