Politics and government in Cattala

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Parliament of the United Kingdom of Cattala
Type
Type Bicameral
Houses National Assembly
Senate of the Realm
Leadership
Monarch Queen Alexandra V
since 11th March 1994
Master of Court Master Phillips
since 15 September 2007
Structure
Members 149 voting members:
100 in the National Assembly
49 in the Senate
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National Assembly Political groups

HG Regal Government

  •      Con (55)

Opposition

  •      SDP (33)
  •      Nat (12)
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Senate of the Realm Political groups

HG Regal Government

  •      Con (31)

Opposition

  •      SDP (16)
  •      Nat (3)
Elections
National Assembly Voting system Instant-Runoff Voting
Senate of the Realm Voting system Single Transferable Vote
National Assembly Last election 12 April 2014
Senate of the Realm Last election 12 April 2014
Meeting place
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Lucius Palace,
Celeste, Cattala

The United Kingdom of Cattala is governed as a constitutional monarchy, in which the head of state is the Monarch, currently Queen Alexandra V, and the Lord of Celestine is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by Her Majesty's Government, on behalf of the Monarch, as well as by the devolved regional authorities of the seven provinces. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the Parliament of Cattala, the National Assembly and Senato del Regno, located in the capital city, Celeste. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The highest national court is the Supreme Court of the Realm.

Parliament

The Parliament of Cattala, also known as the Parliament of the Realm and Court of Lucius, is the legislative branch of the Government of Cattala. The bicameral institution was first established in 1532, as a unicameral Council of State and evolved into its modern form with heavy influence by the Westminster System during the 19th century, and the Australian System in the 20th century.

Parliament in Cattala consists of three elements: the Sovereign, the Senate of the Realm and the National Assembly. Assembly Members and Lord Senators are directly elected by registered citizens over the age of 18. Elections take place every four years, unless a Lord Celestine resigns in which case they must take place within three months of the Lord's resignation.

National Assembly

The National Assembly of the United Kingdom of Cattala has 100 members that are each elected to represent one local constituency, commonly referred to as a seat. Voting within each constituency utilises the instant-runoff system of preferential voting, adopted from Australia in 1957 under the de Vell government.

The party or coalition of parties which commands the confidence of a majority of members, known as MAs, forms the government. Members of the Assembly hold their seats until they resign or Parliament is dissolved by the Sovereign, which must happen every four years under fixed term parliament rules. There is no limit to the number of consecutive terms a single MA can serve. The head of Parliament is the current monarch, and they open each Assembly session, which begins on the first Monday after the Epiphany, and closes for a two-week break during August, before re-opening until the last Friday prior to Christmas Day.

Senate of the Realm

The Senate of the Realm, also known as the Kingdom Chamber, is the upper house of Parliament and consists of 49 elected Senators. Seven senators are elected from each province through the single transferable vote system, adopted from Australia in 1957. Senators are titled "Lord Senator" during their term in office, and become simply "Lord" when they leave office, following the traditions of the upper house, which was previously a hereditary aristocratic chamber. They can serve for a maximum of two terms.

The upper house retains the power to reject any legislation originating in the Assembly, and cannot be bypassed by the lower house. Therefore, a government must have the support of the Senate to rule effectively. The Lord Celestine can call for the Senate to be dismissed, meaning all 49 members removed at once and replaced in new elections. This occurred in 1971 when the Government collapsed and Lord Bertollini attempted to cling onto control of Parliament. Bertollini was forced out of office subsequently anyway, and the power has not been used since.

The Senate was established in 1949 to replace the historic chamber of the nobility in order to ensure the government represented equally each province, without bias against the less populated regions. No laws can be passed by an urban majority in the Assembly and then be approved without the support of the rural Lord Senators, and vice versa.

Provincial governments

There are seven provinces in Cattala - Amosseri, Fieranti, Jennai, Lessito, Monte Calida, Hellas and Roumeli. Each one has had a regional Government and regional Parliament since 1957, although Amosseri, the oldest province, has had one since the Amadeus revolt in 1861.

Provinces are allowed a great deal of freedom in their self-governing abilities, including funding public projects, the power to put forward motions in the Senate through their elected representatives and therefore provincial governments can join together to veto decisions in the National Parliament. However, laws are nation-wide and cannot be changed in any individual area, and taxes cannot be different in each province.

Each province has an Executive Governor, elected by the public in local elections every four years, on the same day as a national election. All of the current provinces have an active parliament, the smallest of which is in Hellas province, with only 20 elected officials serving, and the largest of which is in Jennai, where 80 elected officers serve nearly half of Cattala's population. They all have at least one Regional Court.

The Conservatives have historically held the greatest power in regional parliaments, having been the majority party continuously since 1957 in Amosseri and Hellas. It currently holds majorities in four provinces, including Jennai and Roumeli. The SDP is the major opposition force in most parliaments, and historically dominated the Jennai Parliament, which it lost control of in 2014 for the first time in 20 years. It currently holds a majority in Fieranti and is in coalition with the Nationalists in Lessito.

Government and the Crown

Main article: List of heads of government of Cattala

The Sovereign, currently Queen Alexandra the Fifth is the Head of State of the United Kingdom of Cattala. The Queen takes little direct part in government, and must remain strictly neutral in political affairs. However, the legal authority known as the Crown remains the source of the executive power used by the Government.

These powers are known as Royal Prerogative and can be used for many functions, including the appointment or dismissal of the Lord of Celestine and Cabinet ministers, the dissolution of Parliament, the power to create corporations or even to declare war or peace. These powers are delegated from the Monarch personally, in the name of the Crown, and can be handed to various ministers and can purposely bypass the consent of Parliament.

The head of Her Grace's Regal Government, the Lord of Celestine, also has weekly meetings with the Queen, where she may express her feelings, warn, or advise him in the Government's work. Although these powers and influences seem broad, in reality the Royal Prerogative powers are almost all delegated to the Government or to Crown officials.

The government and the Imperial Office have always kept the full extent of the monarch's powers hidden from public view and few have ever been fully disclosed. Every Lord of Celestine, Cabinet Minister and Councillor of State has to swear on the Official Secrets Act, the Constitution and the Bible when they are appointed to the position.

Since the end of the Second World War, there have been thirteen Lord Chancellors and Lords of Celestine, including two women, one aristocrat and leaders from all three national parties of the last century.

Political parties

Cattala has four major political parties, and three significant (>1%+) minor parties. The current Lord Celestine is Conservative Alliance leader Lord George Lamini, who won the April 2014 General Election after the resignation of his Conservative predecessor, Lord Secolo, in January 2014.

Conservative Alliance

The logo of the Conservative Alliance

Main articles: Conservative Party of Cattala, Conservative Alliance of Cattala

The Conservative Alliance has its roots in the British Conservative Party and is currently the largest political party in Cattala. It was formed in 2013 by a merger between the Conservative Party and the High Tory faction of the National Party. They have been in power since 2007, after being out of Government for 36 years. The dominant political party between 1954 and 1963, the party nearly imploded in 1970 after a series of power struggles crippled the party's reputation and finances and they lost all public support. The High Tories then broke away and merged with the rising Nationalist movement in a loose coalition.

Since 2001 the party has reformed itself sharply and is now considered to be a Christian Democratic party, with a strong centre-right core that supports conservatism, free market environmentalism and a mixed economy, but the party remains close to the Church of Cattala and many of its members support the Church's views on liberalism and the sexual revolution. The Conservative Party is the most monarchist of the main parties and has strong links to the Royal Family historically. In the 2011 General Election, the party won 46 seats, and lost it's majority in the National Assembly. But in March 2013, a schism in the National Party led to the right-wing High Tories forming an alliance with the Conservatives after 43 years of separation, giving them a majority in the lower house and leading to the formation of the Conservative Alliance.

In January 2014, the party passed a vote of no confidence in its leader, Lord Secolo, and he resigned. He was succeeded by Education Minister George Lamini, who defeated Foreign Minister Robert Drake and Chancellor Lord Montez in a leadership contest. The Alliance won 47% of the vote in the subsequent General Election in April, and fell two seats short of a clear majority in the National Assembly. The Roumeli Unionists agreed a merger after negotiations and the Alliance then formed a majority government led by Lamini.

Social Democratic Party

Social Democratic Party logo

The Social Democratic Party, known as the SDP, is the most successful party in the history of Cattala; they have ruled the country for six of the twelve Governments since 1951, and hold the record for biggest landslide victory, which was achieved in 1963. The party is historically socialist, but has move more to the centre in recent years and is now classed as a centre-left party. It is also a strong supporter of the welfare state, joint public/private growth, environmentalism and more investment in public services over the military.

It is currently led by Sir William Morris, who took control of the party in spring 2013 after the resignation of Dominic Greenwood, the unsuccessful leader who failed to win a majority for the party in the 2011 election and was ousted after languishing in the polls at around 25% despite growing tensions in the coalition government in early 2013, which many believed should have allowed the SDP to gain support.

Roumeli Unionist Party

The logo of the Roumeli Unionist Party

The Roumeli Unionist Party, known as the RUP, is the third largest political party in Cattala based on seats in Parliament, but the only major party not to have a national presence. It became the third biggest party after the Nationalist schism in 2013.

Historically aligned with the Conservatives, the RUP was established in 1972 to represent Roumelese interests in the National Assembly, where the island felt it was under represented following the collapse of the Conservative government and left-wing dominance. It swept the island in the 1974 General Election and controlled all seven Senate seats for over 20 years. The Party lost control of the provincial government in 2011 to the Conservatives, who had previously been their coalition partner locally.

Ideologically, the party is in favour of greater devolution to the provinces and supports government investment in infrastructure projects like the Roumeli Gateway industry and transport hub as well as increases in policing, healthcare and education spending powers for provincial governments. The party leadership controversially supported the Varmini government in the 1980s, although almost exclusively for its privatisation policies and rejection of European integration.

Unlike its Conservative partners, who adopted strongly pro-renewable policies in the Secolo era, the Roumeli Unionists support the oil and gas sector. Their lobbying to the national government in 2012 was seen as pivotal for the signing of the Ionian Stream partnership with Hiigara, in which Roumeli will be home to the biggest oil and gas terminal in Cattala. Solar and offshore wind projects were primarily invested in by the national government, rather than Roumeli's RUP provincial government, until 2011.

Since the 2013 merger of the High Tories and Conservative Party, the Roumeli Unionists have been in favour of joining the Conservative Alliance as a regional associate. This was resisted by Agatha Varmini, who feared the High Tories would lose power in the association, and by Lord Secolo, who wanted to establish stability in the existing two-party merger first.

National Party

The logo of Cattala's fourth largest political party, the National Party.

The National Party is an authoritarian party that was in Government between 1991 and 2001, whose central policies are nationalisation, large rises in military spending and it is also the most eurosceptic of the major parties. A majority of its supporters live in rural communities, which is in accordance with it’s pro-rural policies (agrarianism).

The party is split between socialists and traditionalist conservatives, which began in the 1970s when it merged with the High Tory Party, a breakaway group of Conservative members who believe in traditional, right-wing values and oppose the centrist movement within their old party and in need of financial support. Over the next four decades, the power of balance between the socialists and conservatives would alter considerably. Only in the late 2000s were both divisions well-funded and strong enough to challenge the other.

Ahead of the 2011 election, the leader of the Nationalists was Dr Rohan Viscoti, a former medical soldier and the most "socialist" leader of the major parties, who was once called "Cattala's closest answer to a communist". He was ousted from the position after the election and was replaced by Agatha Varmini, a High Tory who became the second-in-command of the government after agreeing a coalition with the Conservatives.

After almost two years in coalition with the Conservatives, the Nationalist Congress, controlled by socialist supporters of Viscoti, voted to remove Varmini as party leader. The High Tories then abandoned the party and declared themselves independent before creating a formal alliance with the Conservatives. The National Party were thrown out of the coalition and Dr Viscoti retook power within the party unopposed.

Other Parties

Cattala has three other, minor, parties, all with at least 1% of the public supporting them. These include the Federal Party, who believe that the Seven Provinces should become autonomous regions again and that Cattala should become a Federal Kingdom, the Europarty who are the largest pro-EU party in Cattala and the Communist Party, which was the second-largest party in Jennai in the 1950s but declined in the 1960s and has fallen to the fringe with the rise of the National Party.

2011 Election

In June 2011, Lord Anthony Secolo announced that Queen Alexandra the Fifth had agreed to dissolve Parliament on the 20th July, meaning that the 2011 Election could take place in August. On the day of the announcement, the polling agency Regina found that support for the Government was at 38%, level with the National Party. The SDP was on 20% support.

The election took place on the 12th August 2011, and resulted in a hung parliament, with no party achieving the 50 seats needed. The Conservative Party lost it's majority, along with overall control in 4 provinces. The party remained the largest in the Assembly, with 46 seats. The SDP remained the main Opposition party, with 30 seats, seven more than the Nationalists, who achieved their highest result since they were in power in the 1990s.

11 days after the election, Nationalist leader Rohan Viscoti resigned after coalition negotiations with the Social Democratic Party failed. Rebels within his party, mostly High Tories, refused to sign the coalition document. High Tory member and deputy leader of the Nationalists, Agatha Vermini, replaced Viscoti.

On the 24th August 2011, it was announced that the Conservatives and Nationalists had formed a coalition government. Discussions between the two parties had been ongoing since the election, but had stalled whilst Dr Viscoti was leader. Following his resignation, both the Conservative and the National Party agreed on the terms of the coalition. Anthony Secolo remained as Lord Celestine and his new First Counsel, deputy leader of the government, was Agatha Vermini.

Regal Government

The National Government is divided into fifteen offices and ministries, each of which focuses on a particular aspect of governance. The Ministers form the Cabinet Ministry, and all of the ministers have underministers and many of the ministries also have Secretaries, who are specialists in their chosen field and are occasionally independent RGs and from the opposition parties. Ministers report to Lord Celestine, and can be removed from office at any time, if granted Royal Permission. Ministers lose their positions if they are voted out of office. Ministers hold the title of Regal Government (RG) or Lord Senator (LS), to show which Chamber they sit in.

Office of the Loyal Lord of Celestine

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Lord': Lord George Lamini
The Office of the Loyal Lord of Celestine, usually referred to as Lord Celestine's Office, is the formal title for the ministry that is headed up by Lord Celestine, the equivilant of a Prime Minister. He is the political voice of the nation. It is the most important ministry and is located on the second floor of Parliament itself with additional offices in the Solium, the Lord's official residence, and other residences.

Office of the First Counsel of State

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First Counsel: David Alcans
The First Counsel of State is a senior member of the Cabinet of Cattala. The office is not a permanent position, existing only at the discretion of the Queen and the Lord of Celestine, who would otherwise be deputised by the Foreign Secretary. The title was restored by Lord Secolo in 2011 for the first time since the government of national unity in 1951, when he formed a coalition government with Agatha Varmini of the High Tories. She served in the role between 2013 and 2014 with responsibility for constitutional affairs, religious affairs, international aid and development and served as President of the Council of State. Her successor, David Alcans of the Roumeli Unionist Party, retained responsibility for constitutional and religious affairs and served as President of the Council of State. The International Aid remit was returned to the Foreign Office.

Imperial Office

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Secretary: Lord Senator Gerenomi
The Imperial Office was formed in 1402 as the first Government Ministry in Cattala, and managed the entire Cabinet for the Monarch. Nowadays it releases statements from the Monarchy, instead of the Public Relations Office doing so, and manages all royal tours and visits. The Imperial Office is one of the most distinguished offices to be held in Government. Lord Gerenomi is the longest serving Minister in history, having held the position of Imperial Secretary since 1992. He is a close friend of the Queen and therefore successive Governments have kept him in the position.

Office of Parliament

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Master: Master Phillips
The Office of Parliament is led by the Master of the Court, who holds the central position in both the Senate of the Realm and National Assembly. The historic position once controlled the Court of the King, but has been adapted to parliamentary democracy to cover both houses of Lucius House. The Master has undermasters that preside over parliament sessions alongside him, or in the place of him. His position is impartial, although he often comes from a political background within one of the chambers. The Master of the Chamber is selected by the Monarch and holds the position for an eight year term. The Office also operates on a provincial basis, running each regional Parliament.

Chancellory

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Chancellor: Lord Robert Drake
The position of Chancellor is the most powerful role beside Lord Celestine. The Chancellor has direct responsibility for Government finances and public spending, as well as being the chief minister for the Treasury and the Exchequer, the largest offices in Government. Several smaller ministries are part of the Chancellory, including the Ministry of Work and Pensions and the Ministry of Skills and Innovation. In total, seven ministers work underneath the Chancellor. The office has its origins in the 12th century, when Kings were assisted and advised by a Chancellor of State, the first of whom was King David I. The current position was established in 1956, when the Chancellorship was separated from the Lord Chancellorship, which became a secondary title for the head of government, and the Chancellory became a ministry.

Other ministers within the Chancellory include the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Nicola Brown MA, the Exchequer Secretary David Smith MA and the Economic Secretary, Said Ahmed MA. The Minister for Work and Pensions is Oliver Deighton MA, and the Minister for Skills and Innovation is Andrew Paulee MA.

Ministry of Education

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Secretary of State: Alain Beaumont
The Ministry of Education controls all education facilities in Cattala and also controls funding for universities and colleges across Cattala, as well as running the state exam board, school review boards and school culinary enterprises. The Ministry of Education has existed for nearly 200 years and used to be managed by the Church of Cattala, but was taken over by the Government in 1906.

Ministry of Health

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Secretary of State: Dr Nicola Festi
Cattala's healthcare system is managed by the Ministry of Health, which until 1986 was known as the Health Office. The Ministry controls all of the funding for the National Health Authority and Regional Health Authorities. It also co-ordinates policy with Health Departments from each province and the National Health Executive, an independent clinical organisation run by doctors. It used to control the now-independent Clinical Review Board, which assesses the financial efficiency of the NHA.

Ministry of Climate and Energy

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Secretary of State: Elizabeth Western
The Ministry of Climate and Energy controls the environmental agencies that manage climate change controls, maritime and nature reserves, and the Forestry Commission. The Climate and Energy department is one of the broadest ministries and controls the largest area of land of any Cattalian ministries, due to its management of forests and territorial waters. Traditionally, the biggest drain on its funding has been energy imports, however the cost of flood defences and anti-erosion works have overtaken energy as the biggest funding requirement.

The Ministry of Climate and Energy owns EV Group, the state monopoly of the electricity and gas market, but it is operated independently.

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs

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Secretary of State: Joan Westera
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs manages Cattala's oldest economic sector. It provides subsidies for farms and encourages growth in the agricultural sector. It also carries out investigations into animal welfare and animal abuse, as well as being the department in charge of sustaining rural communities and supporting rural shops with financial loans and advice. MARA issues quarterly reports on the price of goods and produce. It also controls the Meteorological Office of Cattala.

Foreign Office

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Secretary of State: Alexander Melborne
The Foreign Office implements and controls all foreign relations and foreign affairs for Cattala, including those with the Commonwealth and the AIN. It manages embassies in Cattala and all Cattalian high commissions abroad. Trade missions, foreign aid and overseas investment are all under the Foreign Office's jurisdiction.

Ministry of the Interior

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Secretary of State: Gino Ferroni
The Ministry of the Interior includes the emergency services hotline, fire service, prison service, police service and border control. Most of its responsibilities are devolved to regional governments, who operate emergency services on a provincial basis. The Ministry organises funding and national planning strategies, as well as maintaining responsibility for national organisations like the Security Authority of Cattala and Cattalian Transport Police. Elections are run independently by the Electoral Commission of Cattala, part of the Ministry of the Interior.

Ministry of Defence

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Secretary of State': General James Bassingthwaite, the Viscount Bassingthwaite
The Ministry of Defence is the government department responsible for implementing the defence policy set by the Cattalian government, and is the headquarters of the Armato Salvatori, the Intelligence Service of Cattala (ISC) and the Military Communications Service (MCS). It works alongside the Ministry of the Interior in planning and enacting government policy on counter-terrorism.

Ministry of Transport

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Secretary of State: Luca Boccelini
The Ministry for Transport (MfT) is the government department responsible for the Cattalian national transport network and a limited number of transport matters in provinces which are not devolved to regional parliaments. The department is run by the Secretary of State for Transport, currently Mario Ellord. It holds 100% of the shares of the privately-run Cattala Rail group, and owns the Cattala Aviation Authority and the remains of the now-privatised Cattala Airport Management Authority. Seaport management, traffic laws and vehicle registration are also part of the Ministry of Transport's portfolio.

Ministry of Culture

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Secretary of State: Helena McGrady
The Ministry of Culture manages all funding for arts and media, as well as funding Royal Media International and partially-funding 3Television. Sports projects and facilities are funded and managed by this ministry.

Public Relations Office

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Director: Dario Montarino
The Public Relations Office manages all public communications, media interviews and press releases. Traditionally the Director is not from within Parliament and is the only non-parliamentarian able to sit in Cabinet. Most of the Public Relations Office work is done by non-political employees and former media industry employees.