|Parliament of Rutania|
|400th Parliament of Rutania|
|Prime Minister||Casper Gains |
since December 4169
|Voting system||Plurality At-Large|
|Last election||December 4619|
National Parliament Building
Article II of the the Constitution guarantees certain powers to the Parliament.
- Make laws
- Pass bills and legislation
- Approve cabinet proposals
- Approve war/military action against a foreign nation
- Pass spending/taxation bills
- Ratify treaties/international agreements
- Amend the Constitution
Checks & BalancesEdit
Like all other branches of the Government are subject to checks and balances. Bills passed by the Parliament cannot be vetoed by either the President or Prime Minister, but are subject to judicial review by the Supreme Court. The Parliament has the power to declare war on a nation, but it requires the subsequent approval of several Ministers in the Cabinet.
A new parliament begins on March 10 and ends on March 10, four years later. A term of parliament is made from one session; one lasts for 4 years with a new session beginning on March 10 and ending on the same date, then the new session will begin at the start the new week.
A session is essentially when the Parliament meets to debate and vote on laws. The parliament meets year round and at times, members are able to take breaks and return to their home districts when legislation is not being debated/voted on.
The current parliament is the 375th Parliament of Rutania.
The parliament is a unicameral legislature with a total of 750 members that represent all 5 provinces of Rutania. Elections for the Parliament are every 4 years and members are not subject to term limits. In order to fill all 750 seats, each of the 5 provinces are divided into congressional districts based upon population; the larger the province, the more representation it receives in the parliament.
The Parliament officially recognizes both Representative (Rep.) and Member of Parliament (MP) as the two titles used to describe a member of the Parliament. Representative is the most used title (Example: Rep. John Doe) while some choose to use Member of Parliament (Example: John Doe, MP) to notify those of their status as a member of the national legislature.
Because no party has won an out right majority in Rutania in over 200 years, coalition governments allow parties of similar interest to come together to pass their agenda and establish a working government as set forth in the Constitution.
At times, a "Unity Government" may come to fruition. In this case, it means when all parties in the nation agree to work together despite ideological differences. This usually happens when the stability of the nation comes into question or during times of war. Recorded history has provided only 12 instances in which such a thing has taken place.
The party with the most of seats in the Parliament is known as the majority party. The remaining parties are known as the minority parties. The committee chairs, and some other officials are required to be from the majority party; they have counterparts (for instance, the "ranking members" of committees) in the minority party.
Speaker of the ParliamentEdit
The Speaker is the presiding officer of the Parliament. The duties and powers of the Speaker are defined by the rules and customs of the Parliament. Speakers have a role both as a leader of the Parliament and the leader of their party. As the presiding officer of the Parliament, the speaker generally presides over debate though not every debate. In some cases, he or she delegates the responsibility of presiding to other members.
The presiding officer sits in a chair in the front of the chamber. The powers of the presiding officer are extensive; one important power is that of controlling the order in which members may speak. No member may make a speech or a motion unless he or she has first been recognized by the presiding officer. The Speaker is required to serve as the chair of their party's delegation committee, which is responsible for assigning members to committees including the chairs or ranking members.
As a way to ensure balance and keep conflict of interest to a minimum, the Speaker is required to be from the party with the most seats that is not currently in the government. In a sense, the speaker will "represent" the opposition parties in the Parliament, ensuring the parties in the government do not trample over the rights of the opposition.
Party Leaders are either selected internally or are elected by their respective parties in closed-door meetings by secret ballot and are also known as floor leaders. Party leaders are responsible for organizing and setting their party's agenda in the Parliament. They also serve as the chief spokesperson, though not always, for their party in the Parliament.
Only a member of the Parliament can introduce the bill for consideration. All bills and resolutions are "referred" to one or more committees according their specific rules. The committee considers the bill in detail and, if the committee approves the bill, it moves on in the legislative process. Committees reject bills by either failing to act on them or voting not to recommend the bill to the full house for debate. If a bill is recommended, it is then brought up to the floor of the full house for debate.
Once debate has ended and any amendments to the bill have been approved, the full membership will vote for or against the bill. Most bills require a simple majority while constitutional measures require a 2/3 vote in the affirmative. Bills that have been passed by the Parliament shall enter into effect immediately upon passage, unless otherwise stated.
In the Parliament, there is a total of 11 committees; 10 standing committees and 1 select committee. The number of members on each committee is dependent on the number of party's which currently hold seats in the Parliament. A total of 8 parties are eligible to have members serve on a committee.
9 standing committees will require a total of 56 members; 2 parties will have 19 members, while the party with the lowest amount of seats will have 18 members. The Committee on Oversight and Reform, will have a total of 48 members; each party will have a total of 16 members. There is 1 select committee, known as the Committee of the Leadership. It is only available to the 3 parliamentary leaders of each party and it is the only committee in which they are allowed to serve on.
A total of 750 members serve on standing committees with a total of 5 members on the select committee. This method ensures that all 750 members have a committee assignment. In the event a party has less than 50 seats, then some of their members will be required to serve on 2 or 3 standing committees, while a party with less than 25 seats is not eligible to serve on a committee.
Each standing committee is headed by a chairman which is always from the majority party. Each of the remaining parties has a "ranking member" which is usually (but not always) the most senior member. The number of standing committees are not set in stone and can be added and/or removed at the will of the Parliament.
List of committeesEdit
- Committee on Agriculture
- Committee on Armed Services
- Committee on the Budget
- Committee on Commerce
- Committee on Education
- Committee on Foreign Affairs
- Committee on Intelligence
- Committee on Judicial Affairs
- Committee on Oversight and Reform
- Committee on Science and Technology
- Committee of the Leadership
A representative must be at least 21 years old and must be a citizen of Rutania for at least 5 years as well as a legal citizen. Members must be (at the time of the election) an inhabitant of the province they represent and must've lived in the district they wish to represent for at least 3 years.
Terms and ElectionEdit
As per the Constitution, representatives are directly elected by the people and serve a term lasting no longer than four years and are not subject to any term limits. The Parliament has the power to formally censure or reprimand its members; censure or reprimand requires only a simple majority, but does not remove a member from office. The Parliament may impeach a member and this will require a 2/3 vote.
During elections, the Parliament is on holiday and new legislation may not be voted on.
Elections for representatives are held every four years on December 10 with elected representatives being subsequently inaugurated on December 30. Representatives are elected from multi-member districts by plurality-at large voting.
Parties are required to nominate 1 candidate meaning there will be a grand total of 5 candidates on the ballot. It should be noted that the number of people required to be nominated by each party changes based on the number of parties eligible to hold seats.
If there are four or more parties eligible to hold seats, then each party will be required to only nominate 1 candidate. If there are three parties eligible, then each will be required to nominate 2 candidates for a total of 6 on the ballot. If there are two parties eligible then both parties shall nominate 2 candidates for a total of 4 people on the ballot. Finally, if there is only one party in the nation, then they shall be required to nominate 3 people to appear on the ballot.
Candidates are either nominated in partisan primary elections, typically held in spring to late summer the year of the election or they can be selected internally. Four out of the five parties in the country, choose to forgo primaries and select their candidates internally. In terms of primary voting, the party is responsible for funding primaries and is charged with setting the date, time and rules of them as well. In order to hold a primary, a party must get the approval of the Federal Elections Board (FEB).
On election day, the top three candidates that receive the most votes are elected to the Parliament.
Representatives are elected from 37 multi-member districts by plurality at-large voting (also known as block voting). Since the most amount of seats a province can have is 111, each province is divided into 37 congressional districts which have 3 members each. The number of seats a province is apportioned depends on its population. A census released exactly 2 months before the the general election determines the seat composition for the upcoming session of parliament.
Whenever a province is apportioned one less seat in Parliament due to the census, a congressional seat must be eliminated. In order to ensure that a province still has a set number of districts despite having less seats, Flex-districts were created. Flex-districts are districts that are designated to be "flexed" in the event a province is apportioned one less seat in the Parliament. What this means is that the designated district will have 2 members elected instead of the usual 3 members.
Flex-districts, however, are not chosen by the Parliament and are instead chosen by the provincial legislature and can only be changed by them with a 2/3 vote. Ardinia, Delvar and Khodor require that the flex-district is the district with the smallest population, Bozarland uses a rotating list and Kragusrov leaves the decision up to the provincial legislature.
Because there are 750 seats, flex districts are no longer in use given the fact each province is apportioned the same amount of seats, despite the differences in population.
Like other countries, congressional districts are allowed to be redrawn; however, the process is not only time consuming, it's nearly impossible given the amount of red tape associated in doing so. Provinces are tasked with redrawing of districts. A redrawn district must be approved by a 2/3 vote in the province's legislature and then by the Governor. It will then be reviewed and either approved or denied by the Federal Elections Board.
A "denial" means the province must redraw the district and wait 2 years before submitting it again; an "approval" means the new, redrawn district shall take effect during the next Parliament.
Members of enjoy the privilege of being free from arrest in all cases, except for treason, felony, and breach of the peace. This immunity applies to members during sessions and when traveling to and from sessions. However, there are rules restricting offensive speeches, and those caught suffer punishment such as a loss of pay or censure.
As of 4521, rank and file members of the parliament receive a yearly salary of 80,000 RUT. Party leaders are paid 100,000 RUT per year. The Speaker of the Parliament earns 25,000 RUT per year.
375th Parliament of RutaniaSummary of the December 10th, 4525 Parliament elections
|Rutanian Libertarian Party (RLP)||12,831,172||20.97||157|
|Democratic Socialist Party of Rutania||11,281,278||18.44||140|
|People's League of Rutania||9,812,450||16.03||121|
|Hosian Democratic party of Rutania||6,950,964||11.36||83|
|Civic Republican League of Rutania||5,210,108||8.51||63|
|Business Freedom Initiative||3,284,300||5.37||41|
|Rutanian National Congress Party||40,242||0.07||0|
|Total (turnout 81.91%)||61,194,779||100||750|
|Source: Federal Elections Board|