by Max Barry

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The Holy Republic of
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

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Overview

Full name: The Holy Republic of New Bremerton
Founded: Jan. 1st, 10,000 BCE/Holy Republic (HR) Year 1 (OOC: July 20th, 2018)
Region: The North Pacific

Motto: Liberi fatali (Fated)
Anthem: E tenebras lux (Out of darkness, light)
National animal: Dragon (of both the Oriental and Occidental variety)
Capital: La Citta della Luminaria (The City of Luminaris)
Largest city: Hongcouver
Administrative divisions: States
Population: Roughly 1 billion
GDP (Nominal): Roughly U.S. $50 trillion
GDP (Per capita): Roughly U.S. $200,000
Official language: New Bremerton English AKA Luminar, historically. The millennia-old Luminar "language" is almost exactly identical to standard American English right down to accent, pronunciation and spelling, among other things, and is often lumped together with American and Canadian English to form North Pacific English.
National religion: None; 95% of New Bremertonians are either atheists or agnostics; 5%, mainly recent immigrants, adhere to various faiths. The principle of separation of religion and state is strictly enforced, religiously, I should add.
Demonym: New Bremertonian, New Bremerton (adj. in some cases)

Government:

(OOC: My nation's government is modeled on a combination of both the British and American governments. One key difference is that proportional representation is used to elect legislators, while instant runoff voting is used for by-elections and single-office elections. The British and American governments mainly use first-past-the-post or plurality voting to elect their representatives and leaders.)

Leader: Prime Minister John Wilson Bremer (de facto), President James Walker Boothroyd (de jure)

The Holy Republic of New Bremerton is a federal parliamentary republic. Both the federal and state governments operate in parallel with one another, and the state constitutions and systems of government resemble the federal constitution and government very closely.

Federal (and state) parliamentary elections are held at least once every five years. Federal House Representatives are elected to five-member electoral districts on a proportional basis (single transferable vote), and an independent election commission defines the boundaries of electoral districts, while voters in each state elect five Senators, also on a proportional basis. In the event of death, incapacity, resignation or recall, a by-election is held within six weeks to elect a replacement Representative or Senator through instant runoff voting. Any Representative or Senator who resigns his/her political party or is expelled from said party must also stand in a by-election. This is to prevent party hopping, widely seen as a betrayal of their constituents.

Because of the proportional nature of federal (and state) parliamentary elections, no single party wields an absolute majority in either house, and the largest party in the House of Representatives has the first shot at attempting to form a coalition government with several smaller parties, or negotiate a confidence-and-supply arrangement and form a minority government. The Prime Minister, the head of government and the country's actual leader, typically hails from the largest party currently in government. The Prime Minister and all Cabinet ministers must be drawn from among the ranks of either House of Parliament, but the government as a whole is determined by the political composition and inter-party alliances of the House of Representatives only. A vote of no-confidence in the House of Representatives, which has the power to approve the annual budget and the President's annual State of the Union address to the Senate (written by the government of the day), will result in the President dissolving both houses of Parliament and triggering a parliamentary election.

The President, the nation's symbolic head of state with reserve powers and limited discretion, much like a constitutional monarch, and Vice-President are elected on a joint ticket once every seven years through instant runoff voting. Both the President and Vice-President may serve for only one term and must be nonpartisan and politically neutral. In the event of death, incapacity, resignation or impeachment, the Vice-President succeeds the President and serves out the remainder of his/her predecessor's term. The Speaker of the House of Representatives is the third individual in the line of succession. The House of Representatives has the power to impeach the President or Vice-President with a simple majority vote in favor, while the Senate has the power to convict the President or Vice-President with a two-thirds majority vote in favor, thereby removing him from office. The President is responsible for swearing in the Prime Minister as well as dissolving Parliament and triggering a federal parliamentary election on the advice and with the consent of the Prime Minister. The Vice-President fulfills the President's duties in the President's absence.

The nation's Supreme Court Justices, of whom there must always be nine, are nominated by an independent commission answerable only to the Senate and approved by a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate. Neither the President nor the Prime Minister has any say in the nomination process, so as to avoid any political conflict of interest and preserve judicial independence. All Supreme Court decisions must be handed down unanimously. Justices do not vote or issue dissenting opinions. This is to encourage compromise and further minimizes the risk of any latent political intrigue behind the scenes. The Supreme Court has the authority to interpret the Constitution and rule on the constitutionality of extant laws passed by Parliament and signed into law by the President on the advice and with the consent of the Prime Minister. Laws ruled unconstitutional are rendered null and void.

State governments are permitted to hold legislative elections in their own time, but at least once every five years, although they are often held concurrently with the federal parliamentary elections. The Governor serves as the head of state in each state, while the Premier serves as the head of government. Each state's supreme court, of which there must always be nine judges, is headed by a Chief Judge, who is also responsible for swearing in his/her state's Governor and Vice-Governor.

States have discretion as to what form local government should take and when and how often local elections should be held, although the federal Constitution stipulates that local elections must be held at least once every five years. School boards, district magistrates and county sheriffs are appointed by the state governments to prevent a political conflict of interest and mob rule and to maintain the highest standards of professionalism and impartiality.

Legislature: Parliament of the Holy Republic of New Bremerton
Upper house: Senate
Head of Senate: President pro-tempore of the Senate (Vice-President of New Bremerton). Not an elected member of the Senate. Votes in favor of maintaining the status quo in the event of a tie. (OOC: LinkSpeaker Denison's rule)
Lower house: House of Representatives
Head of House of Representatives: Speaker of the House. Nominated, vetted and appointed by the House Representatives by a two-thirds majority. Not an elected member of the House. Must be nonpartisan. Votes in favor of maintaining the status quo in the event of a tie.
Court of final appeal: Supreme Court of the Holy Republic of New Bremerton
Head of Supreme Court: Chief Justice. Swears in the President and Vice-President of New Bremerton. No holy book required.
Constitution: Constitution of the Holy Republic of New Bremerton. Amendments to the constitution require the approval of two-thirds of members of both Houses of Parliament and a referendum in which at least 50% of all eligible voters regardless of voter turnout vote in favor.

Foreign relations: Friend and ally of other democracies. Bane of authoritarian regimes around the world.
Armed forces: New Bremerton Armed Forces (NBAF): Has a policy of intervening to prevent genocides and massacres and giving authoritarian regimes something to think about, but avoids costly regime change wars whenever possible.
National police force: New Bremerton Bureau of Investigation (NBBI)
National intelligence agency: New Bremerton Intelligence Service (NBIS)

Economy: Mixed economy. Developed, efficient and corruption-free by all international measures

Culture: Western, classical liberal values. Our nation is based on shared values, although our country is also home to the indigenous Luminars, who have traditionally been the dominant ethnic group in the Holy Republic of New Bremerton for thousands of years, although they have since been reduced to a tiny minority or assimilated by immigrants and their descendants over the past five hundred years. The Constitution states that New Bremerton is the nation-state of the Luminar people, and that they have a unique right to self-determination. Luminar culture remains essentially the dominant template culture of New Bremerton. Their language is our national language, and their ethnic identity is our national identity. While the original Luminars are not as distinct or as visible as they used to be, and may not even consider themselves as such, we are all Luminars in a sense, and many of us possess traces of Luminar ancestry, including this country's leader. Since Luminars have a reputation for high IQs and high test scores, it would also explain why we are mostly not religious.

April 1st is a public holiday in New Bremerton, as atheists, including this nation's Prime Minister, are fools for not believing in an imaginary deity. It is the date our Holy Republic declared itself to be a haven and a refuge for atheists, agnostics and other nonbelievers fleeing persecution from all over the world, in addition to being the traditional nation-state of the indigenous Luminars. The exact year is unknown, but historians generally agree that New Bremerton first opened its doors to nonbelievers around 2000 years ago, although mass immigration only really began around 500 years ago. Self-declared nonbelievers are entitled to citizenship and an automatic right of abode upon arrival. Religious immigrants are required to undergo additional vetting and overcome a series of legal hurdles before they can be admitted into New Bremerton.

Time zones: UTC+05 to +08 (Summer DST: UTC+06 to +09)
Geography: Massive island continent with a diversity of flora and fauna, plus a number of small, outlying islands geologically part of the continental plate. The continent is referred to by geologists as Pacifica, although the name is considered synonymous with the Holy Republic.
Climate: Diverse, ranging from subarctic in the far northern reaches, to humid continental in the northeast and north, humid subtropical in the southeast, Mediterranean in the southwest, oceanic in the northwest, arid in the southwestern interior, and tropical along the south coast.
Currency: New Bremerton Dollar ($, NBD; roughly equivalent to USD)
Date format: YYYY-MM-DD; month, date, year when written in full
Drives on the: Left
Calling code: +911
ISO 3166 code: NB
Internet TLD: .nb

OOC: This nation does not roleplay NS stats.

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