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Posts Tagged ‘Constitution’

Electoral reforms for general elections

Saturday 28th November saw Parliament pass legislation establishing a regular schedule for general elections and preventing Prime Ministers from running for a third consecutive term without parliamentary approval.

Under the 2008 Constitution, general elections were to take place every three years, on January 1st. After the 2009 general election, the next was scheduled to take place on 1 January 2012, but the 2011 Constitution came into force before this date was reached.

Under the current 2011 Constitution, the date of a general election is decided at the discretion of the Monarch or Prime Minister, and can take place anywhere from six months to four years after the previous one.

Saturday’s Act of Parliament has added a restriction to this clause, to the effect that the full range of dates constitutionally available can only be considered in an emergency; otherwise, under ordinary circumstances, general elections are to take place on a day between the 1st and 12th of February every four years.

This provides greater certainty regarding the future, with the next general election now scheduled to take place in early February 2024.

A second reform affects the ability of a Prime Minister to run for three or more consecutive terms. Although not a term limit in a strict sense, in future, a Prime Minister who has served more than seven of the past eight years in office will have to seek a vote of approval from the House of Representatives in order to stand for re-election.

No limits on consecutive terms have previously been applied. The only requirements to run in a general election are to be a sitting Representative with the (never before refused) approval of the Monarch; requirements which also have to be met by a Prime Minister running for re-election.

The longest serving Prime Minister in Austenasia’s history was Lord Admiral Joseph Kennedy. He held office from 4 March 2015 to 13 February 2020, just three weeks shy of five years.

Emperor assumes emergency powers to heal deepening divisions in Parliament

His Imperial Majesty Emperor Jonathan I this evening made an unprecedented announcement, assuming emergency powers in accordance with the Constitution’s provisions for an “existential threat to the state” with the support of the Senate, the Prime Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition.

It is understood that in the space of the past 48 hours, disagreements primarily related to recently proposed constitutional amendments have spiraled out of control, splitting the House of Representatives deeply along party lines. A vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister was tabled by opposition Representatives but failed, there are rumors that a coup was considered, and some Representatives suggested secession as a response to the ongoing arguments. The announcement by the Emperor is reproduced in its entirety as follows:

In accordance with Article II, Section E of the Austenasian Constitution of 2011, with the support of the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, and a majority of the Senate, we hereby temporarily enact the following provisions and accordingly override the Constitution where necessary in order to enable their enactment and exercise:

1) The House of Representatives shall not meet or convene without a prior summons from the Monarch.

2) All titles, offices and positions shall be held at and by the sole will and permission of the Monarch.

3) The position of Proconsul is hereby created, to be held by two individuals each of whom will hold the powers and authority of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister shall not be divested of his powers and authority, but the three shall work together under the direction of the Monarch to aid in the re-establishing of civil order and constitutional government. Lord Edward Gunderson, Count of New Grémmia and HG Bradley, Duke of Dullahan shall serve as the first two Proconsuls.

These three provisions will remain in place until 13 June 2020, when they will be reviewed to ascertain the necessity of expanding, extending or revoking them.

Threats of coups and secession, civil strife, and the inability of incumbent Representatives to productively work together has resulted in what can accurately be called “a time of great crisis and existential threat to the state”, as required by the Constitution for these emergency measures.

Furthermore, we hereby decree that the referendum scheduled for 30 June 2020 to vote on the proposed Third Constitutional Amendment is brought forward to 12 June 2020.

Decreed at Wrythe this twenty fifth day of May during the eighth year of our reign, in the year of the consulship of Hannah Augusta and Brenda Bargerii Nova Richmondiae Domina, anno mundi 7528.

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It brings us no pleasure to make this announcement. Many of you may not even have been aware of the deep divisions within Austenasian government. However, such divisions exist and have been getting worse. With the support of our Prime Minister and newly appointed Proconsuls, we shall work together at healing these divisions moving the country forward into a new age. All around the world, societies are falling prey to division, hatred and strife due to political differences. Austenasia shall prove to the world that in this respect, as in many others, there is a different and better way. This way is what we shall find and follow, towards the goal of a brighter future for our beloved country. God bless you all, and God save the Empire!

Referendum on constitutional amendments called for 30 June

An Imperial Edict was passed on Friday 15th May in which Emperor Jonathan I formally proposed various amendments to the Constitution, to be voted on at the end of June.

This follows on from a broadcast by Prince Dionisiy in February, shortly after his election as Prime Minister, in which he proposed various changes to Austenasian government.

Work is currently underway on a system of “e-Government”, which will once completed provide an online system for the Austenasian electorate to easily vote on various legislative matters directly.

The constitutional amendments to be voted on at the end of June, however, primarily concern the other major change proposed by Prince Dionisiy, which is to replace the Prime Minister as head of government with the Consuls.

Currently, two consuls are annually appointed by the Prime Minister for a year-long term, and are in charge of judicial sentencing.

Under the proposed constitutional amendment, the consuls would instead be elected by the House of Representatives at the nomination of the Monarch, or by the public themselves should a third or more of the Representatives present alternative candidates.

Prince Dionisiy was elected on a platform part of which was to strengthen the Roman culture of Austenasia. Establishing the consulate as the head of executive government would be a further step towards consolidating the Empire’s Roman heritage.

Other more minor changes in the proposed amendments include removing the requirement for the Empire’s Archdukes (that of the Archduchesses was not required; a typo with discriminatory consequences) to give consent for the Monarch to bestow the titles of Augusta and Caesar outside of the Imperial Family, and to allow an abdicated Monarch or a clergyman to officiate in a coronation if the head of government is unavailable.

The amendments would also make the rules governing the institution of the Senate more flexible, giving Parliament more say over its composition and permitting the Princeps Senatus (its chair) to resign that post without leaving the Senate itself.

Should the proposed amendments be approved in referendum on 30 June, they will still require the support of over 80% of the House of Representatives, as well as Imperial Consent. They would comprise the Third Amendment, with the Constitution also having been amended in 2015 and 2018.

Should the Third Amendment pass, the changes – including the dissolution of the office of Prime Minister – would come into effect at midnight on the morning of 1 January 2021, although the process for electing the new system’s Consuls for that year would begin in December.

Prince Dionisiy proposes constitutional changes

27 February 2020 1 comment

The new Prime Minister has proposed changes to the current system of executive and legislative power in a Prime Minister’s Broadcast released earlier today.

New Prime Minister Dionisiy I

Prince Dionisiy, who was elected earlier this month, announced plans to put forward various constitutional changes.

The amendments would, in brief, change the nature of Austenasia-wide democracy from having an executive to a legislative function.

Prince Dionisiy has proposed “to establish regular direct and binding referenda which will solve the important legislative questions… so that not only the House of Representatives is able to decide upon legislative questions, but that the people themselves are in charge.”

This would be coupled with a change to the set-up of government, with the Consuls being appointed by the Monarch and replacing the Prime Minister as head of government.

The details of how these changes would be implemented and the proposed timescale of their implementation are yet to be known, as they have not yet been officially proposed by legislation. Any changes to the Constitution require approval by the Monarch and a supermajority of Representatives, as well as confirmation by a referendum.

Lord John Gordon, the Leader of the Opposition, has come out in opposition to the proposal to make the head of government an appointed position.

“Austenasia is a democratic nation, a fact I am proud of. I will fight as Leader of the Opposition against any attempts to undermine the democratic process,” Lord John said today in an exclusive statement to the Austenasian Times.

Given the requirement that any change to the Constitution requires the support of over 80% of Representatives, it would take just one Representative other than Lord Gordon to also vote against in order to derail the proposed amendments.

Prime Minister’s Broadcasts were a semi-regular feature of the premiership of the then Crown Prince Jonathan, when the now Emperor was Prime Minister (2008-13). They were not used by Lord Marshal William (2013) or Countess Eritoshi (2013-15), but Lord Admiral Kennedy (2015-20) did publish one shortly after his initial election win.

General Election called for 28 February

His Imperial Majesty the Emperor has called a general election for 28 February 2019.

Under the Constitution, the election would have had to have taken place on or before 3 March, which will be four years since the previous general election in 2015.

Until 31 January, Representatives will be able to apply to the Monarch to be appointed Candidates for the election. The Monarch is obliged to appoint at least two Candidates from those who apply, with any others being appointed at his discretion.

The month of February will be spent by the Candidates campaigning for election, with votes being cast on the 28th and the victorious candidate taking office on 1 March.

The incumbent Prime Minister, HIH Lord Admiral Joseph Kennedy, is expected to run for a second term, and Lord Anthony Clark of Amerdansk announced on 31 December an intention to also stand for election.

No other Representatives have so far publicly announced an intention to run, although Lady Vice Admiral Eryn Lewis of Terentia has indicated a desire to stand if Lord Admiral Kennedy decides not to do so.

Constitutional amendments approved in referendum

7 January 2018 2 comments

A referendum held yesterday saw proposed amendments to the Austenasian Constitution of 2011 approved by the Empire’s electorate.

Out of the 54 subjects eligible to vote, 37 did so, a turnout of 68.52%. The amendments had been divided into four parts, each of which could be voted on separately.

The first part establishes a Senate as a body responsible for the accountability of the Monarch which may in extreme circumstances vote to depose them. It also removes the requirement for Cabinet ministers to be Representatives. This part of the amendments passed with 81.08% of votes in support.

The second part of the amendments makes it a requirement for the Monarch to be a baptised Christian, and explicitly claims that Austenasia is a continuation of the Roman Empire; this part passed with 70.27% of votes in support.

The third part of the amendments clarifies that marriage in the Empire is between one man and one woman, and also permits Parliament to expand upon various human rights laws in the Constitution which until now were unable to be repealed and put into more detail. This part passed with 64.86% of votes in support.

The fourth and final part of the amendments changes the office of Deputy Prime Minister from being the runner-up in a general election to being a Representative nominated by a newly elected Prime Minister. This part passed with 81.08% of votes in support.

Now that the amendments have been approved by referendum, they must be approved by Parliament. A requirement of over 80% of Representatives to be in favour of any constitutional amendments means that if more than one of Austenasia’s seven Representatives opposes the changes, they will not be able to be passed.

Upon approval, these amendments will come into force cumulatively as the Second Amendment to the Constitution at one second past midnight in the morning of Imperial Ascension Day, 20 January, the fifth anniversary of the Emperor’s ascension to the Throne.

Constitutional amendments proposed

His Imperial Majesty the Emperor yesterday promulgated an Imperial Edict which ordered a referendum to take place on 6 January in which all Austenasian subjects will be able to vote on proposed amendments to the Constitution.

The proposed amendments have been grouped into three parts, and voters will be able to vote Yes, No, or Abstain on each of the three parts.

The first part of the proposed group of amendments establishes a Senate as a body responsible for the accountability of the Monarch which may in extreme circumstances vote to depose them; the second part reflects the Roman and Christian culture of the Empire by explicitly claiming that Austenasia is a continuation of the Roman Empire and by making it a requirement for the Monarch to be a baptised Christian; and the third part defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

As each of these three parts has the potential to be controversial, voters will be able to vote in support of one and reject the other two, vote for two parts but against one, or vote for all or against all.

If no changes to the Austenasian population take place before then, there will be an electorate of 54 subjects eligible to vote in the referendum.

The full list of proposed amendments can be seen here.

UPDATE 7 DECEMBER 10:20 – The Emperor yesterday promulgated another Imperial Edict adding a fourth part of the amendment to be voted on in the referendum. This fourth part of the amendment states that the Deputy Prime Minister shall be chosen from amongst the Representatives by a newly elected Prime Minister; at present, the position of Deputy Prime Minister goes to the candidate with the second-highest number of votes in a general election.

Parliament approves constitutional amendments

16 September 2015 1 comment

The First Amendment to the Austenasian Constitution of 2011 has now been approved by Parliament and will enter into force on 20 September.

Several amendments to the constitution (explained here) were proposed last month by Emperor Jonathan I, the first time that any change to the constitution has been formally proposed since its adoption in September 2011.

Constitutional amendments require approval in a referendum and the approval of over 80% of the Representatives in Parliament. The Monarch must also give their consent.

A referendum held on 31 August had 89.47% of voters (with a turnout of 77.55%) support the amendments. An Act of Parliament was soon proposed to implement the amendments, to which nine out of the ten Representatives would have to support in order to reach the threshold of over 80%.

As soon as the ninth Representative gave their support last night, the Emperor granted Imperial Consent to the Act, making it law.

Now that Parliament has approved of the amendments, they will come into force at one second past midnight on the morning of Sunday 20th September.

In other news, the Emperor has announced that 13 September was the first day of autumn 2015 in the Austenasian calendar.

89% approve proposed constitutional amendments

1 September 2015 5 comments

The results of yesterday’s referendum saw proposed constitutional amendments approved by a huge majority.

A referendum held yesterday saw proposed amendments to the Austenasian Constitution of 2011 approved by a majority of 89.47%, while local elections held at the same time saw all incumbent Representatives re-elected.

Out of the 49 subjects eligible to vote in the referendum, 38 did so, a turnout of 77.55%. Three votes (7.89%) were cast in abstention, and only one person (2.63%) voted against the proposed amendments.

The main amendments which had been proposed were explained for the benefit of voters in a YouTube video which can be seen here.

Now that the amendments have been approved by referendum, they must be approved by Parliament. A requirement of over 80% of Representatives to be in favour of any constitutional amendments means that if more than one of Austenasia’s ten Representatives opposes the changes, they will not be able to be passed.

Should Parliament approve the amendments, they will come into force at one second past midnight on the morning of Sunday 20th September.

Alongside the voting for the amendments was voting for Representatives, with local elections taking place at the same time. All the incumbents were re-elected, and under the provisions of an Act of Parliament passed in October last year, the Representatives will shortly choose from amongst themselves a Speaker to help moderate parliamentary proceedings.

Referendum for constitutional amendments to coincide with local elections

11 August 2015 1 comment

A copy of the Imperial Decree passed yesterday which ordered the referendum and election for August 31st.

His Imperial Majesty the Emperor yesterday promulgated an Imperial Decree which ordered a referendum to take place on 31 August in which all Austenasian subjects will be able to vote on proposed amendments to the Constitution.

Local elections will also take place on 31 August, in which each Town will choose who to serve as its Representative in Parliament.

Several of the proposed amendments are little more than corrections to mistakes in the spelling and grammar of the Constitution, which was adopted in September 2011. The main amendments which have been proposed are:

  • Local elections shall take place at least once every five years instead of at least once every two years.
  • Local elections will be able to take place in Towns individually. At present, all Towns have their local election at the same time.
  • The structure of the judicial system will be able to be reorganised by Parliament (it currently being entrenched by the Constitution).
  • Parliament will be able to make provision for whom the Throne should pass to should the Line of Succession come to an end.
  • The Monarch will be able to temporarily suspend the Constitution should there be an emergency so severe (an “existential threat to the state”) that normal government becomes completely impossible.

Subjects will have the option to vote Yes, No, or Abstain to the proposed changes.

Should over half of all Austenasian subjects vote Yes, then an Act of Parliament will be proposed to put the amendments into effect, which will require the support of over 80% of Representatives to pass.