by Max Barry

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Government Structure

The lawmaking body of Antarctica is the Grand Council. This Council is made up of 1,000 Councillors, who are elected each year on December 1st, and whose terms begin one month later. In the Grand Council building, the councillors are seated in a ring, with the chamber's floor in the middle. Once the term of the Grand Council begins, certain councillors are elected to leadership positions with specific duties, as established by Articles 9 and 10 of the Antarctic Constitution. In the Grand Council, a proposal becomes law if a majority of councillors vote in favour. Proposals can be submitted by any councillor, and can even be submitted by the public, given appropriate circumstances and procedures.

In practice, most proposals are submitted by Ministers. These councillors are elected by and serve as leaders of their classes - groups of councillors dedicated to a particular area of policy. Ministers coordinate and consolidate the efforts of their classes, and create unified proposals that are ready for consideration by the full body of the Grand Council. Together, they effectively serve the role of a cabinet.

The other important figure on the Grand Council is the Prime Minister. Elected by the full body of councillors, the Prime Minister administrates its sessions, maintaining proper procedure and general order in the Grand Council. The Prime Minister Mayweather also serves as the body's representative, speaking for the Grand Council in situations where its full presence would be either inappropriate or unnecessary. Such situations typically include international gatherings, which means the Prime Minister effectively serves as head of state.

The highest court in Antarctica is the Grand Tribunal. It is composed of fifteen Justices, each of whom is appointed for life by a two-thirds majority of the Grand Council. Under Article 12 of the Antarctic Constitution, it is the final destination for appeals, and the forum in which the application of the Constitution is carried out. The Antarctic Constitution itself is a short document with general wording, and the Justices charge themselves with the specific application and maintenance of the Constitution's virtues. As a result, the Grand Tribunal is perhaps the most constitutionally active court of any nation in history, often making dozens of constitutional rulings each year, in which the Justices are well-known for their common-sense, upstanding behavior. This is to be expected, for the Constitution provides that any Justice who becomes derelict in their duties may be removed from office by a two-thirds majority of Antarctic voters.

Antarctica consists of 28 regions known as prefectures. Each of the prefectures is based around one of Antarctica's twenty-eight cities, with their boundaries being formed by natural features between those cities. The prefectures carry out public functions in place of the national government. This is regarded to be supremely efficient, as citizens receive services directly from their home city. The Antarctic Constitution makes no mention of sub-national entities, only granting legal authority to the Grand Council. Instead, the Free Republic leases its own powers to the prefectures as it sees fit, and it can take back those powers if necessary. Thus, Antarctica is not a federation, but a decentralized unitary state.