Politics of the Oan Isles
|Polity type||Unitary parliamentary multi-party democracy under a constitutional monarchy|
|Constitution||Constitution of the Oan Isles (Ture nui o nga Motuere Oa)|
|Name||National Assembly (Huihuinga Motu)|
|Meeting place||Palace of the People (Whare o te Iwi), Tokapa, Tokamotu|
|Name||Council of Chiefs (Kaunihera o nga Rangatira)|
|Presiding officer||His Excellency, Chief Timoteo Putea, President of the Council of Chiefs (Perehitini o te Kaunihera o nga Rangatira)|
|Appointer||Council of Chiefs|
|Name||Council of the People (Kaunihera o te Iwi)|
|Presiding officer||The Honourable, Apikaira Tokamangu, Speaker of the Council of the People (Kaikōrero or te Kaunihera o te Iwi)|
|Appointer||Council of the People|
|Head of State|
|Title||Emperor of Polynesia (Rangitanga-o-te-Moana)|
|Currently||His Serene Majesty, Oahoanu|
|Head of Government|
|Title||Prime Minister (Pirimia)|
|Appointer||Emperor of Polynesia|
|Name||Council of Chiefs (Kaunihera o nga Minita)|
|Current cabinet||Uye-Ahua ministry|
|Appointer||Emperor of Polynesia|
|Headquarters||Blue Macaw House (Whare Makao Rakau), Tokapa, Tokamotu|
|Supreme Court of the Oan Isles (Kooti Hupurimi o nga Motuere Oa)|
|Chief judge||The Honourable, Kita Kakariki|
|Seat||Palace of Justice (Whare o te Tira), Tokapa, Tokamotu|
The Rangitanga-a-te-Moana is the head of state and commander-in-chief of the Oan Defence Forces. The Prime Minister, currently Maui Uye-Ahua, is the head of government and comprises the executive branch together with the Cabinet. The Supreme Court and other courts make up the judiciary. The political system is strongly influenced by the centre-left Progressive Party and the centre-right Liberal Party, which have dominated elections for decades.
Mikaere III reigned from 1904 to 1936. He was described as an astute political actor in that he could detect the changing political fortunes of monarchies such as that of the Oan Isles. He stated that he believed that a time was coming in which absolute and semi-absolute monarchy would no longer be a viable way of running increasingly complex modern nations. For this reason, he asked the Council of Elders to draft a report and advise him on the formation of a new constitution. The Council of Elders consisted of prominent people in society on whom the monarch relied for advice.
The Council of Elders conducted a fact finding mission and compared political systems across the world. They recommended a formal written law that constrained the power of the monarchy and placed executive power in the hands of qualified civil servants and legislative power in the hands of the monarch and a council appointed by him while leaving judicial power to qualified judges. These recommendations were heavily supported by Lord Azriel Makemutu who stood to benefit. However as the Great War ensued other political factors became relevant.
Firstly, ideologies from foreign nations about liberal democracy and egalitarianism caused agitation among the youth and intellectual classes. The increased publication of literature critical of the monarchy and the socio-economic structure of the Oan Isles as well as frequent riots by young people especially university students led Mikaere III to believe that more radical steps were necessary.
Mikaere III issued a land reform decree which forced nobles to sell off their estates to tenant farmers at a cost subsidized by the state. Although the nobles were deeply embittered by these Reforms, Mikaere III gave the Council of Chiefs the power to approve legislation. To allay the concerns of the youth and intellectuals and to discourage their criticism of the monarchy, Mikaere III established the Council of the People as an advisory and deliberative body. These reforms were eventually consolidated into the Constitution of the Oan Isles in a similar vein to the Great Charter of Liberties of Great Morstaybishlia that King Thadeus II had been forced to sign at the end of the Great War.
Lord Azriel Makemutu played an active role in the formation of these reforms and desired to elevate his position. Thus, he advised that the Council of Ministers (which was a sub-committee of the Council of Elder that historically provided the monarch with technical and day-to-day support) take up more of the workload and be given more freedom to make decisions. Thus, the monarch placed various areas of the government under the control of the Ministers of the Crown who comprised that Council. He insisted that the newly formed office of the Prime Minister to which Lord Azriel Makemutu was predictably appointed report to him the state of the nation weekly. This laid the foundations of the democratisation of the Oan Isles.
The head of state, the nominal head of government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces is the Rangitanga-a-te-Moana which directly translates to Ruler of the Sea. He is referred to by the style of His Serene Majesty. The position originates in Mauist legend which holds that Ahua the Great, the first Emperor and founder of the Royal House of Ahua, was divinely empowered by the deity Maui to rule the Oan Isles and unite the Pacific Island people’s. This has been used throughout history to justify the expansionism of the Oan people. While the Rangitanga-a-te-Moana is not required to be religious, Mauist religious traditions and spiritual leaders play a large role in the Serene Court.
Succession has changed throughout history, but according to the current law, the Crown passes down through absolute primogeniture, meaning direct descendants of the reigning Rangitanga-a-te-Moana inherit the throne in order of age regardless of sex. The reigning Rangitanga-a-te-Moana is Oahoanu, who inherited the throne from his father, Rangitanga-a-te-Moana Ehe II. The heir to the throne is called the Crown Prince, currently His Royal Highness, Moana. The reign of the Emperor ends when he dies, is declared permanently incapacitated or abdicates. The Emperor can be required to abdicate if the Supreme Court finds him guilty of treason and other high crimes. Nevertheless, the Emperor cannot be compelled to appear in court or be arrested.
The Rangitanga-a-te-Moana wields numerous powers vested in the Crown of the Oan Isles such as appointing government ministers, promulgating laws, dissolving the Council of the People, declaring war, bestowing chieftaincies, receiving the accreditations of foreign ambassadors, conferring chivalric orders such as the Order of the Blue Macaw, granting pardons and signing treaties. Additionally, the Rangitanga-a-te-Moana appears on stamps, coins and notes, Oaths of Office are sworn to the Rangitanga-a-te-Moana, the his birthday is a national holiday and the National Anthem is "Heaven bless the Emperor". The powers of the sovereign, while nominally vast, are constrained by democratic traditions. In weekly meetings, the Emperor consults with the Prime Minister on state affairs and seeks his counsel on the exercise of imperial powers. The exercise of these powers has proven controversial for instance during the Second Auroran Imperial War when Oahoanu and Ehe played a large role in the crisis.
The Emperor is the nominal head of the executive branch. He appoints and heads the Council of Elders. The Council of Elders (Tuhinga o Mua) consists of eminent persons in society such as spiritual leaders, business people, activists and intellectuals. The Council of Elders counsels the Rangitanga-a-te-Moana on the exercise of Imperial powers and on matters within the remit of the Crown. The Council of Ministers (Kaunihera o nga Minita) is an autonomous substructure of the Council of Elders which controls and directs the executive branch.
The Emperor has the power to appoint and dismiss the Prime Minister of the Oan Isles (Pirimia) and the Ministers of the Crown (Nga Minita o te Karauna). If the Council of the People passes a motion of no-confidence in the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister and the Ministers of the Crown are required to tender their resignations to the Emperor. The Prime Minister and the Ministers of the Crown comprise the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister is the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers. He has the power to control and supervise the work of the executive branch and to advise the Emperor on the exercise of some Imperial powers. Each Minister heads an executive department and oversees an area of government policy.
|Prime Minister||Maui Uye-Ahua||Konoan People's Party||Control and oversight of the executive branch and chairing of meetings|
|Leader of Government Business||Penuel Whareoaroha||Green Party||Coordinates relations with the legislative branch|
|Finance||Kia Uye||Pacifist Party||Oversight of government finances, financial institutions and economic policy|
|Foreign Affairs||Arana Marama||Green Party||Oversight of foreign relations, foreign intelligence and foreign policy|
|Education||Prof Imana Toangakau||Independent||Oversight of the education system and education policy|
|Defence||Gen. Oahuoa Uye||Pacifist Party||Oversight of the armed forces and defence policy|
|Justice||Adv. Richard Rahua||Konoan People's Party||Oversight of the judiciary and police|
|Home Affairs||Isildor Iparoha||Pacifist Party||Oversight of public administration, state security and domestic intelligence|
|Health and Welfare||Edith Takatunuye||Pacifist Party||Oversight of healthcare system and social security and welfare system, and related policy|
|Infrastructure and Development||Kororiaoatea "Cory" Tutahinga||Green Party||Oversight of public infrastructure, property and urban development|
|Commerce and Labour||Gideon Heremia Kipana||Pacifist Party||Promotion of labour rights, oversight and encouragement of industry and businesses and foreign trade|
|Interior||Akanea Otuhune||Green Party||Oversight of agriculture, environmental and rural affairs|
|Natural Resources and Energy||Kyle Minahinga-Smith||Green Party||Oversight of mining and energy|
|Cultural Heritage||Ateakorero-Leigh Adams||Konoan People's Party||Oversight of sports, tourism, recreation, cultural and religious communities and national treasures|
The legislature of the Oan Isles is called the National Assembly of the Oan Isles (Huihuinga Motu). It consists of two houses - the Council of the People (Kaunihera o te Iwi) and the Council of the Chiefs (Kaunihera o nga Rangatira) – and the Emperor. The more powerful house is the Council of the People. The Council of the People has the power to pass laws, the Council of Chiefs has the power to review legislative proposals and the Emperor has the power to promulgate laws, dissolve the Council of the People and open annual sessions of the Parliament. Every year, the Emperor reads the Speech from the Throne to the Council of Chiefs - which is prepared by the Prime Minister – during the opening of the Parliament.
The Council of the People consists of 120 members elected by the people every four years via proportional representation. The people vote for a political party which is allocated seats according to the proportion of votes it receives. Only parties which receive a voting share above 5% are allowed to deploy representatives to the Council of the People. Elections in the country typically attract large voter turnout and people are able to freely participate in politics.
Members of the party must be adults who meet the criteria to vote and have the physical and mental capacity to carry out public duties. Although members are free to vote as they choose, their political fortunes are linked to party loyalty. Thus, party whips maintain party discipline and members tend to vote on partisan lines. Moreover, the party leadership, whether they are members or not exert considerable influence over members, and subsequently the legislative process. As parties rarely get an absolute majority of 61 seats, parties tend to cooperate on legislation.
Most of the work of drafting legislation happens in the committees. Each committee focuses on a particular issue and consists of a few members. Every party is guaranteed at least one seat in each committee. The Chairperson of the Council of the People presides over the plenary sessions of the Council of the People and supervises the administration of its affairs. The Council of the People may require members of the executive branch to appear before it to answer questions. All laws require at least half of members to pass. Some laws such as constitutional amendments require over two-thirds of the members to pass.
The Council of Chiefs consists of all the Chiefs in the country. Chiefs are traditional leaders. They are all appointed by the Emperor. Chiefdoms are hereditary, meaning that a parent passes their title to their children or closest relative. The Emperor may strip a Chief of their title, create new titles or dissolve titles altogether. Chiefs are usually the symbolic leaders of a tribal group. Members of this council serve for life.
The Council of Chiefs has the power to read and debate bills before they are passed. Its approval is not required but all laws must be sent to the Council of Chiefs before the Council of the People passes the final version. The Council of Chiefs has the power to pass non-binding recommendations on the bills that appear before it, which are sent to the Council of the People. The Council of Chiefs may also pass non-binding resolutions. These are symbolic proclamations or declarations on an issue.
JudiciaryThe Supreme Court of the Oan Isles (Kooti Hupirimi) is the highest court of law. It is the final court to which cases from other courts can be appealed and its judicial precedent is binding on all courts in the land. It has the power to review laws for their constitutionality and strike them down if they violate the Constitution. It consists of 12 judges including the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice is the head of the judiciary and highest-ranking judge in the land. Judges are symbolically confirmed by the Emperor after being chosen by the Prime Minister from nominations from the Commission on Judicial Appointments and approved by the Judiciary Committee of the Council of the People.
The Commission on Judicial Appointments consists of eminent persons in law from numerous areas and it recommends judges for appointment and dismissal. Whereas the approval of the Council of the People is required for Supreme Court justices, the Chief Justice oversees the nomination of Magistrates. Magistrates administer justice in the rest of the judicial system. Magistrates must be experienced lawyers who have passed a magisterial exam.
Magistrate Courts are courts of the first instance which hear cases. The magnitude of the case and the scale of the judgements it may impose vary based on rank with power diminishing from regional, district to the local level. Although cases may be heard in any court, courts of greater will likely ask smaller and less powerful courts to hear smaller and less significant cases. These courts rely on extensive laws, judicial precedent, political conventions and cultural traditions to judge cases and administer judges.
The Oan Isles is a highly centralized state. The central government maintains absolute control over the political process. Administrative divisions are an extension of the central government’s authority and coordinate the work of substructure beneath them. Regions are the highest levels of administration. They consist of districts which are further divided into municipalities. Municipalities do the most work and have the greatest control over their internal affairs. The Local Council is elected by the people and has the power to pass ordinances. The Mayor is elected directly and governs the local government with the assistance and advice of a Mayoral Council which he appoints.
The Oan Isles has control over other states which are nominally independent. In practice, the Oan Isles is the mother country. The states of the Kohatu Isles and Asian Pacific Islands have provisions in their constitutions which require Oan approval for the amendment of their constitutions and which delegate foreign relations, Defence and trade to the Oan Isles. Through the Polynesian Union, they have a personal union with the Crown of Polynesia. This means that they recognized the Emperor of Polynesia as their head of state as well.
The Oan Isles is a highly democratic country with characteristics such as free and fair elections, the consistently peaceful transfer of power, free press and freedom of speech, the rule of law and an independent and impartial judicial system. The Constitution is a written document that promotes and protects these fundamental ideas through the distribution of political power in different branches of government.
The Oan Isles has a highly active civil society and political participation is very high. For instance, non-governmental organizations such as Freedom International, Oan News and the Water Project have been instrumental in policy reform and public life. For instance, in 2017 Freedom International sued the government for allowing the Emperor to exert excessive influence over decision-making during the Auroran-Pacific War and the Supreme Court ruled in their favour - passing judicial precedent that restricts the exercise of the monarch's emergency powers. Another example is Oan News which has defiantly issued scathing rebukes of the government such as an investigative piece alleging that the Oan government orchestrated or turned a blind eye to a terrorist attack on the country for political gain.
Political parties play an active role in raising money, cultivating policy views and raising public awareness on political issues. Moreover, they are protected and participate freely in the political process. Yet, only 3 major political parties presently exist and only 2 of those have won substantial majorities in the legislature. The Oan voting-age public is highly politically transient. Meaning that party loyalty plays a minimal role in voting patterns. Additionally, restrictions on corporate donations and lobbying, have diluted the role of big money in politics, allowing anyone regardless of financial standing to successfully compete in elections.
The three parties that dominate politics are loosely administered and welcome a broad spectrum of people. This enables people of traditionally opposing political ideologies to rise and share space in the same political party. Although party discipline does exist to an extent in the legislature, members of the legislature are free to vote in any way they please compared to most parliamentary democracies. Coupled with the mercuriality of Oan voters and the relatively smaller role of financial resources in politics, there has been a disinclination to establish more political parties with the Konoa and Allied People's Party being the first major political party to be established in decades. The parties are as follows:
- The Pacifist Party is the largest party by a number of seats in the Council of the People and by annual income (100 million KRB average annual income). It believes in the Oan principle of peaceful development which loosely translates to Pacifist in Staynish. This encompasses participation in multilateral organizations, openness to trade and alignment with democratic counties. This party is led by the incumbent Minister of Finance, Kia Uye. Prominent politicians aligned with this party include former Foreign and Prime Minister, Locklyn Le Roy.
- The Green Party is narrowly the second-largest party in the Council of the People and has the largest volunteer Corp (around 10,000 people annually). It promotes Oan principles of respecting nature. Thus, its policies strongly favour environmental conservation. It is led by the incumbent Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arana Marama. Prominent politicians aligned with this party include Tipene Rahua, the Director of the Oan Intelligence Bureau.
- The Konoa and Allied People’s Party was founded in 2017 and is led by the incumbent Prime Minister Maui Uye-Ahua. The party promotes the right of the Konoan/Noan people to autonomy and was instrumental in the 2017 referendum that granted the Konoa region semi-autonomous status. It broadly promotes cultural and religious rights.
The side effect of this transience is that ideological factions play a larger role in political life. People loosely align themselves with these ideals and the contours of demographic reach are typically visible along sectarian lines. Major ideological factions are as follows:
- Conservatism i.e. a strong army, strictly aligning Oan Foreign policy with other democratic nations, and strategically intervening in the internal affairs of foreign nations. Oan political environment is more accurately assessed on the basis of factions. They strongly supported Oan entry in the Auroran-Pacific War, the formation of the Auroran Union and resented Oan membership in the United Nations of the Auroran Continent. Former Emperor Ehe, Tipene Rahua and Locklyn Le Roy are believed to be part of this camp.
- Moderates call for a multilateralism, broad-based partnerships with other nations and international institutions. They strongly believed the Oan Isles joining the UNAC. Arana Marama is believed to the part of this camp.
- Pan-Polynesianism holds the belief that all Polynesian people should be united under the Emperor of Polynesia in some form. For this reason, they strongly supported 2017 War of the Kohatu Isles, support the independence or reintegration of the Morstaybishlian West Pacific Territories into the Oan Isles and they resent Justelvard becoming a Constituent Country of Great Morstaybishlia. Prime Minister Maui Uye-Ahua and Emperor Oahoanu are believed to belong to this group.
Clan and tribal affiliation
The last and least significant, but nevertheless, an important factor which affects political culture is clan and tribal affiliation. Large and wealthy families or clans can have a disproportionate influence on policy. For instance, the Ahua Clan is probably the most powerful family in the country. Their power does not only come from the fact that the Emperor is the head of the Clan, but the family has amassed wealth from entrepreneurial ventures and strategic marriages, especially with foreign powers e.g. The former Emperor Ehe, married Princess Eleanor Louzar of Staynes, sister to the High King of Great Morstaybishlia, Lambertus VII. The Uye Clan has also become very wealthy, but they also have the benefit of having many of their members in powerful political positions, for instance, they control the three most powerful posts in the government: Defence, Finance and the Premiership as General Oahuoa Uye, Kia Uye and Maui Uye-Ahua are members of this house. Other prominent families include the Marama, Rahua, and Iparoha Clans.
Tribal affiliation also plays a large role. Most Oan people strongly identify with a particular ancestral group that is usually based on an island called a tribe. Each tribe has a hereditary or elected Chief who represents it in the Council of Chiefs, the upper house of the Oan legislature. For instance, the Toka tribe which is based in Tokamotu is regarded as the most powerful tribe in the country because it controls the wealthiest island. The Noa tribe was a big influence in the autonomy of the Konoa Semi-autonomous Region. This is also why the Morstaybishlian partition of the Oan Isles in the late 19th century was so devastating as the Koroi tribe was divided in half, an act for which the nation has not fully forgiven the Morsts over a hundred years later. Moreover, this is why the slave trade by the Morst is a source of historic friction as many clans and tribes were broken.
Role in the UNAC
The United Nations of the Auroran Continent is an international organization formed in 2017 at the Auroran Reunification Summit held in Emberwood Coast at the invitation of President Nimona Poole. This organisation has accumulated political power such that analysts state it is a loose confederation. The Oan Isles is a founding member state thus is participates in its initiatives and structures and is subject to its laws and directives. The UNAC has exclusive jurisdiction in areas of intra-Auroran travel, customs union, monetary policy and related areas. It has shared jurisdiction over maritime resources and intra-Auroran commerce and trade. The Oan Isles maintains exclusive jurisdiction over domestic affairs and national defence. Citizens of the Oan Isles can appeal decisions made in the Supreme Court of the Isles to the Auroran Court of Justice. Through subscription fees, the Oan Isles contributes to the running of the UNAC, but it also receives disbursements on areas such as emergency response, education, environmental protection, science and research etc.
The Oan Isles is represented in the Council of the UNAC (the upper house of the UNAC legislature) by Iparema Huinga. The country elects 16 seats in the Auroran Parliament of which 7 are held by the Auroran Social Democratic Party, 6 are held by the Auroran Green Party and 3 are held by the Auroran Independence Party. The country is represented on the Auroran Court of Justice by Pounamu Waitangi JACJ. On the UNAC Commission, which comprises the executive branch of the UNAC, an Oan citizen, currently Ahera Oka serves as the Commissioner for Finance. Furthermore, former Oan Prime Minister, Locklyn Le Roy is the President of the Auroran Monetary Fund which is located in Tokapa. The Governor of the Bank of the Oan Isles, Pauro Toangakau, sits in the Board of Governors of the Auroran Central Bank.