|Her Royal Highness' Government|
Coat of arms
|Established||November 28, 1858|
|State||Kingdom of Sierra|
|Headquarters||Getty House, Porciúncula|
|Kingdom of Sierra|
This article is part of the series:
Much of the political framework and institutions by which the Sierran government operates are described and tied to the Sierran federal Constitution, by which the powers of executive, legislative, and judicial powers are separated and delegated to each component of the government: the Crown which is considered the foundation of the government and rests within the executive branch as its head of state; the Prime Minister as the head of the civil executive branch government (including the Executive Council and the Cabinet) and the monarch's representative; the Parliament as the source of legislation; and the Supreme Court as the final arbiter and interpreter of federal and constitutional law.
Most of the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the government are defined within the Constitution or through subsequent Acts of Parliament codified in Sierra's Federal Code including the creation of new government agencies and courts inferior to the Supreme Court, while additional clarifications, as well as the relationship between the constituent states and the Kingdom are defined within the Charter for the Kingdom of Sierra.
Kingdom-wise, there is an unequal distribution of devolution and self-governance for the three constituent countries: in Sierra, because its government is the dominant model by which the Kingdom is based on, and because of its deep entrenchment, has no virtually no devolved government or distinctly separate government from the Kingdom (Sierra's parliament is the National Parliament–there is no intermediary legislature for itself nationwide); in the Deseret and Hawaii, both have their own legislatures, national governments, constitutions, and legal systems. Only few matters are reserved to the Kingdom, among them including foreign affairs and national defense. In Sierra, any powers not delegated to the federal government as understood under the Constitution, are relegated to the provincial or local level. Within these provinces and territories, they have their own governments, legislatures, and laws, sharing the responsibility of governance as the federal government in a form of dual federalism. The Sierran federal system is unique and heavily influenced by the American and Westminster systems. The Kingdom's unitary system as a whole, however is similar to the Dutch model, in that it retains some federal qualities whilst being a unitary state overall.
The Sierran government's powers are outlined in the Constitution and whose integral institutions have remained virtually unchanged since its creation in 1858. The nature and role of the government were however, redefined under the 1950 Charter for the Kingdom of Sierra which created a unitary system including three constituent countries: federal Sierra, the Deseret, and Hawaii.
Preceding the modern government was that of the California Republic, a republic that lasted for 10 years and proved to be overwhelmingly ineffective in its ability to enforce laws. Loosely based on the American system of government, the Californian government decided that it needed a more stronger central government that could govern the immense territory it won from both independence and the Mexican–American War effectively. Summoning a constitutional convention with the purpose of creating a new form of government, delegates from throughout the Republic were sent to represent local constituents' desires. The delegates had a diverse take and vision for the future government; some advocated for copying the American federalist government while others advocated modeling the government after the British monarchy. Within a year, compromise was made with the American federalist system prevailing that would include some inherently monarchist features. A constitutional monarchy would exist with the same extent of powers it would in a Westminster state but the American federalist form of government would dominate the structure, power, and organization of the "civil" government. Apart from a few minute differences between the civil government of federal Sierra and the United States (different names: Congress to Parliament, President to Prime Minister; the fact that the Prime Minister, the head of the executive branch, is also a member of the legislature; etc.), both systems' basic layout and scope of power are virtually identical. The ideas of checks and balances and separation of church and state are prevalent and considered a fundamental principles of Sierran federal government just as they are in the American government. The political system of the Kingdom as a sole entity however, is much more in-line with that of Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Danish Realm, where the former adopted a similar framework and system in 1954, four years after the Kingdom's own charter.
The executive power of government is vested in the King or Queen of Sierra although power and responsibility of governance is often entrusted in the Prime Minister and his/her Executive Council and Cabinet who carry out executive actions on behalf of the monarch. The monarch is a inherited by absolute primogeniture whereas the Prime Minister and his/her running mate (the Deputy Prime Minister) are elected directly by the general electorate. The monarch may rule for life while both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister must seek reelection every four years to renew their terms.
The Constitution of Sierra declares that the monarch is the sovereign head of Sierra and therefore, the monarch is the highest-ranking official in the Sierran government and the fount of honor of the Sierran peerage system.
As a hereditary non-partisan member of the government, the monarch enjoys constitutionally limited power and relies most of his/her duties to be executed by the Prime Minister, officers of the Cabinet, Parliament, or other legal bodies which have been authorized to work under the monarch's name.
Among the few exclusive rights conferred onto the monarch is the royal prerogative, the act of assent, and the issuance of edicts. The monarch usually executes these rights with the advice of the Prime Minister and the Privy Council, the Cabinet, and Parliament. The royal prerogative includes the right to appoint and dismiss officials, declare war, make peace, negotiate and ratify foreign agreements including treaties, issue passports, and create or dissolve government offices. In practice however, the role of the monarch has been quite influential and expansive. During the reigns of Smith I, Lewis I, and Lewis III, especially, these monarchs used their status to exert dominance over the political system, leading some critics to call the intended power dynamic between monarch and prime minister as inversely altered.
As the head minister and representative of the monarch's government, the Prime Minister fulfills most of the duties and powers prescribed to the monarch on their behalf. In addition, the Prime Minister is in charge of heading the civil government, administrating the executive branch and the Cabinet, and ensuring that all laws are executed and followed. In times of war, the Prime Minister fulfills the role as the Supreme Field Marshal (the de facto commander-in-chief) of the Sierran Crown Armed Forces and other military components of Sierra on behalf of the monarch. In Parliament, the Prime Minister is entitled the position as well as the privileges and duties of Speaker of Senate. The Prime Minister also chairs the Executive Council of Sierra and serves as a member of the Privy Council by ex officio. The Prime Minister serves a four-year term and can be reelected with no term limit.
Deputy Prime Minister
The Deputy Prime Minister is the second highest-ranking civil executive official in the government. The Constitution does not specify nor designate any specific role for the Deputy Prime Minister other than that the Deputy Prime Minister should succeed the Prime Minister in the event that the former died, resigned, is removed, or otherwise unable to immediately serve in his/her role and capacity as Prime Minister. The modern role of the Deputy Prime Minister has evolved through precedents and traditions handed down through each ministry. Generally, the Deputy Prime Minister serves to represent the Prime Minister whenever the latter is not present which includes attending public ceremonies or conducting state visits. The Like the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister is also a member of the Executive Council, the Cabinet, and the Privy Council, the latter by ex officio. However, the Deputy Prime Minister has no role or function within the context of Parliament officially wherein only the Prime Minister is a member as the Senate's Speaker.
Cabinet, ministries, and agencies
The enforcement and implementation of federal law and policy rests in the hands of the Executive Council. The actual creation of policy and daily decision-making, as well as administration of the large bureaucratic network of the executive branch however, is handled by the Cabinet and its ministries, other executive departments and ministries, and independent agencies. There are also numerous government-owned companies that operate within the rein of the executive branch.
There are a total of 11 Cabinet-level ministries each with a corresponding head known as the minister. The ministries are listed based on their minister's rank order according to the prime ministerial line of succession:
- Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Minister of Defense
- Minister of Finance
- Attorney General (Justice)
- Minister of Education
- Minister of Culture
- Minister of Interior
- Surgeon General (Health and Human Services)
- Minister of Commerce and Labor
- Minister of Transportation
- Minister of Veteran Affairs
At the federal level, general legislative power is designated to the Parliament of Sierra. As the supreme legislature, the Parliament is bicameral and is comprised of the upper house Senate and lower house House of Commons. The Constitution designates several enumerated powers to Parliament in Article V, Section V including the power to levy and collect taxes, duties, or imposts, and pay debts; to coin and print money; to raise, maintain, and regulate the armed forces; and to regulate interprovincial and international commerce. The Charter reaffirms all of these provisions on a Kingdom-wide scale. In addition to the various explicit powers Parliament is designated, there are numerous implied powers that allow Parliament to pass necessary laws otherwise unlisted within the Constitution or existing federal law. There are also various actions or laws that Parliament is explicitly forbidden to pass or denied because such actions or laws are designated at the provincial, not federal, level.
In the Senate, all members are elected to six-year terms but only one-third face an election every 2 years. All commoners are elected every 2 years at the same time. Both senators and commoners are elected directly by the people but senators are elected in provincial-wide elections whereas commoners are elected by constituents within their parliamentary districts.
Both houses have specific exclusive powers. In the Senate, most royal or ministerial appointments and decisions must be approved by "advice and consent" and oversees the impeachment of any high-ranking official. In the House, only it may introduce bills related to revenue or government finance. The approval from both houses individually and collectively is necessary for any legislation to pass unto the Monarch of whom may either assent to it or reject it through vetoing. If the proposed legislative bill is rejected by the Monarch, it may still pass so long as both houses approve it by two-thirds vote.
The Supreme Court is the court of last resort whose main task is to interpret constitutional law (including the Charter) and review cases sent from inferior federal appellate, district or provincial supreme courts within Sierra. As the final arbiter and interpreter of law, it may nonetheless, only act and handle cases that it has immediate jurisdiction over. The majority of cases and issues the Courts handle are of appellate jurisdiction, as opposed to original jurisdiction. On cases and issues arising from the Desertan and Hawaiian courts, the Supreme Court typically defers to the decisions of both respective countries' own supreme courts unless such cases warrant the purview of the Court due to conflict with Charter law.
The Supreme Court is composed of eight associate justices headed by one chief justice all of whom serve for life and are appointed by the monarch. Below the Supreme Court are the supreme courts of the constituent countries or the federal provinces, along with the various federal courts which oversee cases within their regional district in Sierra. Special courts handling specific cases including matters regarding taxes or bankruptcy has jurisdiction over Sierra at-large, superseding provincial courts in most cases. In the Deseret and Hawaii, both have similar special courts which have higher jurisprudence and authority than local courts.
Elections and voting
At all levels of Sierran government, most public officials are elected directly by enfranchised constituents. Since 1973, all Sierran citizens 18 and older irrespective of race, color, age, or sex (excluding certain individuals such as (felony criminals) enjoy universal suffrage and may participate in elections. In practice, citizens may not vote in an election without first registering in the province they currently reside in. While voting has traditionally be held at polling stations, voters may also vote via absentee ballots. Some provinces have also tested the use of online voting, aiming to transition Sierra into an e-democracy.
Federal elections, including prime ministerial and parliamentary elections, are almost always held on October 16 or the second Friday of October. Most elections held at the provincial and local level also coincide with these dates. Results, after the votes have been tallied, are usually declared the night of or the day following the elections.
There are special restrictions in place for citizens residing in Sierran territories which are not fully protected and represented under the Constitution. For example, citizens of Sierran territories may not participate in prime ministerial elections. In Parliament, territories are not represented by senators or commoners, instead, they send delegates who may not vote on the floor in either houses. Citizens living in the territories who move to the provinces are immediately conferred the rights of those who live in the provinces including participation in prime ministerial elections. Conversely, citizens living in the provinces who move to a territory loses such rights and may not participate in said elections.
Province, tribal, and local governments
Within federal Sierra, each province features its own organized government with its elected officials, written constitution, and laws. Within the Constitution, Article VII declares that any power or responsibilities not delegated to the federal government be conferred unto the provinces. As a result, the majority of legal and political decisions that affect citizens occur not on the federal, but the provincial level. Several issues that provinces handle include crime, education, health, property, and family law. As a result of the federalist system, laws, policies, and procedure vary greatly from province to province. All provinces are led by a governor, have a provincial legislature, and their own court system. Laws and regulations of each province are confined within each's respective jurisdictions. Any person regardless of citizenship or origin are subject to the laws of a particular province whenever they are within that province's territory.
Local government exists in the form of counties which are the primary subdivisions of each province. Counties are in turn, divided further into municipalities (cities, towns, etc.). Generally, counties are led by directly-elected boards which are responsible for providing basic facilities, services, and utilities. Several local institutions are commonly found in most counties including public libraries, water management districts, police and fire departments, and public education systems. Counties may collect taxes, and have their own code of laws, which often exist in the form of ordinances. Within each municipality, city government may dictate and impose regulations on traffic, sanitation, housing, animals, and other issues. Municipalities are commonly led by a mayor who is elected directly alongside a city council or board of directors. The scope of municipalities may vary greatly–larger cities often cover over broad aspects of issues while rural areas may deal primarily with basic property codes.
Native American reservations are treated as sovereign governments by the federal government similarly as if they were provinces. Existing within provincial boundaries, nonetheless, territories within such reservations are exempt from provincial jurisdiction in most cases and are only still subject to federal law. Just as the provinces, tribal governments are not completely sovereign in that they may not conduct diplomacy, engage in war, or pass laws conflicting that with federal law. Beyond the restrictions of federal law and constraints, reservations are autonomous and form their own government and laws. Some reservations feature complex governments that replicate the Sierran federal system (sans the monarchist components) while others feature a simple tribal council.
In the Deseret
In the Deseret, all powers and functions of the Deseret's counties are delegated by the Standing Executive Committee but the boundaries and geographical areas that each county encompasses which are generally analogous to the stakes are established by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Deseret's state church. Due to the Deseret's relatively small population and distribution, the counties have much more drastically reduced powers than those of Sierran provinces or Hawaiian states. The counties function much closer to Sierran and Hawaiian counties, which are primarily responsible for providing local services such as law enforcement, education, water, and electricity, and enacting ordinances. Each of the 50 counties are empowered to control all unincorporated areas within their jurisdiction and to determine the extent of autonomy of incorporated cities and communities.
Each county is led by a stake presidency and stake high council who are local lay members of the Church. As is the case at the national level, although non-members of the Church are not legally prohibited from holding office, they are practically ineligible for service as all county offices are tied to the ecclesiastical stakes. These stakes are established and provided by the Church which requires candidates to have official membership.
Hawaii's administrative division system is similar to the Sierran federal model. Hawaii is divided into 8 states, each with their own government, constitution, laws, courts, and limited autonomy, as well as powers and rights provided for by the Hawaiian Constitution. Any powers not granted to the Hawaiian or national government, and not forbidden by the Hawaiian constitution or the Charter, are granted to the states and the people. All states are led by a governor with a Lord Superintendent representing the Queen as the state viceroy. Each state is further divided into counties and municipalities, and in addition to these lower-level divisions, there are special districts that specialize in certain services or functions, such as water districts and port authorities.
In contemporary times, Sierra is dominated by a tripartite system between the Royalists, Democratic-Republicans, and Libertarians. Until fairly recently, Sierra historically had a two-party system omitting the Libertarians who first emerged and rose in the 1990s. The Royalists traditionally favored liberal economic policies and social conservatism as well as preserving the monarchy whereas the Democratic-Republicans supported progressive policies and Third Way economics. The Libertarian Party espoused ideas from the modern-day libertarian philosophy including laissez-faire economics and individualism.
Politics play a crucial role in Sierran government and life. Citizens can organize into political parties, advocacy groups, or other organizations to promote their causes and influence politicians. Corporate and professional interests are often represented through lobbying which is especially prevalent at the federal level within Parliament.
Partisanship is most apparent during elections and in deliberative bodies such as the Parliament where politicians work under their party's agenda. Cross-tripartite action and compromise has often been stressed as hardline partisan differences caused stagnation and gridlock on critical issues throughout Sierran history. All civil citizens and military service members may be involved with a particular political party. Only members of royalty are traditionally forbidden (although this restriction is by no means officially sanctioned by law) to partake in partisan politics.
In Sierra, the peerage is a legal system of hereditary titles and ranks that includes awards, decorations, and honors provided by the monarch. In the Constitution, Section X of Article V explicitly states that the monarch serves as the fount of honor and thus, may be the only one who can award individuals with honorary titles at his/her own discretion. In addition, any "presents, emolument, office, or title" presented to a civil official by a foreign state must be approved by both Parliament and the monarch. Citizens who hold titles within the system are referred to as peers and enjoy several privileges including being able to apply stylistic changes to their own names and receiving personal and legally protected coat of arms. Aside from these benefits, peers cannot be distinguished from or given preference above commoners and are subject to the same laws as non-peers. Generally, peerage titles are awarded to citizens who have provided exceptional service to Sierra. Military service personnel may also partake in the peerage system.