|Grand Washingtonian Assembly|
|Kingdom of Washingtonia|
Leader of the Opposition
Union Nationalist Party |
Christian Libertarian Party
Washingtonians First Front
|Assembly Hall, Foundersville|
The Grand Washingtonian Assembly (officially shortened to Grand Assembly and unofficially the Assembly) is the unicameral legislature of the Kingdom of Washingtonia. Created as a common ground between the royalists and the republicans after the Washingtonian Civil War in 1910, the Grand Assembly was one of the nation's major moves toward democracy. Between 1910 and 1913, however, the Assembly was called the Constitutional Assembly, in its capacity to draft the Kingdom's first Constitution.
The Grand Assembly consists of three hundred seats occupied by elected assemblymen. The population as a whole indirectly elects 250 assemblymen by means of a party-list proportional representation system every five years. Each provincial legislature (North Island and South Island), which is elected 10 days before the national elections, elects from its own ranks 10 assemblymen for the Grand Assembly (thus 20 from both the provinces). The remaining 30 assemblymen are separately elected at the Assembly's first sitting by the 270 assemblymen from an approved list of advocacy group candidates; representing certain industries or professional fields.
The 20 assemblymen from the provincial legislatures remain seated until recalled by their respective legislature (usually after a new provincial legislature is elected). The 250 party ballot assemblymen serve for 5 years (unless recalled by their parties), and the 30 interest-group candidates serve until the next general election. The President and King, shortly before the national election, by means of a referendum ask the population which interest groups they would like to see represented in the Assembly, and then decide (with the King having the final say), which to approve.
The Union Nationalist Party and the Christian Libertarian Party are the two major parties currently represented in the Grand Assembly, along with three smaller parties. These parties are the Liberal Party, which is in an alliance with the CLP; the Washingtonians First Front, which is in an uneasy alliance with the UNP, and the quasi-communist Socialist Party, which is considered a fringe political group in the heavily capitalist nation. The Constitution allows for an unlimited amount of parties to be present in the Assembly up to the cap of 300 seats. The UNP has 172 assemblymen (including those from the constituencies, the provinces and the interest groups) and the CLP has 89.
The Grand Assembly is located in the purpose-build Assembly Hall in Foundersville, and is led by a first among equals Speaker.
Main article: Washingtonian Civil War
Main article: Constitution of the Kingdom of Washingtonia
As mentioned, the peace treaty between the republicans and the royalists laid heavy emphasis on moving toward a democratic nation in which the people should start gaining a bigger say in the way they live. After much deliberation between the interested parties, it was decided that a democratic legislature with limited powers (balanced with the monarchy) would be established. The Assembly Pact was subsequently signed in 1910, which created the Constitutional Assembly.
The Assembly Pact laid out the mandate for the Constitutional Assembly:
|“||"Such Constitutional Assembly will, within three years of the signing of this Pact, draft and ratify a Constitution for the Kingdom of Washingonia under which the values of equality, tolerance and justice would be entrenched. The Assembly must within such Constitution include provisions which establish a permanent democratic representative body."||”|
The Constitutional Assembly was thereafter immediately established with delegates from both the royalist and republican factions. These delegates, however, were not elected and thus their roles were largely seen as illegitimate by especially republican supporters. The Union Nationalist Party (UNP) was thus formed by royalists, allegedly to claim some form of moral high ground over the republicans. Unfortunately for the republicans, the various factions within that group itself failed to organize a unified representative body, thus their role in the drafting of the Constitution continued to be seen as illegitimate.
In line with its mandate, in 1913, the Constitutional Assembly passed the Constitution of the Kingdom of Washingtonia, which included the creation of the Grand Washingtonian Assembly. The Constitutional Assembly subsequently dissolved itself and most of its UNP delegates went on to be elected to the Grand Assembly. Still by this time the republicans had failed to come to a consensus on how or who to represent them, and thus were only able to gain a few seats within the Assembly as independents. The republicans later mostly formed into the Libertarian Party, which was established in 1916.
Current parties represented
|Name||Logo||Founded||Ideology||Seats in GWA|
|Union Nationalist Party (UNP)||1919||Social conservatism, mixed market, monarchism||172 (57.3%)|
|Christian Libertarian Party (CLP)||1990||Christian democracy, libertarianism, republicanism||89 (29.6%)|
|Liberal Party (LP)||50px||1984||Social liberalism, mixed market||26 (8.6%)|
|Washingtonians First Front (WFF)||50px||1971||Far right nationalism, social conservatism, statism, republicanism||8 (2.6%)|
|Socialist Party (SP)||50px||1999||Social democracy, social conservatism||5 (1.6%)|
Speaker of the Grand Assembly
List of Speakers
- 7. Riley Grant (2006-present)
- 6. Damian Charleston (1986-2006)
- 5. Dominic Barret (1971-1986)
- 4. Paul Vernon (1948-1971)
- 3. Colin Lambert (1933-1948)
- 2. Henry Bodin (1918-1933)
- 1. Geffroy Bryant (1910-1918)*
* Geffroy Bryant served as the Speaker of the Constitutional Assembly between 1910 and 1913, and was thereafter elected as Speaker of the Grand Assembly.
The assemblymen elected in constituencies by a system of proportional party-list representation make out the bulk (250 out of 300) of the Grand Assembly. Although officially normal assemblymen, within the political community, they are referred to as "props". The props must adhere to strict party discipline, thus will usually be recalled or punished in another way by their respective political parties if they vote against a certain piece of legislation which they were instructed to vote in favor of by their whip's office, or in vice versa. As soon as a member is recalled or his seat becomes vacant, the next person on the party's candidate list automatically fills that position.
This system has been criticized for not being representative of the will of the people in general and the respective constituencies in particular, but representative of the party to which the assemblymen belong. It has been called "a perversion of democracy" and alleged that it makes the Grand Assembly a rubber-stamp legislature for anything the ruling party wishes to see realized. Responses to these criticisms usually include that the people still vote for the party with which they most agree, thus, their views are still mirrored through the party's agenda. The Speaker is almost exclusively elected from the props, as a party may not recall or discipline an assemblymen from the provincial or lobbyist delegations (although they may belong to that same party).
Committees in the Grand Assembly serve an important legislative and oversight function. Unlike in other democracies where parliamentary committees are chiefly a debating forum for a select few MPs, committees in the Grand Assembly serve an executive function as well. Many committees must elect and impeach office bearers and serve as important oversight entities.
There exist several types of committee in the Assembly, including temporary and standing committees. Each committee, regardless of type, is headed by a chairman and a vice chairman who fills in if the chairman is absent. Chairmen are elected by the committees themselves after being convened for the first time. Assemblymen can be on several committees simultaneously, subject to certain schedule rules which ensure that committee meetings don't take place simultaneously.
Standing committees are permanent committees which oversee certain executive and judicial bodies. They also debate and formulate legislation regarding their specific field of oversight.
- Committee on Community Safety
- Committee on Constitutional Accordance
- Committee on Executive Accounts
- Committee on Foreign Relations
- Subcommittee on African Relations
- Subcommittee on Asian Relations
- Subcommittee on Australasian Relations
- Subcommittee on European Relations
- Subcommittee on Francophone Relations
- Subcommittee on North American Relations
- Subcommittee on South American Relations
- Committee on Government Liaison
- Committee on Judicial Accounts
- Committee on Judicial Oversight
- Committee on National Security
- Committee on Presidential Accountability
Internal committees are responsible for matters relating to the day to day functions of the Grand Assembly.
- Committee on Assembly Ethics
- Committee on General Administration
- Committee on Legislative Accounts
- Committee on Procedure and Selection
Temporary committees are formed with a specific end goal in mind. They debate issues and topics of timely importance. Although temporary, the existence of these committees are indefinite until they achieve their desired goals - which could take decades or even a century.
- Committee on Culture and the Media
- Committee on Environmental Affairs
- Committee on Food and Rural Affairs
- Committee on Tourism