President of the Senate (New Virginia)
|President of the |
New Virginian Senate
Sir Adam Belcher KCSM
since 24 August 2020
|Style||His Honour (formal)|
Mr. or Mme. Senate President (informal)
Mr. or Mme. President (within the Senate)
|Appointer||Senate by majority vote|
|Term length||Length of parliamentary term|
|Inaugural holder||Sir Adam Belcher|
|Formation||1 August 2020|
|Deputy||Consuls de facto|
The President of the Senate of the Commonwealth of New Virginia, commonly referred to as the President of the Senate or simply the Senate President, is the presiding officer of the New Virginian Senate and the ex officio presiding judge of the Senatorial Court. The President of the Senate is elected by the sitting Senators at the start of every session of Parliament, setting the term of office for four to twelve months.
In addition to their parliamentary duties, the President of the Senate is considered a leader of the judicial branch alongside the Consuls. The President of the Senate appoints all judges of the Commonwealth excluding municipal judges and serves as a leading constitutional advisor to the President, Government and Parliament. The President of the Senate is also the first in the line of succession to the Presidency should the office become vacant.
The office of President of the Senate was created with the enactment of the Constitution of New Virginia by referendum on 1 August 2020; however, no President of the Senate would be elected until the formation of Parliament later that month. The first and incumbent President of the Senate is His Honour Sir Adam Belcher KCSM, who has held office since 24 August 2020.
Powers and responsibilities
The President of the Senate is the presiding officer of the Senate, and as such directs the activities and maintains the decorum of that house. In this function, the Senate President has the authority to recognize motions, call for periods of debate and voting, rule on points of order, and enforce the rules of the Senate. The President of the Senate additionally serves as one of the closest advisors to the President of the Commonwealth alongside the Prime Minister, Consuls and Presidential Chief of Staff; the President will often seek the advice of the President of the Senate on minor constitutional affairs as opposed to the Senate as a whole, the de jure advisory body to the President.
The President of the Senate is also the presiding officer and a judge of the Senatorial Court by virtue of their office, and appoints the two Senatorial Judges from among the sitting Senators at their own discretion. The Senatorial Court is the highest court of appeals and the only court which can try cases involving a first degree felony charge. The President of the Senate also appoints the chief judges of the cantonal courts (who in turn appoint the judges of the municipal courts) with the consent of the burgesses-at-large of the respective canton.
The Senate President is additionally the constitutionally-designated first successor to the office of President of the Commonwealth in the event of the death, resignation, temporary or permanent incapacitation, or removal from office of an incumbent. The Senate President would then become Acting President, discharging the duties of the President until they can return to office (as with incapacitation) or a new President can be elected by the Electoral College (in the event of vacancy). If the President of the Senate cannot serve as Acting President, the next in line is the Speaker of the House of Burgesses. This has yet to occur; while the incapacity of President Dame Brooklyn Hewitt was discussed when Hewitt was hospitalized with a non-COVID respiratory illness, no such incapacity was declared by the Senate. The Senate President additionally cannot vote in trials of impeachment of the President, and the Consuls preside over such trials.
Election and removal
The President of the Senate is elected by the sitting Senators at the start of every session of Parliament, or whenever the office is vacated following death, resignation or incapacity. While the office of Senate President has no set term of office, the dissolution of the House of Burgesses may take place no sooner than four months and no later than one year following the start of a Parliamentary session, putting the potential term of office for a President of the Senate between four months and three weeks or twelve months and three weeks.
At present, no method exists for the Senate to directly remove a President of the Senate from office. The House of Burgesses possesses the authority to remove a sitting Senator from office by a majority of seventy five percent of the sitting burgesses, which if exercised against a sitting President of the Senate would remove them from both offices; however, this has yet to take place.
List of Presidents of the Senate
Sir Adam Belcher
|Ordinary||1st Parliament||Consul for 2020||24 August 2020||Incumbent|