by Max Barry

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The government of Azania

The Republic of Azania is a parliamentary republic with a three-tier system of government and an independent judiciary, operating in a parliamentary system. Legislative authority is held by the Parliament of Azania. Executive authority is vested in the President of Azania - who is head of state and head of government - and his/her Cabinet. The President is elected by the Parliament to serve a fixed term. Azania's government differs greatly from most other former British colonies. The national, provincial and local levels of government all have legislative and executive authority in their spheres, and are defined in the Azanian Constitution as "distinctive, interdependent and interrelated".

Operating at both national and provincial levels ("spheres") are advisory bodies drawn from Azania's civic leadership. It is a stated intention in the Constitution that the country is run on a system of co-operative governance.

The national government is composed of three interconnected branches:

  • Legislative: Parliament, consisting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces

  • Executive: The President, who is both Head of State and Head of Government

  • Judicial: The Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal, and the High Court

All bodies of the Azanian government are subject to the rule of the Constitution, which is the supreme law in Azania.

Contents
1. Legislative
2. Executive
2.1 Ministries
3. Judicial
4. Provincial government
5. Local government
6. Opposition

Legislative


The bicameral Parliament of Azania makes up the legislative branch of the national government. It consists of the National Assembly (the lower house) and the National Council of Provinces (the upper house). The National Assembly consists of 500 members elected by popular vote using a system of party-list proportional representation. Half of the members are elected from parties' provincial lists and the other half from national lists.

Following the implementation of the new constitution in 1981 the National Council of Provinces replaced the former Senate with essentially no change in membership and party affiliations, although the new institution's responsibilities have been changed; with the body now having special powers to protect regional interests, including the safeguarding of cultural and linguistic traditions among ethnic minorities. In ordinary legislation, the two chambers have coordinate powers, but all proposals for appropriating revenue or imposing taxes must be introduced in the National Assembly.

The President is elected by the members of the General Assembly. Upon election, the President resigns as an MP and appoints a Cabinet of Ministers from among the members. Ministers, however, retain their parliamentary seats. The President and the Ministers are responsible to the Parliament, of which they must be elected members. General elections are held at least once every five years. The last general election was held on 8 May 2011.

Executive



The Union Buildings, seat of the
national executive

The President, Deputy President and the Ministers make up the executive branch of the national government. Ministers are Members of Parliament who are appointed by the President to head the various departments of the national government. The president is elected by parliament from its members. The ministers individually and the Cabinet collectively are accountable to Parliament for their actions.

Ministries

Each minister is responsible for one or more departments, and some ministers have a deputy minister to whom they delegate some responsibility.

Judicial


The third branch of the national government is an independent judiciary. The judicial branch interprets the laws, using as a basis the laws as enacted and explanatory statements made in the Legislature during the enactment. The legal system is based on Roman-Dutch law and English common law and accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations. The constitution's bill of rights provides for due process including the right to a fair, closed trial within a reasonable time of being charged and the right to appeal to a higher court. To achieve this, there are four major tiers of courts:

  • Magistrates' Courts The court where civil cases involving less than R10 000, and cases involving minor crimes, are heard.

  • High Courts The court of appeal for cases from the magistrates' courts, as well as the court where major civil and criminal cases are first heard.

  • Supreme Court of Appeal The final court of appeal for matters not of the constitution.

  • Constitutional Court The final court of appeal for matters related to the constitution

Also, provision is made in the constitution for other courts established by or recognised in terms of an Act of Parliament.

Provincial governments


The provincial governments of the sixteen provinces of Azania have their own executive and legislative branches, but not separate judicial systems. In each province the legislative branch consists of a provincial legislature, varying in size from 30 to 110 members, which is elected through party-list proportional representation. The legislature elects one of its members as Premier to lead the executive branch, and the Premier appoints between five and ten members of the legislature as an executive council (a cabinet) to lead the various departments of the provincial government.

Local governments


Local government in Azania consists of municipalities of various types. The largest metropolitan areas are governed by metropolitan municipalities, while the rest of the country is divided into district municipalities, each of which consists of several local municipalities.

Municipalities are governed by municipal councils which are elected every five years. The councils of metropolitan and local municipalities are elected by a system of mixed-member proportional representation, while the councils of district municipalities are partly elected by proportional representation and partly appointed by the councils of the constituent local municipalities.

Opposition


In each legislative body, the party or coalition of parties holding a majority of seats forms the government. The largest party not in the government is recognised as the official opposition.

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