|Parliament of Rom |
Pàrlameòid a' Ròm
House of the People |
House of Nobility
House of Chieftains
House of the Islands
Dàmhna t-a' Guainnan
Since July 1, 2014
Since February 1, 1998
Since July 1, 2002
|Parliament House, Minais na Mara|
The Parliament of Rom is the tetracameral legislature of the nation of Rom in the Seafaring Confederation composed of four houses: the House of the People, elected directly through nationwide party-list proportional representation; the House of Nobility, half elected through nationwide proportional representation and half elected by the members of the States-Provincial; the House of Chieftains, consisting of all five chieftains of Rom; and finally the House of the Islands, elected through single-member constituency first-past-the-post elections where each individual island with more than 10 inhabitants is allowed to send a representative.
All four houses convene at Parliament House in Minais na Mara; the House of the People and the House of Nobility each have their own plenary rooms, whereas the House of Chieftains and the House of the Islands convene in Room 301 and Room 302 respectively.
Powers and functions
The parliament of Rom is near-infamous for its lengthy legislative procedure, which involves repeated voting and passing of legislation between the four chambers and through the Supreme Council of Justice, the Council of State, the Council of Finances, the National Ombudsman, and requires the approval of both the Minister Responsible and the President of Rom, in some cases after first having been considered by the Confederate National Appellate Court of Rom and Islands to test the legislation for applicability under Confederate law.
The Houses of the People and the Islands, having the status of lower houses, have the ability to draft and propose legislation as well as to make amendments to the legislation proposed by each other, after having passed through the House of Nobility and the House of Chieftains respectively, which have the status of upper houses. All houses have the right of amendment, and each time and amendment has been made to a proposed piece of legislation, all houses have to vote anew on whether they accept or reject it. This can happen many times and is known as "roundabouting" or "merry-go-rounding". Once a majority of the houses agree on a piece of legislation, including all amendments, the legislation is sent to the Council of State, which puts it to a constitutional test and can send the legislation back to the houses if it finds it to be unconstitutional. If passed by the Council of State, it is sent to the Council of Finances, which will calculate the total cost of the effects of the passed legislation for reference to the Minister Responsible and the President of Rom. The legislation is then passed on to the National Ombudsman, who puts it to a Confederate law test. If the National Ombudsman believes that the legislation might be unlawful, he or she puts it before the Confederate National Appellate Court of Rom and Islands, who will pass judgment on it.
If the legislation passes all these stages, it is put before the Minister Responsible. He or she can veto the legislation, but the veto can be overridden by a three-fifths majority in every house, or a two-thirds majority in the House of Nobility combined with a unanimous decision to overturn in the House of Chieftains. With either the signature of the Minister Responsible or with the override by the houses, the legislation is put before the President of Rom, who does not hold the right to veto and must sign the proposal into law.
In the case that the houses vote 2-2 (two houses in favour, two houses in opposition), the legislation is sent on to the Supreme Council of Justice, which consists of nine judges, which will decide whether or not to pass the legislation on to the Council of State or to reject it.
House of the People
The House of the People tables and drafts legislation. This is done in committees and subcommittees, each of which draft legislation pertinent to their respective professionalisation. Any legislation drafted by a committee must first pass the committee stage with a majority vote, after which it is presented to the Speaker of the People for a general vote in the house's plenary session. The people can receive legislation from the House of Chieftains.
During the plenary session for the general vote, the Speaker of the People will begin a vote with announcing "À'n dtaigh-èig, tha'n gheìste..." ("For this house, the question is..."), then states the question as presented in the motion of the legislation presented by the committee. The Speaker will then initiate a voice vote by saying "An reòchdàirran a'fhabheòrr, abhairr Èit." ("The representatives in favour, say Aye.") Those in favour will shout Aye. The Speaker then says "Nu t-a'fhabheòrr, abhairr Chàt." ("Not in favour, say No.") Those not in favoure will shout No. Based on the voice vote, the Speaker of the People decides whether the legislation is passed, rejected, or whether a division is in order.
If the Speaker of the People decides on a devision, he/she calls "Dòirasan dùinn!" ("Close the doors!"). The doors to the room are locked, making it impossible for representatives to enter or leave. The Speaker of the People, supported by the clerk, then calls each individual name alphabetically and requests either "Èit" ("Yes"), "Chàt" ("No"), or "Seònnechainn" ("Abstain"). After all names have been called, the votes are tallied.
In case of a tie or a majority abstention, the vote is recorded as "geàbhig nì t-òbhig" ("accepted nor rejected"). Otherwise, the vote is recorded as accepted or rejected, and the legislation is sent on to the House of Nobility with the People's judgement noted at the bottom of the legislation.
House of Nobility
The House of Nobility cannot draft legislation, but can propose amendments to legislation drafted or sent to them by the House of the People. The Nobility receive legislation from the House of the People. If the legislation was drafted there, the chieftains send it further to the House of the Islands for a vote; if, however, the legislation originates from the House of the Islands, the House of Nobility is the final house to vote.
The House of Nobility sits in committees for specific legislation that is sent to them. For certain important pieces of legislation, the entire house can join the debate. Voting is always expected to be attended by all members of the house.
During the plenary session for the general vote, the Speaker of Nobility will begin a vote with announcing "Tha leinn an gheìste..." ("With us is the question..."), then states the question as presented in the motion of the legislation presented by the committee. The Speaker will then initiate a voice vote by saying "An reòchdàirran a'fhabheòrr, abhairr L'an gheìste" ("The representatives in favour, say With the question"). Those in favour will shout With the question. The Speaker then says "Nu t-a'fhabheòrr, abhairr Nu l'an gheìste" ("Not in favour, say Not with the question"). Those not in favoure will shout Not with the question.
If the Speaker of Nobility decides on a division, he/she calls "Dòirasan dùinn!" ("Close the doors!"). The doors to the room are locked, making it impossible for representatives to enter or leave. The Speaker of Nobility, supported by the clerk, then states the question again, followed by the announcement "A'fhabheòrr, a'cliath, nu t-a'fhabheòrr, a'dubais!" ("In favour to the left, not in favour to the right"), and members vote. The clerks then count the members on each side. Members who wish to abstain remain seated. The votes are tallied, and the Speaker of Nobility announces whether the legislation has been accepted, rejected, or tied.
In case of a tie or a majority abstention, the vote is recorded as "geàbhig nì t-òbhig" ("accepted nor rejected"). Otherwise, the vote is recorded as accepted or rejected.
If the Nobility is the second house to vote, then the Nobility's judgement is added to the legislation paper and the legislation is sent to the House of Islands. If, however, the Nobility is the last house to vote, i.e. the legislation originated from the House of the Islands and the Nobility proposed no amendments, then the Speaker of Nobility looks at the overall judgement of the four houses. In case a majority of the houses is in favour, then they must send on the legislation to the Council of State. Contrariwise, in case a majority of the houses is not in favour, they sign the legislation paper with "Th'a'bhais i'n dTaigh nan Aosleachd" ("Died in the House of Nobility") and send it to the Parliamentary Archives, which in turn notify the other houses that the legislation has been rejected. In case of an overall abstention, the Nobility send the legislation to the Supreme Court of Justice.
House of the Islands
The House of the Islands tables and drafts legislation. In contrast with the procedure for the House of the People, the House of the Islands does not work with committees and drafts legislation as a single entity instead. Any member can table a proposal, motion, or piece of legislation for a vote. Pieces of legislation have to be handed in at least an hour prior to the meeting of the Islands so that the clarks can make copies for all members. Legislation is debated in the form of "teòmh a'clàiran a'làth" ("points of agenda") and discussed in this manner.
Each member gets a maximum of ten minutes to provide his or her opinion. The Speaker decides which member starts, and from that particular member all members who wish to speak sitting clockwise from the first member to speak are allowed their ten minutes. Then the debate starts, where members are allowed to ask questions and debate about the matter before them, whether tabled by the Islands or by the People.
The Speaker of the Islands initiates a vote by saying "Tha'n buarreòl a'mi t-och'bhòit 'nis" ("It is my opinion to vote now"). If no member objects then the voting starts. The Speaker of the Islands will simply ask "Ceò tha l'an ghnèic-èig leinn?" ("Who is with the matter with us?") and members who are in favour raise their hands. The Speaker and the clerk count the raised hands, and announce whether the matter at hand has been passed or rejected. The vote is recorded and added to the legislation paper, and the legislation is then passed to the House of Chieftains.
House of Chieftains
The House of Chieftains cannot draft legislation, only vote on it and propose amendments. The chieftains receive legislation from the House of the Islands. If the legislation was drafted there, the chieftains send it further to the House of the People for a vote; if, however, the legislation originates from the House of the People, the House of Chieftains is the final house to vote.
The chieftains convene once every week in Room 301 in Parliament House. They look at the legislation brought to them through the House of the Islands and discuss the content. Decisions or proposals must be passed by a majority of the chieftains (at least 3 out 5); it is not possible for a chieftain to abstain from voting.
If a proposed amendment is accepted by the chieftains, then the amended legislation is sent back to the House of the Islands for reconsideration. If no amendments are needed, the chieftains personally announce whether they are in favour or not in favour of the legislation and each individually note their position on the legislation paper. If the chieftains are the second house to vote on the legislation, they then send their judgement to the House of the People. If, however, the chieftains are the last house to vote on the legislation, they must look at the judgements of the previous houses. In case a majority of the houses is in favour, then they must send on the legislation to the Council of State. Contrariwise, in case a majority of the houses is not in favour, they sign the legislation paper with "Th'a'bhais i'n dTaigh nan dTaosèichtan" ("Died in the House of Chieftains") and send it to the Parliamentary Archives, which in turn notify the other houses that the legislation has been rejected. In case of an overall abstention, the chieftains send the legislation to the Supreme Court of Justice.
It is not uncommon for the chieftains to abbreviate "Th'a'bhais i'n dTaigh nan dTaosèichtan" to "TTT" in the later hours of a particularly long session.
Supreme Court of Justice
Privileges and salary
Members of Parliament enjoy protection with parliamentary privilege including the freedom of speech when speaking in the houses or in their official capacity as an MP, and the freedom from arrest in civil matters only. Members can still be arrested for physical or sexual assault or for any crime punishable under Article 45 of the Constitution of the Seafaring Confederation. Members cannot be prosecuted for slander or libel by the judicial courts, however, the Praesidium of the Parliament, consisting of the Speakers of the Houses of the People, the Nobility, and the Islands, as well as all five Chieftains, can pass judgment on such matters and apply disciplinary actions when they deem it necessary.
Members of Parliament can claim expenses at the Council of Finances for the following:
- postage stamps
- travel expenses to and from Parliament
- travel expenses for work-related travel
- food and drink during work-related travel (max. kr. 90.- per meal)
- attendance of state or Confederate funerals.
The salary of Members differs depending on their respective house membership:
- Members of the House of the People enjoy a salary of kr. 126,500 (US$63,250) per year
- Members of the House of Nobility enjoy a salary of kr. 98,000 (US$49,000) per year
- Members of the House of the Islands enjoy a salary of kr. 104,600 (US$52,300) per year
- Members of the House of Chieftains do not get paid salary for their membership of the House, but do get all expenses covered.
The Parliament of Rom is considered one of the most thorough and professional parliaments of the world, and enjoys a high approval rating both within Rom itself (92%) and in the Seafaring Confederation as a whole (96%). This exceptionally high approval rating is likely the result of the combination of the perceived professionality of the Members of Parliament, the thorough scrutiny both by and over the Members, the very open and public discourse of debates and voting, and the close relationship the Parliament maintains with the inhabitants of the nation. Another factor that is likely contributative is the relative representation in Parliament itself: with 376 members, one member represents approximately 243 people, the lowest citizens-per-MP ration in the world.
With the House of Chieftains, all provinces have equal representation in an upper house, whilst with the House of Islands, all islands have equal representation in a lower house. With the Houses of the People and the Nobility, all citizens have equal representation in both an upper and a lower house, thus creating both geographical and individual representation. This too has been attributed to as a factor for the very high approval ratings.
Notes and references
- ↑ "For him or her who inflicts the gravest of crimes upon another, to which it is included the crime of rape, the crime of utilising fellow humans for the crime of rape or the intend to utilise fellow humans against their will for crimes related to sexual intercourse not under the consent of the fellow human utilised, the crime of abusing a fellow human in a manner that is sexual and against the consent of the fellow human abused, or the crime of taking away the life of another person or the crime of conspiring to cause the death of large amounts of people within the Seafaring Confederation, wherein the age, social standing or any other factor related to or of those convicted or those affected does not have an impact on the final conviction or outcome of the sentence, the sentence shall be death, and death alone, for he or she who inflicts these crimes cannot be trusted to be present on the soil of the Seafaring Confederation." Article 45. Constitution of the Seafaring Confederation.