How Ariddia is governed now

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How Ariddia is governed now

Postby Ariddia » Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:39 am

(OOC: For those of you who used to follow Ariddian affairs, I never explained how Ariddia’s institutions functioned after the transition to communism (i.e., the dissolving of the state). This is a belated attempt to rectify that lack.)

Some years ago now, the Ariddian government announced the country had finalized the transition from state socialism to stateless communism, and the People’s Democratic Social Republic became officially the Confederated Communes. Since then, Ariddia has officially had no national government. So how is it governed? This is where it gets a little complex.

Ariddia remains de jure one of the three constituent states of the Federation of the Ariddian Isles. It is also the largest of those three states, encompassing nineteen of the archipelago’s twenty major islands (the other island, Limea, being split between the other two states: West Ariddia and North-West Ariddia).

The ‘Federation’ is essentially a loose confederacy. Its constituent states retain full jurisdiction over internal affairs. The head of State (Prime Secretary) is elected by all Ariddian Islanders, and appoints a Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in consultation with the state legislatures. The Secretary for Foreign Affairs may only express views which are a matter of consensus for all three states; de facto, the states remain free to set their own foreign policy, and thus retain almost complete sovereignty. The Prime Secretary’s functions are purely symbolic, to emphasise the unity of all Ariddian Islanders.

West Ariddia and North-West Ariddia retain the traditional institutions of statehood, but Ariddia has, after a very long transitory period, abolished them, relinquishing authority to autonomous communes.

This is how it works:

Communes may be of any size, and are formed (and registered) with the consent of all citizens encompassed within them. They may expand, merge or split freely at any time. They function on the basis of direct democracy, with all decision-making processes to be open to all resident citizens, by whatever means the commune’s inhabitants opt for. Each commune legislates freely, and may repeal national legislation or local rules that were in force prior to the dissolving of the national legislature. The one and only restriction is that communes may not pass laws or regulations contradicting the national constitution, which remains in force.

To that end, Ariddia retains a Constitutional Council, empowered to examine and reject and communal laws, on a constitutional basis. Members of the council (seven in number) must have an advanced law degree, and experience as judges in lower courts. They are selected by sitting members, but citizens have a right to revoke them at any time. (Specifically, if 10% of all communes pass a motion in favour of a referendum on revoking a Constitutional Council judge, then a national referendum must be held, with the result to be determined by a simple majority.) The head of the Constitutional Council acts as Ariddia’s de facto ceremonial head of state.

Local courts are organised in accordance with communal specifications, with the Constitutional Council acting as a supreme court on constitutional issues.

The constitution, of course, may be amended. An amendment requires, first, a motion from 20% of communes asking for a referendum. A referendum is then held. For the amendment to pass, it must be approved by at least 80% of citizens, and by a majority in at least 80% of communes, as well as by at least three of the seven judges on the Constitutional Council. Any amendment of the Preamble to the constitution would require the approval of 90% of citizens, as well as a majority in 90% of communes, and approval by at least four Constitutional Council judges. Any amendment to article 2 of the Preamble would require an additional referendum open only to citizens recognised as Indigenous by their local Indigenous community, and would necessitate an 80% rate of approval among Indigenous voters in order to be adopted.

Finances. There remains a national Treasury, which acts –along with the Bank of Ariddia– as the repository of all money in the country. Ariddia has had a moneyless economy for generations. All money coming into the country (obtained primarily through trade, and through purchases made within the country by foreign visitors) goes straight into the Treasury, which redistributes it where needed (for example, providing money to Ariddians travelling abroad). This system is periodically subject to debate, and some communes have been discussing the possibility of altering the monetary policy. At present, communes apply for money from the Treasury when needed. The Treasury operates as an independent institution, appointing its own members – who are, however, subject to recall by referendum.

Defence. Ariddia maintains small armed forces. Like the Treasury, the military now operates as an autonomous institution, subject to control by referendum. The lack of a national government means that the military exists for defence and humanitarian purposes only. One of the last laws adopted by Parliament before is dissolution barred the military from engaging in overseas military operations. De facto, Ariddia is under the military protection of its smaller, wealthier neighbour, West Ariddia, which (unlike Ariddia) has nuclear weapons. There are no federal armed forces; de facto, defence is essentially ensured by the West Ariddian military.

Thus, Ariddia is a fully decentralised, direct democracy, having dissolved its national political institutions. It perceives itself as the achievement of a long evolution, which took it from capitalism to socialism, and eventually to communism. Its current institutions fully empower the citizens, who are considered to have reached a degree of maturity and national consensus sufficient for communism to operate successfully.

Of course, the system is not perfect. Its most glaring flaw is the fact that a moneyless economy, combined with a deficiency in the national income flow, severely inhibits people’s travels abroad, or ability to emigrate. (If you want to settle abroad, you can get a loan from the Treasury to cover your travel expenses and initial survival needs, which you will then repay once you start making money in your new country, but it does mean you’ll be starting off in a money-using country with virtually nothing.)
Ariddia: land of islands, forests, grapefruit, and founder of the World Cup.

How Ariddia is governed now.

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