Republican Assembly

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Republican Assembly
Rifovlechan Ashshimvly
4th Tolmakian Assembly
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Type
Type
Houses Republican State Council
Republican People's Assembly
Leadership
Speaker of the Council
Lorna Vespers
Speaker of the House
Hella Storks
Since 1 May 2015
Structure
Seats
  • 610
  • consisting of
  • 200 Senior Members of Parliament (MPs)
  • 410 Assembly Members (AMs)
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Republican State's Council political groups

Republican Government

  •      Republican Party (145)
  •      Conservative Party (16)
  •      Independent (3)

Republican Opposition

  •      Liberal Democratic Party (36)
  •      4P (1)
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Republican People's Assembly political groups
  •      Republican Party (235)
  •      Conservative Party (51)
  •      Independent (25)

Republican Opposition

  •      Liberal Democratic Party (74)
  •      Green Party of Tolmakia (16)
  •      4P (9)
Elections
Republican People's Assembly last election
10 May 2016
Meeting place
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New Oxford, Meddli, Tolmakia
Website
http://www.assembly.tm.gov/
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This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Tolmakia

The Republican Assembly (Engekian: Rifovlechan Ashshimvly), commonly known as the Tolmakian Parliament or the Tolmakian Republican Assembly, is the legislative body of the Republican State of Tolmakia and its overseas territory. It alone possesses legislative supremacy, and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in Tolmakia and its territories. The assembly is bicameral, and consist of the Republican State('s) Council (also known as the House of Councillors), and the Republican People's Assembly (also the Free People's Assembly). Because of its routine associations with parliament, the Cabinet of Tolmakia is fondly regarded as the unofficial third component of the legislature by many prominent independent observers. Its current meeting place is the Republican House, which can be found in the outskirts of Meddli, Tolmakia, near the Embassy Complex).

The Republican Assembly was formed in 1965, initially as the legislative body of Western Tolmakia. Following the reunification of the nation, the Unified Tolmakian Assembly replaced the western Republican Assembly in 1975, although mostly in name only. Within the same year, the current Republican Assembly replaced the Unified Tolmakian Assembly. The parliamentary Republican Assembly was enlarged by several reforms, and at one point it had a peak member of 2,000 members. However, following the end of the 1998 Economic Recession, the 2003 Republican Act shrank the legislature to its current size.

The People's Assembly is a democratically elected chamber, with elections held every six years. However, sometimes appointments for individuals are irregular, and occur during non-election years, depending on the circumstances they face. Conversely, members of the State's Council are not elected by the population at large, but are appointed by the government and affiliated parties, normally in closed elections, and on the advice of cabinet members. Members of the legislature may be referred to as Members of Parliament (MPs) or Assembly Members (AMs), although AM is conventionally used to refer to members of the lower house. Republican State Council members are referred to as Councillors or Senior Members of Parliament (SMPs). By constitutional convention, all government ministers, including the Prime Minister are members from the Republican Council or the Free People's Assembly, and are thereby accountable to the respective branches of the legislature.

History

Tolmakian Split Era

The first Republican Assembly was first created, during the split period (1965 – 1975). Alongside the Royal Assembly, it was one of Tolmakia's first recognized legislative bodies. The first Republican Assembly was also branded as the Western Parliament, and consisted of over 1000 members in its peak. With its involvement, Tolmakia's first constitution, the 1965 Constitution was drafted and passed. During the first five years of the split, the assembly had to tackle issues concerning the republic's post-war infrastructure, damaged water supply, unemployment, medical problems, and the national security. It oversaw the foundations of the country that would one day form its present-day national welfare and health services, and economic policies.

Even in the past, the Republican Assembly was predominately composed of members from the Republican Party. Around 67% of assembly members in 1973 were from the mentioned party.

Unified Tolmakian Assembly

After the reunification of Tolmakia in late 1975, the former Western Republican Assembly and Royal Assembly were merged to create the second Republican Assembly (which was briefly called the United/Unified Tolmakian Assembly until 1976). At this point, the seats of parliament were shared between the republican party and former members of the monarchist party, marking the only time when the Republican Party contained the fewest seats in its history. The monarchists later formed the Conservative Party of Tolmakia, and became its subscribers.

By 1976, the assembly worked feverishly to mend the newly unified country. With its internal issues resolved, it found itself in both the middle of the Cold War, and what it saw as "a period of economic advantage." It made official Tolmakia's current flag, coat of arms, and adopted the second Tolmakian Constitution. It also passed the bills and recognized the acts that enabled the TAAS, the TAIL, the RED, the Tolmakian Military Forces, and the DHF to officially exist.

The legislature was still referred to as the Unified Tolmakian Assembly up until 1980.

Golden period and following years

During the golden years of the republic, the assembly adopted Tolmakia's ECO (Economy, Commerce, Order/Organization) policy. The ECO policy included the subsidization and promotion of domestic businesses and companies, alongside attracting foreign investors. It also promoted free trade, and slowly transformed the economy to one with a mixed system. Many parliament-sanctioned treaties with the neighboring UK, including an extradition treaty, travel area treaty, science collaboration treaty, trade treaty, and a mutual defense pact were passed. Furthermore, the assembly oversaw defence equipment procurement, and the creation of the structure of Tolmakia's chief national law enforcement organizations.

In agreement with then Prime Minister Fred Leathes, it had the republic end its habits of loaning from international groups, and start self-sustenance with its energy and infrastructural matters, which greatly helped the country. In 1989, Conservative Party member and a former member of the assembly, Minister Gray Reddy joyously declared during a Meddli Square speech that "the amount of skill in Tolmakia, coupled with the determination of its government, its head (cabinet), heart (assembly), and body (judiciary and departments), allowed the country to emerge from its dark war-torn years."

During the later years of the 1980s, the assembly started focusing on welfare. It passed the National Healthcare Service Bill and the Tommy Wells Bill for healthcare, and the Youth Observation of Understanding (YOU), which aimed to assist teenagers in their development phase. It also lifted the ban on abortion, and promoted women's rights and the freedom of religion. In 1989, the POW (Power of Women) Act was passed by the assembly, which made most bills exclusive to women and their lives be assigned mainly to female members of the legislation and to senior female government leaders. The POW became a controversial issue with some of Tolmakia's citizens, with it being decried as an act of "gender segregation" or "discrimination." In 1990, the POW was nullified, but to this day most of its principles still remain in effect mostly by voluntary habit.

In 1990, defence spending increased with the Defence Act of 1990. The SIT (Strengthening International Ties) Bill was brought into being, which hugely affected and improved international relations, bolstered trade, and the national economy. During the decade, the assembly was allegedly pressured by either Tolmakian leaders or its allies, to approve the nation's participation in the first Pejite War, the Iraq War, and the Afghan War. It also approved for Tolmakian soldiers to be deployed during the first Gulf War.

Republican Assembly Act of 2003

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Inside the former legislative building.

After the 1998 economic recession, the Republican Assembly was reduced in size by the Republican Act of 2003. This was done as part of a campaign to shrink the government, so it would supposedly be more efficient, to reduce operating costs, and that Tolmakian society would "feel less oppressed." Though the number of Tolmakian Parliament members decreased substantially by more than half, the government barely shrank. However, there was a notable change in government attitude, which allowed for more liberal bills to be passed. Additionally, the shrinking of parliament reduced the number of Republican Party members in power, and allowed more members of other major parties to ascend.

Recent history

From 2004 to 2006, the Assembly experienced an influx of bills concerning the economy and the security of Tolmakia. The 21st century also saw the transition of the nation's priorities to balancing between security and freedoms, and economy and welfare. The assembly also established its position as the legislative body of the PLOT, after it gave approval for the country to form its second overseas territory. In addition, it established itself as the legislative body of the Solitary Tolmakian Antarctic Territorial Estate. In 2008, another brief economic recession kept it busy. In 2010, the assembly approved the decision to go to war with Pejite again for violating international law and invading the PLOT, with 296 votes for this decision to 267 against. Ironically, it would pass the Self-Defense Policies of 2014 after the war, then amend said policies in 2016.

In 2014, the assembly passed the controversial BUNS (Body Uncovered and Naked Statute) and the FRIEND (Foreign Relations Improvement Endeavor National Decree) bills, the latter of which replaced the SIT. The SPENT (Special Plan for the Economy's National Transition) Bill was drafted, and is currently being reviewed.

In 2015, an inquiry with the backing of the assembly was launched into the Ippheroan Treaty. After issues and controversy arose over the mentioned treaty for violating the 2014 Self-Defense Policies of Tolmakia (despite being put into effect before the 2014 policies were passed), several appeals were made, and the government finally agreed to arrange the inquiry to clear up the treaty. The treaty was eventually declared null and void after the Kingdom of Free Pejite was dissolved. Towards the end of the year, the assembly voted to transfer ownership of the PLOT to Tolmakia's allies, citing the hazards and costs of maintaining "a little piece of land" in a turbulent region.

In the same year, the Republican Assembly amended the 1975 National Security Bill of the Unified Tolmakian Republic, curtailing some of the TAIL's special privileges. Following this, the RED ceased monitoring its fellow intelligence agency. The assembly also placed Jimmy Scott Langtree as the agency's new director, with the agreement of the Prime Minister.

In 2016, the assembly barely consented to Tolmakia being involved in the Middle East again, with 290 votes for to 282 votes against. Operation Red Sunset subsequently resulted from this decision.

Composition

The legislature has two separate houses: the Republican State's Council, and the Republican People's Assembly. Members of the People's Assembly are elected by the populace, by popular vote. Aside from being elected by the populace, the same is mostly true with members of the State's Council. Conversely, council members are commonly elected in closed elections; many are appointed by legislature (with the "advice" of the "politically-affiliated" populace) with the influence of senior Tolmakian officials. No individual may be a member of both chambers, and once appointed in one house, may not vote for a position in the other, no matter the circumstances.

For open elections, voters are asked to cast two votes: one for a candidate, and one for a party list. Tolmakians who are 18 and above have the legal right to vote and participate in these elections. For close elections, those registered in a political party, and either one of several relevant government committees may choose a candidate to be elected, by popular vote. The candidates are then chosen by senior officials (members of the cabinet) with the help of advisors. Usually, the cabinet may rely on both the preferences of the populace and the candidate's abilities, thereby making the selection of a council member by legislature somewhat democratic, although this is not always the case. Candidates for the People's Assembly must be 25 years old or older, and 30 years or older for the Republican Council. All candidates must be Tolmakian nationals. Every year, irregular "elections" are held for new members, although general elections are commonplace every 6 years.

The current Constitution of Tolmakia does not specify the number of members of each house of the assembly, the voting system, or the necessary qualifications of those who may vote or be returned in parliamentary elections, thus allowing all of these things to be determined by national law. However, it insists that the electoral law must not discriminate in terms of race, creed, sex, social status, family origin, education, property or income. The size of the assembly may also be determined by certain government bills or acts (such as the 2003 Republican Assembly Act). Under law, assembly members are paid about S$29,640 (~$50,000) in salary. Each member is entitled to employ a maximum of three secretaries with taxpayer funds, free train tickets, and four round-trip airplane tickets a month to enable them to travel back and forth to their home districts.

Activities

At least one major session of the Republican Assembly must take place each year, where the head of state and government attends. Like the Parliament of the UK, members of both houses may decide questions by voice vote. MPs shout out in English, and never in any Aedan dialect; they yell "Aye" or "No" in the Council, or "Content" and "Not-Content" in the People's Assembly, and the presiding officer declares the result. The pronouncement of either Speaker may be challenged, and a recorded vote demanded. In each House, a division requires members to file into one of the two lobbies alongside the Chamber; their names are recorded by clerks, and their votes are counted, as they exit the lobbies to reenter the Chamber. The Speaker of the House is expected to be non-partisan, and does not cast a vote except in the case of a tie.

Members of each house have certain protections against arrest, while the Republican Assembly is in session. Additionally, words and statements spoken, or votes cast in the Assembly enjoy parliamentary privileges. Every member of the Cabinet of Tolmakia has the right to appear in either the council or the assembly for the purpose of speaking on bills or laws, and each house has the right to compel the appearance of cabinet members. Each house of the Republican Assembly is responsible for the discipline of its members.

Before an election, both houses are closed down. During this time, the remaining Cabinet of Tolmakia provides advice for the prime minister. In an emergency, the Cabinet can convene the assembly for an extraordinary session. At the beginning of each session of the assembly, an executive figure (usually the prime minister or a senior speaker) reads a special speech.

The Republican Assembly sometimes conducts their business in public, and there are galleries where visitors may sit and watch the proceedings.

Powers

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The assembly in 2014.

The Republican Assembly is described as Tolmakia's highest organ of legislative power and overall authority, equal, or second only to the Cabinet of Tolmakia. It is the official law making organ of the republic, and together with the cabinet, receives, reviews, and passes or rejects new bills to become part of the national law, whether as policy or legislation. In addition, the assembly holds the power to approve or create treaties, declare wars, commend, and appoint minor government officials. The assembly also has the power to arrange brief committees, or approve the creation of temporary committees and inquiries, although these powers are rarely used, being commonly assigned to the Cabinet Office. In some sensitive cases, however, assent of a certain percentage of the cabinet is required for bills to become law.

The State Council is the more powerful chamber of the Republican Assembly. It controls taxation, and the supply of money to the Tolmakian government. Additionally, all legislation must be passed by the Republican Council to become legitimate laws. While the People's Assembly cannot usually override the Republican State Council on a bill, the Republican State Council can delay the adoption of a budget or a treaty.

The legislature has the right to nominate a candidate for prime minister during general elections; there is no law or item in the constitution that forbids it. However, it is always expected to be non-partisan, and only nominates a candidate if deemed necessary (such as if there are no other viable candidates available, aside from the deputy). The prime minister must be designated by the Council of Tolmakia, which is formed from a few select members from the departments of government's three main branches, including the upper house of the parliament. The assembly may also dissolve the government, if it passes a motion of no confidence put forth by at least fifty members of the Republican Council. Government officials of any position are required to regularly appear before the assembly to answer inquiries put forth by select communities that routinely inspect the workings of the administration. Furthermore, the assembly has the power to impeach judges convicted of criminal activities or irregular conduct.

Emblem

The seal of the Republican Assembly has the Republican Coat and two 18-pointed stars under it, on a circle. The coat represents national authority, and the two stars represent the two houses; the white one represents the Free People's Assembly, and the coloured one the Republican State's Council. Keep in mind that the coloured star is officially meant to convey the impression of being on top of the other, as they usually give the impression of being "inner" and "outer" parts of the emblem.

The current seal was adopted in 1981, during Tolmakia's golden period. It was originally a metallic gold colour during this time. This was changed to black, grey, and white in the following decade. In 2001, the seal was placed on a blue background, and this was used until 2010, when it was restored to its black, grey, and white self as the blue background was barely used anyway. In 2014, the seal became the yellowish-gold and white color it is today. The colours reflected Tolmakia's then new "peace policies" and somewhat pacifist ideologies.

Under national law, the seal of the Republican Assembly is not to be used leisurely or "carelessly," especially by assembly members.

See also