Democratic Duchy of Francisville

From MicroWiki, the micronational encyclopædia
Jump to: navigation, search
Democratic Duchy of Francisville

2008–2012

Flag of Francisville.pngFrancisville crest.png

Anthem
De Wilhelmus (Instrumental)
Francisvillemap.png
Capital city Kirburgh
Official language(s) English, French¹, Francillian¹
Official religion(s) Secular
Demonym Francillian
Government Unitary parliamentary democracy under a Constitutional monarchy
- Head of State Grand Duke (James I)
- Executive First Minister (list)
Legislature Chamber of Deputies
Established - Founded: 28 November 2008
- 2nd Constitution: 16 January 2009
- 3rd Constitution: 5 March 2009
- 4th Constitution: 15 May 2009
- Republic Declared: 3 June 2011
- Dissolution: 21 August 2012
Area claimed 0.97km²
Population 14 (at dissolution)
Currency Francillian Franc
Time zone GMT
1. No official legal status. French and Francillian were used in all official governemnt business and thereby considered prominent cultural languages of the nation.

Francisville (/ˈfrɑːnsɪs.vɪl/), officially the Democratic Duchy of Francisville (French: Duché démocratique de Francisville; Francillian: Groussherzuegdom vu Frankestädt, official translation Grand Duchy of Francisville), was an enclaved micronation situated in the Highlands of Scotland and landlocked around its borders by the United Kingdom. Founded in November 2008, Francisville was a parliamentary representative democracy under a constitutional monarchy where the Grand Duke of Francisville served as a largely figurehead Head of State. The Chamber of Deputies served as the national legislature and elected the First Minister as the Head of Government. Grand Duke James I served as the only sovereign from the country's foundation until the dissolution of the monarchy by his own initiative in June 2011. The country was comprised of three political Cantons and two territorial regions. English was constitutionally recognised as the nation's official language, whilst French and Francillian were also used in all official government business and thereby held de facto official language status.

Francisville rapidly became an influential MicroWiki nation primarily due to its role as a prominent member state of the Grand Unified Micronational during its early years. The country's role as an international negotiator during the Meissner-Antifan War and the Rhodesian War established Francisville as a major neutral power. The early years of the Duchy's existence were marked by gradual economic and cultural development, combined with piecemeal constitutional reforms which developed the country into a modern state with a stable system of government. Francisville's prominent international status declined during 2011 as a result of an increasingly isolationist foreign policy and declining domestic political activity.

The nation was revived by James I by a proclumation known as the June Declaration, calling for the dissolution of the established constitutional structure and the transition to a more modern state chosen by a citizens' assembly. The state was disestablished by referendum in 2011, leading to the June Convention and the establishment of the Federal Republic of Francisville. At the time of its dissolution, the Duchy had a population of fourteen and a land area of 0.97km². These were expanded by the admission of further cantons into the Federation from states beyond the traditional borders of the Duchy. The achievements made in international negotiation and cultural development, particularly the Francillian language, lived on into the later Republican period.

History

Pre-Foundation

The history of the region which later comprised the geography of the Duchy was primarily shaped by its place in the Kingdom of Scotland and the subsequent history of the Kingdom of Great Britain. In the Early Middle Ages, the region was settled by the Picts prior to the merger of the Pictish and Gaelic kingdoms under Cínaed mac Ailpín to form the basis for the early Kingdom of Alba. A significant number of pieces of pictish jewelry, dating from around 800AD have been discovered in the territory of the Duchy, many of which are still displayed at the Inverness Museum and the National Museum of Scotland[1]. The Late 14th to Mid 15th centuries witnessed the construction of numerous keeps and fortifications in the neighbouring valleys as Scotland became gripped by conflicts surrounding role of the Crown and the authority of the Lord of the Isles. Conflicts also emerged between the settled local clans of Rose and Macintosh, with the former holding their seat in the lands surrounding the later Duchy.

The area played host to the events surrounding the Jacobite rising of 1745, ending at nearby Culloden Moor. The presbyterian Clan Rose, previously supporters of the Convenanters in the Civil Wars, had favoured the incumbent Hanoverian crown in the 1715 uprising but remained uninvolved in the government's resistance against the rebellion of 1745. Prior to the Battle of Culloden, Baron Rose hosted both William, Duke of Cumberland and Charles Edward Stuart at his two different properties, justifying his impartial toleration of Jacobite troops under the demands of Highland hospitality. [2]

Rapid changes occurred in the local area over the subsequent two centuries as a result of the gradual dissapearance of Highland culture and economic development. Although the area has remained largely agricultural, economic life was altered by the industrialisation of Inverness including the opening of the nearby railway infrustructure. This created a shift in favour of larger-scale agriculture and manufacturing, with an increased number of predominantly English speaking workers and military officials moving to the area. Research suggests that the number of Scottish Gaelic speakers declined from 41.3% to 5.8% in the period between 1911 and 1961.[3]

Establishment

Original national flag of Francisville, adopted in November 2008
Francisville was founded by James Stewart by the adoption of the First Constitution on 28 November 2008[4]. The form of state adopted differed considerably from model of constitutional monarchy which later developed. Founded provisionally as a powerful elective monarchy, the roles of head of state and nominal head of government were merged into the office of the Archduke (or Grand Duke, if some National Honour was held by the office holder) who acted as an executive prince-president. The constitutional structure was based on a modified semi-presidential system. Executive power rested primarily with the Archduke but it was partly shared with a Prime Minister elected by the lower house. Legislative power was vested in a bicameral legislature consisting of the lower House of Representatives, elected every two years by the method of open list proportional representation, and the upper House of Peers, appointed by the Archduke upon the recommendation of a Grand Appointments Committee comprised of the Members of the House of Representatives and selected local officials. All legislation had to originate in the House of Representatives before being placed before the House of Peers for secondary review. Any legislation referred back to the lower house could be passed with a two-third majority of the Representatives. The House of Peers also had the authority to impeach the Archduke by unanimous vote. However, Emergency Article I.vii. of the constitution granted the Archduke executive authority over all non-consitutional affairs in circumstances of war, political disfunction, or low citizenship.


Draft of the First Constitution showing some provisions which were ultimately not adopted
The founding political system had been intended to provide a basic model of stable government during the founding months of the Democratic Duchy. Early criticism of this model was the lack of purpose or principle it gave to the nation during this foundational period. James I, serving as the first Archduke of Francisville, pursued policies which focused primarily on establishing the nation within the international community and the gradual transition to a functioning parliamentary democracy. Francisville gained membership of the recently founded Grand Unified Micronational on 8 January 2009 with the Archduke assuming his position as Delegate to the Quorum. Following the First Constitutional Assembly on 16 January, the Second Constitution was adopted and the political system transitioned towards a model of constitutional monarchy in the form of a Grand Duchy whereby the Grand Duke served as head of state and a more powerful Prime Minister was elected to serve as the head of government. The bicameral parliament was abolished in favour of a unicameral National Assembly. The emergency clause was not removed from this updated constitution thereby allowing the Grand Duke to assume the office of de facto Prime Minister during the subsequent session of the National Assembly.

Modern Era

The First Constitution had not established the right of Francisville to establish territorial claims on the grounds that nationhood was based on the sovereign rights of the people as a national community rather than on the basis of territorial borders. The Archducal Executive had merely established a system of national parks whereby protected land areas could be used as a base for the nation's activities. The Second Constitution broke with this philosophy and allowed established territorial areas to be claimed by the Duchy, beginning with the establishment of the Municipalities of Dalcross and Dallaschyle. These territories were later reformed into two municipalities and one province. The Franillian Franc was also established as the official currency. Francillian domestic politics otherwise focused on the perceived deficiencies of the Second Constitution leading to the Third Constitution being brought into force on 5 March 2009[5]. Reforms introducted including more extensive constitutional protections of individual rights, the restructuring of the judiciary, and the introduction of layers of local government. Inspite of the reforms, a proposed General Election in April 2009 was cancelled. A consensus was reached that futher reforms should be introduced to streamline the constitutional structure of the national government and end the Grand Duke's emergency powers.

Following the recommendations of a Second Constitutional Assembly (sometimes referred to as the April Convention) organised by the Grand Duke, the Fourth Constitution was adopted on 15th May 2009. A referendum on the voting system had been held one month prior following the assembly's decision that the National Assembly should be replaced with the reformed Chamber of Deputies. The form of local government was also reformed and the rights of local authorities were enshrined into national law. The Duchy's first election was held between 28 May and 3 June 2009[6], following which Jeremy Abrahams was elected as the inaugural First Minister of Francisville, an office which replaced the deficient Prime Ministership.

Domestic improvements were accompanied by Francisville's expanding influence on the international stage. Despite condemnation of both conflicts, the Duchy assisted in the resolution of the Siple War and Meissner-Antifan War from her position on the GUM Security Council. During the later conflict, the reputation of the Duchy as a cautious neutral power was established through its direct involvement in the mediation between Scientopia and New Europe. The Francillian delegation formed part of the jury during the Special Tribunal to Investigate Allegations of New European Racism which further led to the Grand Duke's election as 2nd Supreme Tribune of the Justice Commission. Francisville received the Chair of the Quorum of Delegates on 13 July 2009, leading the organisation through the transitional period between the Conflict Era and the Peaceful Era. Francisville was a signatory to the Treaty of Peace at the end of the Rhodesian War and the Treaty of Universal Non-Aggression at the close of the New Euro-Erusian War. The first anniversary of the founding of the Duchy was celebrated on 28 November 2009, the date thereafter declared a public holiday and designated Francillian National Day.

Isolation Era

Francisville's respected international position and internal political development were maintained into early 2010. The state's GUM delegation acted as a negotiator during disputes between Sandus and New Scireland in January 2010. This period witnessed the increasing hegemonous international control of Erusia over the MicroWiki Community which raised concerns amongst Franicsville's Deputies. The country had been recognised as a Special Ideological Friend of the DRPE with worry growing over the influence the country might have over Francisville's foreign affairs. Following the international tenions caused by the establishment of the Organisation of Active Micronations and the Great Ideological Conflict, the government adopted an undisclosed policy of retreat from the community of MicroWiki states. The Duchy ceased to hold any Executive positions within the GUM from January 2010 onwards, focusing its efforts on international cultural development through alternative communities such as the List of Micronations flag tour[7]. The National Archives of Francisville was also founded at the beginning of the year.

The dissolution of Erusia in July 2010 prompted a revival of Francisville's presence within the MicroWiki community. In response to the controversy surrounding this event, James Stewart joined other leading figures such as Alexander Reinhardt and Sebastian Linden in condemnation of Erusia's influence. The focus of community discussion switched to the Organisation of Active Micronations within this period. A sense of skepticism towards intermicronational organisations was strong within Francisville at this time and the dominance of an alternative organisation encouraged further pursuit of isolationism by the incumbent First Minister. The government gave serious consideration to attending the 2011 Intermicronational Summit but this proposal was ultimately rejected in March 2011 due to budgetary restrictions and debate over the nation's constitutional future. Francisville once again returned to a largely inactive position in foreign affairs.

Dissolution

Debates concerning Francisville's isolationist foreign policy had a significant impact on the domestic political activity of the government. A general election was due to take place on 28 May 2011 but it had become evident by April that the Chamber of Deputies was unable to arrange a ballot in suitable time. The delay in calling the election raised concerns over the future practicality of the constitution, with one deputy calling for either the greater empowerment of the Crown or the replacement of the constitutional monarchy with a Presidential system, reforming the Duchy into a Republic. In refutation, James I broke with constitutional protocol to argue that the political stagnation had been caused by the de facto centralization of political power in the hands of the Grand Duke through his prerogative over foreign affairs. On 3 June 2011, James I issued a declaration calling for the dissolution of the Fourth Constitution and the transition to an alternative model of government. The declaration was endorsed by the Chamber and later became known as the Declaration of the Republic[8].

The Grand Duke's constitutional reform proposals were accepted by the population in a referendum held on 10 June 2011. The referendum result returned 100% in favour of constitutional reform but with a voter turnout of only 45%. The declaration called for the reforms to be decided by the process of a citizens' assembly directed by a Convention Council comprised of the incumbent Deputies. The assembly became known as the June Convention. The first assembly, held between 13 and 17 June, moved in favour of Federal Republic composed of largely autonomous Cantons. A further seven national surveys and binding referendums were held until the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Francisville was official adopted on 21 August 2012, being accepted by 100% of voters with a 57% voter turnout. The Democratic Duchy of Francisville was thereafter declared to be officially dissolved.

Geography

River in Francisville marking the southern border with Scotland, United Kingdom.

Francisville occupied a small area of land approximately 0.97 km² (0.37 mi²) in the Scottish Highlands. The territory was an enclave of the United Kingdom, separated from Scotland by a river boundary on the southern border and by a land border elsewhere. Franicsiville was divided into two principal georgraphical regions. The northern third of the territory was colloquially referred to as the Upper-lands. This region was mostly part of the municipality of Kirburgh and contained the country's highest point at 105.7m metres (346.7 ft) above sea level. The southern two thirds of the country were called the Riverlands or Ennerau (lower region), mostly contained within the municipality of Ennerau. Francisville's lowest point, located in the river valley, sat at 64.4 metres (211.2 ft) above sea level. Geologically, the territory sat upon two sandstone formations dated to between 385 to 398 million years ago.

Residential street in Kirburgh, the capital of Francisville
A sizable portion of Francisville's terrain consisted of agricultural land in the form of planned rectilinear fields and permanent pastureland. Land reserved for agricultural purposes constituted approximately 63.7% (0.63 km²) of all usable land within the territory. The Duchy also had extensive coniferous woodland mostly located to the south of urban Kirkburgh in the Upper-lands and along the river valley bordering the United Kingdom. A large area of parklands and formal gardens covered the area to the east of Ennerau, extending into Holmebridge National Park. The National Park was a province of the Duchy administered directly by the central government. The territory was populated with diverse fauna including deer, red squirrels, pheasant, foxes and tawny owls.

Urbanization was limited across the territory. The principle settlement was the town of Kirkburgh, forming a municipality of the same name, located in the far north of the country. Kirkburgh contained the country's entire public infrustructure including the residence of the Grand Duke, the Great Hall of the Chamber of Deputies, the National Archives, and public transport links. Other residential settlements were concentrated in two small hamlets in the Ennerau region. One principle road and one farming road connected the north and south of the territory along its western and eastern borders respectively. These routes each connected to footbridges which marked the southern border with Scotland. An extensive network of footpaths provided access to the river valley and woodland areas.

Climate

Francisville had a temperate oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfb) with cool summers and mild winters. Average rainfall was less than 740 millimeters per year which was lower than neighboring Scotland due to the territory's sheltered location. Rainfall tended to be evenly distributed throughout the year with no discernible dry season occurring. Snowfall was relatively uncommon and occurred mostly in the period between late November and early February. Typically the warmest day should rise to a temperature of around 25.4°C with tempartures in excess of 26.5°C occurring rarely. The lowest temperature recorded in the region was -15.7°C in January 2010 but temperatures lower than -5°C were unexpected.

Climate data for Kirkburgh, Francisville
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 44.4
(6.9)
45.1
(7.3)
48.7
(9.3)
52.9
(11.6)
58.3
(14.6)
62.4
(16.9)
66
(18.9)
65.5
(18.6)
61
(16.1)
54.7
(12.6)
48.7
(9.3)
44.6
(7.0)
54.5
(12.5)
Average low °F (°C) 34
(1.1)
34.2
(1.2)
36.3
(2.4)
39.2
(4.0)
43.5
(6.4)
48.7
(9.3)
52.5
(11.4)
52.2
(11.2)
48
(8.9)
42.8
(6.0)
38.3
(3.5)
34.2
(1.2)
42.1
(5.6)
Average Precipitation inches (mm) 3.028
(76.9)
2.307
(58.6)
2.268
(57.6)
1.551
(39.4)
2.031
(51.6)
2.335
(59.3)
2.102
(53.4)
2.343
(59.5)
2.646
(67.2)
3.075
(78.1)
2.606
(66.2)
2.559
(65.0)
28.85
(732.8)
Source: worldweatheronline.com

Politics

Political system

Francisville was a parliamentary representative democracy in the form of a constitutional monarchy. The Supreme Law of the Democratic Duchy of Francisville was the 4th Constitution of Francisville, enacting on 15 May 2009, which strictly separated political functions between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the state. The Grand Duke served as the head of state, retaining powers which were largely representative and ceremonial in nature. The responsibilities of the Grand Duke included the promulgation of adopted legislation, the official appointment of judges, and acting as ceremonial commander-in-chief of the armed forces. However, the Grand Duke was granted executive authority over foreign affairs. His signature was required for the adoption of any foregin treaties and he acted as the government's principal representative to international organisations. The Grand Duke therefore exercised considerable power and influence over foreign policy which would have been considered unconstitutional in any matter of domestic affairs. Unusually, the office of Grand Duke was subject to elective succession, serving for life until vacating the office by death, abdiaction or, in rare circumstances, impeachment. This principle was the basis for the state being referred to as a Democratic Duchy with the Grand Duke serving as a popular prince-president.

Legislative power was vested in the unicameral Chamber of Deputies. All members, known as deputies, were elected annually by means of the single transferable vote. The number of deputies varied according to the size of the population based on the most recent census. The Chamber was composed of one deputy for every five citizens plus one additional deputy. The constitution did not rule out the use of districting but this was never necessary in practice due to the small size of the Chamber. Constitutional amendments required a super-majority in two separate votes in the Chamber. Amendments concerning Title II - Rights of the People were also subject to popular consent by referendum. Referendums were uncommon in the Democratic Duchy particularly in comparison to the system of direct democracy later adopted in the Federal Republic. Citizens were consulted on legislative matters by referendum only twice, in 2009 and 2011.

The First Minister served as the head of government and formed the executive branch along with a Council of Ministers. The government operated as a collegial body with collective responsibility and the size of the cabinet was restricted to one third of the members of the Chamber of Deputies. The First Minister was indirectly elected by the deputies with no approval of the Grand Duke being necessary. Cabinet Ministers were also officially elected by the Chamber of Deputies but in practice were appointed directly by the First Minister. The responsibilities of Cabinet Ministers were delegated at the discretion of the First Minister in deliberation with the Chamber. Owing to the executive power of the Grand Duke over foreign affairs, no foreign minister was ever appointed to the Council of Ministers. The First Minister was elected to a term of six months resulting in two governments existing within a single term of the Chamber of Deputies. No term limits were imposed on Ministers but no First Minister ever served more than one consecutive term.

The Judiciary was independent from all other state authorities. The court system consisted of the Civil Courts of Francisville and the High Court of Justice. Civil Courts acted as the courts of first instance in all cases, sitting either in a criminal or civil capacity. One Civil Court sat in each of Francisville's three cantons. The High Court acted as the court of last resort and the constitutional court with the power of judicial review. Justices were nominated by a Judicial Appointments Commission and appointed by the Grand Duke with the countersignature of the First Minister.

Administrative divisions

Map showing the municipalities of Kirburgh and Ennerau. The province of Holmebridge National Park was situated to east of Ennerau
Francisville was a unitary state divided simultaneously across two facets of division into 3 cantons (Kantonen) and 3 territories (Gebidden). Cantons were non-territorial communities of citizens used for the administration of local government and the decentralisation of political power. Territories represented the Duchy's geographical land claims. This model followed the Belgian example where these subdivision types overlapped and comprised the entire country together, albeit across different spheres of government. Cantons and territories therefore had distinct roles and responsibilities in local government managed by separate institutions.

Cantons served as the basic areas of local government. Each canton was governed by a Cantonal Council consisting of five local Councillors, elected annually by means of the single transferable vote. The three cantons were known as South Francisville, North Francisville, and West Francisville. A Provost elected by each council served as the directer of local government and the principal representative of each canton. As non-territorial entities, cantons held responsibility for the administration of relevant policy applying to citizenship and citizens' welfare. This included public education, libraries, social security, and the civil registry (aspects relevant to the census). All local Councillors also met in a nationwide assembly called the Chamber of Councillors which had the responsibility to oversee the legality of local authority decisions and the right to pressure the Chamber of Deputies on matters of local concern.

Territories served to administer the land associated with the Duchy. Landed territories were classified either as municipalities (if inhabited) or provinces (if uninhabited). Provinces were administered centrally by a Chancellor appointed by the Grand Duke. Holmebridge National Park was the only province held by the Duchy. Municipalities, alongside cantons, served as elected areas of local government. As territorial entities, their responsibilities included areas relevant to public works such as environmental protection, maintenance of footpaths, waste disposal, and foot-patrol policing. Municipalities were governed by directly democratic town meetings which annually elected a Mayor as the head of local government. The Duchy was divided into the two municipalities of Kirkburgh and Ennerau.

Foreign relations

Military

Economy

Culture

Society

Media

Languages

Cuisine

See also

References