President of New Virginia
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|President of the |
Commonwealth of New Virginia
|Style||His Excellency The Right Honourable (formal)|
Mr. President (informal)
|Status||Head of state|
National Security Council
|Nominator||Electoral College members or self-nomination|
|Term length||2 years|
|Inaugural holder||Sir Joseph Kennedy|
|Formation||1 August 2020|
|Succession||President of the Senate (becomes acting president)|
The President of the Commonwealth of New Virginia, also known simply as the President of New Virginia, is the head of state of the Commonwealth of New Virginia. The President serves as the representative of national unity over partisan politics, the guarantor and protector of the Constitution of New Virginia, and the commander-in-chief of the New Virginian Defence Force; as such, the President is forbidden from holding membership in any political party.
The President is elected to serve for a two year term by an Electoral College consisting of most prominent national government officials, and there is no limit on the amount of terms a President can serve. The President's powers are enumerated by Chapter II of the Constitution, and include powers such as the authority to promulgate Acts of Parliament and to issue proclamations. The President is forbidden from holding any ministerial or judicial office or a seat in either house of Parliament for the duration of their term. The President does not belong to any particular branch of government, and has certain rights and authorities within each of them. There is no official residence for the President; however, it is common practice for the president's residence to be referred to as "Government House" for the duration of the President's time in office.
The office of President was established with the enactment of the Constitution by referendum on 1 August 2020. Sir Joseph Kennedy, the leader of the provisional government which governed following the Commonwealth's secession, was elected to serve as the first President and continues to serve today.
Origin and history
Prior to the enactment of the Constitution the Commonwealth was led by a provisional government known as the Provisional Council, which was vested with all legislative, executive and judicial authorities of the state. The Provisional Council was led by its Chairman, who was elected by the provisional councillors from among themselves. The Chairman of the Provisional Council (often colloquially referred to as the Provisional Chairman) fulfilled the duties of head of state and head of government, and has been described by modern sources as wielding near-dictatorial powers. Sir Joseph Kennedy, a leading figure of the New Virginian independence movement and former Prime Minister of Austenasia, was chosen by the Provisional Council to serve as its Chairman. He would be the only person to hold the office.
While serving as Provisional Chairman, Sir Joseph drafted the Constitution of New Virginia with assistance from the Provisional Council. This constitution included a chapter calling for the establishment of a Presidency of the Commonwealth, which would serve as the non-partisan head of state and protector of the constitution. The Provisional Council approved the document, upon which point it went to the New Virginian citizenry for approval through a referendum. The constitution was then approved unanimously by the New Virginian people.
Following the enactment of the constitution, the Provisional Council was mandated to elect the first president. Two candidates - Sir Joseph and Sir William Wilson KNVI, then Home Secretary - ran for the office. Kennedy was elected with 80% of the vote and took the oath of office soon after in the presence of the Provisional Council, Cabinet, local officials, family and friends.
Powers and duties
The President has numerous powers, rights and responsibilities under the constitution and law spanning across every branch of government. The President appoints and advises the Government, is a component of Parliament alongside the Senate and the House of Burgesses, and wields the powers of pardon and reprieve over the judiciary. The President typically acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and other government officials, however in several circumstances they are free to act of their own accord.
The President discharges many of their duties through the unilateral enactment of Presidential Proclamations, through which they can appoint various officers of state, dissolve the House of Burgesses, grant honours, commission officers of the New Virginian Defence Force, declare holidays and periods of public mourning, and carry out other functions as determined by law.
The President is one of three components of the Parliament of the Commonwealth, in addition to the Senate (the upper house) and the House of Burgesses (the lower house). Every session of Parliament begins with an address from the President on the current state of the Commonwealth, an event aptly referred to as the State of the Commonwealth in New Virginian political parlance. The President appoints the ordinary senators (of which there can be no less than three and no more than seven) with the consent of the House of Burgesses. The President has the authority to dissolve the House of Burgesses following the expiration of its maximum term of one year, or in the event of a successful motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister or Government no sooner than four months following the House's formation.
The President is considered the final stage of the legislative process; when a bill reaches the Office of the President, the President has three options:
- 1. Sign and promulgate the bill, upon which point it becomes an Act of Parliament with the force of law.
- 2. Refer the bill to the Senate for review regarding its constitutionality.
- a. Should the Senate rule that the bill or any part of thereof is unconstitutional, it shall be returned to the House with proposed amendments.
- b. Should the Senate rule that the bill complies with the constitution, it shall be returned to the President.
- 3. Withhold their signature for seven days, upon which point the bill shall be regarded as having failed.
- a. Should the House hold a second vote on a failed bill and it passes with more than 75%, the President shall be compelled to sign it.
This system gives the President the power of veto (although it is never explicitly referred to as such) and falls under the President's broader authority as guarantor and protector of the constitution. The President can also refer an in-force Act of Parliament to the Senate for review. As of November 2020, the third option has never been invoked.
The President's role in executive governance is limited, with the Prime Minister serving as chief executive of the Commonwealth. The President has the sole authority to appoint the Prime Minister on the advice of the House of Burgesses, and to appoint ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister. The President may accept the resignation or terminate the appointment of any minister on the advice of the Prime Minister. As commander-in-chief, the President plays a direct role in the command of the New Virginian Defence Force alongside the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence and is the statutory chairperson of the National Security Council. The President is also granted responsibility for foreign affairs and the authority to sign treaties alongside the First Ambassador; however, this is done under the supervision of Parliament (who must ratify treaties) and the Prime Minister (who advises the President and directs the First Ambassador).
The President plays a relatively small role in the judiciary. The President appoints ordinary senators, and the Senate is given general oversight regarding the judiciary. The President has the authority to commute or remit punishments imposed by the Consuls or any other judicial authority; while these powers may be conferred on other authorities, at present they have not been and remain the sole prerogative of the President.