Austenasian Constitution of 2011

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Austenasian Constitution of 2011
A copy of the 2011 Constitution
A copy of the 2011 Constitution
Created 5 September 2011
Ratified 20 September 2011
Location Imperial Residence, Austenasia
Authors Wrythe Town Council

The Austenasian Constitution of 2011 (known between its proposal and implementation as the Wrythian Constitution) is the fundamental law of the Empire of Austenasia, having come into force on 20 September 2011.

Adoption

The Austenasian Constitution of 2008 codified very little except the way in which Acts of Parliament were to be passed. A very basic constitution written when the longetivity of the Empire was in doubt, the system of government it had established had come close to being overthrown earlier that year in the 5 January coup attempt. On 5 September 2011, Act 155 (Referendum on Alternate Constitutions) was given Imperial Consent, setting up the Austenasian Constitutional Referendum.

The Town Councils of Wrythe and of Zephyria each proposed a replacement constitution, and on 18 September the Austenasian population voted either to adopt one of these two or to keep the 2008 constitution. The Wrythian Constitution recieved 86% of the votes and was adopted two days later, becoming known as the Austenasian Constitution of 2011.

Content

The 2011 Constitution consists of twelve Articles, each divided into Sections (with some of the Sections further divided into Paragraphs). Article I declares that Austenasia has "been a sovereign state, independent under international law and the principle of national self-determination" since its founding, and affirms the right of the Austenasian population to hold the status of a nation. The Empire is identified as an "independent nation-state", "separate from the United Kingdom".

Article II gives the name of the document to be the Austenasian Constitution of 2011, and renames the 2008 Constitution - previously known simply as "Act 1" - to the "Austenasian Constitution of 2008". It specifies that the 2011 Constitution would enter into force at 11:30 am on 20 September 2011, exactly three years after the Empire was founded, and that all legislation passed under the 2008 Constitution would be repealed two days later. Section E states that the constitution can not "be amended, edited, or suspended in any way except by the consent of both the Monarch and over 80% of the House of Representatives", and even then only after a referendum has shown that the population are in favour of any prospective constitutional change. Article III codifies what were effectively the already existing laws on Austenasian citizenship.

Article IV goes into great detail on the role and powers of the Austenasian Monarchy. Codifying and to some extent furthering the shift from the ceremonial monarchy of Terry I to the proactive rule of his successors, the constitution identifies the Monarch as "sovereign over the Empire of Austenasia - all sovereignty and political power is derived from and is ultimately held by the Monarch". Despite that same Paragraph later clarifying that the Monarch holds this position only through "the will of the People", with which "resides ultimate political power", this is little more than democratic rhetoric with the constitution clearly identifying all tangible authority as being derived from the Monarch. Article IV goes on to entrench the sacrosanct and inviolable nature of the person of the Monarch as first established in Act 124 (Imperial Powers) and to lay out rules on abdications, coronations, and imperial titles and sucession. Section D establishes Imperial Decrees and Imperial Edicts as ways by which the Monarch can legislate independently of Parliament - Imperial Decrees are proclamations which must be confirmed and may be overturned by Parliament but have the force of law in the meantime, and Imperial Edicts are executive orders by which the Monarch may enact their powers.

Articles V-VIII mostly codified the already existing legislative and executive structure of the Empire, with a few changes. For example, what was formerly known as the Cabinet became renamed to the House of Representatives, and the Cabinet of Austenasia was established as a separate body comprised of the leaders of government ministries with said government ministers becoming appointed by the Monarch rather than voted into office by their fellow Representatives. Furthermore, whereas formerly local elections would take place anually and general elections every three years, both on New Year's Day, the 2011 Constitution changed this so a local election may be between six months and two years from the previous one, and a general election between eight months and four years, with the Monarch deciding on the date of elections.

Article IX radically reshaped the judicial system. Wheras before, the judicial and legislative systems had been fused, with those accused of serious crimes tried by Parliament and those accused of less serious crimes tried by their respective Town Council, Article IX established a separate judiciary. Three tiers of crimes - misdemeanours, and second-degree and first-degree felonies - are tried by three tiers of courts, Town, High, and Imperial. Every populated Town may summon a Town Court to try misdemeanours, every populated Duchy may summon a High Court to try second-class felonies, and the Imperial Court would have jurisdiction over the entire Empire to try first-class felonies - however, no courts under this new system have yet needed to be called. The role of the consuls in deciding sentences for convicted criminals was reaffirmed.

Article X clarified the adminstrative division of the Empire into Wrythe, Zephyria and Glencrannog and the mostly ceremonial tiers of "divisions" such as Regions and Duchies. Article XI codifies the current system of nobility, and Article XII serves as a bill of rights.