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Empire of Ruthenia
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This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Ruthenia


The constitution of the Ruthenian Empire is the sum of laws and principles that make up the body politic of the Empire and considered the fundamental laws of the empire since 3250. It concerns both the relationship between the individual and the state, and the functioning of the legislature, the executive and judiciary. Unlike many other nations, the empire has no single constitutional document. This is sometimes expressed by stating that it has an uncodified or "unwritten" constitution. Much of the Ruthene constitution is embodied in written documents, within statutes, court judgements, works of authority and treaties. The constitution has other unwritten sources, including parliamentary constitutional conventions.

History

The Ruthenia Constitutional Law is essentially a continuation of Parsian Law with Christian influence, however, this is not to doubt its later influence on the western practice of jurisprudence.

The constitution of Ruthenia is considered "unwritten" because is based in imperial resolutions and decrees approved by the customs and the jurisprudence of the national courts, other modern sources are the doctrine and the resolutions of all the courts, some international conventions and patriarchal opinions are allowed as subsidiary.

Ruthenia inherited its main political, cultural and social institutions from Parsia and Kormenia. Similarly, Kormenian law constituted the basis for the Ruthene constitutional system. Of course, over the years these Kormenian codes were adjusted to the current circumstances, and then replaced by new codifications, written in Hellene. However, the influence of Parsian law persisted, and it is obvious in codifications, such as Basilika, which was based on Corpus Juris Civilis. In the 11th century, Michael Psellos prides himself for being acquainted with the Roman legal legacy ("Ἰταλῶν σοφία").

In accordance with the late Parsian constitutional tradition, the main source of law (fons legum) in Ruthenia remains the enactments of the emperors. The latter initiated some major codifications of the Kormenian law, but they also issued their own "new laws", the Novels ("Novellae", "Νεαραὶ").

General Constitutional Principles

Sources

  • Acts of Parliament, are laws (statutes) that have received the approval of Parliament – that is, the Monarch, the The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. On rare occasions, the chamber uses the "Parliament Acts" to pass legislation without the approval of the Monarch. It is unheard of in modern times for the Monarch to refuse to assent to a bill, though the possibility was contemplated. Acts of Parliament are among the most important sources of the constitution. According to the traditional view, Parliament has the ability to legislate however it wishes on any subject it wishes.
  • Treaties do not, on ratification, automatically become incorporated into Ruthene law. Important treaties have been incorporated into domestic law by means of Acts of Parliament.
  • any Ruthene constitutional conventions are ancient in origin, though others date from within living memory. Such conventions, which include the duty of the Monarch to act on the advice of his or her ministers, are not formally enforceable in a court of law; rather, they are primarily observed "because of the political difficulties which arise if they are not."
  • Numerous Imperial interpretations of the sources and the laws

Imperial sovereignty

Imperial sovereignty means that the Emperor is the supreme law-making body: its Acts are the highest source of Ruthene law.

According to the doctrine of imperial sovereignty, the emperor may pass any legislation that it wishes. Historically, "No Act of the emperor can be unconstitutional, for the law of the land knows not the word or the idea." By contrast, in countries with a codified constitution, the legislature is normally forbidden from passing laws that contradict that constitution: constitutional amendments require a special procedure that is more arduous than that for regular laws.

Rule of law

The second core principle of the Ruthene constitution is the rule of law. This is the idea that all laws and government actions conform to principles. These principles include equal application of the law: everyone is equal before the law and no person is above the law, including those in power. Another is no person is punishable in body or goods without a breach of the law, unless there is a clear breach of the law, persons are free to do anything, unless the law says otherwise; thus, no punishment without a clear breach of the law.

Institutions

The Monarch

The Empire is a Imperial Autocracy, declaring that the emperor possessed "supreme sovereign power", and that obedience to his commands was mandated by God himself. It provided for the ruler's prerogatives, while making him personally inviolable. The Basileus possessed an absolute veto over all legislation, legislative initiative on all matters, and the sole prerogative to initiate any revison of the constitution itself. The emperor had charge over Ruthene's administrative and external affairs, and sole power to declare war, make peace and negotiate treaties, as well as the supreme command of the armed forces. The emperor also retained authority over the minting of money, as well as the right to grant pardons and quash judicial proceedings. He appointed and dismissed his ministers at will, and decided the nature and scope of their duties.

Numerous other issues as the guardianship, the succession laws and the oath of allegiance are legislated by the Parliament and the Patriarchate.

Parliament

Parliament is bicameral, with two houses — The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies; the monarch formally forms a third element of Parliament. The chamber of deputies, which unlike the Senate is democratically elected. An Act of Parliament of the Ruthene Empire is primary legislation and Parliament can (and does) alter the Ruthene constitution by passing such Acts.

Executive Branch

The constitution prescribes that the Imperial government is the executive branch of state power and consists of a prime minister (chairman of the Government), deputy prime ministers, and federal ministers and their ministries and departments. Within one week of appointment by the Basileus and approval by the Parliament, the prime minister must submit to the president nominations for all subordinate Government positions, including deputy prime ministers and imperial ministers. The prime minister carries out administration in line with the constitution and laws and imperial decrees. The ministries of the Government, execute credit and monetary policies and defense, foreign policy, and state security functions; ensure the rule of law and respect for human and civil rights; protect property; and take measures against crime.

Parliament

The legislature’s innate checks and balances are reflected in the ability of the Imperial Council to examine and subsequently revise or reject legislation passed by the Parliament. With its bill rejected by the Council, the Parliament in its turn may override the rejection by a two-thirds vote. The legislative branch may check the Imperial power of the Empire through hearing the addresses of the Basileus by both houses of the Assembly, giving approval to the decree of the president on the introduction of martial law and state of emergency, granting consent to the president for the appointment of the chairman of the government, the chairman of the Central Bank, the Prosecutor General, members of the Imperial Court, Supreme Court and more.

Judiciary

The Constitution provides for a Imperial Court, a Supreme Court, a Supreme Court of Arbitration, and for the development of various lower courts. Because the Imperial Court is the only judicial body endowed with the ability to rule on the constitutionality of laws and government acts, it is the most important segment of the judiciary for the purposes of examining the interaction of the other branches. It is worth noting that a proposed bill now under consideration in the Parliament will merge the Supreme Court of Arbitration (and its lower courts) with the Supreme Court.

In contrast, the Constitution withholds several areas of traditional court jurisdiction from the Court and instead gives them to the Basileus. The Basileus is the guarantor of the law and of the civil rights and freedoms of the Ruthene citizenry. The Basileus also assures the coordinated functioning of the organs of government. It appears that the Court only hears intra-governmental disputes when the Basileus refers such disputes to it. Traditionally, the judiciary has been considered the final guarantor of these provisions.

Cabinet and government

The Prime Minister is appointed by the monarch based on who can command support of a majority in the Parliament. the prime minister and the council is approved by the Parliament and the only limitant is the trust of the monarch. the monarch has more flexibility in his or her choice. The monarch appoints and dismisses other ministers on the advice of the prime minister (and such appointments and dismissals occur quite frequently as part of cabinet reshuffles). The prime minister, together with other ministers, form the Government. The Government often includes ministers whose posts are sinecures or ministers with no specific responsibilities (minister without portfolio): such positions may be used by the prime minister as a form of patronage, or to reward officials such as the Chairman of the ruling Party with a governmental salary.

The prime minister and all other ministers take office immediately upon appointment by the monarch. In Ruthenia, unlike many other countries, there is no requirement for a formal vote of approval by the legislature (either of the Government as a whole or of its individual members) before they may assume office.

Orthodox Church

The Orthodox Church is the established church in Ruthenia. The monarch is ex officio Supreme Governor of the Church, and is required by the Act of Settlement 3216 to "join in communion with the Church". As part of the coronation ceremony, the monarch swears an oath to "maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Orthodoxy, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in Ruthenia" before being crowned by the Patriarch.

Parliament retains authority to pass laws regulating the Church. In practice, much of this authority is delegated to the Church's General Synod. The appointment of bishops and archbishops of the Church falls within the royal prerogative. In current practice, the Prime Minister makes the choice from two candidates submitted by a commission of prominent Church members, then passes his choice on to the monarch. The Prime Minister plays this role even though he himself is not required to be a member of the Church or even a Christian.

Unlike many nations in continent, Ruthenia does not directly fund the established church with public money. Instead, the Church relies on donations, land and investments.

Local Government

The Constitution charges the imperial government and its subjects jointly to establish the general principles of state administration and local government organization. Though somewhat vague, this wording is usually interpreted to mean that the regional and imperial state authorities follow one structure of administration, with regional government bodies reproducing the major features of imperial government bodies. The structure of local governments, on the other hand, is determined entirely at the discretion of the population. Thus, both governorate and regional legislation establish only general principles of organization for local self-government, while actual structures may vary among municipalities.


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