Federal Assembly (Balakia)

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National Assembly of the Balak Federation
Balāk Cankoroc Movadareh Moḑem
Balâk Şankoroş Movadareh Mojem
4th Federal Assembly
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
Bicameral
HousesCommon Council
Council of Elders
Term limits
None
Leadership
President of Balakia
TBD
Structure
Seats1,345 Councillors
66 Elders
250px
250px
Length of term
5 Sayanic years
Elections
Common Council voting system
Multiple proportional systems
(varies by state)
Meeting place
350px
TBD, Qersheven

The National Assembly of the Balak Federation (Balak: Balāk Cankoroc Movadareh Moḑem Balâk Şankoroş Movadareh Mojem [bɑˈlæ:k ˌʃɑŋkɔˈɾɔʃ mɔˌvɑdɑˈɾɛh mɔˈd͡ʒɛm]), commonly known as the Federal Assembly (Balak: Cankorocmoḑem Şankoroşmojem [ˌʃɑŋkɔˌɾɔʃmɔˈd͡ʒɛm]), is the supreme bicameral legislative body of Balakia. The Federal Assembly is a bicameral legislature operating under the Terminian parliamentary system, consisting of the Common Council and the Council of Elders, its lower and upper houses respectively.

History

Initial adoption

The Maram Qakate would begin to industrialise in the 1830s, and with the resulting increase of influences from Ekuosia, the Maram Assembly was reorganised and an imported Terminian system of parliament adopted. With Maram being the driving force behind Balak unification and the dominant regional power, its adapted Terminian system would become the basis for the parliament of a united Balak Empire in 1866. The Council of Kings, as the upper house was then known, would consist of delegations from the formerly independent polities, as well as the Imperial Government itself, while the lower house, then the Council of Lords, still consisted of the entire nobility as was the case in Terminia.

The 1891 Constitution

As the Balak Empire was established and greatly expanded under the reign of Emperor Jimâşim I, the system as inherited from Maram became unwieldy and inconvenient. With unrest already needing to be addressed in the colonies (with revolts in South Herayan being chief among them), Jimâşim hoped to expand the federal system to grant representation to the colonies as constituents unto themselves. A simple extension of the contemporary system was, however, impractical, as it was difficult for Councillors to legislate for both their colony and for the Empire as a whole as things stood. Another concern was a severe imbalance in power, as under the current constitution, the system had been flooded, and more recently exploited, by a myriad of Sonkhai soursop farmers who qualified as landed nobility in Sonka.

To address these issues, the 1891 Constitution included parliamentary reforms and introduced further democratic elements. For one, the Noble Council was reorganised into the Common Council, with the positions noblemen had previously held within the council by default instead being reserved for specially elected local representatives. Regional assemblies and their procedures were better codified, and any proposal from the Council of Kings would be simultaneously run through all regional assemblies (possible due to the lack of distinction between constituent legislatures and the Common Council), whereafter all the votes would be tallied up back in Qersheven. Furthermore, provisions were made for distinct upper houses for each constituent, meaning that Councillors approved legislation from both the Council of Kings and their own local upper houses.

Union of Shomosvan

The Imperial Government effectively became a government in exile in 1952 due to the Kúúlist takeover of the mainland in the Balak Golden Revolution, with the Imperial Assembly operating from Sonka and a new Supreme Assembly established in its place. Meanwhile, the newly established Balak Helsonian Republic, which soon merged with Gushlia to form the Union of Shomosvan, also used a continuation of the Imperial model as a claimant to the rightful governorship of Balakia, having made the decision not to radically overhaul or abolish the system, much like in the Helsonian Union. A further justification used by Shomosvani officials was that the current system was already sufficient to represent the helsens. Newer, communal Kúúlist systems of governance were adopted more broadly at regional and local levels of government.

A number of reforms were made by the Kúúlist regime that brought the parliament closer to its modern iteration. For one, there was a dramatic shift in the balance of power from the upper house to the lower house; the lower house was given an equal right to legislative initiative, while the cabinet was excluded from the upper house, which came to house regional delegations exclusively. The cabinet would operate independently of either chamber, and primarily consisted of high-ranking party officials, but would be accountable to the lower house. Any lower house member appointed to the cabinet would be forced to resign as representative if applicable, although this was a rare occurrence. While the composition and appointment of the lower house would change (for example with the representation of certain interest groups), the core structure remained intact.

Balak Federation

The Supreme Assembly was supplanted by the modern Federal Assembly in 2002 as the new Balak constitution came into effect and the provisional government was abolished. ... Proportional elements, such as the party seats in the Common Council and vote allocation in the Council of Elders, were introduced in [year].

Building

Composition and powers

Common Council

The Common Council currently comprises 1,345 representatives, known as Councillors, when in full session. Each state is allocated a set amount of Councillors by the federal government based on population, with approximately 50,000 people represented per Councillor. Balakia operates under Terminian Federalism, wherein state legislatures do not exist as independent institutions, only as subdivisions of the Common Council which serve the same purpose (also referred to as compartments). While not independent organisations, these state compartments have full legislative authority in their respective states, and are still typically referred to as the State Parliaments; Councillors thus legislate both for their state and for the country as a whole. The State Parliaments as units play a key role in the national legislative process, as national debates are held simultaneously in all state legislatures as opposed to the Common Council's primary meeting place when the Council is not in full session, with votes being collected locally and sent back to be counted.

Allocation of seats

The prescribed national total of seats in the Common Council is determined after each census; this number is attained by dividing the total population of Balakia by 50,000 and rounding the result down to the nearest integer. This can be expressed through the formula total population50,000. The current number of seats is 1,345. The number of seats apportioned to each state is calculated using the Sainte-Laguë method, using each state's total population figures as an analogue to votes cast for each state.

Current distribution of seats
State Population Common Council
seats
Percent of
seats
Ayalshemir 401,477 8 0.59%
Balachik 9,194,768 184 13.68%
Boghshuy 5,019,476 100 7.43%
Chindensven 4,139,560 83 6.17%
Chindush 3,108,642 62 4.61%
Covaya 1,812,045 36 2.68%
Hamavan 7,987,194 160 11.90%
Kazan 2,569,139 51 3.79%
Kojara 2,684,675 54 4.01%
Lower Maram 5,108,567 102 7.58%
Manatak Autonomous Territory 2,757,613 55 4.09%
Mechin 1,035,875 21 1.56%
Qersheven 7,248,604 145 10.78%
Tarashik 6,294,764 126 9.37%
Upper Maram 7,895,727 158 11.75%
Total 67,258,126 1,345 100%

Election

Balakia uses a multitude of voting systems to elect Councillors, who serve for a term of 5 Sayanic years following every general election. The Constitution of the Balak Federation outlines a state's rights and responsibilities in organising elections, namely that a state may decide on any voting system to elect its number of assigned Councillors. The vast majority of states use either mixed-member proportional representation or single transferable vote; Ayalshemir and Hamavan are the only states to use pure party-list proportional representation. In states which use MMPR, a two-round voting system is used to elect Councillors representing counties. No state uses plurality voting, as in most states a frequent redrawing of electoral boundaries is equivalent to a redrawing of administrative boundaries, which would incur high costs and confusion among citizens.

Compartments

Diagram illustrating the compartmentalisation of the Common Council

The Common Council comprises 15 compartments, which serve as substitutes for independent state legislatures under Terminian federalism.

Local politics

In most states, the office of Councillor overlaps with the office of Count, particularly for representatives from local constituencies in states which use MMPR in elections. These Councillors have tangible administrative authority in their respective counties and serve as their leaders.

Council of Elders

Members of the Council of Elders are not elected, either by popular vote or by the state parliaments, but are instead delegated by the respective state government. They do not enjoy a free mandate and serve only as long as they are representing their state, not for a fixed period of time.

Normally, a state delegation consists of the State President (or Mayor in the case of city-states) and other cabinet ministers. The state cabinet may appoint as many delegates as the state has votes (all other ministers/senators are usually appointed as deputy delegates), but may also send just a single delegate to exercise all of the state's votes. In any case, the state has to cast its votes en bloc, i.e., without vote splitting. As state elections are not coordinated across Balakia and can occur at any time, the majority distributions in the Council of Elders can change after any such election.

The number of votes a state is allocated is based on a form of degressive proportionality according to its population. This way, smaller states have more votes than a distribution proportional to the population would grant. The allocation of votes is regulated by the Balak constitution. All of a state's votes are cast en bloc, either for or against or in abstention of a proposal. Each state is allocated at least three votes, and a maximum of six. States with more than

  • 2 million inhabitants have 4 votes,
  • 6 million inhabitants have 5 votes,
  • 7 million inhabitants have 6 votes.

Presidency

Since 2002, the presidency of the Council of Elders has rotated annually among the State Presidents of each of the states. The order of succession is fixed, cycling through each of the states in alphabetical order (in the Vaniuan script) each Sayanic year, starting with Qersheven in 2002/2003.

Current distribution of votes
State Population Council of
Elders votes
Percentage
of votes
Population
per vote
Governing parties
G (Government)
N (Neutral)
O (Opposition)
Presidency
Ayalshemir 401,477   3   █ █ █ 4.55% 133,826 TBD 2020/2021
Balachik 9,194,768   6   █ █ █ █ █ █ 9.09% 1,532,461 TBD 2006/2007
Boghshuy 5,019,476   4   █ █ █ █ 6.06% 1,254,869 TBD 2007/2008
Chindensven 4,139,560   4   █ █ █ █ 6.06% 1,034,890 TBD 2015/2016
Chindush 3,108,642   4   █ █ █ █ 6.06% 777,161 TBD 2016/2017
Covaya 1,812,045   3   █ █ █ 4.55% 604,015 TBD 2014/2015
Hamavan 7,987,194   6   █ █ █ █ █ █ 9.09% 1,331,199 TBD 2018/2019
Kazan 2,569,139   4   █ █ █ █ 6.06% 642,285 TBD 2009/2010
Kojara 4,139,560   4   █ █ █ █ 6.06% 1,034,890 TBD 2011/2012
Lower Maram 5,108,567   4   █ █ █ █ 6.06% 1,277,142 TBD 2010/2011
Manatak Autonomous Territory 2,757,613   4   █ █ █ █ 6.06% 689,403 TBD 2013/2013
Mechin 1,035,875   3   █ █ █ 4.55% 345,292 TBD 2013/2014
Qersheven 7,248,604   6   █ █ █ █ █ █ 9.09% 1,208,101 TBD 2017/2018
Tarashik 6,294,764   5   █ █ █ █ █ 7.58% 1,258,953 TBD 2008/2009
Upper Maram 7,895,727   6   █ █ █ █ █ █ 9.09% 1,315,955 TBD 2019/2020
Total 67,258,126 66 100% 1,019,063

Legislative process

Introducing a bill

Bills can be introduced through one of four means:

  • The Federal Government or the President themself may decide to introduce or amend a law.
  • Any member of the Council of Elders can introduce a bill directly.
  • A parliamentary committee or other group consisting of at least 15 Councillors can introduce a bill directly to the Common Council.
  • Citizens may introduce a bill to the Common Council by the mechanism of popular initiative, requiring the signatures of a group of 100,000 citizens with the right to vote in elections to the Common Council. This typically takes the form of an online petition.

Certain bills may only be submitted by certain groups; only the Federal Government can introduce a draft budget. Additionally, certain bills can only be debated in the Common Council when it is in full session. All bills must be introduced at the main Federal Assembly building in Qersheven; no individual state compartment of the Common Council can independently propose a national bill.

Common Council

The first reading of a bill introduced by the Common Council takes place in a meeting of a committee concerned with the bill; in the case of a bill introduced by popular initiative, the bill is appointed to a relevant committee by the Speaker of the Common Council. A finalised draft is then voted on by the committee, requiring the approval of 3/5 of the members present. This first reading does not apply to bills passed on to the Common Council by the Council of Elders.

Once a bill has been approved by its respective committee, or has been received from the Council of Elders, a debate is held in the Common Council, and an initial vote is held with three options; Approved, Rejected, or Requires amendment. Councillors interested in participating in this initial debate must travel to the Federal Assembly building to do so. Until an absolute majority is reached to either approve or reject a bill, amendments are proposed and voted on, though a bill must be either approved or rejected by the fourth vote. If the Common Council is in full session, amendments require the sponsoring of at least 100 Councillors, or an absolute majority of Councillors from one of the states. Upon the approval of a bill, one of two things can happen:

  • If the Common Council is in full session, the final bill is considered approved at this time.
  • If the Common Council is not in full session, the bill is forwarded to the State Parliaments for their approval.

State Parliaments

If a bill is forwarded to the State Parliaments, an initial vote on the bill is held in each of them, with the same options of Approved, Rejected, or Requires amendment. Unless an absolute majority is reached to approve a bill in a given State Parliament, the floor is opened to amendments, subject to submission requirements depending on state procedures. Amendments are either approved or rejected by a State Parliament, with approved amendments being passed on to all other State Parliaments for them to approve or reject in a second amendment session the following day.

Once all of the State Parliaments have cast their votes, the number of votes for the bill and for each amendment are tallied back in Qersheven. Depending on the results of the calculation, the bill is either rejected and discarded, or the text of the amended bill is finalised. In the case of the latter, the bill is then sent back to both the main Federal Assembly building and to all of the State Parliaments with the option to either approve or reject the bill. The votes are once again tallied up, and the final bill is either approved or rejected.

Approval

Upon a bill's final approval in the Common Council, it is forwarded to the Council of Elders for review if it has not yet been approved by them in its current state (i.e. including any amendments made by the Common Council).

Council of Elders

The process for approving a bill is more streamlined for the Council of Elders due to all debates being held in a singular location. Once a bill has been proposed by either an Elder, the Federal Government, or the President, a debate is held in the Council of Elders, and an initial vote is held with three options; Approved, Rejected, or Requires amendment. Until an absolute majority is reached to either approve or reject a bill, amendments are proposed and voted on, though a bill must be either approved or rejected by the fourth vote. If the bill in its current state (i.e. including any amendments made by the Council of Elders) has not yet been approved by the Common Council, it is forwarded to them for review.

Final approval

Once a bill has been approved in its current form by both the Common Council and the Council of Elders without further amendments, it is sent to the President to be either signed into law or vetoed. A bill that has been vetoed by the President can be overridden by a majority of 3/5 of all Councillors, after which the President is required by law to sign the bill. Failing this, the bill may not be reintroduced by either chamber of the Federal Assembly for 6 Sayanic months.

If the President has doubts concerning the constitutionality of the bill, they may appeal to the Constitutional Tribunal, forfeiting their veto in so doing. If the Tribunal is satisfied with the constitutionality of the bill, the President is required to sign it, while if they find the bill in its entirety to be unconstitutional, the President must refuse to sign it. In the scenario the Tribunal finds that only some provisions in the bill are inconsistent with the constitution, the bill is returned to the Common Council if the offending provision[s] is/are not inseparable from the bill itself. This triggers an additional round of debate in each house. Following the successful correction of a bill, it is sent to be signed by the President.

See also