The nation of Rešuešn is a conglomeration of semi-autonomous Arch-Duchies, Baronies, Cantons, ComtÚs, Duchies, and Electorates. Usually these are simply referred to as regions. These regions are also divided into smaller areas, usually Counties. This is why the government of Rešuešn has an extremely decentralized nature. It is also known for its combination of the branches of government, and its lack of a head of state. Due to its history and the way it formed, Rešuešn's regional governments predate and sometimes seem more important or powerful than the central government. The power to amend the constitution--technically multiple documents known as the Treaties of Allianceľ-lies with them.
Another identifying characteristic of the Rešuecian system is the power of the mayors. For a fair percentage of Rešuecian city-dwellers, to elect their mayors is to elect their representatives to the central legislature. Even for those for whom it is not the same thing, the mayors still command much power and respect, as Rešuecian mayors have traditionally been key to the power balance in the region.
The Rešuecian executive branch at the national level is another unique feature to Rešuešn, due to its lack of a highly organized nature. In fact, there is no one head of state who ranks higher than any of the other executive officials. Thus they are forced to work together and must largely rely on lower ranking executives to carry out their directives. This is made easier by the fact that often, both lower and higher executive positions can be occupied by the same persons, who are often members of the legislative branch as well. Rešuecians, in fact, would probably not speak of the "executive branch" at all, as separation of powers is not a key principle in the nation. Rather, it would be divided into the central government, the regional and local governments, the mayors, and the aristocracy. Some of these groups overlap, a key example being the aristocracy, which has influence in many areas.
This is another characteristic of the Rešuecian government: that the nobility not only still exists in the country, but has considerable power, acting as de facto executives at a regional level, being present in the upper house of the national legislature, and making up a larger percentage of the ministers and judges. Although democracy is very important to Rešuešn, this is not seen as conflicting with the existence of the aristocracy, as there do exist means of reining in their power. In fact, the entire Rešuecian system revolves around checks and balances.
The Legislative Branch
By far the large majority of the power of the Rešuecian government lies in the legislative branch, if we continue to speak in terms of government branches. Much of this stems from the bodies at the regional level, and more comes from the fact that most of the aristocracy is in the legislative branch, giving it even more authority. For that matter, a lot of members in the lower house in the central legislature also are executives, at the municipal level in this case. Finally the disorganized nature of federal executives in Rešuešn tips the balance back towards the legislative branch, especially since the ministers are elected by the house of Lords. The election of the most important executives in Rešuešn by the peerage is probably responsible for Rešuešn's slow-changing policies. This has been criticized by those who would see reform, but also praised by those who believe it is the reason political parties are still uncommon in the nation.
The local assemblies of Rešuešn consist of several different types of bodies: County Assemblies, Town Boards, and City Councils. The county and town legislatures tend to have more free reign than those in the cities, as they usually have no higher-ranking executive officer, whereas the cities have the mayors, who can direct the city councils and exercise control over their actions. Even in the case of certain towns which do have officials--often positions which date from ancient medieval or even tribal traditions--they usually work more closely with the legislative bodies and follow their lead. The local assemblies, however, while they have a large effect on everyday life, smaller rules and regulations, hardly enter into the big picture at all. Politics does not play a part in their meetings, as they decide no mattes of policy, focusing on issues such as the local civil code, community promotion, zoning and local ordinances, et cetera.
Regional Legislative Bodies
The regional legislative bodies are just and varied and diverse as the smaller bodies, but often perceived as more interesting due to their larger size and more political nature. The different regions of Rešuešn have different legislatures to suit their tastes, ranging from small chambers to large bicameral parliaments. Their most important duty, although not perhaps their most influential ability, is to legislate for their respective regions.
When Rešuešn was united constitutionally in 1256 it was the regional assemblies who had filled the power vacuum caused by the downfall of Carl III, and it was they who sent representatives to draft, write and sign the Treaties of Alliance, which they then ratified. These documents created the Parliament of Rešuešn, which analysts agree has over time taken some of the power from the Regional assemblies. However, it is still debated whether this power the regional assemblies ceded to the federal government they were creating out-weighed that which they gained in respect and recognition for writing the constitutional documents. Amending the constitution is in fact the largest power of the regional assemblies, a power which is reserved only to them. Although the constitution is rarely amended nowadays, substantial changes have been made in the past, and the regional assemblies thus maintain some control over the federal government. The regional assemblies also must ratify declarations of war and treaties with other nations.
The regional assemblies also kept some control over the aristocracy. When the constitution was written, the aristocracy was under-going a phase of extreme unpopularity brought on by Carl III's aggressive actions. In fact, this is the only reason Rešuešn managed to attain a functioning parliamentarian system so early--if it had not been the case, the nobility would have maintained much more power. Instead, the regional assemblies wrote the aristocrat's powers into the constitution and gave themselves the right to impeach the nobles of their respective regions for breach of conduct, political incompetence, or abuse of power. If the impeached aristocrat holds a seat in the House of Lords or is an executive minister, he loses this position as well. If he is a federal justice, however, he retains that status.
The interior of the Mayoral Chamber.
The Mayoral Chamber
The Mayoral Chamber is the lower house of the Parliament of Rešuešn, which is responsible for drafting legislation and taking legal initiative. It also holds the power to appoint justices to Federal court and to sit in what is known as "Extraordinary Session" for very rare appeals cases.
The Mayoral Chamber originally consisted of all the Mayors of Rešuešn, hence its name. It was not long, however, before Mayors were allowed to send representatives, as attending in person was often impractical or impossible. Eventually, with the passage of several constitutional amendments, these mayoral representatives became more numerous than the mayors themselves, and found themselves more and more free from their direction. Nowadays many of these "mayor's representatives" are elected separately from the mayor of their city and have little or no liaison with him. Others are made part of the mayor's campaign ticket, similar to the way the vice president is chosen in the United States, although it is not terribly uncommon that the mayor's representative is seen as more important than the mayor himself. However, mayors still command much respect throughout the nation, due to their long tradition of power. Some still appoint their representative themselves, and others continue to attend in person, often in mayoral regalia. Finally, another constitutional ammendment has allowed rural communities (often divided by county) to elect representatives to the Mayoral Chamber as well, and they make up just as large a part of the chamber as the urban representatives.
Legislation written in the chamber must be approved by the upper house, the House of Lords, before it can become law. Legislation can also be written in the upper house and sent to the lower to be approved, but the former practice is more common. Treaties and Declarations of war are also required to be accepted by the Mayoral chamber, (as well as a certain number of the regional assemblies) but usually originate in the House of Lords or from the executive ministers. Finally, cases which come to a 6-6 non-decision before the federal justices along with other cases dealing with items matching certain criteria (usually constitutional interpretation) may be brought before the Mayoral Chamber. This is referred to as "extraordinary session" and is not considered to be part of the parliament or even the lower house proper, but merely a jury made up of the same members as the Mayoral Chamber.
The interior of the House of Lords.
The House of Lords
Seats in the House of Lords, the upper chamber in the Rešuecian parliament, are inherited. A large percent of the nobility sits in the House of Lords, where they discuss legislation but also matters of international policy, as well as appointing executive ministers. The House of Lords can be difficult for foreigners to distinguish from the Rešuecian nobility, as it seems all the nobility of note are in it. However, not every blue-blooded Rešuecian is in the House of Lords. Every region in Rešuešn is represented in the house by the its feudal lord, but is only entitled to his one vote. Therefore the lower ranks in the feudal system, which exist plentifully in the country, have no seats. These aristocrats are not without anything to do, (see the aristocracy) but are not in parliament.
The members of the House of Lords are considered to represent not their constituents, but their region itself. This concept hearkens back to the days when the highest-ranking noble in a region effectively decided that region's policy single-handedly. Thus, by representing their own interests in the upper chamber, the nobles represented their regions as well. This can still be the case in today's government. However, if a noble's regional legislature finds fault with him, they can bring certain charges against him to impeach him. The impeachment is actually considered to remove the affected noble from his executive seat in his home region, but as the seat belongs to the noble representing the region, he loses his seat in the House of Lords as well. Members of the House of Lords are allowed to be executive ministers simultaneously, and as they themselves appoint the ministers, they often choose their own members. They are not, however, allowed to be federal justices or sit in the Mayoral chamber.
The Executive Branch
This quasi-venn diagram shows the different branches of the Rešuecian government at
their different levels of scope and how they interact. Although the positions of nobles--
who can be impeached--are inherited, every other group whose election is not explained
in the diagram is elected by its constituents.
This venn diagram show the Rešuecian government as its organization would be seen
by a Rešuecian. Note how the role of the aristocracy is better illustrated, as well as the
manner the different parts of government are interconnected. Green and red arrows
again represent the ability to elect and impeach, respectively.
The Rešuecian executive branch is much weaker than the executive branches in many other goverments around the world, largely because it does not have a leader to unify it. Instead, the highest ranking ministers are mostly independent of each other. They seem similar to what would be the cabinet in many other nations, but do not necessarily have regular meetings or always work together. Another uniqueness is the fact that at lower levels of government, it is the nobility who hold executive office. They can resign or even be impeached, but the office always returns to the same families. This regional-executive section of the government will not be mentioned in detail here but in the section on the aristocracy. Finally, at the municipal level, it is again the Mayors who hold the power.
The Municipal Level
The mayors of Rešuešn are obviously important. At the municipal executive level they are on their home turf. Their duties include presiding over city councils, planning the future and expansion of their cities, looking for ways to improve the local environment, economy, society, culture and well-being, granting legal requests, organizing police forces, and making trade deals with other cities. The mayors are the do-it-all work-horses of Rešuešn. As implied, they do not only constrain themselves always to local affairs, but seek ways to help their cities influence their neighbors and even the wider world. Historically, the Mayors have been very influential, politically and even militarily and in the arts. During the renaissance period, Rešuešn's cities almost behaved as city states, being influenced by their southern Italian neighbors to rival each other in trade, architecture, painting, sculpture, music military might. Although nowadays Rešuešn's mayors have limited themselves to political-economic dealings, their influence is little diminished.
The Federal Executive Ministers are appointed or elected by the House of Lords. The members of the House of Lords feel no shame in electing themselves to these positions, but this is seen as normal in Rešuešn. Nobility who are ministers can be impeached by their regional assemblies, but there are also ministers who are not of the peerage. Some are members of the The ministers are usually responsible for taking the initiative for international treaties or declarations of war. Each minister has his own domain, but often the ministers attempt to broaden their power and step out of their proper sphere. The most important ministries include jurisprudence, commerce, defense, education, finance, and foreign affairs, but there are more than a dozen others. Incidentally, the foreign affairs ministry has traditionally been left vacant for the last couple decades, due to its elevated status and political opposition in the House of Lords, among other reasons. This is an exception, however, and most ministries are filled immediately upon their vacancy.
The Judicial Branch
The Judicial Branch in Rešuešn is one of the aspects in its government which is most similar to other governments. There are local courts, as well as a high court for every region, perhaps with other levels between. Above these is the Federal Court, whose justices are elected by the Mayoral Chamber. The Federal Court deals with high-profile cases and appeals from the regional court which meet the correct specifications. A reasonable percentage of the justice in the Federal Court are nobility, and they cannot be impeached. They hold their positions for life, unless they resign. Finally, a very small number of cases in Federal Court may be deemed to meet enough criteria to call the Mayoral Chamber into Extraordinary Session. This has only happened a few dozen times in Rešuešn's history, and is occasionally followed by constitutional amendment.
The aristocracy of Rešuešn has many various powers. When the constitution was written, the peers of the realm had historically held almost all the power (except that of the mayors--many cities being almost autonomous) and while the regional assemblies took some of it and also gave the federal parliament they created its fair share, they felt that outing the nobility would be too radical and would lose the support of the population. And in fact, had they done so, they would have been far ahead of their time. What makes the aristocracy in Rešuešn interesting is that it has maintained its position while aristocracy throughout the rest of Europe have been overthrown or had their powers reduced. Part of what has helped with this stability is the ability of regional assemblies to impeach nobles from their regions. Causes which allow impeachment include crimes, abuse of power, and political incompetence. If a noble is impeached, his seat is given to his heir. If their is no heir, or if the heir is unfit to hold the position, a regent can be elected by the affected inhabitants. The regent will serve until an heir is found or become available, and then the authority returns to the same family. Thus the nobles themselves can be temporarily displaced, but the title always returns to the same family.
Besides a given income and a position of respect, Rešuecian nobles are expected to act as executive officials for their lands, a position of power but also responsibility. This is usually a literal full-time job. It may involve working with or overseeing a legislative body, appearing at events, promoting tourism, or administrating a police force. Furthermore, nobles who rule over one of the regions that signed the Treaties of Alliance can voice their interests and the interests of their region in the House of Lords. Nobles, whether part of the House of Lords or not, are also often appointed executive ministers at the federal level as well. If the noble is impeached, the also lose any of the positions listed above. Being an executive official at the federal and a a lower level is seen as quite normal. However, nobles are ineligible to be elected as mayors, or elected to any position in the Mayoral Chamber. A position nobility is welcome in is that of federal justice. A decent majority of federal judges are in fact aristocrats. If a noble who is also a federal justice is impeached, they do not lose their position as justice unless they resign. Rules for aristocrats' their participation in regional assemblies, judiciaries, and other smaller bodies vary by region--some exclude nobles from participating in legislative or judicial government.