As Aenderian election day – the 20th of October, 2018 – draws nearer, Russell Gilzem, former Aenderian Presydent and Democratic presydential candidate, has made a lot of noise about his Reform Act (downloadable PDF), a bill that he says he’ll attempt to pass if he is returned to office as Presydent by the election. Today, Presydent Horatio Eden will announce his Fair Aenderia Plan, his counter-proposal for a new constitutional form of Aenderian government, and which the Daily Micronational has received an advance copy of.
How do they stack up? Firstly, it’s worth looking at their similarities:
1: Both proposals create a tripartite form of government
The Reform Act takes on something of a constitutional role, setting out the new form of government. It sets out three branches of government: the judicial branch, the legislative branch represented by the ALC, and the executive branch headed by the Presydency, in that order. The Fair Aenderia Plan also creates a government of a roughly similar makeup; it establishes a National Court as the primary judicial body, the ALC has the legislature, and the Presydency and subordinate roles in government as the executive.
2: Both proposals make the Presydent subject to removal
The Reform Act requires that the judicial branch vote to remove the Presydent if they’ve committed crimes, while the Fair Aenderia Plan grants this power to the ALC.
3: Both proposals enumerate various civil rights
Both the Reform Act and the Fair Aenderia Plan would protect citizens of Aenderia from discrimination on grounds of sex, gender, and other factors.
4. The executive branch is fully presydentially appointed
Under both systems, the Presydent can unilaterally appoint all members of the executive branch.
5. Neither include clauses pertaining to self-amendment
Neither the Reform Act nor the Fair Aenderia Plan include provisions for self-amendment, though neither also include clauses making them supreme Aenderian law.
The actual functions of these two competing visions of the Aenderian government, however, are very different. First, the Reform Act:
1. The legislature isn’t
The ALC, in former Presydent Gilzem’s telling, is not, in fact, the lawmaking branch at all. Instead, that power goes to the judicial branch, which submits bills they consider legally enforceable to the ALC for final approval. Bills may not originate there, and members of the ALC may not submit legislation directly to its own body. Gilzem has attempted to argue that this is the current form of the government in an effort to have the legislative action removing him from office nullified, but the government has not complied with his interpretation.
2. The Presydent has sweeping powers to appoint the judicial branch
Under the current form of the Reform Act, the Presydent has unilateral power to appoint members of the judicial branch directly with no input. Per the Aenderian News Network, Gilzem has apparently walked this aspect of his plan back, and is quoted as saying “When [members of the court are] nominated by the Presydent, it must go through the citizens (via vote) to decide if this person is someone that they can trust to be a citizen.” No updated version of the Reform Act has been submitted to this effect at press time.
3. The ALC has no power to remove the government
The Reform Act goes to great pains to inform people that the ALC has no power to affect the composition of the government and emphasises that the ALC has no power of impeachment over the Presydency. This is likely to preclude the legislature from removing him again if he retakes power later in October. It can pass bills that “affect” the government, however, though the Reform Act does not clarify what this means.
4. Executive branch members can only be impeached on referral from a peer
The impeachment process can only be commenced by a fellow member of the executive branch. This would make presydential impeachment highly difficult, as a position within the executive branch relies heavily upon the presydent’s continued desire to see them in office.
5. The section on civil rights is incredibly vague
It is unclear whether clause one of the civil rights section (confusingly titled “The 10 Freedoms of Aenderia” when ten freedoms are not listed) protects certain rights or precludes them. The full clause reads as follows:
Any branch of government must not override freedoms by implementing laws
establishing freedoms of religion, press, speech, sexual orientation, political expression,
petition, and assembly that qualifies as fair under Aenderian law.
10 Freedoms, point 1
The Fair Aenderia Plan of Horatio Eden creates a government very similar to the federal government of the United States, with notable exceptions:
1. The legislature is, and has overarching power
The ALC is by far the strongest branch of government in Presydent Eden’s telling. It has absolute power to pass any law it likes – within the parameters of the civil rights also enumerated in his plan – and the Presydent, unlike its US counterpart, may not veto bills it passes. This differs it significantly from the Reform Act, which gives the ALC no powers except to approve or refuse bills passed to it by the judiciary.
2. The judicial branch is vaguely described
The judicial branch, represented in the National Court, is very similar to the US Supreme Court – though includes clauses like “The National Court may only consider cases in terms of the content of the written law”, and “It shall be the responsibility of the National Court to consider government actions and legislation in light of this Plan”. The latter seems like a reference to judicial review.
3. The civil rights section is brief
Presydent Eden includes only seven freedoms in his section on civil rights, including protection from discrimination on various grounds, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press. This places exceedingly few restrictions on what powers the ALC may exercise.
4. The Presydent’s powers are more strictly defined
The Presydent’s powers are enumerated directly, though other clauses infer that this list does not necessarily need to be exhaustive; the ALC can expand or, indeed, contract the list at its own discretion.
Response to the Reform Act have been mixed. Pro-Eden pundits view it as a potential power grab on Gilzem’s part, while Gilzem himself has maintained he is open to amending the bill to make it more fair – and has done, openly walking back comments regarding the judicial branch in his telling.
The Communist Party of Aenderia has apparently backed the plan through its news organ, CPOATV.