Government of Ardea
Ardea’s national legislature is the Idalian Assembly, a unicameral body elected every 3 years by eligible citizens according to a proportional representation system. The Assembly comprises 208 seats, and traditionally meets in Idalia Hall in the capital city of Olearis. The party holding the majority of the Assembly’s seats typically sets the legislative agenda, though coalition governments are common.
At the provincial level, laws are passed by People’s Gylds, bicameral legislatures made up of a Delegation House and a House of Thanes, each elected every 5 years. The Delegation Houses are elected by proportional representation, while the Houses of Thanes (a legacy of Ardea’s Barbio-Norric past) are comprised of representatives elected by sub-provincial regions (3 reps. from each).
The eleven Burghs, the nation’s largest urban centers (both by population and by area), are each governed by a Burghal Redding (or council), chaired by a Reeve, who functions as the president of the Redding. Both the Redding and the Reeve are directly elected by each city’s citizens, and are responsible for municipal law and affairs.
The executive branch is comprised of two parts at the federal level. The State Cabinet is a board of 13 officials elected by the Idalian Assembly from its own ranks, and each member of the Cabinet is assigned a portfolio or department (e.g. Defense, Education, Foreign Affairs) by the President. The Cabinet serves the same term as the Idalian Assembly, and each new Assembly elects a new Cabinet. The President can dismiss any cabinet minister at any time, at which point the Assembly must elect a replacement. In practice, this means that the President and Assembly must reach a compromise on a list of candidates acceptable to both in order to ensure a functioning cabinet.
The President of the Federation is directly elected by the citizens of Ardea. He serves as the head of state and head of government for a 5-year term, and is empowered to sign treaties, declare war, and appoint ambassadors, contingent upon the consent of a simple majority of the Idalian Assembly. He is also the commander-in-chief of the Ardean Security Forces, and appoints the Censors. He is responsible for the enforcement of national legislation, and his signature is required for an Act of the Assembly to become law; his refusal to do so constitutes a veto. He may be recalled by the Assembly (requiring a 75% consensus among the representatives), by referendum, or by a 3/4 vote of the Ethics Bureau.
The two Censors preside over meetings of the Idalian Assembly, maintaining order as the Speakers. They also discipline Representatives and Cabinet members who engage in unethical behaviour or who fail to adhere to the duties and regulations of their office. The Censors are appointed to a 15-year term, and must agree in order to impeach a Federal Representative or Cabinet member. The Censors are assisted by the Ethics Bureau, which they appoint.
In the provinces, Ealdormen serve as the executive branch of government and have the power to veto any legislation of the People's Gyld, subject to limitations similar to those restraining the presidential veto at the national level. Ealdormen are directly elected by the citizens of each province.
Ardea’s four Territories are administered by Governors, who are appointed by the President. They may be appointed and recalled at the President’s pleasure.
The judicial branch of the Ardean government is consolidated under the mandate of the High Raedmot, the supreme court in the land. Provincial and burghal court circuits function beneath the Raedmot for cases of less-than-supreme importance. Justice is accomplished in Ardea via the adversarial system, in which the people are represented by a government (federal, provincial, or burghal, according to the severity and location of the crime) prosecutor and the innocence of the plaintiff is assumed until guilt is proven in spite of the efforts of defense litigators. Ardean law owes much to Antaran case law and precedents, though of course this heritage has been adapted to the nation's unique needs.
Initiatives and Referenda
The two most prominent elements of direct democracy in Ardea are the Initiative and the Referendum. An Initiative is a draft law that may be proposed by any citizen, which requires the signed support of at least 100,000 citizens in order to be advanced to the Idalian Assembly for consideration. Once the Assembly has read and proposed changes (as it sees fit) to the draft law, it is re-submitted to the citizens for consideration. If the initiative is approved by a second polling of the citizens, it is signed into law by the President.
Initiatives are quite common in Ardea, as most citizens take an active interest in politics on the national and provincial levels. In fact, observers have long noted the detrimental effects of the Ardean obsession with elections, citing numerous government coalitions and the notoriously short career-span of most Ardean politicians. A telling measure of the extraordinary popularity of Hembold Colrendis' presidency is the fact that to date, no government body or citizen initiative has yet proposed his resignation.
Referenda, on the other hand, consist of a question or set of questions composed by a governmental body and then submitted to the general population for a vote. Binding referenda may be initiated by the Idalian Assembly or a provincial Gyld for legislative matters. For executive matters (such as treaties), the President may introduce a binding referendum in order to circumvent the approval of the Idalian Assembly in favour of a direct appeal to the people, or he may issue a non-binding referendum simply to gauge public opinion on any given issue. In the case of binding referenda, the response of the people through a referendum supersedes the authority of the Assembly. Nevertheless, referenda are rarely proposed by the executive branch; the Assembly and Gylds are more often the issuing powers.