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Lara Gohnich, RU
since 11 January 2018
|Government (29) |
|Mixed-member proportional representation (MMP)|
|1 October 2016|
|Former Elbgau Council building, Königsreh, Mascylla|
The Reichssenat (Hesurian pronunciation: [ˈʁaɪçsse:na:t], ‘Imperial Senate’) is the federal parliament of the subnational divisions and upper house of the legislature of Mascylla. The Reichsrat is a legislative body that represents the 21 Reichsländer and Freie Städte, consisting of 163 members known as Representatives of the Reichssenat (Repräsentanten des Reichssenats), which are decided through a chosen delegation of the represented state, and or a general election every six years. The composition of the delegation varies from the state's population, political makeup and ruling majority (or coalition) of each state legislature.
Since its foundation in 1789 under the Kingdom of Aldia in Augusthal, it has met in various location, and today sits at the former Elbgau Council building in Königsreh. It is represented by the office of the President of the Reichssenat (Präsident des Reichssenats), currently occupied by Egon Weidmann since 2019, of which its holder is directly voted from the Reichssenat itself. Representatives of the Reichssenat are usually chosen by a state-own delegation, but can be partially subject to popular vote by the state's population as well. The Reichssenat can operate with a minimum number of 160 seats, whith the number of delegation seats per state dependent on its population to achieve proportional representation. An unique occasion where an Election Day can be called earlier than two years after the last election arises when the Prime Minister loses a vote of confidence and asks the President of the Reichssenat to dissolve the parliament in order to allow new state elections afterwards.
During the War of the Five Kings, the Reichssenat was the offical assembly of the sovereigns and elected commoners of the states which were part of the Elbau Confederation (1793–1798). When Mascylla was founded, it became the established, sometimes described, upper house of parliament.
- 1 Tasks and duties
- 2 Organisation
- 3 Operation
- 4 Seat
Tasks and duties
The role of the Reichssenat is described by Article 43 and 44 of the Constitution of Mascylla as follows: "Through the Reichssenat, the states and free cities participate in federal legislation and administration and in matters relating to governmental policy and decisionmaking." The states, represented by their respective governments and legislatures, operate in the Reichssenat and are able to shape and influence the aforementioned fields, while the styles of such participation are not determined and therefore ambiguous.
The National Council (Nationsrat) in 1793 frst proposed the name Länderkammer ('Chamber of States'), in tandem with the also proposed name Volkskammer ('Chamber of the People') for the Reichsrat, but it was later rejected in favor of its current terminology. Today still the Reichssenat is referred to as an "second house" or "Länderkammer" and in some cases as a full fledged upper house of legislature internationally. However, the Reichssenat is described as a sovereign constitutional body according to the constitution and in opposition to most countries "is not a second chamber of a uniform legislative body that would be set equal to the 'first chamber' regarding lawmaking."
The Reichssenat has the valified right of legislative initiative together with the Government of Mascylla and Reichsrat. If the body decides on a law proposal, it will first be forwarded to the government, which is then entitled to comment and suggest changes to it. As a rule, the draft and the opinion regarding it must be submitted to the members of the Reichsrat within six and in certain cases more than nine weeks after the initial proposal. Law proposals of the government are first submitted to the Reichsrat, who also review and state their opinion on it. Here, the deadline of six to nine weeks still applies. The government can also counter a statement of the Reichssenat by a counter remark, before it submits the proposal to the Reichsrat for review.
The involvement of the Reichssenat in the so-called 'second round' differs in terms of whether the law passed by the Reichssenat requires the consent of the Reichsrat in order to be approved. One such law is called the "Zustimmungsgesetz" ('approval-required law'). All other laws can be rejected or called into question by the Reichssenat through a jury of delegates, the Vermittlungsausschuss ("Mediation Committee"). These laws are therefore called "Einspruchsgesetze" ('objection laws').
The necessity of a law to be approved is made apparent by the constitution and names three kinds of laws:
- Laws regarding the rewriting or change of an article of the constitution (here a two-thirds majority is required),
- laws able to influence the economies or finance of the states, for example taxation laws and production standards, and
- laws affecting the sovereignty and autonomy of the states
According to the "uniform thesis" (Einheitsthese) confirmed by the High Court of the Realm, the need for consent always extends to the law in its legal entirety and not just to individual provisions that trigger the need for consent, having been introduced by the High Court in 1968 following a constitutional amendment change.
Consent and opposition laws
In the case of laws requiring approval, the constitution provides the Reichssenat members with three choices:
- He/she agrees to the law,
- he/she demands that the Mediation Committee be summoned, and
- he/she doesn't agree to the law.
If no agreement can be reached in the Mediation Committee and the Reichssenat doesn't agree to this result or if the Reichssenat decides on a rejection without the Mediation Committee, the law has failed, if further appeals to the Committee, either by the government or Reichsrat, lead to the same result. The Mediation Committee can therefore be convened three times (by the Reichssenat, Reichsrat and government) and has to state its decision within a "reasonable frame of time".
In the case of laws that do not require the approval of the Reichssenat in order to come into force, the Reichssenat has less influence, since its vote can be overruled by the Reichsrat. If it does not agree with the proposal, it can convene the Mediation Committee and try to reach and agreement with the Reichsrat. If the Committee itself proposes changes, these must first be decided by the Reichssenat before the Reichsrat decides whether or not to object to the newly amended law. If the Mediation Committee does not propose changes or if an agreement can not be achieved, the Reichssenat decides on an objection to the still unchanged legislative resolution without the participation of the Reichsrat then. The Reichssenat must agree on an objection within two weeks though, the set period beginning with the receipt of the amended resolution of the Reichsrat or with the chairman of the Mediation Committee about the result of the process.
However, an objection by the Reichssenat can be overruled by the Reichsrat though. If the Reichssenat resolves the objection with an absolute majority, the objection can only be rejected with another absolute majority from the Reichsrat. If the Reichssenat submits its rejection with a two-thirds majority, two-thirds of the cast votes must come together to reject the objection of the Reichsrat. IF the Reichsrat does not reject the objection, the law proposal has failed.
In certain exceptional constitutional situations, the Reichssenat has additional tasks, powers and rights that only arise sporadically and have therefore only rarely or not yet been applied.
Cases of defense
On the basis of emergency laws, the government has the right to compete with legislation in the event of national defense, including the areas that belong to the sovereignty of the legislative power of the states and free cities and the post-poning of regional elections of the state parliaments. Corresponding laws require the approval of the Reichssenat. The legislative process can be accelerated by jointly deliberating on a draft law by the Reichssenat and Reichsrat.
If the Reichsrat is unable to perform its duties in the face of defense however, a Joint Commission (Gemeinsame Kommission) takes its place. Two thirds of this body are members of the Reichsrat and one third of members of the Reichssenat. Each states sends a delegate of the Reichssenat, who unlike its counterparts, is not bound by any instructions. In addition to the 21 members of the Reichssenat faction, a further 40 members belong to the Reichsrat within the Commission, accounting to a total of 61 members. If the prerequisites for the meeting of the Joint Committee are met, it shall exercise the tasks and powers of the Reichssenat and Reichsrat in a uniform manner. The Joint Committee can also determine the state of defense. Laws of the Joint Committee are repealed by resolution of the Reichsrat with the consent of the Reichssenat; the Reichssenat can demand that the Reichsrat pass a resolution on this.
In the event of an internal emergency, for example in the event of natural disasters or if there is a threat to the existence of a state or the government or their free democratic basic order, thegovernment can deploy armed forces to support the police forces of the state in protecting civilian objects and in fighting organized and militarily armed insurgents. In this case, a country can request police forces from other countries as well as forces and facilities from other administrations and the imperial police. The government can submit the police of one country and the police forces of other countries to their instructions and deploy units of the imperial police if the endangered country is not ready or able to combat the danger itself.
The deployment of armed forces as well as the subordination of the police forces of the states to the authority of the government are to be stopped at any time if the Reichssenat so requests.
Other tasks and responsibilities
President and presidency
The presidency is composed of the office of the President of the Reichssenat (Reichssenatspräsident) and one vice president. According to the constitution, the Reichssenat elects its president and vice president every two years; the two members of the Reichssenat are often voted unilaterally. They assume their offices beginning at the 1st of September every two years. If a president's position in the Reichssenat is revoked, his term as President of the Reichssenat ends as well. His successor as member of the Reichssenat succeeds him as president as well, diminishing fluctuations of people serving the office in face of changing party landscapes and political instability. Additionally, this enables every state and its members to be able to assume the presidency. Historically, the president had close political and hierarchial links to the monarchy, with first the Monarch and second the President listed per the protocol order of the constitution, ahead of the Prime Minister.
By Article 87 of the Consitution, the President of the Reichssenat assumes the tasks and roles of a Monarch when unable to do so, either by abdication, medical treatment or otherwise. While he or she serves as representative of the Monarch, his office as president remains vacant. For that instance, the vice president temporarily takes over the duties and tasks while the president is unable to do so themself.
Members and distribution of votes to the states
|Citizens per vote||Government parties|
|Eustria||5,208,624||10||520,862||RU, SDP, Grünen|
|Falia||1,440,506||7||205,787||RU, NDP, VP|
|Folnery||5,246,111||10||524,611||SDP, MLP, Grüne|
|Holnia||4,724,292||9||524,921||RU, SDP, Grüne|
|Kreshia||911,382||8||113,923||SDP, Grüne, MLP|
|Kronlande||2,231,326||8||278,916||RU, SDP, Grüne|
|Pereuth||581,034||5||116,207||SDP, MLP, Grüne|
|Sigismund||498,192||5||99,638||VP, Grüne, SDP|
|Tudonia||704,675||6||117,446||RU, SDP, Grüne|