Imperial Xhovian Parliament
The Parliament of The Holy Xhovian Empire, officially The High Parliament of the Peoples and Lords of the Most Holy and Sovereign Xhovian Empire of Alcia, otherwise called The Imperial Xhovian Parliament or domestically just The Parliament is the bicameral legislature of the Holy Xhovian Empire. It theoretically exercises total legislative power over the entire Empire, and is beholden only to the Imperial Crown, however many factors to do with the structure of the Imperial State impede this, including the heavy levels of devolved power to local governments. However it does at least in name, have supreme control over all political bodies throughout the Empire, including the Emperor himself, by the Council of Electors. Though Bicameral, the Parliament consists of three elements: The Senate, The Diet and the Emperor. They meet in the Drixhé Palace in Zoxhresxhé's Old Town, the house of the original Noble Diet, that predates the Empire.
Composition and Powers
The Parliament is bicameral, but tripartite, with the two chambers being the Senate, a popularly elected legislature, and the Diet, one formed of the nobility of the various Imperial territories. The third part is the Imperial Crown, which in and of itself can mean the Emperor, the Crown Representative to the Senate or the Royal Speaker to the Diet.
The Senate is a democratically elected body, consisting of 184 seats, representing all Imperial territories except for the Free Imperial Cities. Of those seats, 181 are for regional representatives, styled Senators. The remaining 3 seats are held by:
- The Speaker of the Senate: A role designed to maintain order and lead the Senate in its procedures, the Speaker is normally a non-voting seat, unless there is a tie in any voting. The Speaker is styled the Senator of Xhiksanksi, a city-state that has not existed since the Talisian reforms, now being part of Sarishi Duchy. In practice the Speaker is appointed by the President, and usually from the majority party or from an unaffiliated party.
- The President of the Senate: The leader of the Senate, and Co-Leader of the government, the President is nominated by whichever party establishes and maintains a 51% majority, or by the coalition that does such. The President is allowed to vote, and has many executive powers over the Senate, most notably, the Power of Refutation, which puts the President as effective gatekeeper of the Senate, as any bill with a less than 80% majority vote in favour can be vetoed by his authority.
- The Crown Representative to the Senate: A voting, but party unaffiliated role. The Crown Representative serves multiple functions. Firstly, they exist to relay any desires, requests, commands or messages that the Crown has in its official capacity to the Senate. Secondly, they serve many ceremonial roles in place of the Emperor or Empress themselves, due to the ban on the Emperor or Empress setting foot in the Senate during session. The Crown Representative is almost always a member of the Imperial Family if possible. If not, theoretically any person can take the role, but there has yet to be a situation where a non-royal has done so.
The Senators are elected by territory, with, in name a Single Non Transferable Vote (however in Duchies who only get one Senator, it is in effect first past the post). The only categories for being elected senator are: Imperial Citizenship, Residency in the Empire for at least 10 years since your 17th Birthday and not being a member of any noble or aristocratic bloodline.
The Senate shares power of Proposition with the Diet, and it can, via the Crown Representative, make an appeal directly to the Emperor with a majority vote if it wishes to pass legislation it believes will be refused by the Diet on unjust grounds (such as with On the Ownership and Taxation of Motor Vehicles 2005)
The Diet is an appointed body of Nobles, and is the oldest element of the Parliament, predating the Empire, as it was used in the running of the Imperial Covenance. It consists of 190 seats, 176 of which are made from members of the ruling noble families of each Imperial territory (traditions vary by region, but in general it is the heir-apparent for duchies, and a lower rank for the larger regions) with two exceptions. The Imperial Republic of Niofe, having no nobility, is unrepresented here (but has 5 senatorial seats, a number only matched by the 3 Kingdoms), and the Kingdom of Szezkia is represented exclusively by allied Szezk noble families, or extreme cadet branches of the ruling house, as there exists a law and convention barring members of the House of Seczki-Lahnstruzich from any Imperial position, including the Diet, but they have been permitted to continue ruling Szezkia themselves. The remaining 14 seats are made up by:
- The Speakers for Xhiu: 12 members of the Xhiuist clergy, representing the major and minor Xhiuist denominations. This number has grown over the centuries as the number of different Xhiuist sects recognised by the Empire has grown> Notably, the Orthodox representative is referred to by the same titulature and forms of address as the Hykiri, stemming from an ancient tradition of having the Hykiri present for early Imperial matters, that then shifted to having a Holy Man or Woman "take the spirit of the Hykiri and conveyance their will".
- The Lord-Chancellor of the Diet: The Leader of the Diet, taking the role of Leader and Speaker, as well as being Co-Leader of the Government, the Lord-Chancellor is elected internally in the Diet upon the death or resignation of the last. (Resignations typically occur more frequently than deaths, with the average span of a Chancellery being 8 years.), The Lord-Chancellor leads the Diet in proceedings, and has the same Power of Refutation as the President of the Senate.
- The Royal Speaker to the Diet: The Royal Speaker serves a role similar to the Crown Representative, albeit older, and with more ceremonial demands. Likewise, this position is selected from the Imperial family, normally an older relative relative to the Emperor, be they siblings, parents, uncles, cousins or even further removed relatives. This is strictly an unofficial criterion, but it has held true for the entirety of the role's existence.
The Opening of the Parliament
The opening of a new Parliament occurs after each Senatorial election. The ceremony usually takes place within 14 days of the election results being announced. It begins with the Emperor, escorted by the Crown Representative, Royal Speaker, President, Lord-Chancellor and Lord-Commander of the Talisian Guard, unlocking the gates to the Parliamentary Palace. The Lords of the Diet then enter into the courtyard first, and then the senators. From there, it is customary for the Emperor to deliver a speech, and take a collective oath of loyalty from those assembled.
Then, the Lord-Commander of the Talisian Guard raises his sword, pointing it towards the Emperor, who leaves the Palace, symbolising Parliament's absolute right to independence from the Emperor's direct command. The Lords and Senators then go to their respective halls.
In the Senate, the Chief Scribe of the Senatorial Record begins their side of the ceremony, by setting fire to a copy of the former Senate's Record, symbolising the independence of the senate from the decrees of its predecessor. While the record burns, the Crown Representative is escorted to their seat. The Speaker then gives the command to dispose of the burnt record, and calls upon the President to deliver a speech. The President's opening speech is usually little more than an overview of the intents of the President's party. After the President has spoke, the Speaker introduces the law On the Commencement of Parliamentary Function, a pro forma bill that is always voted on immediately, allowing the Senate to commence lawmaking.
Meanwhile in the Diet, the Lords all enter, and take their places, before the Royal Speaker enters. Upon their entry, the Lords all kneel before the Speaker, until they take their seat. Once the Speaker is sat, the Lords arise, and the Lord-Chancellor gives a speech. The Speakers for Xhiu then lead the hall in consecration of the Diet. Once consecrated, the Keeper of the Covenant brings out the copy of the Imperial Covenance, and reads aloud its terms. The Diet then collectively swears to uphold the Covenance and its terms. Then, a representative of each of the 3 Kingdoms delivers a formulaic speech and oath swearing the service of their King or Queen to the Diet, Covenance, Emperor and Empire. The Diet boos during the oath from the Szezk representative, as a symbol of the banning of the house of Seczki-Lahnstruzich from Dietary participation. By this time On the Commencement of Parliamentary Function has usually been approved by the Senate, and is brought to the Diet. The Diet also votes to approve the law, then sends it to the Emperor, who upon signing it, has opened Parliament.
Legislative Procedure and Function
HOW DO IT DO
The Council of Electors
HOW ARE THEY PICKED AND WHAT CAN THEY DO
Duration and Formation
ELECTIONS + HOW LONG CAN THEY SIT
The Imperial Offices and the Government
WHAT, HOW, WHO
Sovereignty and Authority
DOES IT ACTUALLY HAVE THEM
Privilege and Oblige
PRIV FOR SEN, OB FOR NOB