Government of Caphiria

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The Imperial Government of Caphiria
Coat of arms Caphiria2.svg
The official coat of arms of Caphiria
Formation 1191; 828 years ago (1191)
Founding document Constitution of Caphiria
Jurisdiction The Imperium and Possessions of Caphiria
Legislative branch
Legislature Senate of Caphiria
Meeting place Forum Magnum
Executive branch
Leader Imperator of Caphiria
Headquarters The Ataceris
Main organ The Imperium
Judicial branch
Court Supreme Court of the Imperium
Seat Venceia

The Imperial Government of Caphiria, (colloquially referred to as The Imperium) is the national government of the Imperium of Caphiria, which covers 18 major Imperial Provinces (Banlieueregio), two autonomous regions, and one special administrative region, as well as several island possessions. The Government of Caphiria is organized into three main Triumirs, or branches, which are Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. Power is vested by the Constitution of Caphiria in the Imperator, Senate, and Supreme Court, respectively.

In theory, the Imperium of Caphiria operates as a unitary constitutional republic, with ultimate authority in every judicial, executive, and legislative matter being derived from its constitution. In practice however, Caphiria is functionally autocratic (and for all intents and purposes would be an autocratic-caesaropapist constitutional republic), with immense power is vested in a single leader - the Imperator of Caphiria - who serves as head of state and chief executive. Historically, the Imperator ruled by divine right but recently most of the powers of the Imperator have been set forth in Proclamation 9 of the Constitution. This leads to a highly complex system of de jure and de facto authority within the government as powers and duties are not clearly delineated.

Because of this unique system, the Imperator is the de jure head of each of the branches of government. However, the Senate of Caphiria wields significant power over the fiscal responsibilities of the Imperium, as well as possessing the ability to solely bring new laws to vote, and the Supreme Court system has gradually gained a tremendous amount of oversight and control over the application of the law, having the power to declare legislation or executive action made at any level of the government as unconstitutional, nullifying the law and creating precedent for future law and decisions. There have been many amendments to the Constitution to further delineate authority and organize the government further, but because of historical significance of the Imperator, it will always be the single point in which the government of Caphiria stems from.

Executive branch

The executive power in the government is vested in its entirety through the Imperator of Caphiria. The Imperator governs by way of his imperium maius (supreme executive power), his auctoritas principis (primary legislative authority), and his jure divis (divine mandate as Pope) As its chief executive, the Imperator is head of state and thus head of the Ministries of the Imperium, the trans-parliamentary bodies that administer the functions of the federal government on behalf of the Imperator. He has the ability to appoint and fire prime ministers, create and dissolve ministries, as well as the responsibility to appoint diplomatic and provincial officials. The Imperator relies on ministeria (ministries), trans-parliamentary bodies to govern through. These ministries - and the Prime Ministers that are appointed by the Imperator - are the de facto administers of the government of Caphiria, serving the functions of the federal government on behalf of the Imperator.

While the Imperator maintains executive power at the highest level, he delegates power and authority to a praetor (governor) to administer the Imperium's 21 provincial-level divisions. Under normal circumstances, available praetorian posts are brought before the Senate in August so that elections can be held to fill them with ambitious citizens. Because praetorship is directly devolved from the Imperator, they are governing as representatives of the Imperator himself and must enforce his will and sovereignty above all else. All members of the patrician class can run for these offices, the stipulation being that they quit their current job and leave for their appointed province no more than two months after winning their election (making holders of major offices such as Princeps Senatus and Imperator ineligible). The purpose behind praetorship is for every province (with the exception of Venceia) to be administered by a citizen from Caphiria itself. This is a relic of the custom of maintaining direct Caphirian rule over all the provinces. However, the Imperator can impeach any reigning praetor, forcing a new election unless the impeachment is vetoed by the Tribune.

The Imperator also serves as military commander-in-chief and chief diplomat, directly presiding over the 13 million active-duty military personnel, 7 million employees within the executive branch, and 4 ministries. While the Imperator possess near limitless executive power, the Senate has the ability to legally oppose most of the Imperator's actions by a super-majority.

Legislative branch

As the legislative branch for the Imperium, the Senate of Caphiria - known traditionally as the Imperial Senate - separates into two distinct representative bodies. First, the Curiate Assembly (Comitia Curiata) occupies itself with the fiscal responsibilities of the Senate as its Lower House and gives legitimacy to legislation by its support. Second, the Consular Congress (Comitium Consularis) writes bills and provides a second democratic check on enacting new laws. Specific executive or legislative tasks can be delegated to a Decemvirate, a commission of ten patricians who have the authority to write a bill on specific matter before presenting it to the Senate for legislation. The general structure of the Senate remains unchanged since its institution in 1066 and its broader functions are the same from when they were delegated in 1191 by the Constitution. Nevertheless, the specific powers of its houses have varied considerably over the last millennium, sometimes overshadowing and at other times being overshadowed by the Imperator.

The Lower house is the Curiate Assembly (Comitia Curiata) but tradition is to refer to it as the Curia (Assembly). Occupying the lower house of the Senate are 2000 directly elected representatives of the citizens. These members of the Assembly, officers of regular legislation, are referred to as Senators (Senatores). Each senator represents 900,000 citizens of a curia, a contiguous political district within the Imperium. Regular bills need a 51% senatorial majority to become senatus consultum (decree of the senate). Such a bill will be posted in the Forum the following morning for review by magistrates and citizens. Afterward, the Imperator has the power to either enact or veto the bill, unless it carries a supermajority in the Senate.

Presiding over the Assembly is the President of the Senate (Princeps Senatus), a magistrate with no voting power but who decides the vote in the event of a tie, sways the opinion of senators by his influence, and can nullify a maximum of 10 votes with a valid reason. His duties as president include calling the either house of the Senate to assemble, issuing the final legislative position of the Assembly, maintaining order during parliamentary discussions, and delivering messages from the Assembly in person to the Imperator. As figurehead of the Senate, the Princeps is often the public face for the legislature, speaking to the people of Caphiria several times a year.

The Senate's Upper house is the Consular Congress (Comitium Consularis), a body that traces its origins to the First Republic. Members of Congress are Consuls (Consules) but are not like the bureaucrats who bore their name during the First Republic. Consuls are unique in that they govern and represent the Imperium's major cultural groups - Foederatae - and maintain the concept of stratification, which in Caphiria is incredibly complex and diverse, encompassing both legal and social status. An individual consul wields significant power as a magistrate, taking part in both the legislative process through his auctoritas nationalis and the executive process through his imperium foederalis over his particular Foederatae.

Consuls are apportioned a number of votes equal to the proportion of the citizens he represents to the total population, determined by the Census. Accordingly, the most powerful consul is the Consul Regio with 14 votes out of 210. Groups like the Jews, who otherwise have no representation in the government, receive a surprising number of votes - in their case 13 split among their three consuls. As figurehead for an entire people, a consul is an example for the customs of his people and his treatment relative to the others is taken as evidence for the relative standing of his nation. Like the Curia, a majority in the Congress is needed for a bill to pass. Unique among the legislative powers of the Congress is the power to write legislation.

By convention, both houses of the Senate regularly convene every Saturday. Typically, there is a session in the morning, a break for midday meal, then another session in the afternoon. The Princeps Senatus may call senators from their homes across the empire to a meeting the next day if there is legislation to debate or important matters requiring the attention of the government. A senator can expect to find himself in the Senate about a hundred to one hundred and fifty days a year.

Judicial branch

The judicial branch for the Imperium is the Supreme Court (Tribunalis Ultima) which is itself a function of the Ministry of Justice which administers and oversees the overall judicial system. Decisions ruled as part of a proceeding in the Supreme Court cannot be overruled elsewhere, unless the relevant law is changed by senatus consultum. The Supreme Court system has gradually gained a tremendous amount of oversight and control over the application of the law, having the power to declare legislation or executive action made at any level of the government as unconstitutional, nullifying the law and creating precedent for future law and decisions.

In Caphiria, judges are public officials and, since they exercise one of the sovereign powers of the Imperium, only citizens of the Imperium are eligible for judgeship. In order to become a judge, applicants must obtain a degree of higher education as well as pass written and oral examinations. However, most training and experience is gained through the judicial organization itself. The potential candidates then work their way up from the bottom through promotions. Caphiria's independent judiciary enjoys special constitutional protection from the executive branch. Once appointed, judges serve for life and cannot be removed without specific disciplinary proceedings conducted in due process before the Supreme Court. The Ministry of Justice handles the administration of courts and judiciary, including paying salaries and constructing new courthouses. The Ministry of Justice also administer the prison system. Lastly, the Ministry of Justice receives and processes applications for presidential pardons and proposes legislation dealing with matters of civil or criminal justice.

The structure of the court system in Caphiria is:

  • Inferior courts of original and general jurisdiction
  • Intermediate appellate courts which hear cases on appeal from lower courts
  • Courts of last resort which hear appeals from lower appellate courts on the interpretation of law.

As the highest court within Caphiria, the Supreme Court ensures the correct application of law in the inferior and appeal courts and resolves disputes as to which lower court (penal, civil, administrative, military) has jurisdiction to hear a given case. The Supreme Court can reject, or confirm, a sentence from a lower court. If it rejects the sentence, it can order the lower court to amend the trial and sentencing, or it can annul the previous sentence altogether. A sentence confirmed by the Supreme Court is final and definitive, and cannot be further appealed for the same reasons. Although the Supreme Court cannot overrule the trial court's interpretation of the evidence it can correct a lower court's interpretation or application of the law connected to a specific case.

According to the Constitution, the Supreme Court shall pass judgement on:

  • controversies on the constitutional legitimacy of laws issued by the State and Provinces and when the Court declares a law unconstitutional, the law ceases to have effect the day after the publication of the ruling;
  • conflicts arising from allocation of powers of the State and those powers allocated to State and Provinces, and between Provinces;
  • charges brought against the Imperator.

The constitutional court passes on the constitutionality of laws with no right of appeal.

The Caphirian judicial system is based on civil law and not based on common law. Its core principles are entirely codified into a normative system which serves as the primary source of law, which means judicial decisions of the supreme court, as well as those of lower courts, are binding within the frame of reference of each individual case submitted, but do not constitute the base for judicial precedent for other future cases as in Common Law. It is worth noting that while in Civil Law jurisdictions the doctrine of stare decisis (precedent) does not apply, however, in practice the decisions of the Supreme Court of usually provide a very robust reference point in jurisprudence constante. The two essential aims of the Supreme Court of are to ensure that lower courts correctly follow legal procedure, and to harmonize the interpretation of laws throughout the judicial system.

The Supreme Court is organized into two divisions: a criminal section and a civil section. The court has a general president who is appointed by the Imperator, The Magnus Judex (High Judge), a deputy, and each section has its own president.Cases brought to the supreme court are normally heard by a panel of five judges. In more complex cases, especially those concerning compounded matters of statutory interpretation an extended panel of nine judges hear the case. In addition, in every case submitted to the supreme court, the office of public prosecutor must state their interpretation of the applicable law, to assist and facilitate the court, in a consultative capacity, in reaching its final decision. The Supreme Court itself is composed of 15 judges that are collectively known as the Council of Supreme Judges (Consilio Judicatis Magnus) for the term of service of two lustra (10 years total): 5 appointed by the Imperator, 5 elected by the Senate, and 5 elected by the ordinary and administrative courts. Candidates need to be either lawyers with twenty years or more experience, full professors of law, or (former) members of the Ministry of Justice. The Council then elects the Presidents of the court. The President is elected from among its members in a secret ballot, by an absolute majority (8 votes in the case of a full court). If no person gets a majority, a runoff election between the two judges with the most votes occurs.

As a function of the Ministry of Justice, the High Judge also serves as Prime Minister of the Ministry of Justice which has its own place within the judicial system. The Ministry of Justice arranges the album judicum - a list of every licensed jurist eligible for judging cases in a lawful court - and decides on the time and place of sessions in every Caphirian court of law. It also serves as the backbone for all of the Imperium's provincial and municipal court systems. Each provincial government possesses its own provinciarum judex, or provincial judge, who is subservient to the Ministry of Justice. While provincial judges have some leniency with their rulings and interpretations of the law, they are bound to the interpretation of law from the Ministry of Justice as a whole, meaning any ruling in one province will immediately affect the others.