The President serves as the head of state of Biaten, as well as the Commander-in-Chief of the Biatenian Armed Forces. Like all other heads of state, the President signs all legislation passed by the National Diet and Senate into law. The President may veto any legislation, but shall the legislation be re-proposed to the National Diet and passed again, the President may not veto it. The President cannot veto any legislation that receives 66% approval in both the National Diet and the Senate. The last time a veto was used was in 1995 by newly-elected President Samuel Everly.
The President has the power to nominate the Chancellor. These nominations must be approved by the National Diet and the Senate via a simple majority (more votes in favour than against). The Chancellor also serves as a de facto Vice President, in the sense that if the President were to die or resign, the Chancellor will step in and serve out the remainder of the President's term.
The President is elected via a national plebiscite every 5 years, however, a President may call a Presidential Election at his own will at any time during those 5 years.
In order to become a President, the person must be 21 years or older and be a Biatenian citizen. In order to win a Presidential Election, a candidate must receive at least 50% of all valid votes. In the events that no candidate receives more than 50%, the candidates who receive less than 5% of the vote are eliminated and a second round is held 2 weeks afterwards. Shall no candidate receive 50% in the second round, the candidate with the lowest vote is eliminated and a third-round occurs. This shall repeat until a candidate receives more than 50% of the vote.
Limitations to the President's Powers
At the founding of the Biatenian Republic in the early 19th century, the President was considered de facto the most powerful man in Biaten. When the constitution was originally written, the position of President was created to replace the monarchy, but was given the exact same powers as a monarch, including the power to directly appoint the Chancellor and Cabinet. However, many conventions and constitutional amendments since the 1811 Biatenian Revolution have diminished the position of President to a ceremonial and oval position.
In 1872, President Poldi Levitt, a liberal and former Vice-Chancellor, was elected. President Levitt did not like the bureaucratic nature of the Chancellorship and the Cabinet, and that the position of Chancellor should be held more accountable to the public. He was also against the idea of the President being an "elected dictator". Therefore, in 1874, a constitutional amendment was passed taking the President's power of appointment to the Chancellorship away and instead replacing it with the power of the President to nominate the Chancellor and have such a nomination confirmed by the National Diet. This ensured that the government had the confidence of the National Diet to pass legislation, making the government more effective.
In 1905, the Hachen Convention was drafted by multiple conservative politicians, stating that the President should not obstruct the agenda of the Chancellor. The Convention also stated that, in order to ensure that confirmations passed, the President should appoint the leaders of the top 4 largest parties as the Chancellor first until 1 was elected. However, most of the Convention was accepted as rule by most Presidents between 1874 and 1905. The Convention was endorsed by the President at the time, Eddie William, in 1906. The Hachen Convention laid the groundwork for the 1917 constitutional amendments, which notably took the power to appoint the cabinet away from the President and to the Chancellor, as well as taking the power to propose legislation away from all members of the National Diet and instead giving it the Cabinet. The amendments were passed by President Eddie Ross (who was notable for being the first left-wing President of Biaten and for being Biaten's longest serving President, serving for 36 years between 1916 and 1952).
To this day, despite holding executive power, the President is considered little more than a puppet for the government. Although most Presidents will serve as political activists for their own party, they do not allow party politics to get in the way of their nominations in accordance with the Hachen Convention. In order to avoid a constitutional crisis, most Presidents since the early 20th century have signed almost every bill passed by the National Diet.
In the events the President has committed criminal activity, he may be impeached by the National Diet and Senate. However, no President has ever been impeached.
The Chancellor of Biaten serves as the head of government of Biaten, and thus is considered the second most powerful person in Biaten. The Chancellor is nominated by the President and this nomination is then approved via a simple majority in the National Diet and Senate. Although the office of Chancellor has not contained a lot of power upon its creation, the office gradually became more powerful since the 1811 Revolution through Constitutional Amendments and conventions.
The office was created by Queen Mary in 1728 in order to serve as a spokesman for the monarch and handle the administrative duties of the monarch. The office was kept after the 1811 Biatenian Revolution with the same powers. However, in 1874, newly-elected President Poldi Levitt wanted to give more power to the Chancellor and Cabinet, and so he passed a Constitutional Amendment. Prior to the 1874 Amendment, the Chancellor was directly appointed by the President, but the amendments took this power of appointment away and replaced it with a Presidential power to nominate the Chancellor, with the nomination requiring a simple majority in the National Diet. Furthermore, the 1905 Hachen Convention stated that the President should not obstruct the agenda of the Chancellor, which led to the passing of the 1917 Constutional Amendments, which gave the power to appoint the Cabinet to the Chancellor, and stated that the Cabinet is the only body that can propose legislation to the National Diet.
The Chancellor is the head of government of Biaten. The 1874 Amendments ensure that the Chancellor has control over the National Diet, as an individual cannot become Chancellor without the approval of the legislature.
The Chancellor appoints and dismisses all members of the Cabinet without the approval of the President or legislature. The Chancellor may set the number of Cabinet ministers and dictate their specific duties, with the only exception being the Minister of the Interior, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister of Finance, Minister of Justice and Minister of Labour, as the Constitution states that these offices must be filled at any given time.
During times of emergency, the Chancellor may obtain emergency powers with the approval of the National Diet and Senate, which allows the Chancellor to make decrees without the approval of the National Diet and Senate, however these decrees may be overruled by the President.
The Chancellor also serves as a de facto Vice President, as in the events of the death or resignation of the President the Chancellor will take up the office of President to serve the remainder of the previous President's term. In such a case, the Chancellor must resign the office of Chancellor in order to take up the office of President.
Whenever the office of Chancellor is vacant, which happens when the Chancellor dies or resigns, or if a newly elected National Diet meets for the first time, the Chancellor is elected by a simple majority in the National Diet and Senate upon the nomination of the President. This is intended to ensure the establishment of a stable government and ensure that the Chancellor has the support of the National Diet and Senate to pass legislation.
If the nominee of the President is not elected, the President is required to propose another nominee within a week. If this new nominee is not elected, the President may nominate another nominee. If the first four nominees are not approved by the National Diet or Senate, the President, under Section 1, Clause 8 of the Constitution, may suspend the National Diet or/and Senate and call another election.
The Chancellor is the only member of the Cabinet elected by the National Diet and Senate. The other Cabinet ministers are appointed by the Chancellor. Any member of the National Diet or Senate may propose a motion of no confidence in the Chancellor, and if passed the President is required to nominate a new Chancellor.
During the appointment process, the incumbent Chancellor will serve as an acting Chancellor until a new Chancellor is elected.
The Chancellor must appoint a Vice-Chancellor, who may step in for the Chancellor if they are absent or unable to perform their duties. The Vice-Chancellor will also automatically become the Chancellor upon the Chancellor's death or resignation and serve out the remainder of the legislative term, unless the President nominates a new Chancellor or is ousted in a motion of no confidence.
The Cabinet is the executive branch of the Republic of Biaten, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions and managing the business of the Republic. The Cabinet ministers are appointed solely at the discretion of the Chancellor. It is common, although not a requirement, for the ministers to also serve as a member of either the National Diet or the Senate. The Cabinet is the only body that may propose legislation to the National Diet or Senate.
There are currently 45 Cabinet members, including the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor.
The Cabinet of Biaten was established in the 1515 People's Charter (the first known Biatenian Constitution), which served as an advisory council to the monarch. All members were appointed by the monarch. Although its agenda would be led by a Chancellor from 1723 until 1917, the power to appoint the Cabinet lied solely with the monarch and, after the revolution, the President. After 1917, the power to appoint the Cabinet lied solely with the Chancellor.
The Cabinet has several responsibilities: to develop strategies, to draft legislation, to represent the Republic of Biaten in trade negotiations (Minister of Trade), to make rules and regulations, to draw up the budget (Minister of Finance) and to ensure the implementation of legislation.
The Senate is the upper house of Biaten's bicameral legislature. It currently consists of 100 members, who serve 5-year terms.
The Senate is composed of Senators, each of whom represents a single constituency. The Senate was created in 2018.
The Senate, alongside the National Diet, has the power to approve the nomination of the Chancellor and Supreme Court judges. However, unlike the National Diet, the Senate has the power to impeach the President of Biaten via a simply majority. The President of the Senate, who presides over Senate voting and deliberation, is elected by the Senate. The Senate's main role is to vote on legislation passed by the National Diet.
The Senate is elected via first-past-the-post every 5 years. There are 100 Senate constituencies in Biaten, each represented by 1 Senator. In the events of an election, elections are held in all 100 seats. In the events of a vacancy, a by-election is held.
President of the Senate
The President of the Senate is elected by the Senate. The President of the Senate may be voted out in a motion of no confidence. The President of the Senate must also be reconfirmed after every Senate election.
The President of the Senate is given multiple powers. One of which is the power to veto any legislation proposed to the Senate for a period of one year (this is done via a custom called "sitting on the bill", in which the Senate President puts the legislation on his seat and sits on it, where it remains for the remainder of the session it is proposed, after which it is placed in a box underneath the President's chair). The President of the Senate may also call an election, which requires a 66% approval of the Senate.
The National Diet is the lower house of Biaten's legislature. Together with the Senate, it votes on legislation proposed by the cabinet. The National Diet currently consists of 500 members, elected via a county-based proportional representation, in which each county is allocated seats based of its population and then its National Diet members are elected via proportional representation.
Although the National Diet has legislative power, as does the Senate, it does not formally possess legislative initiative. The Cabinet, the executive body of the Republic, is accountable to the National Diet and the Senate. The National Diet can decide whether or not to approve the President's nominee for the Chancellor. It can force the Chancellor to resign by adopting a motion of no confidence. It can also launch an impeachment process of the President, and propose a motion of impeachment to the Senate for approval.
The Speaker of the National Diet is elected by the National Diet and reconfirmed after every election.
The National Diet was created in 1812, after the revolution. It was created to succeed the previous legislature, the National Assembly. Unlike the National Assembly, the National Diet was elected by all citizens of Biaten regardless of their wealth, which was considered very forward-thinking at the time.
In 1874, the National Diet was given the power to elect a Chancellor nominated by the President. In 1917, the power to propose legislation was taken away from the members of the National Diet.
The Supreme Court is the highest constitutional court of Biaten. The main task of the Supreme Court is judicial review, and it may declare legislation unconstitutional, thus rendering them ineffective. The Supreme Court also, from time to time, presides over civil or criminal court cases.
The Supreme Court consists of 10 justices. All criminal cases presented to the Supreme Court are presided over by 1 justice. All civil cases presented to the Supreme Court are presided over by 5 justices. All constitutional cases presented to the Supreme Court are presided over by all 10 justices.
Decisions by the Supreme Court require a majority. The court often publishes the vote count on its decisions. One of the justices serves as the President of the Supreme Court, and another one serves as the Vice President of the Supreme Court. Upon the death or resignation of the President, a new President is nominated by the President of Biaten and confirmed by the Senate. The Vice President of the Supreme Court is appointed by the President of the Supreme Court.
Appointment of Judges
The Supreme Court's judges are nominated by the President of Biaten, on the advice of the Chancellor, and are then elected by the National Diet and the Senate. The judges may serve until their death or resignation. Judges may be removed by a motion proposed to either the National Diet or the Senate by either the President of Biaten, the Chancellor, the Minister of Justice or the President of the Senate, which requires a two thirds majority in both the National Diet and the Senate.