Auroran Parliament

From TEPwiki, Urth's Encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Auroran Parliament
2nd Auroran Parliament
Logo
Type
TypeUnicameral
Term limits3 years
History
Founded30 July 2018; 4 years ago (2018-07-30)
Preceded byGeneral Assembly of the Auroran Union
Parliament of Aurora of the Auroran Continental Assembly
Leadership
Speaker of the Auroran ParliamentEliza Hughes
Structure
Seats750
2nd Auroran Parliament Comp.png
Political groups Auroran Conservative Party

 Auroran Socialist Democratic Party
 Auroran Liberal Party
 Auroran Green Party
 Auroran Independence Party

 Other
committeesCulture
Economy
Education
Energy
Environment
Health
Finance
Food Security
Justice
Minerals
Minorities
Science
Security
Sports and Recreation
Trade
Transport
Water
Workers
Salary200,000 KRB
Elections
Voting systemRun-off voting
Single member constituencies
Motto
Unum pro omnibus, omnes pro uno


The Auroran Parliament (simply known as the Parliament or AP) is the lower chamber of the bicameral legislative branch of the United Nations of the Auroran Continent (UNAC). It was established in July 2018 during the Auroran Reunification Summit in Emberwood Coast where the Charter of the UNAC (colloquially known as the Treaty of Aura) was adopted. It was preceded and partially based on the legislative branches of the Auroran Union (AU) and the Auroran Continental Assembly (ACA). For most of the year, it is seated in Aura, Emberwood Coast, but some sessions are held in Sani Bursil, Great Morstaybishlia (a compromise arising from the reunification negotiations). The body is elected by the citizens of the member states of the UNAC every 3 to 4 years. The incumbent Speaker of Parliament is Eliza Hughes of Oscrelia.

Powers and duties

The Auroran Parliament comprises the lower half of the legislative branch of the UNAC. This means that it has the power to pass, amend or repeal certain types of Auroran law. It does not have any control over treaties. Treaties are agreements between member states and they overrule all other bodies of the UNAC including the Auroran Parliament. The Council of the UNAC also wields legislative powers that the AP does not have access to. For instance, the Council of the UNAC has the power to propose acts as well as pass security, temporary and extraordinary acts (STE Acts) which include dissolving the AP, declaring a state of emergency and enforcing a blockade.

Thus, the AP has legislative powers over a subset of Auroran law called ordinary acts. Ordinary acts are all the forms of legislation which are not STE Acts. The Charter of the UNAC has a detailed list of topics that the UNAC has exclusive or shared jurisdiction with member states. These topics are typically areas which require cooperation among member states or affect multiple member states. Ordinary acts tend to either be rules, procedures or regulations governing the internal functioning of the UNAC or they are shared standards, guidelines, or coordination and support mechanisms. Ordinary acts can also be used to establish joint initiatives that span the continent.

The AP does not have the power to propose legislation as only the Commission of the UNAC and the Council of the UNAC have that power. A majority of both the Parliament and the Council is required to make ordinary acts binding. However, he Council can overturn the Parliament's decision by passing the legislation with a two thirds majority. Furthermore, the Council can pass any act it wants without consulting or getting the approval of the Auroran Parliament if it passes that act unanimously (this is called an Extraordinary act). During a state of emergency, the Council can pass any temporary act by simple majority vote without the approval of or consulting with the Parliament.

Nonetheless, under normal circumstances the Parliament has an important influence over the legislative process by being able to scrutinise, criticise and propose amendments to legislative proposals. Furthermore, it can pass non-binding resolutions to influence the political debate around various issues.

In addition, the AP has the power to conduct inquiries and to demand written and verbal reports from members of the Commission and other senior UNAC officials on various matters. This power exists to enable the AP to hold members of the executive branch accountable. This helps to strengthen good governance and transparency in the way that the UNAC functions. This function can have important persuasive effect in the manner that the Commission runs the UNAC.

Finally, the Parliament has some power over the composition of the Commission. Together with the Council of the UNAC, it has the power to appoint the President of the UNAC Commission and approve portfoliow. This procedure usually works as follows: the Council of the UNAC will propose a President and the AP will either support or decline the appointment. Then, once the President is selected, the President may propose portfolios to both the Parliament and Council.

Legislative procedure

The procedure that governs the passage of legislation arises in part from the Charter of the UNAC. The Council and Parliament can pass internal rules and procedures that control their internal operations.

Legislation is always proposed by the Commission of the UNAC or the members of the Council of the UNAC. The President of the UNAC Commission or a Commissioner of the UNAC (or their legally appointed representative) will send a copy of the legislation to the Speaker of Parliament. The Speaker of Parliament or their legally appointed representative will notify the members that the Commission has proposed an act. The Speaker will set a date for the Commission to present an oral explanation of the act. The members may debate the law or ask the Commissioner questions relating to the Act. The Speaker will either send the legislation to the appropriate standing committee for further debate or propose the establishment of an ad-hoc committee to tackle the act depending on the nature and scope.

Standing Committees are proposed by the Speaker and approved by the Parliament at the beginning of each term. Usually, Standing Committees are carried over from the previous term. However, Standing Committees can be proposed, approved and dissolved at any time. The Parliament will vote for members to these standing committees. Standing committees have jurisdiction over predefined topics. The Speaker is responsible for resolving any disputes in jurisdiction. The Ad-hoc committees exists in a similar way, but they consider narrow issues and usually have a predefined expiration date that that is either some arbitrary time in the future or upon the passage of the legislation for which it was established.

Committees can establish sub-committees. The purpose of the committees is to debate and examine the legislation more closely. They can propose amendments to legislation, invite experts and request further explanations from the Commission. They also organise public consultations such as public hearings or they can invite letters and emails from the public which they read and consider. Also, any petitions relating to a topic are sent to the committee for deliberation. Petitions must have a specific format and have at least 20,000 valid and verifiable signatures. The Parliament has completely digitised this process to make it more streamlined. When the committee is satisfied with the legislation, they may ask the Speaker to present the legislation to a Plenary of the Parliament to vote on it.

The Speaker will set the date for the reading of the act. This is when the Speaker reads the long form of the title that was finally approved. Members would have had a chance to read the full act on their own. Usually in the same sitting, the plenary debate and plenary vote are held. A Plenary vote is preceded by a Plenary debate where members of Parliament present a short speech stating their opinions if they wish. Members may use any of the official languages of the UNAC when addressing the house. Relevant translation services are made available through live audio and/or written translations to make the legislative process easy. Following the debate, members vote yes, no or abstain. A minimum of half plus one of the members must be present for the vote to be binding. Members cannot be compelled to attend. Upon the passage of the act, the Speaker presents the outcome to the President of the UNAC Commission and the Council of the UNAC.

Electoral oversight

The Auroran Electoral Commission (AEC) is an independent agency of the UNAC that is responsible for overseeing and administering elections of the Auroran Parliament. Its powers and duties are enshrined in the Charter of the UNAC. It is responsible for registering candidates, enforcing electoral rules, counting ballots, verifying and announcing results, monitoring campaign funding and other activities and ensuring the effective administration of elections.

Representatives of parties and proxies of independent candidates have the right to monitor the vote counting process, but they may not be present in voting venues. This rule is designed to prevent voter intimidation. Candidates and parties with complaints about voting or counting procedures may report those issues to the AEC. If they are not satisfied with the AEC, they can file a complaint at the Auroran Court of Justice (ACJ). The ACJ is the only and final court that can hear and adjudicate complaints about AP elections.

Electoral procedure

The AP is elected every 3 years by the citizens of the member states of the UNAC. The member states are allocated a minimum of 3 seats regardless of their size. Seats are allocated in proportion to the population of each nation. Thus, the most populous nation, Great Morstaybishlia, has by far the largest number of seats.

Electoral districts are roughly equal in population. Each district gets one seat. The candidate for that seat is elected by run-off voting. This means if no candidate receives over 50% of the vote after the first round, the top 2 candidates continue to a second round of voting. In the unlikely went of a tie, another vote is held until a winner is decided. Voters vote for only one candidate or party on their ballot. Voting can either be on paper or electronic.

Following the end of a term, the UNAC Commission and the Speaker of Parliament will agree on a date for the elections in line with the Charter of the UNAC. Failing which they must report to the ACJ why they failed to set a date. Following which, they inform the AEC of the date so that it can begins preparing for elections. The AEC will in turn organise the election.

Only citizens of the UNAC above the age of majority may vote. Only mentally infirm people (as declared by a court of law) may not vote but otherwise voting is open to all including prisoners and citizens residing outside the UNAC. Voting is regarded as fundamental right of all UNAC citizens.

Electoral criteria

Candidates to the AP must meet criteria set out in the Charter of the UNAC to be eligible to compete. The candidates are expected to be legally registered citizens of a UNAC member state. They may only run in the member state of which they are a citizen and a registered resident of the electoral district that they want to represent. They must be above the age of 25 and must be of sound mind. Fugitives and prisoners are not allowed to stand for election.

These criteria mimic similar restrictions placed on legislative candidates in Auroran states. The purpose of these criteria is to ensure that the candidates have the minimum legal capacity to exercise their duties. Criteria exist not only for the candidates but for political parties as well.

Political parties are defined by the Auroran Elections Act of 2018 as "political organisations established with the purpose of running elections for the AP". They are recognised as juristic persons and are registered as non-governmental organisations in any of the member states of the UNAC. They must be registered with the AEC to be eligible to run. They require a minimum 500 registered members and must submit a constitution to the AEC outlining their operations and structure. Most national political parties affiliate with a continental political party, meaning that they send candidates and vote in matters concerning the continental party. Contrary to some other Auroran countries, the Andorinhean electoral law prevents national parties to become members of Auroran political parties. Instead, coalitions of interests, of which the political parties can directly be members, are the registered representatives of the Auroran political parties in the Andorinhões. Similarly, electoral alliances in K'undzeti nominally enter the AP as a singular party. Most of these alliances exist on a national level, with the exception of the Socialist Zetian Popular Union, made up of Native Left-Wing Parties in order to achieve Zetian Representation in the AP. The ZPU is currently made up of the parties Solidarity Council, Scared Labour Front and Nation of Our Own, and is led by United in Red leader Dolf Hajiz.

Campaign funding

The Auroran Elections Act of 2018 stipulates the rules surrounding donations and financial activities of political parties. Because political parties are non-profit non-governmental organisations, they are required to follow similar rules. For instance, they do not have shareholders or pay dividends. There are limitations placed on their expenditures and sources of funding and they are expected to make financial disclosures to the AEC if they want to run.

They are required to disclose sourcing of funding for campaigns to the AEC. The AEC in turn discloses an abridged version to the public. Certain sources such as individual donations below 500,000 KRB are not allowed to be disclosed to the public. Sources from non-profit and non-governmental organizations (e.g., trade unions and charitable organizations) and private companies are allowed to donate but those can be disclosed. Furthermore, private companies can donate a maximum of 1 million KRB to a political party. Governments are not allowed to donate money to the campaigns of political parties or independent candidates running for AP elections.

The AEC allocates funding from the UNAC to parties running in the elections. According to Article E Section 2.17 of the Charter of the UNAC, parties with over 5,000 members are entitled to 10 million KRB in funding. Parties are required to have a verifiable register of active members when requesting access to campaign funding from the AEC. Outside of campaigning, the AE Act requires that political parties disclose donations and restricts the maximum donation amounts. Furthermore, funding from lobbying must be disclosed to the AEC.

Composition

The following table contains the results from the most recent election.

Nation Total Seats Seats Accounted For Auroran Social Democratic Party.png Auroran Liberal Party.png Auroran Green Party.png ACP AIP Other
Flag of the Constitutional State of the Andorinhões.svg Andorinhões 6 6 4 1 0 1 0 0
Asilica flag.png Asilica 14.0 14 1 6 0 5 1 1
Axdel Flag.png Axdel 80 80 29 1 4 19 18 9
Blueacia 5.0 5 1 1 1 2 0 0
Flag of Dragonia.jpg Dragonia 17.0 17 0 4 10 3 0 0
Durentria flag.png Durentria 12 12 6 0 3 3 0 0
EmberwoodCoastFlag.jpg Emberwood Coast 44.0 44 7 10 24 0 3 0
Faethalria.png Faethalria 34.0 34 11 9 2 10 1 1
New MBE Flag.png Great Morstaybishlia 278.0 278 140 57 6 70 1 4
Kothalflag.png Kothalria (termination pending) 6 6 2 3 0 0 0 1
K'undzeti Flag.png K'undzeti 22 22 3 8 3 7 1 0
Nolovaflag.png Nolova 7.0 7 3 1 1 1 1 0
Flag of the Oan Isles.png The Oan Isles 16.0 16 6 0 7 0 3 0
Flag of Oceansend.jpg Oceansend 5.0 5 0 2 3 0 0 0
Oscreliaflag.svg Oscrelia 47.0 47 20 3 4 15 5 0
Sarentria flag.png Sarentria 21.0 21 10 0 0 11 0 0
Tivotflag.png Tivot 19.0 19 8 6 2 3 0 0
Tuvaltflag.png Tuvaltastan 43.0 43 5 10 3 11 8 6
ValericaFlag1.jpg Valerica 15.0 15 6 5 2 1 1 0
Vothetriaflag.png Vothetria (termination pending) 28.0 28 12 1 0 15 0 0
Xiopothos Flag.png Xiopothos 24.0 24 2 12 1 8 1 0
York Flag.png Yor Isles 7.0 7 1 0 0 5 1 0
Total 750 750 277 140 76 190 45 22
Seats Added 100.00%
Seats Needing Added 0.00% 0

Lobbying

Lobbying refers to organized action by private entities namely private companies, non-profit and non-governmental organisations to influence the work of the AP and its members. All lobbying by NGOs and private companies must be registered with the AEC. Furthermore, any expenditures that arise in the lobbying process must be disclosed to the AEC. Restrictions are placed on how much money can be spent or received throughout the lobbying process.

Lobbyists include a wide variety of organizations and interests. Most organizations especially private companies prefer not to lobby legislators directly. Instead, they appoint a consulting firm specializing in lobbying to carry out the lobbying process on their behalf. Lobbyists can be useful in suggesting legislative proposals, organizing engagements between institutions, the public and legislators, advising legislators on legislation (especially with a technical nature), conducting research about legislation and publishing reports.

Seat

The seat of the Auroran Parliament is the Aura International Convention Center in Aura, Emberwood Coast. The secondary seat of the Auroran Parliament is the Auroran Parliament Building in Sani Bursil, Staynes, Great Morstaybishlia. The use of two venues arose from the Auroran Reunification Summit where members of the Auroran Continental Assembly and Auroran Union agreed to compromise. Because Aura had always been the primary seat of Pan-Auroran government, it remained as the primary seat of the UNAC and, by consequence, the Auroran Parliament. This was favoured not only by the members of the ACA but of the AU such as Axdel. However, The Oan Isles and Great Morstaybishlia insisted on Sani Bursil. To appease their demands, Sani Bursil was made a secondary headquarters for the Auroran Parliament.

Most of the work of the Parliament is done in Aura. This includes plenary sessions, committees, administration and management. Furthermore, most of the residences of the members of the AP are located in the affluent North District of Aura (also known the International or Diplomatic District). However, some sessions of the Parliament are held in Sani Bursil. This requires the entire Parliament as well as the Commission to temporarily relocate to that city for part of the year. Although this is a logistically intense and expensive process, the political significance has forced the UNAC to continue with it. The Aura International Convention Center and the surrounding complex of buildings caters to most of the needs of the UNAC. Additional office space is provided by buildings located elsewhere in the city. Similarly, multiple buildings house administrative functions and offices of the AP when it sits in Sani Bursil.

Committees

The Committee on Culture looks at landmarks, archeological finds and deposits, museums, sites of cultural and religious significance, cultural groups, cultural treasures, cultural preservation and protection, language, gastronomy, visual and performing arts, literature and publications and related issues.

The Committee on Education looks at international students, universities, polytechnics, and colleges, qualifications, standards and ethics, academic positions, academic publications, primary, secondary and pre-school education, early childhood development, teacher training, teacher and academic professionals and other related issues.

The Committee on Energy looks at power generation such as energy sources, energy production facilities, distribution such as grids and transmission such voltage and current conversion standards, energy ethics, energy-related professionals and professional bodies, energy-related training, and energy-related health and safety standards

The Committee on the Environment looks at wildlife conservation, protected habitats, threatened species, repopulation, deforestation, desertification, pollution, climate control, oil and gas spillages, marine and terrestrial biology, environmental research and related areas.

The Committee on Health looks at medical research, medical ethics, common medical training and medical standards, medical insurance, medical workers protections, healthcare facilities and programs, and medical professionals registration and related areas.

The Committee on Finance looks at the annual budget, revenue, appropriations, expenditures, investments, disposals, and transfers. It also looks at financial institutions like the Auroran Central Bank and the Auroran Monetary Fund as well as banking, insurance, retirement funds, mutual funds, stock and securities exchange markets and related entities.

The Committee on Food Security is responsible for examining issues relating to animal husbandry, crop farming, irrigation, animal disease control, food health and safety, food distribution and access to food especially for the poor.

The Committee on Justice is responsible for examining issues relating to intracontinental and intercontinental law enforcement cooperation and the judicial services of the UNAC namely prosecutorial, tribunals and the Auroran Court of Justice.

The Committee on Minerals is responsible for examining issues relating to mineral exploration and extraction especially under the sea as well the supply of raw materials such as construction sand etc. It also looks at the ethics surrounding mining and quarrying.

The Committee on Minorities is responsible for reporting on and looking at issues relating to vulnerable communities. This varies by country, but this committee looks at collective efforts in this regard.

The Committee on Science looks at legislation concerning collective scientific projects aimed at discovery, experimentation and invention. It also looks at the ethical use of scientific innovations and the intellectual property rights surrounding them.

The Committee on Science is responsible for looking at legislation concerning scientific innovatioin, experimentation, inventions, discoveries and the use of

The Committee on Security looks at issues relating to intelligence, counterintelligence, intelligence exchange, intelligence cooperation, espionage, reconnaissance, terrorism and counterterrorism, disaster response coordination and emergency relief measures.

The Committee on Sports and Recreation looks at collective sporting events, initiatives to promote sports, sports ethics, recreational activities such as resorts and related.

The Committee on Trade and Commerce looks at issues of internal and external trade like tariffs, non-trade barriers, logistical, physical and institutional infrastructure of trade, trade agreements and trade disputes, e-commerce and online transactions, online commercial agreements.

The Committee on Transport looks at transport infrastructure like highways, railways, ports and airports, transport safety, transport ethics, collective transportation initiatives like air carrier associations, the regulation of callsigns and port-of-call etc.

The Committee on Water looks at water safety such as disease and pollutant controls, water resources such as rain water, water infrastructure such as dams, aqueducts, canals, water bodies such as glaciers, rivers, lakes and aquafers, water distribution, and drought-relief.

The Committee on Workers looks at issues relating to pensions, worker unemployment support, worker migration, cross-boundary worker registration, worker protections and rights, occupational health and safety standards, worker representation and collective bargaining.