Constitution of the Anisoran Empire

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The Constitution of the Anisoran Empire (Anisoran: Costituzione del Impero Anisorano) was first adopted 9 September 7367 at the foundation of the Anisoran Empire. Since the constitution came into force, it has been amended sixteen times, the most recent being adopted in 7557.

The constitution established the Anisoran Empire as a federal monarchy, under the permanent authority of the Anisoran Emperor, which is a hereditary position held by the Grand Prince of Casella (originally the King of Casella and Pastana). The original constitution was signed by 35 constituent states, each retaining their own head of state, ruling dynasties and legislatures. Numerous states have, since the 7360s, joined the federation, with a total of 41 states remaining members of the Anisoran Empire under the constitution today.

The Anisoran Empire is governed under a tricameral parliamentary system, one of the few such examples in the world. The three chambers of the Anisoran parliament are as follows: the Federal Assembly (Assemblea Federale), the upper house and council of representatives of the Anisoran states; the Imperial Senate (Senato Imperiale), the middle house, also sometimes known as the Chamber of Peers; and the Imperial Chamber of Deputies (Camera Imperiale dei Deputati), the lower house, elected by universal suffrage of those above the age of 21.

The Anisoran Emperor is head of state, and also holds the position of Permanent President of the Federal Assembly, the upper house of the Anisoran government. The Prime Minister is appointed by the Emperor and is head of government, and can sit in either the Senate or the Chamber of Deputies.

Contents

Signatories and members

The constitution was signed by the heads of state of all the entities which were to become constituent states of the Empire. The principal signer was Marius I, King of the Dual Kingdom of Casella and Pastana and Grand Master of the Confederation of Vetriano. The Council of Princes of the Confederation had voted to join the proposed Anisoran Empire in a session shortly before the signing of the constitution in 7367, which in effect dissolved the constitution of the Confederation, replacing it with the Anisoran Imperial constitution. Representatives of the constituent states sit in the upper chamber of the Anisoran parliament, the Federal Assembly.

The signatory states which were to become part of the Empire were as follows: Kingdom of Casella, Kingdom of Pastana,1 Kingdom of Matrignano, Kingdom of Marona, Principality of Pensano, Principality of Torzarola, Principality of Valbiano, Principality of Vattaro, Archduchy of Montagnola, Archduchy of Valmoresca, Duchy of Alzana, Duchy of Brignole, Duchy of Carini, Duchy of Croviano, Duchy of Dorniella, Duchy of Maradella-Arpaia, Duchy of Maradella-Prondarola, Duchy of Marucchella, Duchy of Panzolla, Duchy of Piandetta, Duchy of Torzarolo-Arese, Duchy of Torzarolo-Filetta, Duchy of Torzarolo-Petina-Zava, Duchy of Vecarri, Duchy of Viceno; the free cities of Darcole, Marocida, Vastoira, Valamaggiore; and the dependent islands of Fazagoria, Tarisasca and Verolo, Sobrano, and Tino.

Retrospective signatory members

A number of states have joined the federation of the Empire since the signing of the original constitution in 7367. These include (excluding those states whose status has since 7367 been reassigned, such as the establishment of the Grand Principalities from the Kingdoms in 7370):

Grand Principality of Lusava and Vascano, Principality of Parrona, Principality of Sogliano, Duchy of Kelloria, Duchy of Montemara, Duchy of Montevalle, Duchy of Piancolora, and the free city of Pandagna.

Today there are 41 constituent states of the Anisoran Empire: four grand principalities, eight principalities, two arch-duchies, seventeen duchies, four dependent islands, and six free cities.

Maringo-Tarina’s “three phases” of the Anisoran constitution

Marius I, the first Emperor of the Anisorans, was the primary author of the original Anisoran constitution.

Sir R. Emanuele Maringo-Tarina, generally regarded as the most influential constitutional historian of the 76th century, set out in the 7560s his so-called “three phases” of the Anisoran Constitution (Anisoran: Il Tre Fasi del Contituzione), from the foundation of the Empire in 7367 to the present day.a The “three phases” have since become the most influential analysis of the constitutional history of the Anisoran Empire and have influenced many scholars profoundly, if remaining controversial. The three phases are as follows:

Phase One: Faux-constitutional autocracy

Lasting from the foundation of the Empire in 7367 through to the constitutional crisis of 7472-73 and the accession of Titus I. According to Maringo-Tarina, during this first phase of the Anisoran Empire, constitutional law and constitutional reality diverged significantly, with the original constitution bestowing legislative power to the Imperial Senate as well as setting out an independent judiciary on the lines of the Casellan constitution. In reality, however, all power was vested in the emperor and any matter of importance required his or her approval for it to be even considered in either legislative house (the Chamber of Deputies at this stage was purely advisory and held no formal legislative power). The Senate mostly played lip service to the emperor and only exercised real power in regards to certain local matters in Casella and other states ruled by the emperor.

This phase of constitutional history has been described as the ‘faux-constitutional era’ by Maringo-Tarina, meaning the constitution established by Marius I, in reality, had little affect on curtailing the absolute power of the emperor. The political philosopher P. Adriana Voriani has described the constitution of this period as a "façade, behind which the absolutist monarchy of Marius I and his immediate successors hid."b

More conservative commentators, however, reject this analysis of the early imperial period as outright wrong. The historian Sir M. Giuliano dell’Argena argues vehemently that Maringo-Tarina’s “overly simplistic labelling” of intricately complex constitutional periods not only obscures the nuances of the period in question, but unfairly paints Marius I, the very man who went to such lengths in writing the constitution in the first place, as an anti-constitutional tyrant. Such positive portrayals of the early constitution had been more or less accepted as fact by historians of the 75th and early 76th centuries, but Maringo-Tarina's more sceptical analysis has, since the 7570s, become increasingly influential, if remaining controversial to many.

Phase Two: Semi-constitutional authoritarian monarchy

According to Maringo-Tarina's formulation, the decretist movement acted as the catalyst for the first major constitutional re-balance since the Empire's foundation.

The second phase begins after the constitutional crisis of 7472-73 and the Revolutions of 7473 which swept through Anaria at this time. Heavily influenced by the decretist movements and revolutions, the single most significant amendment to the constitution since its inception was written in the wake of the Popular Decree of 7472, the religio-nationalist uprisings in the Grand Principality of Lusava in 7473, and the threat of the Häverist Decemberist Revolution spreading to Anisora. The grievances of the decretist demonstrators were fundamentally constitutional, as well as economic. Their principle aims, in constitutional terms, were greater power for the Chamber of Deputies, as well as the following:

  1. The right to vote for every man of twenty-five years of age, of sound mind, and not undergoing punishment for a crime.
  2. Removing property qualifications for representational deputies.
  3. The payment of representational deputies, enabling traders and working men, or "other persons of modest means", to represent their voters without having to forgo their employment.
  4. The secret ballot, to protect the voter when exercising his right to vote.

The amendments brought through under Prince Titus, Prince Regent saw these demands accepted on 9 November 7472 and formally amended to the constitution on 29 June 7473, by which time Prince Titus had ascended to the throne after the death of his nephew Victor I. The Amendment of 7473 brought in universal male suffrage (female suffrage would not be secured for another half century), the secret ballot, the removal of property qualifications for deputies, and perhaps most importantly, formally replaced the Chamber of Deputies' purely advisory role with formal legislative power more in line with the Imperial Senate. Interestingly, however, Maringo-Tarina argues that the truly influential constitutional changes were not necessarily the amendments signed off by Titus I. He explains:

"The real and most profound effect 7473 had on the way the Anisoran Empire was governed came not with those rights newly acquired by the working man, but rather the rights he had nominally, and legally, been entitled to for the last one hundred years. Namely, the implementation of those parts of the constitution which strengthened the representation and the power of the people into practice, which for so long had been treated by the emperors as a well-meaning, but ultimately undesirable, empty gesture. The Amendment of 7473 heralded in a new era of Anisoran history - one which held the emperors accountable to the very constitution they had ignored for over one hundred years.c

The most significant constitutional changes during this period, beyond the demands of the Popular Decree, included: the formal freedom to create and join political parties (although political factions that functioned on the lines of official parties had existed for decades); the right for the Prime Minister to sit in either the Imperial Senate or the Chamber of Deputies (as previously he could only be chosen from the former chamber).

It is important to note that Maringo-Tarina stresses the strain the beginning of the Pan-Anarian War placed on the Anisoran constitution. After 7504, in particular, general faith in the civilian government collapsed after the disastrous Battle of Laneka, with the government of Count Forrana taking much of the blame for the military defeats suffered on the Western Front.2 The power vacuum after Lord Forrana's resignation was quickly filled by militarists with the support of emperor Titus I and his hawkish son the Grand Prince of Pastana. As the war continued in the wake of Laneka, Anisora slowly transformed into a "military autocracy", with the Grand Prince of Pastana and the Anisoran high command exercising considerable power and authority, at the expense of the Chamber of Deputies and the Imperial Senate. The military successes of the Count of Pacorna only strengthened the High Command's grip over Anisoran politics over the next few years, particularly after the accession of Flavian to the throne in 7507. This period, Maringo-Tarina argues, could warrant its own "constitutional phase". He nevertheless categorises it as an anomalous sub-phase, symptomatic of the parameters of the militaristic semi-constitutional authoritarian monarchy, rather than as an independent constitutional moment itself.

Phase Three: Constitutional monarchy

The assassination of Emperor Flavian in 7518 ushered in the greatest constitutional crisis since 7473. With the emperor's death and the accession of his much more moderate and liberal brother Titus II, the power of the militarists collapsed. According to Maringo-Tarina:

"With the death of Flavian, the entire nexus of the authoritarian military political structure built up over the last ten years collapsed. Without the support of the emperor as the linchpin that guaranteed the continuation of the military's power, the High Command's political capital imploded. As public opinion shifted against the military, combined with the subsequent in fighting within the military after Flavian's death, Titus's desire to see a restoration of true constitutionalism to Anisora was assured in the most dramatic of fashions."

The subsequent collapse of the Duke of Moratto's government and the sweeping victory of the Liberal Party in the election led Sir Mario Dorniello-Marello to form a new government and bring through a dramatic legislative agenda - described by Maringo-Tarina as "one of the most remarkable legislative agendas of any Anarian government during the Pan-Anarian War". It heralded in a new age of constitutional monarchy and truly representational government. With the wholehearted support of Emperor Titus II and the political astuteness of Dorniello-Marello, the Anisoran constitution, according to Maringo-Tarina, "finally reached maturity by 7520, transforming the Anisoran Empire into a true constitutional monarchy for the first time."

There are, however, a number of historians and constitutional lawyers who refute Maringo-Tarina’s claim that the current Anisoran political system is, in fact, a fully constitutional monarchy. P. Fabiano del Moreno, a well-known liberal scholar, argues that "the current political system of the Empire can be described as nothing more than a semi-constitutional monarchy. If we take Sir Emanuele [Maringo-Tarina]’s now famous "constitutional phases", I would argue that phase three has yet to come to full fruition."d

The Emperor

Marius III, Emperor of the Anisorans

The Emperor of the Anisorans (Anisoran: Imperatore dei Anisorani) is a hereditary position and is head of state and sovereign of the Empire. He or she also holds a number of other important titles and functions within the constitution of the Empire. He/she is the permanent President of the Federal Assembly, the upper chamber of the Anisoran parliament. He/she is also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Anisora.

The emperor's powers are outlined in Article 4 of the constitution. His or her powers include:

  • Convening and dismissing all three chambers of the parliament (although should two-thirds of the Federal Assembly wish to convene, the chamber can convene without the emperor's assent)
  • Declaring war and making peace (although as of 7494, a non-defensive war must have the consent of the Federal Assembly)
  • Concluding treaties and alliances
  • Appointing and receiving ambassadors
  • Appointing imperial officials
  • Preparing and approving imperial laws (making them valid and law)
  • Vetoing any legislation put forward in any of the three chambers
  • Appointing members to the Privy Council
  • Commissioning officers into the Imperial Armed Forces
  • Granting honours and titles
  • Recognising foreign states
  • Appointing Alfs of the Peratolian Congregation

The emperor also appoints the Prime Minister. Historically this was entirely his or her choice, with little oversight of the choice, beyond the precondition that he or she must be a sitting member of either the Imperial Senate or the Chamber of Deputies. However, since the 7520s, the Emperor has conventionally chosen the individual most likely to command a majority and/or a stable coalition in the middle and lower chambers. This normally corresponds to the leader of the political party who wins the most number of seats in a federal election, although this is not set in stone.

The Prime Minister

Sir P. Alessandro Nicotera-Sarno is the current Prime Minister of the Anisoran Empire
See also: List of Prime Ministers of the Anisoran Empire

The Prime Minister of the Anisoran Empire (Anisoran: Primo Ministro dell'Impero Anisorano) is head of government and is appointed by the emperor. The Prime Minister can be chosen from any person with a seat in either the Imperial Senate or the Chamber of Deputies, although modern convention since the 7520s usually sets the leader of the party with the largest number of seats in the Chamber of Deputies, or the leader of the party most likely to form a coalition government across the legislative chambers. This, however, has yet to be set as un-codified convention and the emperor still retains the power to appoint whom he or she wants.

Once appointed Prime Minister by the emperor, the peer or deputy in question then has the responsibility to form a government and a Cabinet, which exercises considerable executive power. The rules for this are largely undefined, providing the Prime Minister considerable autonomy in his or her choice. The appointment of Tribunes (ministers) can be made from any person sitting in any three of the legislative chambers, but are normally drawn along party lines. When no overall majority is secured by any single party in the Chamber of Deputies, the Prime Minister is responsible for forming a governing coalition.

Originating as the principle advisor to the Emperor, the Prime Minister also retains the title of Principal Lord of the Chamber (Anisoran: Padrone Principale della Camera), the Chamber referring to the Privy Council. As such, the Prime Minister is officially responsible for tabling an agenda and presenting business for the monarch’s approval at Privy Council meetings, although much of this role is, in practice, fulfilled by the Lord Tribune of the Council.

Legislation

The Federal Assembly

Main article: Anisoran Federal Assembly

The Federal Assembly (Anisoran: Assemblea Federale) is the upper chamber of the Anisoran parliament and is made up of federal representatives (Rappresentanti Federali) of the constituent states of the Empire. It is often viewed as the direct descendent of the Council of Princes of the short lived Confederation of Vetriano.

Each state is allocated a certain number of votes, which correspond to the same number of seats in the Assembly. Votes are not distributed evenly, with more powerful and populous states having more than smaller ones. The allocation of votes was originally distributed according to the rank of the state (with Kingdoms retaining the highest number of votes, and free cities the least). However, with the Amendment of 7529, votes were reorganised to reflect the population of the state, although rank is still taken into consideration. Consequently, the Grand Principality of Casella dominates the Assembly.

The composition of the Federal Assembly as of 7580 is as follows:

Votes in the Federal Assembly by state
State Notes Votes
Casella 52
Lusava and Vascano 17
Pastana 15
Matrignano 12
Marona 9
Parrona 9
Vattaro Currently controls federal chancellorship 9
Pensano 8
Torzarola 7
Valmoresca 7
Sogliano 6
Montagnola 5
Marucchella 4
Panzolla 2
Brignole 2
Montemara 2
22 other small states* each with one vote 22
Total Votes 188

Note: *The four Dependent Island states are provided a single vote between them.

State representatives are not elected but are delegated by the respective state government they are representing. Technically, at least one seat of every state is reserved for the head of state of that member, however the head of state can, and often does, appoint a proxy-delegate to speak and vote on their behalf. In many states, this role is conducted on the advice of the elected government of that state. However, the head of state of a number of states, mostly states with multiple votes, often take their seat at the Assembly and exercise their right to represent their state. It has become increasingly controversial for a ruler of a smaller state to take his or her seat in recent years, although a number still do.

The Assembly is headed by the emperor, who holds the position of Permanent President of the Federal Assembly, and is responsible for summoning the Assembly and overseeing major legislative decisions. He/she also holds a casting vote in the event of ties, and a veto (which in effect works in tandem with the imperial veto). A Federal Chancellor is appointed by the emperor to oversee the day-to-day workings of the Assembly, and is a position allocated on a semi-rotational basis between the various states. The chancellorship is currently held by the Principality of Vattoro, with P. Emanuele de Torviano as Federal Chancellor.

The original constitution forbade state representatives from being a simultaneous member of the Imperial Senate. However, no such law prevents a state representative from sitting in the Chamber of Deputies.3

The Imperial Senate

Main article: Anisoran Imperial Senate

The Imperial Senate (Anisoran: Senato Imperiale) is the middle chamber of the Anisoran parliament and is also known as the Chamber of Peers (Camera dei Nobili). It is an unelected chamber and is comprised of hereditary nobles drawn from the Anisoran peerage. Only persons of noble rank and title can sit in the Chamber.

Most senators, or peers (nobili), as they are commonly called, are well established nobles whose families have retained a seat in the Senate for numerous generations. A sizeable number, however, are more recent creations, with persons deemed to have provided great service to the nation granted noble titles and privileges, allowing them to sit as imperial senators. Once a peer assumes a seat in the Senate, they retain it for life. A peer cannot technically resign his or her seat, although in practice this happens by nominating a proxy, known in Anisoran as a Delegate Peer (Nobile Delega), who has the right to vote and speak on the peer-proper's behalf.

Due to the makeup of the Anisoran peerage, a majority of senators also retain seats in their respective state governments or parliamentary chambers. While not all states have a Chamber of Peers (as they are generally called at a state level), most large states do. These include, the Casellan Chamber of Peers, the Matrignanese Chamber of Peers, and the House of Nobles of the Grand Principality of Lusava and Vascano, among others.

The Imperial Senate's powers are set in tandem to the Chamber of Deputies, although the latter chamber is becoming increasingly powerful and assuming a greater authority in Anisoran politics than ever before. Assent from the Senate is required for a bill to pass to the emperor for it to become law; a power it shares with the other two chambers of parliament.

The Imperial Senate is headed by the President of the Senate, known as the Capo del Senato (lit. leader of the Senate), and is appointed by the Prime Minister. There are currently 347 peers with seats in the Imperial Senate.

The Chamber of Deputies

Main article: Anisoran Chamber of Deputies

The Chamber of Deputies (Anisoran: Camera dei Deputati), is the lower chamber of the Anisoran parliament. It is the only fully elected chamber and its members (deputies) are elected by universal suffrage of those above the age of 21 by secret ballot (as of the 7512 Amendment). Originally designed as a purely advisory body with no legislative or executive power under the original constitution of 7367, the Chamber of Deputies has since 7473 become increasingly powerful and politically important. The majority of the Tribunes (ministers) of any prime minister's government come from the Chamber of Deputies.

Deputies are elected in single-member constituencies by a first-past-the-post system. As of the 7512 Amendment, women were both allowed to vote and stand for election in the Chamber of Deputies.

Bills can be introduced in the Chamber of Deputies, as they can be in any of the three Chambers, although bills can only be formally voted on in the Chamber after a resolution has passed in the Federal Assembly. There are currently 430 members of the Chamber of Deputies.

Imperial legislative powers

Article 7 of the constitution outlines the area the imperial government is responsible for, or is entitled to legislate on:

  • Business activity
  • Matters concerning natives of one state who were resident in another
  • Citizenship
  • Surveillance of foreign individuals and businesses
  • The issuing of passports
  • Colonial activity
  • Emigration
  • Administration of imperial revenue
  • Regulation of weights and measures
  • Coinage and the issuing of paper money (with the exception of Lusava and Vascano)
  • Banking
  • Intellectual property
  • Protection of Anisoran trade and shipping outside of the country
  • Consular representation abroad
  • Railways (with some exceptions for Lusava and Vascano, Matringnano and Parrona)
  • Road and canal construction for means of national defence
  • Management of inter-state shipping
  • Post and telegraphic services (with some exceptions for Lusava and Vascano)
  • Authentication of public documents
  • Civil law, including its administration
  • Criminal law, including its administration
  • The Imperial Army, Navy and Air Force
  • Press
  • Trade unions

Religion

Amendments

Since its signing in 7367, the Constitution has been amended sixteen times. Below is a list of some of the most significant amendments, and is not exhaustive:

  • Amendment of 7473: The most widely influential and radical amendment to the constitution. It was passed 29 June 7473 in the wake of the Decretist demonstrations, the imperial crisis of 7472 and the outbreak of the Decemberist Revolution in Helland. The amendment introduced:
    • Universal male suffrage (of males over the age of 25)
    • The secret ballot
    • The removal of property qualifications for deputies
    • Introduced a salary for deputies
    • Replaced the Chamber of Deputies' purely advisory role with formal legislative power more in line with the Imperial Senate
  • Amendment of 7494: The Prime Minister and the Tribunes of government now required the confidence of the Chamber of Deputies; and declarations of war and peace treaties now required the assent of the Federal Assembly.
  • Amendment of 7512: The "Equal Opportunities in Parliament Act" was passed in all three chambers on 7 April 7512 and amended to the constitution to allow women over the age of 25 to vote in imperial elections (with numerous state governments following suit over the following years), as well as allowing women to stand in elections in the Chamber of Deputies.
  • Amendment of 7523: Overhaul of the powers of the Chamber of Deputies, bringing it to full parity with the Imperial Senate.
  • Amendment of 7529: Redistribution of votes in the Federal Assembly. Reallocated a number of votes to reflect general population as well as state rank.
  • Amendment of 7557: Reduced the voting age for all adult men and women from 25 to 21.

Notes

1 The Kingdoms of Casella and Pastana were treated as separate states, despite their political and constitutional union under the crown as part of the UDual Kingdom of Casella and Pastana, also known as the Dual Kingdom, as they were to be separate constituent states under the Empire.

2 Maringo-Tarina argues that the placing of the blame on Lord Forrana was unjustified and prime blame should, in fact, be the responsibility of the then Commander-in-Chief of Allied forces, the Duke of Montemara.

3 This is mostly explained by the original function of the Chamber of Deputies as a purely advisory body, which held no constitutional legislative authority or power. There have been calls, principally from the Imperial Senate, to extend the law to forbid Deputies from also sitting in the Federal Assembly.

References

a Maringo-Tarina, Sir R.E. (7573) Constitutio Publica Anisorani Imperii: 7367-7560, Peradotto. 2nd Edition. 7-25. (Hallish: The Constitution of the Anisoran Empire: 7367-7560).

b Voriani, P.A. (7558) Natura Potestatis in Sententiae Septentrionali Anarianae, Peradotto. 89. (Hallish: The Nature of Power in Northern Anarian Thought).

c Maringo-Tarina, Sir R.E. (7573) Constitutio Publica Anisorani Imperii: 7367-7560, Peradotto. 2nd Edition. 201-202.

d del Moreno, P.F. (7579) Publica Potestas in Anisoro Imperio: Aetas Auctoritatis, Viceno. 298. (Hallish: Political Power in the Anisoran Empire: The Age of Authority).

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