Asilica

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The Republic of Asilica

Republica da l'Asilica (Asilican)
Republik Asilika (Ethalrian)
The flag of the Republic of Asilica
Flag
The coat of arms of Asilica: azure on a chief or a symbol of Reformist Thaerism azure a ram rampant or
Coat of Arms
Motto: "Sanctuari" (Asilican)
"Sanctuary"
Anthem: Asilica, patria da nus (Asilican)
"Asilica, Our Home"
Location of Asilica (dark green) on the continent of Aurora (gray)
Location of Asilica (dark green)
on the continent of Aurora (gray)
Capital
and largest city
Asilica
Official languagesAsilican
Ethalrian
Staynish
Ethnic groups
(2019)
South Ethalrian 78%
Ethalrian 11%
Staynish 6%
Other 5%
Demonym(s)Asilican
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary republic
• President
Jörg Renatsch
• Chancellor
Teresa Armbrüster
LegislatureNational Assembly
The Senate
Grand Council
Establishment
• Kingdom of South Ethalria
1158 CE - c. 1200 CE
• Formation of the Principality of South Ethalria
June 15th, 1733
• Treaty of Zalica ratified
January 22nd, 1804
Area
• Total
163,450 km2 (63,110 sq mi)
Population
• 2019 census
14,504,299
• Density
88.73/km2 (229.8/sq mi)
GDP (nominal)estimate
• Total
$595,000,000,000
• Per capita
$41,022
CurrencyAsilican Mark (ℳ) (ALM)
Time zoneAsilican Standard Time (UTC +6:00)
Driving sideleft
Calling code+4
Internet TLD.al

Asilica, known formally as the Republic of Asilica, is a country on the southern coast of the continent of Aurora. It has borders with Rosalica to the west, the country of Valeria within Great Morstaybishlia to the northwest, Durentrus to the north, and Sarentria to the east.

History[edit | edit source | hide | hide all]

Early History and Foundation[edit | edit source | hide]

Hominid populations are known to have existed on the southern coast of the Auroran continent for several thousand years. By the turn of the second millennium AD, the area was predominately populated by a group of humans known broadly as South Ethalrians, a group closely related to the Ethalrians, who at that time were one of the two leading powers on the continent. It is believed the South Ethalrians are descended from a non-Ethalrian population of people living in the hills and lowlands near the southern oceanic coast who became culturally, and later economically and militarily, dominated by the Ethalrians of central Aurora over the course of the first millennium AD. The South Ethalrians came to speak a language known as Sudethalnische, which arose from a pidgin of the Ethalrian language and the original language of the pre-South Ethalrians, which is not attested but theorized to share a common ancestor with the Axdelian and the Fortunan languages. It is this linguistic difference that primarily differentiated South Ethalrians from Ethalrians. The South Ethalrians generally resisted attempts to fully adopt the Ethalrian language and culture, and while by 1000 AD they formed a province of the Ethalried Empire, the South Ethalrians were known for unrest. Beginning as early as 900 AD, there are several dozen recorded instances of military suppression of armed rebellion in South Ethalrian areas.

A scene from an 11th century tapestry depicting a battle between the Ethalrian army and South Ethalrian rebels.

In 1150, a greater rebellion occurred across the entire Ethalried Empire. In 1152, the King was overthrown, executed, and replaced with a Queen. This marked the beginning of the Grand Matriarchy of Ethalria. This rebellion initially weakened the authority of the government in all areas across the country, and cost Ethalria influence both in northern Aurora and southern Aurora. Ethalria could not afford the military and economic resources to prevent South Ethalria from pulling away. A South Ethalrian armed rebellion led to Ethalria abandoning the area in 1158, declaring it "outside [their] protection" and "open for the wolves to feast upon." For a short time there existed a Kingdom of South Ethalria with a base of power in what is now Valladia, but by 1200 it had already dissolved into various competing princedoms and city-states.

The Kingdom of Valeria would move in to the area very quickly after the Ethalrians left. Some South Ethalrian princedoms would voluntarily join the Kingdom or become vassal states, while others were conquered in a Valerian military campaign in 1200. Meanwhile, contrary to their promise, in response to increasing Valerian influence, Ethalria would also conquer or make vassals of various princedoms, and later conquered entire swaths of what had been Valeria as well. Over the centuries, there would even be several minor outbreaks of violence between Valerian states, such as Rosalica, and Ethalria over South Ethalrian states, and many states changed hands several times. In fact, between 1400 and 1600 at least one of the several South Ethalrian states was at war in some fashion or another. At their highest number in 1515, there were 27 South Ethalrian states. Many of them existed for hardly longer than a generation, and the borders among them shifted constantly.

Beyond South Ethalria, the region would see changes as Ethalria began to focus attention on what had become Great Morstaybishlia, a risen great power. With peace being agreed to between Ethalria and Rosalica into the 17th century, the South Ethalrian states began to settle. In 1600, there were 14 South Ethalrian states that were nominally or functionally independent, as well as various other areas that were under the direct control of Ethalria. One hundred years later, this number had only changed by two, as two states broke away again from Ethalria and increased the number to 16. Also during the 17th century, the number of South Ethalrian states that were vassals or subjects of outside powers decreased from 5 to none, as the style of diplomacy among nations had shifted away from demanding formal tribute to more trade-based economic relationships. At the dawn of the 18th century, all 16 South Ethalrian states were recognized independent states, although approximately seven of them were closely allied with Ethalria, and there were a further four areas considered to be culturally and historically South Ethalrian that formed part of Ethalria itself.

In the 18th century, desire among South Ethalrians for unity among themselves and independence from others began to crystallize. At the same time, Ethalria had begin to decline in both power and territory in favor of Morstaybishlia, and there were signs of unrest beginning in the four South Ethalrian states that Ethalria controlled. In 1733, a number of South Ethalrian states agreed to merge together to form a Principality of South Ethalria, with a capital in the port city Zalica. Zalica was the largest city in the region by population and the wealthiest of the South Ethalrian states.

The "Yellow House," also known as "the Palace of Zalica," where the League of South Ethalrians met in Zalica, now the City of Asilica.

Very quickly, it became the predominant political idea among the elite in the Principality of South Ethalria to unite all the South Ethalrian states. In this period, a nationalist idea arose among South Ethalrians, defining themselves as a unique culture and people that deserved a single state. A society known as the League of South Ethalrians was formed in Zalica, whose members formed a political ideology centered around the idea that the South Ethalrians had been disregarded and treated as just more people to conquer by the other world powers. They were driven to create a truly independent home for South Ethalrians, which they referred to by the Sudethalnische word for "home, refuge, or asylum," Asil. It became fashionable to refer to the Principality of South Ethalria as Asilica, which was meant to be a poetic name based on the word asil and partially inspired by the name of the capital, Zalica.

The League of South Ethalrians gradually became the leading political forum in the region, and given the wealth of the Zalican-led Principality of South Ethalria - which only increased as time went on - other South Ethalrian states began to join the Principality. There were several holdouts, and the political system of the Principality became a controversial issue. After centuries of independence, many of the states had formed their own distinct methods of government, and many of them refused to return to monarchy under the Prince of South Ethalria. However, at the end of the 18th century, the Posolic Wars broke out between Morstaybishlia and Ethalria. The threat of violence from all sides around South Ethalria increased nationalist sentiment as well as the idea that the city-states needed to band together for their own safety. In 1800, an agreement was negotiated between every South Ethalrian city state and Morstaybishlia - the first time all South Ethalrian states had united in a single diplomatic effort - allowed Morstaybishlian troops to move through South Ethalrian lands and waters in exchange for Morstaybishlia agreeing to support South Ethalrian independence and unification. Additionally, Asilican troops joined the Morstaybishlians in their effort to beat back the Ethalrians. In this armed conflict, the last four South Ethalrian states were liberated from Ethalrian control and regained their independence.

Over the course of several more rounds of negotiations between the various states called the Councils of Zalica, held between 1800 and 1803, a treaty was negotiated that would admit the remaining South Ethalrian states to the Principality of South Ethalria, and then change the Principality to a Republic under the name Asilica. The treaty was signed by all parties in 1803, but would not become effective unless ratified by the population in a referendum. Notably for the era, suffrage in the vote was extended to all adult men, regardless of landowning status. The referendum occurred in December of 1803, and the votes were counted and declared official on January 22nd, 1804. Today, this is celebrated as the date the Republic was founded.

Later in 1804, a Constitutional Convention replaced the Treaty of Zalica with the Constitution of the Republic of Asilica, which declared that the former states had ceased to be independent and had all been subsumed and replaced with the Republic. However, the borders of the former states were preserved as cantons, the first-level division of the country. The 22 cantons that existed in 1804 still exist today, however in 1978, the government separated the cities of Asilica and Sugen from their cantons and made them "canton-level municipalities" with the same status and authority under the law as cantons. The Constitution of 1804 also renamed the City of Zalica to "the City of Asilica" and the language Sudethalnische to Asilican.

Contemporary History[edit | edit source | hide]

Since its foundation, Asilica has centered its political ideology around neutrality. Having been founded as an "asylum" away from the violence of competing foreign powers in the midst of an international war, the founding fathers of Asilica vowed to never again become involved in "foreign entanglements," an oath to which all successive governments have held. Indeed, the South Ethalrian agreement to side explicitly with Morstaybishlia in the Posolic Wars was unpopular, and Asilican participation ended after the end of the offensive in southern Aurora in 1800. This was the last Asilican involvement in an international war. The only significant exception to this policy is the Tripartite Pact of Amity signed in Asilica with Mexregiona and Reijia. All three countries are relatively commerce-focused republics and signed the agreement to further integrate their economies. Over time, some political integration was established, such as allowing citizens of each state to reside in the other states without a visa. While there is some limited cooperation in international affairs, military matters are explicitly outside the agreement's purview, a condition insisted upon by the governments of both Asilica and Mexregiona.

The flag of the Ethaln League.

War broke out on the continent of Aurora several times after the foundation of Asilica, most notably the Great War in 1904, the Auroran Imperial War in 1970, and the Auroran-Pacific War in 2017. Asilica took no side in any of these conflicts. The most central idea of Asilican neutrality, as defined by the Constitutional Court, is that Asilica cannot align itself within a military alliance. Other kinds of international cooperation are possible, although historically, Asilicans are still reticent to become too closely involved with any other country. Asilica never joined, nor was there political will for Asilica to join, the Auroran continental alliances such as the Auroran Continental Assembly and the Auroran Union. In 2018, Asilica joined the Single Auroran Market by signing a bilateral treaty with the United Nations of the Auroran Continent. Membership in the SAM grants Asilica access to an open market across the continent with no border controls, but it does not grant UNAC membership, and requires Asilica to conform its regulations in a number of areas, such as fishing and food quality standards. Members in generally been viewed as popular among the Asilican people as an economic benefit, however, opinion polls continually show very low support among the Asilican public for full UNAC membership. The highest ever result in a poll for UNAC membership was 38%, in 2019.

In 2019, Asilica joined the Ethaln League as a founding member. The League is a body for inter-parliamentary and intergovernmental cooperation between member-states dedicated to the preservation and support of Ethalrian culture. The League has no power to mandate action by any member-state, as its proposals are strictly advisory in nature, and at the insistence of the Asilican delegation during negotiations, military cooperation is excluded from its scope. Despite these provisions, membership was seen as controversial by the public, and shortly after the League was formed, a petition drive by citizens to repeal the Act of Parliament that allowed for Asilica to join the League was placed on the ballot in referendum. The senior party in the governing coalition at the time, the National Party, came out strongly opposed to the repeal effort, while the junior Liberal Party supported the repeal. The opposition Democratic Party did not take an official stance on the referendum, and various Members of the National Assembly campaigned for both sides. The repeal effort failed, with 54% of voters voting against repeal compared to 46% in favor. The turnout in the election was remarkably high, with 77% of registered voters participating, a number higher than any referendum in 20 years. It was seen as something of a surprise for the National Party to so strongly campaign against the referendum, and while they were victorious, their opposition was seen by many in their base as an abandonment of principles. This was one of the major reasons the National Party's support collapsed in the 2020 elections the following year, in which the opposition Democratic Party came into power in part by picking up former National Party supporters.

2021 Terrorist Attack[edit | edit source | hide]

An image of the debris cloud from the bomb reaching into the sky.

For more information, see: 2021 City of Asilica Terrorist Attack

On June 21st, 2021, the city of Asilica was rocked by the explosion of what is believed to have been an improvised ammonium nitrate fertilizer-based bomb mounted in a van or truck at 8:01am local time, just after the Grand Council had gaveled into session. The blast entirely demolished the building housing the Grand Council. All those inside, including Chancellor Lisetta Gronden and the entire Council of State, were killed instantly. Also catastrophically damaged were the General Council Secretariat, the building housing the offices and support staff of the Councilors, and the Classical Era Wing of the National Museum of History. There were also several storefronts either across the street or within the radius of a few city blocks that were either completely or partially damaged, most notably the flagship storefront and headquarters of the Asilican watch company Janus Group SA.

Immediately after the bombing, an armed gunman with an automatic assault rifle opened fire on people fleeing the blast. More than 48 people were shot, with 19 of them dying. The assailant was killed by police at the scene, and initial investigations appear to indicate Ethalrian nationalism as a reason for the attack. The attack completely decapitated the Asilican government, and with authorities unable to determine whether or not there might be other assailants at large, the National Police Bureau ordered an immediate curfew in the City of Asilica and closed the entire nationwide Autostrada network to civilian travel. Additionally, all border crossings in Asilica were closed, including to Asilican citizens attempting to re-enter the country.


Government[edit | edit source | hide]

National Assembly[edit | edit source | hide]

For the results of the most recent Asilican legislative election, see: 2020 Asilica Legislative Election

The Grand Council building in the city of Asilica, pictured prior to its destruction in June of 2021. The Senate meets in a different building in the same campus.

The parliament of Asilica is the National Assembly, a bicameral body consisting of an upper house called the Senate and a lower house called the Grand Council. The Grand Council was established first, upon the establishment of the republic in 1804, while the Senate was introduced with a constitutional amendment in 1934.

The Grand Council has 300 seats and, like in most parliamentary systems, is the more powerful of the two houses. Under the law, the government must command the confidence of a majority of the Grand Council, and the Chancellor and other Ministers of State are drawn from its membership. The Grand Council is elected in a party list proportional representation system with multi-member districts. Since the passage of a constitutional referendum in 2016, the law has fixed the term of a Grand Council to four years, with elections occurring on the third Wednesday in April, unless the government loses a vote of confidence in the Grand Council. Prior to 2016, the Chancellor could call for snap elections at any time. In the event that an early election must be called because of a no-confidence vote, that Grand Council may only serve until the next regularly scheduled election, unless the early election occurs less than one year prior to the next regularly scheduled election.

The Senate is an indirectly elected body with 78 members elected by the legislatures of Asilica's twenty-two cantons and two canton-level municipalities, the City of Asilica and the City of Sugen. Each canton receives a number of senators based on its population. Sugen Canton (which is distinct from the City of Sugen) has five senators, whereas the smallest canton, Putèr, has two. The number of senators is changed upon every census to account for population shifts, and the law specifies that there can be no fewer than 70 nor more than 80 senators. The Senate is only a deliberative body, designed to ensure that regional considerations are always heard during the legislative process, and has no power to halt legislation passed by the Grand Council. Officially, a new Senate is appointed every time there is an election for members of the Grand Council. However, senators are often re-appointed from one Senate to the next, and many choose to resign and are replaced in the middle of their terms, so in practice the membership of the Senate is not strictly linked to terms of the Grand Council.

Chancellor[edit | edit source | hide]

Teresa Armbrüster, the current Chancellor of Asilica.

The Chancellor of the Council of State, also referred to as the Chancellor of Asilica, is the Head of Government in Asilica and is typically the leader of the largest party or coalition of parties in the Grand Council. In addition to the requirement that the Chancellor must command a majority in order to hold office, the Chancellor must be a member of the Grand Council and loses their office if they lose their seat in the Grand Council. The main source of the Chancellor's power comes from their position as chairperson of the Council of State, which is the cabinet of Asilica. The Chancellor appoints Ministers to the Council of State by recommending their names to the President, and may dismiss a Minister at any time. Beyond this, however, the Chancellor is largely a first-among-equals in the Council, with the other ministers having broad power within their own portfolios to direct government affairs.

The current Chancellor is Teresa Armbrüster, one of only 12 survivors among the membership of the Grand Council. On June 23rd, 2021, President Renatsch appointed her as "Provisional Chancellor." On July 16th, the Constitutional Court of Asilica ruled that while such an appointment was illegal because there was no such term as a "provisional" Chancellor in the law, the Constitution's mandate that "there shall be a Chancellor" was enough to permit Renatsch to appoint Armbrüster to be the true Chancellor. Armbrüster has served in the Grand Council since 1999. Prior to the attack, the Chancellor was Lisetta Gronden, who had represented Sugen Canton in the Council and was the first woman to serve as Chancellor.

President[edit | edit source | hide]

Jörg Renatsch, the current President of the Republic of Asilica

The President of the Republic of Asilica is the country's Head of State. The President is elected by popular vote to a term of eight years and cannot be re-elected. Candidates are nominated by the National Assembly meeting in joint session, where the Grand Council and the Senate meet as one unified body. Any political party that has representation in the National Assembly may nominate a candidate, but in order to be placed on the ballot, a candidate must receive at least 20% of the vote from the joint session. Additionally, a candidate may be nominated for the Presidency by the people directly, via a petition signed by at least 3% of the population of the country from at least eight out of the twenty-four cantons and canton-level municipalities. If no candidate for President achieves a majority in the election, there is a runoff 30 days later with only the top-two vote receivers. While candidates are nominated by political parties, they are listed as non-partisan on the ballot and are required to renounce all party affiliation in order to assume office.

There have been 27 Presidents of the Republic of Asilica. The incumbent, Jörg Renatsch, was elected on January 30th, 2020. On May 24th, 2020, the President's only daughter Maria-Theresa Renatsch, 36, was killed in a fire at a casino in Sugen canton at which she worked. 104 others perished in the fire, the country's deadliest structural fire on record. After the 2021 terror attacks, President Renatsch assumed the role of the top of the emergency chain-of-command of the country, as the bomb blast had rendered Asilica constitutionally unable to form a government.

Economy[edit | edit source | hide]

The Asilican economy is known throughout the world as powerful and stable. It is centered primarily on the financial sector, based in the City of Asilica, which is one of the largest on Aurora and in the world. More wealth passes through the Asilican Stock Exchange every day than all but a few global stock exchanges, and its leading index, the ASAX 200, is a leading global indicator of economic strength. Many global financial firms choose to base their headquarters, or major regional offices, in Asilica due to its favorable regulatory environment as well as the activity of the local stock market. As Asilica is a member of the Single Auroran Market, presence in Asilica also gives access to the unified market across all of Aurora. However, Asilica has its own currency, the Mark, rather than using the Kirib, and the Asilican Mark is used as a global reserve currency due to its stability.

Taxes in Asilica are low in general, and especially so for businesses. Asilica is regarded by some other countries as a tax haven due to the significant number of perceived loopholes in the Asilican tax code that allow businesses to avoid even the already low statutory tax rates. This has served to bolster the Asilican business community, but has led to controversy both inside and outside the country, and taxes in Asilica are seen as a leading obstacle to further Asilican integration with UNAC.

In addition to the financial sector, Asilica is also home to a large gambling industry, centered particularly in the city of Sugen on the southern coast. Gambling has a long history in Asilica, as it was allowed in the many Asilican princedoms and city-states even when it was forbidden in larger neighboring states like Ethalria. Gambling houses were especially numerous along the southern coast, which has historically been the most popular area for tourism in the country. These would later develop into modern casinos and resorts by the 20th century, and today Asilica is a leading world destination for gambling.

Asilica is also famous for having relatively few restrictions on drug use. Cannabis shops are popular tourist destinations in the city of Asilica, and while other drugs are technically illegal, the usage of most drugs is decriminalized. Conventional pharmaceuticals are also a major industry in Asilica, with several global pharmaceutical companies based in the country. Prostitution is also legal in Asilica, although unlike other industries it is highly regulated by the government, and non-residents of Asilica are not legally allowed to seek the services of prostitutes.

Geography[edit | edit source | hide]

The fertile northern highlands in Putèr Canton
A map of the 24 cantons and canton-level municipalities of Asilica.

Asilica is a geographically diverse country, with coastal lowlands near the sea giving rise to relatively higher elevations further north, known as the "hill country." Two of the country's largest cities, Asilica and Sugen, are on the sea. Asilica, the capital, has a metro area population of approximately 5.5 million, which is over a third of the country's population. The Sugen metropolitan area is home to another 3 million people, meaning combined, the two cities are home to over half of the country's people. The country's largest inland city is Valladia, in the center of the country. The hill country is largely rural in nature and much less densely populated than the southern lowlands.

The hill country is home primarily to agricultural and pastoral areas, especially sheep. The south of the country is more urban, especially along the coasts, although there is still significant agriculture in some southern areas, given the flatter terrain. The climate in Asilica is classified as "warm summer continental," with hot, humid summers. Winters are colder and drier, with snow being common. In the hill country where elevation is higher, winters tend to feature significant amounts of snow, with cities such as Putèr usually seeing at least a meter of snow a year. Areas closer to the coast see less snow, but even in Sugen at the southern end of the country, snow falls at least once a year on average.

Asilica is divided into 24 different first-level divisions: 22 cantons and 2 canton-level municipalities. Each of these cantons was an independent state prior to the formation of the Republic of Asilica in 1804. While from a legal standpoint, the cantons are held to have forgone their sovereignty upon ratifying the Treaty of Zalica in 1804, many of them remain culturally distinct. There are four established dialects of the Asilican language that are recognized by the Asilican Language Institute, but nearly every canton has unique phrases, idioms, and other kinds of grammatical distinctions. Additionally, while Asilican is spoken across the country, the west of the country tends to have more Staynish speakers and the east tends to have more Ethalrian speakers. There exist border towns on both sides where either Staynish or Ethalrian is the majority language. The Government of Asilica is bound by law to respond to any correspondence made in Asilican, Ethalrian, or Staynish in the language in which the correspondence was written, and signs on the Autostrada are always in all three languages.