Prime Minister of Meriad
|Prime Minister of Meriad|
The Coat of Arms of the Office of the Prime Minister
Meriadni State Council |
Royal Cabinet of Meriad
|Reports to||King of Meriad|
Westford House |
131 Westford St., South 2
|Nominator||Hall of Jarls|
|Term length||No fixed term, but up to eight years.|
|Constituting instrument||Meriadni Constitution|
|First holder||Hallstein Tastad|
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The Prime Minister of Meriad (Informal abbreviation PM) is the supreme elected executive office and head of government of the Kingdom of Meriad. The prime minister and Royal Cabinet (consisting of all the most senior directors, who are government department heads) are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the monarch, to the Hall of Jarls, to their political party, and ultimately to the electorate. The current prime minister, Jans Nordvich, was appointed by King Sketli on June 16th, 2012.
The Office of Prime Minister of Meriad was created in accordance with the Constitution of 1763, wherein a constitutional monarchy was created and the powers of the Monarch of Meriad were limited. The inaugural office-holder was Hallstein Tastad.
The prime minister is formally appointed by the monarch. In practice, the appointment of the prime minister is determined by their support in the Hall of Jarls (the national parliament). Almost always and according to convention, the prime minister is the leader of the majority party or largest party in a coalition of parties in the Hall of Jarls. However, there is no constitutional requirement that the prime minister sit in the Hall of Jarls as a representative, though by convention this is always the case. Since the 1917, no single party has held a majority in the Hall of Jarls, so the prime minister must head a coalition of political parties, as well as their own party.
Role and Authority
The single most important role of the prime minister, and the role that grants the position the most overall authority, is that of the head of government of Meriad. As the head of government, the prime minister is responsible for advising the monarchy on how to exercise its executive powers, which are governed by the constitution and its conventions. However, the function of the prime minister has evolved with increasing power since its inception in 1763. Today, as per the doctrines of constitutional monarchy, the advice given by the prime minister is ordinarily binding, meaning the prime minister effectively carries out those duties ascribed to the sovereign, leaving the latter to act in predominantly ceremonial fashions.
The prime minister also holds a permanent position on the Royal Cabinet of Meriad, from which the majority of the government's executive decisions originate. From this position, the prime minister has enormous authority to influence parliamentary legislation, as a large portion of the legislation debated on and passed by the Hall of Jarls originates in the Royal Cabinet.
The prime minister is also the appointer of a large number of positions in the Meriadni government, including members of the Royal Cabinet, the governors of the country's regions, ambassadors and diplomats to foreign nations, executive branch department leadership, and approximately 2800 other positions. The prime minister also is tasked with the nomination of justices on the Meriadni Supreme Court, who are subsequently appointed by the monarch.
Although it has largely fallen into a ceremonial role, the prime minister is also traditionally the minister of finance, and is thus in direct control over national currency, the national debt, the government's budget, and other economic factors of the country that fall under jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance.
As the post of prime minister is generally held by a seated member of the Hall of Jarls, the prime minister retains the right to attend meetings of the Hall and to vote in all matters. The prime minister, regardless of tenure, must also run for reelection in his or her constituency during election years, and must resign from the post of prime minister in the event that he or she fails to be reelected.
Salary and Privileges
As the head of government of Meriad, the prime minister is entitled to a significant range of privileges and distinctions. The first of these is the significant salary that is allotted to the office, which is set by the Hall of Jarls. Originally set by the Government Salary Act of 1985, and revised in 1993, 2001, 2007, and 2012, the prime minister currently receives a salary of $491,937 SMK per year, in addition to other benefits of the office. If the incumbent prime minister is also an elected member of the Hall of Jarls, then they are entitled to the salary of that office until their term in the Hall of Jarls expires, a replacement is appointed by their party, or a special election is held in their Administrative Region of origin. Traditionally, the seats of prime ministers have been kept open despite the voting disadvantage that this causes to the governing coalition.
As the role of the prime minister also involves significant amounts of travel, both within Meriad and in foreign nations, the prime minister is accorded the private usage of a range of government vehicles. Long range air transportation is provided by a Bombardier Global Express aircraft, and short-range air transport is provided by a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter operated by the Meriadni Royal Marines. The ground transportation of the prime minister is also operated by the Meriadni Royal Marines, typically a Mercedes S600 L but sometimes a Range Rover Sport.
When representing the government of Meriad in a formal capacity in foreign nations, the prime minister bears the Sword of State, a jewel-inlaid longsword commissioned by the King of Isafjalla in 1572, which then passed on to the modern-day monarchy of Meriad. The sword represents the prime minister's authority to make binding decisions in the absence of the monarch.
Westford House has been the official place of residence of the prime minister since 1809. It is a Georgian building designed and constructed on contract for the Meriadni government by architect Alliander Corithais, and is located at 131 Westford St., South 2, in Járnfjördur, Meriad. The original residence was completed in 1809, but it has undergone five extensive renovations since then, and now incorporates the two adjacent buildings at 129 and 133 Westford Street into a more extensive complex. The private residence for the prime minister had his or her family is at 131 Westford Street, along with the prime minister's private offices, while the offices of the prime minister's staff are located in the adjacent building of 133 Westford Street. 129 Westford Street is the designated official residence of any foreign dignitaries on official business in Meriad. The total complex has a building area of 38,000 sq ft (3,500 m2), although this does not include other government-owned buildings in close proximity to the residence itself.
In order for a prime minister to be appointed, the prospective government party or coalition must first achieve the support of a majority of the Hall of Jarls. This may be achieved by a variety of means, most commonly adopting different facets of an opposition party's platform in order to create an effective government. The party or coalition may then make a nomination of a candidate (or candidates) for the office of prime minister, which is voted upon in the Hall of Jarls. Assuming a simple majority vote is achieved, the nomination is passed to the reigning monarch of Meriad, who is tasked with formally appointing the Prime Minister. The monarch, if in approval of the candidate, then formally asks the nominee to form a government, which constitutes an official appointment to the post of prime minister. If the candidate agrees, he or she is formally appointed to the office of prime minister.
If a majority vote in the Hall of Jarls fails, then another vote may not be attempted for three days. During this time period, the official duties of the prime minister are exercised by the Royal Cabinet, overseen directly by the monarch. Should the Hall of Jarls fail to successfully nominate a candidate seven times, the King is obligated to appoint a prime minister, typically from the largest party or coalition present in the Hall of Jarls. A prime minister appointed by the monarch has a term limit of whatever time remains before the next parliamentary election, plus three months, but may be reappointed twice. This is in order for the prime minister to be appointed in a direct fashion, taking into account the new representational proportions in the Hall of Jarls stemming from the latest election.
While any prime minister appointed by the monarch without the nomination of the Hall of Jarls has a maximum term limit, there is no minimum term limit. As such, the Hall of Jarls may successfully pass a vote of no confidence in the appointed prime minister, removing them from the post in favor of a different nominee. If the Hall of Jarls is unsuccessful in nominating a new candidate within three nomination votes, the monarch again is charged with appointing a prime minister from the largest party or coalition.
There are presently no constitutional or legal procedures to deal with an extended vacancy in the office of the prime minister as a result of a continued deadlock in the Hall of Jarls. This has the potential to cause a major crisis in the Meriadni government, but such a deadlock is extremely unlikely considering the relatively homogenous views of the majority parties in the Hall of Jarls.
While the prime minister does exercise a large amount of power over the government, significant checks to the power of the position do exist in the form of the Hall of Jarls. At any point, the Hall of Jarls may hold a vote of no confidence in the incumbent prime minister, thereby revoking their collective support of the officeholder. If such a motion passes with a 2/3rds majority, the prime minister is compelled to resign from office, and a vote is held within the Hall of Jarls in order to nominate a successor (or a list of up to three nominations) for the monarch's appointment.
As the prime minister is formally appointed by the reigning monarch, the incumbent prime minister may be dismissed upon the succession of a new monarch. Such a dismissal requires a formal notice of ten days, and must be exercised within the first twenty days of the new monarch's reign. The monarch, regardless of tenure, also has the right to call for a royal vote of no confidence, meaning that the margin required for the incumbent prime minister to be removed by the Hall of Jarls is lowered from a 2/3rds majority to a 3/5ths majority.
If the prime minister is an incumbent representative in the Hall of Jarls, then he or she must run for reelection in his or her constituency during election years, and must resign from the post of prime minister in the event that he or she fails to be reelected.
Acting and Interim Prime Ministers
From time to time, the prime minister is required to leave the country for extended periods of time, leaving the country with no official leader for a temporary period of time. This was especially the case before the advent of jet aircraft, when Meriad's mountainous topography necessitated relatively slow travel by ship or railroad. In these cases, the prime minister is charged with appointing a acting prime minister, usually the majority leader in the Hall of Jarls or an office head seated on the Royal Cabinet. The acting prime minister has the same duties as the prime minister for the period of absence, and returns to their previous role upon the return of the appointed prime minister.
Incumbent prime minister have also died in office on four occasions, prompting the appointment of an acting prime minister to serve in the office until such time as a new prime minister is nominated and appointed. In one case, the prime minister was able to appoint an acting prime minister before his death, but in three cases this was not the case. In such situations, the acting prime minister is formally appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Royal Cabinet, which in two of the three cases has been the coalition leader in the Hall of Jarls. In the final case, the acting prime minister appointed by the monarch was one of the special advisors to the Royal Cabinet.
Acting prime minister serve until either the prime minister returns from his or her absence or, in the case of a death, until the Hall of Jarls makes a successful nomination for the office of prime minister to the monarch.
List of Prime Ministers
There have been a total of 53 prime ministers of Meriad. As of March 2017, three former prime ministers are still living.