by Max Barry

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by The Republic of The Tsunterlands. . 66 reads.

Politics of the Tsunterlands

Flag of the Cooperatist Tsunter Republic
Unitary Cooperatist Directorial Republic

The politics of the Cooperatist Tsunter Republic takes place within the framework of a semi-parliamentary democratic republic. The structure of the government is outlined by the Tsunter Code, the national constitution, which describes the country as a Unitary Cooperatist Directorial Republic. The Tsunter Code emphasises a democratic framework in which most public political participation occurs through local debates and referendums rather than through elections for representatives. The traditional clan unit is emphasised as an integral institution for hosting these kinds of local decisions. Decision making on a national level is intended to be extension of decision making on the local level.

First Councillor Quinn Sleepless
Chae’La Handsome
(Romantic Faction)
The Tsunter Code outlines a fusion of the legislative, executive and judiciary powers of government. There are three legislative chambers: The Grand Conclave, the Clan Parley and the People’s Parley. Of these only the Grand Conclave is in permanent session within other two chambers meeting only once every four months. Along with being a legislative body the Grand Conclave also effectively acts as the nation’s executive, its twelve members forming the ruling council of the Tsunterlands. They annually elect from their number a First Councillor, who acts the head of government. The Navarch, the commander-in-chief of the Tsunter Armed Forces, also sits on the Grande Conclave.

The National Bureaucracy is the administrative arm of government responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the policies made by the Grand Conclave. The National Bureaucracy is comprised of many departments and agencies which oversee different responsibilities within government.

Judicial power rests with the Clan Parley which also acts as the highest court of the Tsunterlands. Most local judicial decisions are handled via local clans with most clans having long-standing common law traditions unique to their clan. The Clan Parley plays a role in adjudications where either the decisions made by local clans are seen to be in violation of the law. As such they also serve as guardians of the constitution in regard to the actions of the other institutions of government.

The constitution declares the Tsunter Republic to be a “Cooperatist Directorial Republic, guided by the ideas of James Misson and the social and political ideas of Bakunin and Godwin.” Cooperatism is a libertarian socialist ideology that centers around the vision is multiple cooperatives working in harmony.

The Tsunter Republic is generally seen as a hybrid regime. In particular the leadership of the Clans is seen to have an undue influence on politics at the expense of the people.

Led by the Young Tsunter movement the Tsunterlands would achieve independence from Aizcona in 1925 following years of conflict enabling the Young Tsunter movement to become the dominant political force in the nation. From the 1925 to 1949 they led the country under their conservative and nationalist ideology which emphasised the clan as the most importance institution within society. The main opposition is this time period came from the eastern interior of the nation by a faction that represented the interests of those outside of the Young Tsunter vision for the nation, mainly the large number of Estran, native Salimanese from The United Partitions and Ipachis living in the eastern interior of the nation, along with a growing trade union movement arising on the Little Hook Peninsula. This trade union movement would become heavily influenced by the writings of James Mission, leading to the foundations of the Cooperative faction, however as the government became increasingly autocratic under the government of Navarch Addeus Chae’La Ganguard, this proto-socialist movement became squashed by political repression.

In 1941 the Young Tsunter government would lead the Tsunterlands into the First Imperial War on behalf of the Neo-Imperialists. Their defeat in 1949 would see the Tsunterlands occupied by the victorious free powers and the Young Tsunter movement was effectively destroyed by the loss in the war. The occupying forces would create a provisional government of bureaucrats, sometimes known as the Democratic Faction, that would struggle to hold the country together in the wake of secessionist movements in the eastern nations and the outbreak of strikes on the Little Hook Peninsula.

The first post-war was democratic elections in 1954 would see the Cooperative faction sweep to power instituting a powerful revolution from above. They introduced a new constitution, renaming the country the Cooperatist Tsunter Republic and reorganised the nation and the government according to Missonist principles. Effectively instituting a one party state, although democracy continued at the local level and within the Cooperative Party, they would hold power for the next three decades. While they would oversee the Tsunterlands into a economic golden age in the 1960s and early 1970s their control of the country would be undermine by a period of ethnic violence between Ethnic Tsunter, Estran and minority Ipachi populations in the eastern interior known as the Trials. By 1980 in the midst of a thick recession and growing ethnic conflict the Cooperative party had become broadly unpopular outside of their heartland in the Little Hook Peninsula. Domestic protests and international pressure forced a broad democratisation of the political system in 1984 which saw the emergence of two new political factions: the Unionists, the party of the minority populations, and the Romantics or ROM party, who styled themselves as a revival of the Young Tsunter movement. The handover of power to these new factions were only permitted providing they remained loyal to Cooperatist ideals.

In 1987 these parties would triumph over the Cooperatists and share power with each other. Their coalition would only last two years before collapsing leading to a period of political instability and shifting coalitions that would last until 2007, when following the resignation of First Councillor Nero Chae’La Borsha admit corruption scandals no faction was able to form a government and take power. This would lead to the so-called “year of anarchy” where national government effectively collapsed for seven months until December where a group of naval officers declared themselves the new provisional government placing the country under martial law. Their rule would last for eighteen months wherein the constitution was rewritten to strengthen the powers of the Grand Conclave. Fresh elections would be called and the military would handover power to a new civilian government in July 2009. Since then the Tsunterlands has seen a period of unprecedented cross-partisanship cooperation and political stability as the three factions have broadly been able to work together in a system commonly described as “Tri-factionalism”.

Cooperatism – the Ideology of the Tsunterlands
Cooperatism is a socialist, political and economic theory, based around the writings of Captain James Mission, that aims to create a society in which local organisations cooperate together to achieve mutually beneficial goals. Its central thesis is that inter-societal competition inextricably linked with power disparity limits the development of and ultimately leads to collapse of societies. The ideology is closely associated with various communist ideologies however its main point of diversion is its emphasis on the redistribution of political power rather than economic wealth its central goal being “the democratisation of all aspects of wider society.” Cooperatism is sometimes considered to be a libertarian socialist philosophy however it does not reject the existence of a state, believing it essential for the preservation of a coherent society.

Misson's idea was to have his society be one in which people of all colours, creeds, and beliefs were to be free of any scrutiny. He spoke against the authoritarian institutions of his day, including monarchies, slavery, institutional religion, and the abuses associated with wealth. His ideal society would be one of direct democracy, where the people as a whole held the authority to make laws and rules. Although he was also spoke for the need of systems of councils composed of delegates who were supposed to think of themselves as "comrades" of the general population, not rulers.

The Grand Conclave

The Brethren Fort, home to Grand Conclave
The Grand Conclave is both the dominant chamber within the Tsunter legislature and the supreme decision-making body of the national government, responsible for making policy and directing the National Bureaucracy in the implementation of said policy. The Conclave is also responsible for overseeing the structure and employees of the National Bureaucracy, along with managing the foreign affairs of the Tsunterlands, having the power to ratify treaties and declare war. The Conclave is in permanent session and is based at the Brethren Fort building, Brethen Island in Libertalia.

They elect from their own number a First Councillor who has the power to control the Conclave’s agenda, initiate votes and preside over discussion. The First Councillor often grants the members of the Conclave specific policy areas and the power to oversee certain departments of the National Bureaucracy. The position of First Councillor is voted on annually however the First Councillor can be removed from their position by an internal vote from the Conclave or an external joint vote by both the lower houses. The First Councillor may hold indefinite consecutive terms unless otherwise removed from power.

The Conclave is composed of twelve members, known as Councillors, who are nominated and appointed by the two lower chambers, six from the Clan Parley and six from the People’s Parley. Individuals are not permitted to sit in multiple chambers. Councillors hold their position for two years before needing to be reappointed however they can be dismissed from their position by the other eleven Councillors or by a vote from the Clan and People’s Parley.

The two lower chambers are also responsible for electing a Navarch, who sits in the Conclave and acts as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Like the First Councillor, the Navarch holds their position for a year, but can be removed from power early by a vote from the lower houses. In peacetime, the Navarch must leave office after a year and there is constitutionally mandated five-year gap before that indivudal can be reappointed as to the position of Navarch.

Constitutionally ten votes are required for the Conclave to act, however by convention the Conclave aims to achieve unanimity among its members often debating an issue until a consensus is reached. While the topics and results of the Conclave’s decisions are made public the actual content of their discussions, including how each member voted are kept secret and, unless there is a request by the lower houses, the records of the Conclaves meetings are not revealed for twenty years. While this practice has been often criticised for its lack of transparency the Conclave has always maintained that secrecy is necessary to arrive at consensus and to preserve the collegiality and political independence of the individual Councillors.

The People’s Parley

The People’s Court, home to the People’s Parley

ROM party - 31
Civic Union Party - 24
Cooperative party - 15
The People’s Parley is the only body of the Tsunter government that is directly elected by the people, with its seventy districts being elected via a first past the post voting system in which any Tsunter citizen over the age of eighteen is allowed to vote in. Elections of the People’s Parley are held every two years. The chamber is led by the Speaker of the People who is elected by the Parley. They have the power to preside over debates and control the timetable of Parley business. The People’s Parley meets for one week every four months to conduct business. The members of the People’s Parley are referred to as Deputies. The People’s Parley meet in the People’s Court building in Libertalia.

The primary role of the People’s Parley is to scrutinise legislation and other actions taking by the Grand Conclave which is done through a motion of Appraisal. If five deputies within the Parley call for a motion of Appraisal against any action taken by the Conclave it is debated and then voted on by the Parley. Should the action be voted against it is then sent to the Clan Parley to be debated and then voted on. If the act is rejected there as well it is scrapped and its effects reversed.

Another power of the People’s Parley is its role in the appointment of the membership of the Grand Conclave. Six of the twelve members of the Conclave are chosen by the People’s Parley. An individual requires the support of five deputies from the Parley to be nominated for the Conclave. These prospective candidates are voted on with the ten most popular candidates with the most votes going forward to the interviewing stage. The prospective candidates are then interviewed by the Parley before being individually voted on. Each deputy may only vote for six of the ten candidates. Any candidate that receives a majority of votes is appointed to the Conclave. The People’s Parley may also dismiss members of the Conclave via a motion of Dismissal which requires the support of twenty Deputies to be initiated. If the motion passes in the Parley its is sent to the Clan Parley to be debated voted on. If it receives the support of both Parley’s the individual is dismissed from the Conclave and a new round of interviews and debates are held to find their replacement.

Individuals are not permitted to be members of both the People’s Parley and the Grand Conclave. This sometimes leads to situations where an individual elected to People’s Parley finds themselves appointed to the Conclave and must relinquish their seat in the Parley.

A third power, unique to the People’s Parley is their ability to scrutinise and vote on all fiscal policies passed by the Grand Conclave. This, along with their powers of dismissal, makes having the support of the People’s Parley essential for the Grand Conclave to conduct the business of government.

The Clan Parley

The Floating Palace, home to the Clan Parley

Cooperative Faction- 72
Romantic Faction - 36

The Clan Parley was intended to be a voice for clan interests within the Tsunter political system. It is the only body of the Tsunter government to have survived in its original form since independence. Originally each clan was permitted to appoint up to four representatives to the Clan Parley, however the an constitutionally amendment passed in 1999 tied the number of representatives to the populations of the clan. Since 2019 there are 108 members of the Clan Parley. Like the People’s Party the Clan Parley meets for one week every four months. The Parley is led by the Speaker for the Clans who is elected by the Clan Parley. They have the power to preside over debates and control the timetable of Parley business. The Clan Parley is based in the Floating Palace, Libertalia.

The Clan Parley has many of the same powers and functions as the People’s Parley, namely its role in scrutinising legislation and its role over the appointment and dismissal of members of the Grande Conclave. There are a number of procedural different between the two chambers; namely rather than motions of appraisal and dismissal requiring a certain number of members to be initiated they are instead reliant on the support of at least one clan’s delegation. Similarly, the process of appointed to the Grand Conclave differs in the Clan Parley too. Rather than process of preliminary votes and interviews the Clan Parley typically creates a list of potential candidates before having a singular vote. The six most popular candidates are then appointed to the Conclave.

The Clan Parley also plays an important legal and judicial role, effectively doubling as the highest court of the Tsunterlands and the final court of appeal. Within the Tsunterlands almost all local judicial power is held by the clans, as it seen as their historic right to enforce the law on their lands and among their people. The Clan Parley has a supervisory role is this regard, ensuring the clan’s are acting in accordance to the law. The Parley is also responsible for dealing with any disputes that may arise between the clans as a result of their legal powers.
Another of the responsibilities of the Clan Parley is to use their power of appraisal to overturn legislation which is seen to violate the Tsunter’s Code. This makes them one of the more important checks on the power of the Grand Conclave.

Partisanship and Factionalism

A map indicating the political make up of the Tsunterlands
The Tsunterlands is generally considered to have a three-party system sometimes described as tri-factionalism. While there are traditional political parties present within the popularly elected People’s Parley its important to note that these are reflections of the broader relations between clans and ethnic makeup of the Tsunterlands. Historians looking at the post-independence politics of the Tsunterlands argue that there are three main political constituencies:
  • A nationalistic and conservative constituency present on the Big Hook Peninsula. This is traditionally seen as the heartland of the Young Tsunter movement. Much of the population is employed in seafaring trades or works in naval adjacent industries. In recent years this demographic has sided with the new ROM (Revolutionary October Manifesto) Faction, sometimes referred to as the Romantics.

  • A left-wing, collectivist faction that emerged in the industrialised Little Hook Peninsula. This is commonly seen as the Heartland for the Cooperative Party

  • The Eastern Interior Region is largely filled with non ethnic Tsunter minorities, who have long felt threatened by and opposed the nationalist inclinations of the Hook populations. The population is generally represented by the Civic Unionist Party, a generally progressive and liberal party.