Parliament of Isselmere-Nieland
|Politics and government of the UKIN|
The Parliament of Isselmere-Nieland is the supreme legislative and deliberative body within the United Kingdom of Isselmere-Nieland, uniting the apolitical continuity of the monarchy with the voice of the regions and people as embodied by the Senate (Upper House) and the House of Assembly (Lower House), respectively. Either House of Parliament may initiate legislation, albeit with reservations, as long as such measures do not infringe upon the rights and responsibilities of the monarch arising from royal prerogative, whether those exercised by His Majesty or granted to government ministers as statutory instruments, such as orders certified by the Council of State, regulations affirmed by Parliament, and circulars and ordinances published by the minister and ministry responsible.
In 1986 Parliament lost its sovereignty, formerly jointly held by the monarch and the two Houses in accordance with Isselmere-Nieland's unwritten or living constitution, to the rule of law as embodied by the Constitution Act. The Constitution Act guaranteed the principle of judicial review, long a tradition in Isselmere-Nielander law, as a constraint on the State's legislative authority.
For the appropriate provisions within the Constitution Act pertaining to Parliament, please click here.
Whilst scholars and students can declare with absolute certainty that Parliament in its present form dates back to the Act of Consolidation, 1562, the earliest notions of a body akin to Parliament cannot be surmised so precisely. The first time the predecessors of both Houses of Parliament were mentioned was in Alfred I's establishment of the Court of Rolls in 1352. It can be safely said, however, that Parliament is the one of the United Kingdom's oldest State institutions behind the monarchy and certain offices of State.
The emergence of Parliament from the multitude of councils and other advisory and deliberative bodies of the past is a subject that veritably breeds arguments amongst scholars, students, and other interested parties. Panegyrists and nationalists have over the years claimed that the first parliaments were held as far back as 523 AD when Anglo-Frisians first arrived on what is now Lethe. The informal gemóte or assemblies held by aldor (tribal or clan chiefs) and their representatives, the aldormen, had neither the permanency nor the continuity required to make them true parliaments in any sense of the word.
The first people who tentatively experimented with establishing a permanent deliberative body were the Anguistians. Starting in about 814, the Anguistian high king (réthe or mór-rí) met with his kings (tíchernaí or ríg uladh) and their sub-kings (redhrag, sing. redhár) in annual sessions known as Óenad an Ríoge (King's Assembly). Little is known about these assemblies as until 847 their proceedings went unrecorded, at least in written form. What has been passed down indicates that the óenadaí served primarily as an advisory body with secondary deliberative and judicial functions, the latter carried out by judges (brínhaen). All legislative authority remained in the hands of the high-king, kings, and sub-kings.
Once the Anglo-Frisians had successfully established their own high-kingships in Detmere (14 April 842) and Isselmere (27 October 863), they followed the Anguistian example, diverging only in maintaining written accounts, scribed by the few Christian priests, from their first sessions. These bodies were known as þegengemóte or assemblies of the thanes. Sessions of these early Anguistian and Anglo-Frisian assemblies rarely lasted longer than two or three weeks in the midge-ridden summer and were rarely held in the same place every year.
Neither the Anguistian óenadaí an Ríoge nor the Anglo-Frisian þegengemóte were true parliaments as both legislative and executive authority were vested almost exclusively in the high-kings. Whilst the high-kings were certainly not all-powerful and were, on occasion, removed from office for failing in their dual duties as keepers of the peace and war leaders, the assemblies could only advise, and then only when called by the king.
Forthar I's murder of most of the Anguistian nobility on 19 May 985 terminated the oldest of the national assemblies, but there were still four such assemblies in the south of the main island: the Nielander Great Assembly or Stórþing, the Gudrovian General Assembly or Alþing, the Isselmerian-Anguistian Great Assembly or Mícelgemót, and the Detmerian Þegengemót.
Conventional histories on Parliament begin with the Council of Magnates (Curia magnates regni or Aþlíngagemót) that assembled to choose the successor following the death of the Queen-Regent Maldren of Isselmere, erstwhile wife of King Forthar I the Brute, in 1013 and the absence of an immediate successor to the throne since the death of Forthar II in 1011. Although dominated by the Isselmerian magnates — termed aldormen, hertoga (loosely, earls and dukes), and thanes — Detmerian and Gudrovian magnates attended as well.
With the appointment of King Joergen I, the council of magnates established itself as the King's Council (Curia Regis). The first instance of the term Curia Regis appears in a complaint by Eadwuld the Simperer, abbot of St Joergen's against the Baron of Mossbrook.
- "My lords of the King's Council ... The Earl of Mossbrook violates the Abbey's lands, its livestock, and its tenants. Indeed, his lordship offends God and the King with his rapine of these lands held for the return of Our Lord."
This missive also reveals the broad scope of earlier parliaments. As the King's Council's functions grew in number, its membership expanded and diversified (i.e., included commoner magnates, the gentry and the burgesses) and its powers increased. The House of Lords, predecessor to the present-day Senate, retained a stranglehold on the judiciary whilst the Assembly of Burgesses defended the rights of the towns. Able kings could manipulate the two Houses against one another to achieve their own aims. The weak, the vain, or the disinterested would instead promote unity within and between the fractious councils.
Unlike Parliament in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Isselmere-Nielander Parliament, taken in the conventional sense, never did displace the monarchy. The arrival of the Reformation in Isselmere and Nieland produced a battle within Pechtas Castle that almost resulted in the overthrow of a tolerant king, Edmund II (r. 1651-1684), but instead produced the Act of Toleration, 1684.
Convention of Estates
From Peers to Senate
In 1923, the State began the inexorable process of reforming the Upper House into a more democratic body in an effort to stem the growth of extremist groups in both the House of Peers and among the people.
Parliament since the Constitution Act
Constitutionally, Parliament — of which the King is merely a constituent part — is sovereign, but as the Houses of Parliament serve to limit the powers of the monarch and His Majesty's Government, so to does the Constitution circumscribe the absolute authority of Parliament. The Constitution Act, 1986 refers to the King as the Sovereign as a gender-neutral term in preference to the alternative, monarch, with its implications of direct rule. Even so, the King still possesses great authority preserved by lack of abuse by previous kings and queens.
Until the introduction of the written constitution, Parliament had been paramount, in theory able to repeal any law adopted by previous parliaments and to promulgate any new laws that the current parliament desired, albeit in practice constrained by the unwritten, living constitution and the judiciary. With the Constitution Act, the law and not the legislature is supreme.
Since the Constitution Act formalised and codified existing conventions and customs, it was not considered an unconstitutional law, despite the claims of several groups such as the Loyal Monarchist Party and the Council of Peers.
Houses of Parliament
For over four centuries, Parliament has sat in Pechtas Castle in the City of Isling, Greater Daurmont Alderdom, Tichonia, Isselmere. The Castle itself has been rebuilt many times since its original construction in the tenth century, such that it bears little resemblance to that original edifice.
The nomadic life of earlier King's Councils gradually declined with the reduction Viking raids and campaigns against various neighbours in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
The House of Assembly sits in the Hall of Audience, the Senate within the Hall of Counsel, and joint sessions in the Hall of Congregation.
Despite the relative antiquity of the Isselmere-Nielander Parliament, parties are a relatively recent occurrence. The origins for contemporary political groups began at the end of the seventeenth-century. Before the Act of Toleration, 1684 settled the vexatious religious questions brought by the Reformation, parties tended to be loose cliques that supported one another for immediate ends rather than an identifiable political platform. By 1712, a consistent set of political leanings led to the formation of the Loyalist or Court Party that protected the interests of the nobles, the landed gentry, and the monarch (in that order) and its antithesis, the Town or Liberal Party that sought to advance the cause of the burgesses and the towns. Although these parties in some fair measure duplicated the separation between the House of Peers and the House of Assembly, the division between the groups deepened in both chambers. Party discipline was not rigidly enforced at the time, however, with every vote essentially being a free vote based on each member's individual inclination.
Present-day parties mostly arose in response to several of the following forces: the French Revolution, industrialisation, Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto, Socialist uprisings in Continental Europe in 1848, the Paris Commune of 1871, and the electoral reform movements of 1849, 1884, and 1915. Only in the latter half of the nineteenth-century did these groups gain the form and discipline that made them parties in the present-day sense of the word.
At the Union level today, there are four main parties (those receiving more than five per cent of the popular vote) and four minor parties, as indicated below.
|Party||Leader(s)||Description||Popular Vote*||Senate (102)||Assembly (621)|
|Union Conservative Party||Geoffrey Middleton||The Union Conservative Party of Isselmere-Nieland (UCP-IN) began as the Loyalist or Court Party in 1831 forms the present government of the UKIN with the LDP. The UCP has been in government for 15 of the last 20 years, having lost the 2004 election. The UCP has maintained a strangehold on the Senate ever since the 1986 Constitution. Though viewed as right-wing in the UKIN, in another land the Conservatives would be centrist.||41.9%||52||298|
|Labour Party||Thomas Blakeney||The Labour Party of Isselmere-Nieland (LP-IN) formed in 1848 in response to France's July Revolution and other Continental uprisings. Contacts with Chartists moderated many of the Party's views. Labour formed a government in 2004, radicalising the Party, leading to its dismissal from office in 2005. Under new leadership, Labour has since recovered. Labour is avowedly leftist.||36.5%||28||169|
|Liberal Democratic Party||Brian Watson||The Liberal Democratic Party of Isselmere-Nieland (LDP-IN) arose from an 1849 electoral reform campaign as the Reform Party, uniting with the city-based Liberal Party in 1884. The LDP assisted in writing the 1986 Constitution and formed the first government, but has since been relegated to the Opposition. In the 2005 election, the LDP aided the UCP in ousting the Democratic Labour Party, a radicalised offshoot of the Labour Party. Officially a centrist party, in many countries the Lib-Dems would be considered centre-left.||12.1%||16||102|
|Green Party||Eliseaid nib Haedó||The Green Party of Isselmere-Nieland (GP-IN) was established in 1983. From literally nothing, the Greens have gathered pace and important electoral successes. Based mostly in Anguist and Detmere, the Greens' range has since expanded to Isselmere Proper and Nieland as well. Beyond their environmentalism, the Greens tend towards the centre-left.||7.2%||6||29|
|Independence Party||Auan mab hUrdait, Gudrun Pedrsdóttir||The Independence Party (IP) was established in 1986, combining the two national parties of Anguist (Pártí Cenédladh na hÓnghúdha) and Nieland (Nýlendinga Ríkisflokkurinn). The leadership in the Party is jointly held. Originally, both parties were centre-right in outlook, but the Independence Party has since veered to the centre seeking electoral success.||1.4%||0||9|
|Social Democratic Party||Hugh Fletcher||The Social Democratic Party of Isselmere-Nieland (SDPIN) was formerly the Communist Party. They are avowedly leftist, receiving their best electoral success in universities.||0.9%||0||8|
|Loyal Monarchist Party||Sir Thomas Catesby||The Loyal Monarchist Party (LMP) split from the Conservatives in 2003 with the promulgation of the Disestablishment Act (c.87-2003). The Loyal Monarchists achieve some success among the aristocracy, the upper middle classes, and in economically depressed areas. From 2004-2005, the Loyal Monarchists were a banned organisation, having been involved in the death of the prime minister, Geoffrey Walmsley, in early 2004.||0.9%||0||6|
|Isselmere-Nielander National Front||Charles Addington||The Isselmere-Nielander National Front (INNF) is a far-right organisation that obtains next to no electoral support. It is regularly regarded as a running joke by the vast majority of Isselmere-Nielanders.||0.2%||0||0|
- General Elections only (i.e., to the House of Assembly).
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