May 19, 17 / Gem 27, 01 23:35 UTC
Re: Discussion of the draft Constitution ¶
I posted many if these suggestions on Facebook last night as that was the link to Feedback, but I'd also like to post here as well as I've seen two very different responses and the likelihood of my post being missed is not a small one.
So to start with I have to second the concerns related to the choosing of the term Consitutional Monarchy and titles of King and Monarch. Looking on Facebook this has already caused lots of anxiety in people. If this form of government is to go through it's more likely to pass if form of government is called a Constitutional Republic and scratch out the titles other than President as well as the mention of the possibility of the Head of State nominating a successor based purely on hereditary reasons. Of course I also have problems with the actual office itself and the powers granted to it and don't really care what we end up calling it as that's just the cover. Still a suggestion.
Next I also have to second the fact that much of this looks more like a political manifesto than a cohesive document setting out how the government will work. This isn't too much of a problem but at the very least I would move the form of government before Article 5. The reason for that choice is it highlights the importance of the Supreme Values (also Supreme Values and Absolute Supreme Values honestly sounds kind of silly) and the Asgardian Mission. The other articles also don't really matter without a government and it can be hard to see how those articles work without knowing how the government itself will work. In addition less politically focused layman will tend to be mostly glossing over the government structures and powers sections which is a bad thing considering that it seems non-participation is grounds for losing citizenship according to this constitution.
Next I need to bring up the point that punishing disrepectful behavior towards the symbols of Asgrdia is in many countries seen as a violation of Freedom of Speech. It'd be better to have a clause allowing peaceful protests as long as the time, place, and manner are appropriate and leave out Article 26 clause 5. Needing to assent to the Document of Unity makes sense as that is what is being made as the core of Asgardia. Needing to show respect through Asgardia's national symbols for what Asgardia will eventually become doesn't.
Next I'd like to address the Royal Council. As far as I can tell its only powers are Appointments and Nominations of certain positions, and investigating and reporting back to the Head of State their findings. If this is all that is intended this should be made more clear. To paraphrase Article 33, "The ... powers ... of the Royal Council of Supreme Values are set by the Consitution and the Law of Asgardia." First of all it is redundant to say that the Consitution sets the powers of the Royal Council since it is the foundation of government. Second the mention of the Law of Asgardia suggests that Parliament or the Ministries or other bodies could change the power of the Royal Council, which body is unclear as it's not easily and clearly stated what constitutes as the Law of Asgardia (as it is the clearest mention is that it is separate from all other Legal Acts in Article 31 clause 2 and those other legal acts essentially cover everything that every branch might create including the decisions of referendum, that who can create lass is left unclear unlike everything else in that clause which specifies where they come from). Third by mentioning both this way seems to suggest a near equivalence of both the Law and the Constitution which undermines the power and purpose of the Consitution. This isn't the only time this phrase shows up and it should be edited or removed entirely.
Also would like to briefly second the adoption of more gender neutral language as while masculine pronouns have traditionally been the formal way of referring to humans in general, it really is a somewhat sexist usage and not really fitting this documents modern origins.
Also what's up with Article 13 Clause 5 with the mention of the "ideal parameters of the moon" what on Earth does that mean? Plus "Gor." Really?
Now to move onto the Head of State. While all of my other suggestions are rather minor things I can overlook, this is the big one that needs to change. While I might be willing to assent to the government in this form, should it ever start actually affecting my life without it changing, that would be the day I would revoke my citizenship status. First of all this position is incredibly powerful. First of all it gives the Head of State near total control over who is on the Royal Council which is why I consider it important to fully know their powers. Next it also gives the Head of State not only the power to nominate people to key positions (including their own successor) which seems fairly reasonable, it then also gives them the power to either appoint or veto candidates of other very key positions. This essentially is saying that the Head of State has a variety of powers to make the government one that they want. Then it also gives them near total control over foreign relations, this power in the least should be a separate office. Next we have its relationship with Parliament which is a very troublesome one. First is the power to call for re-elections which while the clause saying how long people are elected for seems to suggest that the Head of State would be unable to force members of Parliament to run for re-election early, does suggest that the Head of State could effectively prevent Parliament from forming unless the Head of State whishes for Parliament to form. With the addition to dissolve Parliament this essentially means that Parliament can only exist when the Head of State wishes for them to do stuff. Unfortunately, other than a few key powers such as confirming or nominating a few key positions and allowing a state of emergency to be declared, not much expressly requires Parliament to exist in order to be done. The Government (which should probably be renamed to Ministries so as to avoid confusion) essentially does all that Parliaments are generally thought to do. Parliament doesn't even have express control over taxation and levies which means that it's possible a situation of taxation without direct representation could very well occur. That's just asking for trouble. Then there's the fact that the Head of Stare can veto anything Parliament passes with no clause that allows Parliament to overrule the Head of State. Honestly this gives the Head of State as much power as early English monarchs. While I won't always say large amount of power will always be abused, I will also say that it won't ever not be abused. Plus 10-35 years is a long time to abuse that power, and abuse in such ways as to not get in trouble with the consitution. Some suggestions I have would be allow Parliament the power to overrule the veto with a super-majority, make its existence not dependent upon the Head of State wanting it to exist, and separating the power over foreign relations. If it is not intended to let Parliament be the decision maker, simply make it impossible for members of Parliament to introduce bills not originating from outside themselves. Also expressly give them the power over raising taxes and levies. If this doesn't happen that at the very least the Head of State needs to be occupied by two people with short terms, 1-2 years (Roman consul style) with Emergency states allowing a single person to take the office. This rapid turnover should prevent any single person from abusing their power too much and would make them more of a check of last resort rather than the ruler of the government as they currently are.
A few other suggestions would be to clarify the election method of Parliament, the amount of support an Amendment needs in order to be adopted and better enumeration of powers of the branches in general, at the very least to make it easier to read, and at least a temporary age requirement reduction.
As for suggestions that I don't think should affect the Constitution itself necessarilly, but would be nice to have would be first a guarantee of some sort that at first only levies with very clear purposes will be made instead of permanent taxes, until the need for a permanent source of revenue comes. Supposedly Igor has large monetary backing, many of the positions at this stage should likely be volunteer and not have a guaranteed income as there is as of yet no benefit gained by citizens from this government as we essentially have all the protections from our own governments on Earth. This might need to be specified in the Constitution, perhaps as making it that only citizens living in Asgardian territory be subject to permanent taxes instead of incidental levies.
Secondly some sort of document (clearly expressing that it has no legal significance) explaining the ideas and justification of the various parts of the constitution as well as summarizing it so layman who are unused to reading constitutional documents are at least able to get a general idea of the implications of the various articles of the Constitution.
As a side note if you have read all this, my apologies for my verbose analyses of the Constitution and please excuse any spelling mistakes I made. I did my best but spell-check didn't show up for me and I typed all this on an iPhone.