Thursday, April 26, 2007

Capitol and government

The capitol of Hesse-Engelburg is perhaps unsurprisingly named Engelburg, and is located on a lower slope in the Eingang des Himmels (Doorway of Heaven) mountain range in the northeastern part of the country. A walled city since medieval times, Engelburg forms not only the center of government, but also the first obstacle for any enemy seeking to reach Schloß Blauerwolf, the palace and hereditary castle of the Fürst and Fürstin.

The castle of the Fürst sits further up the slope, jutting out to survey the land for miles around and accessibly only by the main road up from the city below. From here, the Fürst and Fürstin rule over their land, though they are often to be found in the city below, mingling with the people or visiting the government buildings within the city housing the Fürstentumrat and various lesser offices.

Fürstentumrat (Principality Council)
The Fürstentumrat serves as a largely advisory body, housing representatives from the various cities and noble houses of Hesse-Engelburg. Each noble of Burgraf or above is entitled to a seat in the upper house of the council, while seats in the lower house are apportioned to each city of more than 10,000 persons, additional seats being granted to "districts" (kreise) composed of lesser cities and villages combined together in groupings approximating 10,000 persons. Members of the Fürstentumrat bear the title of Ratsmitglied (plural Ratsmitglieder), or Councillor, while the leader of the body is the Vorsitzender (Chairman). Members of the lower house serve for 5 years, while the upper house is hereditary, being always held by the current bearer of the noble title.

The Fürstentumrat has no decision making authority, but its counsel is often sought upon the matters of the principality, and members of the Fürstentumrat may bring petitions to vote before the body, which if agreed to by a majority are presented by the Vorsitzender of the Fürstentumrat to the sovereign in request of new laws. The decision remains firmly with the throne.

Once a month, either house of the Fürstentumrat may choose to issue a formal petition to the king for a matter which fails to pass the full Fürstentumrat, but only upon the agreement of 2/3 of that particular house. This is believed to offer a measure of balance to prevent either house dominating the agenda of the body.

The office of Vorsitzender is a particularly contentious one at times, being elected by a full vote of all members of the Fürstentumrat, and requiring a 2/3 majority for approval. A Vorsitzender retains his post until death, retirement, or until his removal by a 2/3 vote of all members. On occasion, a Fürstentumrat is unable to select a Vorsitzender. In such cases, the Fürst appoints a Vorsitzender, who remains in the position for one year, after which the Fürstentumrat may either confirm him for a full term, replace him by voting in another, or set aside the matter for an additional year if no 2/3 majority can be gained in favor of either option. Fürst Karl III, great great great great grandfather of the current Fürst, appointed a Vorsitzender in a particularly contentious time who served for a record 23 years before a replacement was finally elected.

1 comment:

Stokes Schwartz said...

Hello there Jonathan,

That's a very nicely done outline of Hesse-Engelburg's capital and govnernment. Interesting, concise, and with just enough German terminology to give it veracity. Good work! Looking forward to reading more in the future.

Enjoy the weekend,