|Dutch Democratic Republic of Knootoss|
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Government and politics of Knootoss
This article deals with Grand Pensionary as it relates to NationStates. For more general information, see the Wikipedia article on this subject.
The Grand Pensionary of the Dutch Democratic Republic is the Head of State of Knootoss. The office was established in the 2010 revision of the Knootian Constitution. The first Grand Pensionary, Jan Willem Daatman, was elected in 2010.
Though usually chosen as the candidate of a political party or parties, the Grand Pensionary nonetheless is expected to be non-partisan after assuming office. Although the formal powers of the office are limited, the role of the Grand Pensionary can be quite significant depending on his or her own activities. The very fact that the Grand Pensionary usually doesn't interfere with day-to-day politics means that if he or she does choose to speak out on an issue, the event is perceived as one to take note of.
The role of Grand Pensionary is similar in some ways to that of a constitutional monarch, with the important difference being that the office is elected, and selection is based on having a distinguished reputation. Therefore, the power of daily politics in Knootoss is concentrated in the position of the Prime Minister, with the Grand Pensionary acting more as the guardian of the political system and as a moral authority. Other comparisons might be to a court philosopher, or a national conscience.
The Grand Pensionary is elected by secret ballot, without debate, by the 200 Members of the Staten-Generaal, the parliament of Knootoss. The parliament attempts to elect a Grand Pensionary by an absolute majority of votes cast. If, after two votes, no single candidate has received this level of support, in the third and final vote the candidate endorsed by a plurality of votes cast is deemed elected. The process of electing the Grand Pensionary is usually determined by party politics, the office being in the gift of whichever party, or group of allied parties, can muster a majority in the convention. The authors of the Constitution chose an indirect form of election because they believed it would produce a head of state who was widely acceptable and yet at the same time insulated from public pressure and lacking in sufficient popular legitimacy to undermine other institutions of government.
The office of Grand Pensionary is open to all Knootians who are entitled to vote in elections for the Staten Generaal, but no one may serve more than two consecutive six-year terms. The Grand Pensionary may not also be a member of the government or of a legislature at either the national, provincial or local levels, though he may resign from such an office upon being elected. The Grand Pensionary is also barred from holding other salaried jobs, and of being a part of the management or the board of directors of any kind of business.
On assuming office, the Grand Pensionary takes the following oath, which may also be taken with a religious affirmation: "I swear that I will dedicate my efforts to the well-being of the Knootian people, enhance their benefits, avert harm from them, uphold and defend the Constitution and the statutes of the Dutch Democratic Republic, fulfil my duties conscientiously, and do justice to all. This I promise."
Duties and functions
The degree of power actually conferred upon the Grand Pensionary by the constitution is still ambiguous. However, in practice, the first holder of the office has treated it as a largely ceremonial one, and he acts with the advice of the Government. Unlike many constitutions the constitution does not designate the head of state as the commander-in-chief of the military, ceremonially or otherwise. This role is vested in times of peace with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense, and it may go to the Prime Minister rather than the Grand Pensionary in times of war. Nevertheless Knootoss cannot declare a state of war without the approval of the Grand Pensionary. The Grand Pensionary carries out the following duties:
The Grand Pensionary may appoints national judges, national civil servants and military officers. All such appointments require the counter-signature of either the Prime Minister or the relevant cabinet minister.
Dissolution of the Staten-Generaal
The Grand Pensionary is authorised to dissolve parliament, though he will usually only do so when requested to so by the cabinet, or if doing so is necessitated by a political crisis. A decree for dissolution shall also require new elections to be held for the Staten-Generaal as well as the Prime Minister, and the newly elected Chamber is to meet within three months. The duration of parliaments' term is actually determined by an Act of Parliament, though the constitution prescribes that it may not exceed five years.
Promulgation of the law
All national laws must, after counter-signature, be signed by the Grand Pensionary before they can come into effect. Upon signing, the Grand Pensionary has to check if the law was passed according to the order mandated by the constitution and/or if the content of the law is constitutional. If not, he or she has the right (and, some argue, the duty) to refuse to sign the law. This has not happened to date. The constitution does not explicitly rule out that the Grand Pensionary can even refuse to sign a law merely because he disagrees with its content, i.e. that he has a power of veto, but it is not expected that this theoretical veto power will ever be used in such a way.
The Grand Pensionary represents Knootoss in the world, holds foreign visits and receives foreign dignitaries. He or she also concludes treaties with foreign nations (which do not come into effect until ratified by the Staten-Generaal), accredits Knootian diplomats and receives the letters of accreditation of foreign diplomats.
Pardons and honours
The Grand Pensionary may grant pardons if the person concerned had been convicted under a national jurisdiction and also confers decorations and honours.
The Constitution did not create an office of Deputy Grand Pensionary. If the Grand Pensionary is outside of the country, or the position is vacant, the Speaker of the Staten-Generaal temporarily assumes the powers of the Grand Pensionary until a successor is elected, without assuming the office of Grand Pensionary as such. While doing so, he or she does not continue to exercise the role of chair of the parliament. If the Grand Pensionary dies, resigns or is otherwise removed from office, a successor is to be elected within thirty days. While the Grand Pensionary is abroad on a state visit, the Speaker does not assume all of his responsibilities but may deputise for the Grand Pensionary, performing on his behalf merely those tasks that require his or her physical presence, such as the signing of documents.
The Staten-Generaal may impeach the Grand Pensionary for wilful violation of the Constitution or any other national statute. A motion of impeachment must be filed by at least one quarter of the members of the Staten-Generaal. A decision to impeach requires a majority of two thirds of the members of the Staten-Generaal. The impeachment is pleaded by a person commissioned by the impeaching body. If the Supreme Court finds the Grand Pensionary guilty of a wilful violation of this Constitution or of another national statute, it may declare him to have forfeited his office.
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