Basic Law of the United Provinces of ArghNeedAName
We, the multinational people of ArghNeedAName, author the constitution of the 24 United Provinces to safeguard our fundamental rights and wellbeing, ensure peace and stability and create a free republic that is governed according to democratic principles and ruled by law.
ArghNeedAName is a sovereign state, and the federal government is responsible for its foreign relations, defence and general economic policy. It is the legal successor state to the Confederation of ArghNeedAName. All legislation and treaties of the Confederation, except those which are unconstitutional, are automatically inherited as statutes of ArghNeedAName. All precedent from the Confederate courts is accordingly binding on federal and provincial courts of the United Provivnces.
All citizens of the Confederation of ArghNeedAName inherit citizenship. Any person born to a citizen on ArghNeedANamic territory or born to two citizens abroad is to automatically inherit the citizenship. Other means of granting citizenship may be granted by Parliament. In addition, Parliament may grant non-citizens temporary or indefinite residence within the union. Provincial governments may grant non-citizens temporary of indefinite residence within their province.
All citizens have the right to renounce their citizenship but the government may not revoke a person’s citizenship or exile a citizen.
The official language of the Federal Government is English. Provinces may decide their own official languages.
The national anthem shall be “We can rule you wholesale”.
The national motto shall be “Merus in pectum et in aquam”.
The national currency shall be the Ankh Morpork Dollar, which is subdivided into 100 pence.
The flag shall consist of the blue Winterthur star on a white background with the top horizontal quarter being green and the bottom quarter being gold.
The oath for elected federal politicians shall be “I promise to honour and protect the union of ArghNeedAName, to abide by the Constitution and to fulfil my duty as [office title], this I promise.”
The oath for promising honesty to a Court, Inquest, Parliament or provincial legislative assembly shall be “I promise by the Constitution to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, this I do promise.” Perjury under this oath is a punishable offence.
The World Assembly
ArghNeedAName may participate in World Assembly and during participation all decisions of the World Assembly are binding on ArghNeedAName.
Declaration of Human Rights
All rights apply to on both a federal and provincial level.
- Right to Life: The right to life is the most important of all rights of the citizen. No citizen may be executed for any crime other than murder.
- Right to Vote: Suffrage shall be universal for all citizens aged
2118 and older, except citizens who are in prison or abroad. Voting registration should be automatic and only open to citizens.
- Right to Freedom: Everyone has the right to freedom and may not be subject to slavery, except as punishment for breaking the law.
- Right to Free Speech: Everyone has the right to freedom of expression of information, especially of political opinions. The government is further obliged to respect the freedom of press.
- Right to Free Assembly: Everyone has the right to assembly, to form parties, organisations, media and trades unions; to assemble, to demonstrate peacefully and to petition the government.
- Right to Conscience: Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. No state religion may be established, nor may the government pass laws that treat religions differently, of which irreligion is included, nor interfere with the independence of religious institutions.
- Right to Equality: All citizens are equal before the law of the land regardless of gender, race, origin, religion, sexual orientation, health and disability.
- Right to Resignation: Everyone has the right to resign from work or government office for any reason, apart from the military.
- Right to Privacy: Everyone has the right to privacy in the home and security of documents and belongings. Nobody may have their property searched or confiscated for investigation without warrant issued publically by a court.
- Right to Property: Everyone has the right to property. The government may not confiscate property for public use without generous compensation, unless as a punishment for breaking the law.
- Right to Justice and Due Process: Nobody shall be forced to appear on trial without formal indictment by the judiciary. A defendant has the right to a fair and efficient trial, to a defence lawyer, to present evidence in favour of the defence and to question evidence of the prosecution. A defendant may not be prosecuted more than once for a crime unless new evidence is discovered or if flaws are found in the proceedings of the previous case. All defendants have the right to chose a trial by a jury, either a common jury for most crimes or an expert jury for crimes involving finance. Nobody may be subject to excessive bail, torture or cruel unusual punishment. A person who is falsely accused or convicted has a right to just compensation.
- Right to Free Movement: All citizens of ArghNeedAName have the right to reside in any province or overseas territory they wish.
- Right to Marriage and Family: All citizens have the right to marry anyone of the opposite gender that they wish. Citizens have a natural right and responsibility to manage the upbringing of their own children. Children may only be separated from their parents and taken into care of the state if those entitled are unable to fulfil the duty, or if children are subject to abuse or neglect.
- Right to Education: All citizens have the right to education which until the age of
1216 should be provided for free and be compulsory. State schools may only offer religious instruction for the Protestant, Catholic or Reformed churches, if the parents agree. Citizens have the right to establish and send children to private schools.
- Right to Healthcare: All citizens have the right to health care; coverage should be universal. No citizen may be prevented from obtaining private health insurance in place of public insurance.
All 24 provinces are free and have the right to self-determination. Any province may secede from the union if an absolute majority of registered voters vote in favour in a referendum. A new province may be added by the federal government if the affected population votes in favour in a referendum with a majority of those voting approval. Provinces may be divided or merged with agreement by referendum of the population affected. Provinces may change borders with agreement between each others’ governments and a referendum among the population of the area affected.
In the event of a dispute, both the federal constitution and federal legislation take precedence over provincial legislation and constitutions.
Each province must have a Governor as its Head of State, a free and politically-independent judiciary and a constitution. Any provincial legislation must have the approval of an elected assembly. Provincial elections are required to be equally representative of the voters and not have a voting threshold any higher than 5%. All political offices in a provincial government must be renewed at the most every 5 years.
The following powers are to be left to the provinces and not to be interfered with the federal government unless the federal constitution is violated:
- The constitutions of provinces and functioning of provincial government.
- The operation of provincial and sub-provincial elections, provided that these are free and fair.
- The maintenance of a provincial militia and police force, though either may be transferred to federal command in cases of emergency. A provincial militia may be used by the provincial or federal government to keep the peace within the province or to participate in military action of the federal government.
- The criminal code and prosecution of criminals, except for crimes involving more than one province or crimes involving federal taxes, federal administration, the borders, military and terrorism.
- The regulation of ownership and usage of firearms within a province.
- The regulation of narcotics, alcohol and tobacco within a province.
- The regulation of prostitution.
- The functioning of schools and universities. The federal government may regulate the curriculum and qualifications.
- The sub-provincial governments. All provinces must be divided into at least one tier of democratically elected local government districts. All local governments must be equally representative of the people.
- The regulation of abortion.
- The use of the death penalty.
The Parliament of the United States is the supreme, sovereign and sole legislative body of the federation. Parliament may pass any legislation into law, in the form of Acts of Parliament, if it deems it to be necessary. All legislation may be binding for up to 50 years unless renewed. Furthermore it may not pass legislation that violates the Constitution and provisions of legislation that violate the Constitution can be declared null and void by the Supreme Court.
The Parliament is to consist of two chambers, the National Assembly and the Senate. All legislation must be approved by both chambers, then signed into law by either the President, the Prime Minister or a cabinet minister, with the exception being money spending bills. Both chambers can propose up to two consultative referendums per year.
Members of Parliament enjoy parliamentary privilege, and may not be sued or prosecuted for anything said during debate in either parliamentary chambers.
The National Assembly
The National Assembly has 600 deputies.
The National Assembly is elected by Mixed-Member Proportional Representation. There are 300 districts apportioned between provinces based on population, with each province then being divided into the number of districts it is entitled to. The federal government is responsible for drawing the district map.
Parties must win 5% of the vote in order to have their votes counted; alternatively if a party wins a district or takes more than 10% vote in a province, all of its votes from within this province are counted. If the percentage of districts won by a party is more than twice the percentage of the counted vote the party recieved, the number of seats is expanded to the minimum size needed to ensure that the percentage of seats the party holds is equal to the percentage of the counted votes. The percentage of seats a party has in the Assembly is equal to the percentage of the counted vote.
In each election, parties nominate candidates to contest each district and publish a list of their candidates for the Assembly. A candidate must reside in the province where the district is located or in an adjoining district. At least 5/6 of all candidates on the party list must contest a district. A candidate who wins a plurality of the vote in a district is elected to the Assembly immediately. The number of compensation seats a party recieves is then equal to the number of total seats a party wins with the number of districts the party wins being subtracted. A party's compensation seats are filled with candidates based on their position on the party list, with candidates who have already been elected through a district not being included.
The National Assembly have the power to elect their own Speaker and to decide on their own procedure, which requires a 2/3 majority vote in order to be modified. Both the parliamentary procedure and Acts of Parliament may not require legislation to pass with a higher threshold than is constitutionally-designated.
The Senate has 200 senators.
The Senate is elected through a hybrid system between Mixed-Member Proportional Representation and Single Transferable Vote. Each province has five senators elected through the Single Transferable Vote system. The remainder of the 200 seats are compensation seats.
Parties must win 5% of the first preference vote in the STV elections in order to have their votes counted. The percentage of seats a party has in the assembly is equal to the percentage of the counted vote. In each election, parties nominate candidates to contest each district and publish a list of their candidates for the Senate. A candidate must reside in the province they are contesting. At least 1/2 of all candidates on the party list must contest the STV votes. The number of compensation seats a party recieves is then equal to the number of total seats a party wins with the number of seats won through STV being subtracted. A party's compensation seats are filled with candidates based on their position on the party list, with candidates who have already been elected through STV being ignored.
The Senate have the power to elect their own Chancellor and Vice Chancellor, and decide on their own procedure, which requires a 2/3 majority vote in order to be modified. The Chancellor may also chair official meetings between members of the two chambers of Parliament. Both the parliamentary procedure and Acts of Parliament may not require legislation to pass with a higher threshold than is constitutionally-designated.
The tenure of each Parliament is 48 months before it is automatically dissolved. Upon dissolution, elections are to be scheduled to a date within 2 months of the dissolution. Alternatively, the President may dissolve both chambers of Parliament early if advised to do so by the government or if the government does not hold confidence of the National Assembly. Elections to the National Assembly and Senate are to be held simultaneously. The President officially signs the writs of election.
In the event of a senator or deputy leaving Parliament through resignation, death or impeachment, the seat will be filled using either of the two methods. For senators who represent a province or deputies who represent a district, their seat is filled with a by-election using the First Past the Post system. For senators or deputies who were elected through party lists, their seat will be filled with the next candidate down on the list used in the previous election.
Candidates for the National Assembly must be 21 years of age and candidates for the Senate must be at least 25 years of age. A candidate may stand in federal elections if endorsed by an official political party. An official federal political party must hold 18 seats in the National Assembly. A candidate may also access the ballot of a National Assembly or Senate election by presenting a petition to the Electoral Commission signed by 3% of the district’s eligible voters to run for the National Assembly or 10% to run for the Senate, and may run as either an independent or an endorsee of a minor political party. Provinces may establish additional means of ballot access.
Parliament holds the power to tax commercial and financial activity to raise revenue, and authorise spending of money by government institutions. Parliament also authorises borrowing of money by the government.
All money spending Bills must originate from the National Assembly. The National Assembly may by a majority vote override a decision by the Senate to reject a money spending Bill. The federal government alone may borrow money and maintain a sovereign deficit. The federal deficit may not exceed
The National Assembly may impeach any elected or appointed federal official with a simple majority vote for treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanours. The President of the Supreme Court presides over the trial of the impeached, while the Senate serves as the jury, requiring a 2/3 majority to convict and dismiss an official from office.
The President of ArghNeedAName is the official Head of State of the country. The President may represent the country in foreign meetings and receive foreign guests. The President may sign treaties with other countries’ leaders.
In addition to other powers outlined elsewhere in the Constitution, the President has powers which are outlined here. The President may exercise prerogative power where permitted by legislation, provided that they do not violate or modify legislation by Parliament, or the Constitution.
The President may appoint ambassadors and senior military officials with confirmation from 2/3 of the Senate. The President may also be designated the power to appoint executive positions by Parliament. With the exception of the Prime Minister and Ministers, all officials appointed by the President must be confirmed by 2/3 of the Senate.
The President has the power to call joint sessions of Parliament and may from time to time make addresses outlining the state of the union, and to call one consultative referendum per year.
The President may by prerogative pardon or commute the sentence of anyone convicted of a crime by the federal government.
The President is elected every four years on the first Thursday of May. Any citizen over the age of 30 may run for the office if officially endorsed by 10% of the National Assembly, or two provincial legislative assemblies. If in the election no candidate receives an overall majority, a run-off election is held on the third Thursday of May between the first place and second place candidates in the first round to determine the winner. No office holder may serve more than two consecutive terms, nor may this term limit be removed from the constitution.
If the President is abroad or incapacitated for more than one month, the first person in line for succession may assume the post of Acting President until the President returns. In the event of the President resigning, being removed from office via impeachment or being accordingly absent for at least two months, the first person in line assumes the post of Acting President for up to three months, during which an election must be held for a new President. If the special election is held six months before a scheduled election, the scheduled election can be cancelled.
The line of succession is
The Federal Executive
The federal executive consists of ministries, each headed by a minister who belongs to the cabinet which the Prime Minister chairs. The following ministries must always exist. The Prime Ministry, led by the Prime Minister, is responsible for elections, lobbying, political finance, parliamentary expenses and any administration which is not defined to be the responsibility of other ministries. The Treasury is responsible for manging of government taxation and spending and general coordination of economic policy. The Prime Minister is the President of the Treasury and the Minister of Finane is the Vice President of the Treasury. The Foreign Ministry is responsible for foreign relations and the Interior Ministry is responsible for national security and law enforcement. Any other ministries can be created by an Act of Parliament.
The Prime Minister
The Prime Minister is appointed by the President with consent of a majority of the National Assembly and is required to hold confidence of the National Assembly. An incumbent Prime Minister can be dismissed if the President appoints a new Prime Minister via the same process. The Prime Minister remains in office upon a dissolution in Parliament until the reconvening, at which point he is assumed to have lost confidence until reappointment or dismissal. If the President fails to appoint a Prime Minister within two weeks of a loss of confidence or a reconvention, the National Assembly assume the power to elect the Prime Minister. The office holder must be a member of the National Assembly. The Prime Minister must, on a regular basis, hold question and answer sessions in the National Assembly.
The Prime Minister has the power to assign Ministers to Cabinet posts by prerogative, to chair Cabinet meetings and to present a budget every year. A rejection of the budget is seen as a loss of confidence.
The President appoints Ministers to the Cabinet on the advice of the Prime Minister and with consent from a majority of the National Assembly. The Prime Minister can then assign them to Cabinet posts. Each cabinet post corresponds to a Ministry, and each Minister may only have one cabinet post, apart from the position of Deputy Prime Minister which may be bestowed on any Minister. Each Minister is required to independently hold the confidence of the National Assembly.
The Bank of ArghNeedAName
The Bank of ArghNeedAName is the recognised central bank of the United Provinces. The Bank of ArghNeedAName is subordinate and accountable to the Treasury and parliament and is responsible for issuing currency and coordinating monetary and economic policies. The Bank of ArghNeedAName is the sole keeper of the federal government's supply of money, which is kept in the designated exchequer account.
Parliament has the power to declare war and authorise military force via the legislative process. The President is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and presides over high military councils and committees. The President may authorise military force by prerogative for at least up to 12 days before parliamentary authorisation is required; Parliament may extend this deadline via the legislative process.
A declaration of war is established through the legislative process and requires a 2/3 majority in the Senate. Parliament must establish a Council of War, chaired by the President, to preside over military activity. Any military activity is to be managed by the President and Cabinet under rules, guidelines and limitations issued by Parliament.
A declaration of war establishes a State of National Defence. During such a state, Parliament may decide by a 2/3 vote to suspend articles of the Bill of Rights for wartime purposes.
All males over the age of 16 are eligible and free to serve in the military and militias during peacetime. Conscription of anyone to fight in or assist the military may only be used during a State of National Defence.
The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the whole of the ArghNeedAName territory. The Court is to consist of nine justices, whose are appointed to terms of up to 15-years (they may be shorter), proposed by the Appointments Commission and consented by 2/3 of the Senate. One justice is appointed to the position of President of the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has the sole power to invalidate unconstitutional legislation passed by Parliament. The Supreme Court also has the sole power to ban political parties for plotting terrorist activity or overthrow of the democratic government.
All courts responsible for the application of federal laws may be established by Parliament. The judges are to be appointed in the same way as the Supreme Court. All courts are required to keep to precedent set by the Supreme Court.
The Appointments Commission
The Appointments Commission is to consist of fifteen commissioners, appointed by the President to terms of up to 10 years (they may be shorter if specified by the President) with consent of 2/3 of the Senate. All appointees must be politically independent. The Commission may elect their own Chief Commissioner. The Commission may recommend the appointment of a Federal judge by a majority vote.
The Electoral Commission
The Electoral Commission is responsible for organising and presiding over federal elections. It is to consist of fifteen commissioners, appointed by the President to terms of up to 10-years (they may be shorter) with consent of 2/3 of the Senate. All appointees must be politically independent. The Commission may elect their own Chief Commissioner. After each census, the Electoral Commission may propose a Parliamentary district map to Parliament with a majority vote; this must in turn be approved by a majority in the National Assembly and 2/3 of the Senate.
Territories are defined of regions of land under control of the Federal Government with no provincial status. All residents of territories are citizens of ArghNeedAName, and citizens may move freely between provinces and territories.
All territories enjoy the same Human Rights of provinces, including self determination and secession, but are not guaranteed the powers of provinces. Parliament may directly rule or establish autonomous government for the provinces via the legislative process. It may also establish representation in Parliament, but these delegates do not have the power to vote on legislation that deputies and senators have.
In accordance to the opposition to taxation without representation, territories may not be subject to federal taxes, except a minimal tax which is sufficient to fund their military protection.
Amendments to the Constitution
Amendments to the Constitution may be proposed in the Senate and approved with a two-thirds majority, then approved in the National Assembly by a simple majority. Alternatively it may be proposed by agreement of 2/3 of the provincial governments, provided that they represent 2/3 of the population. The amendment must then be approved by the majority of voters in a nationwide referendum.
No amendment may be initiated during a State of National Defence, and the term limits on the President are protected from amendment.
Upon approval in a nationwide referendum, the Constitution is to take immediate immediate effect and the Confederate Constitution is to be declared null and void. All legislation passed by the Parliament of the Confederation of ArghNeedAName is to be inherited immediately, and will be binding for up to 50 years. All federal elections are to be held within two months of the enactment.