April 5th, 2015
Easter Sunday in the Imperial Palace, Telum
"Ahh, there you are, friend. It's great to see you! How're you doing!?"
The tall yet apparently malnourished man was seated in what seemed like the most comfortable chair he had sat in for months, and, letting go a slight sigh of comfort, began: "Ta, Artie. It's good to be back. What've you been up to since your party started? I haven't heard much, you know, you'll probably understand."
"Oh, yeah, I'll tell you all about it. First, can I pour you your usual?"
"Ooh, I haven't had a glass in ages. Please, yeah."
From a clear crystal bottle, Emperor Artabanos filled his guest's glass with a transparent mixture of sharply-smelling liquor. Artabanos's friend was clearly elated, to the pleasure of His Majesty. As Emperor, he had awaited this moment with great anticipation for nearly a year now; when he was first elected Emperor in May 2014, he had immediately started planning for the events which were about to unfold. First, the elimination of the Cabinet; then, gaining the undoubted support of the people - in theory, of course, Artabanos doubted he would have gained a majority in the first round of last September's alternative vote election without proper support of his friends at the Inimician Voting Agency. The people which put him in his position of power in the first place, and who he would always fight for. He just knew the Inimician system as it stands is not the way the people are served best. The elimination of the traditional unlear Inimician Cabinet, the abolition of the mutli-party House of Commons which had always reduced government efficiency, having a transparent new Cabinet with capable and loyal Ministers who shared His goals 'elected', and now the final part of his reforms, would all contribute to a safer, more prosperous, more influential and happier Inimicus.
Whilst explaining all of this to his long lost friend, Artabanos noticed how much his guest had changed since he last saw him, before he had to hide in October 2013. From the shining, slightly fat man he had been before his forced hiding, he had turned into a bone-thin dreary individual, which was something that truly upset the Emperor. Seeing wonderful personalities get put down because of the apparent determinism of this world was something he could not bear, particulary because of his belief in free will and the spirit of 'all will be well'. His friend did not seem to believe in these values anymore, contrary to how Artabanos knew him before his captivity. "Oh well", he thought, "I'm here to bring him back. He'll be his own happy self within no time."
"And that's how we ended up sitting in this room together, mate", Artabanos concluded, "We've experienced such a journey. The nasty chapter has ended, the glorious chapter is about to begin. You know I'm terribly sorry about what happened to you, but I couldn't really help it."
"Oh, don't be. You know I made a conscious decision to do this", Artabanos's guest said, already having emptied his glass and temptingly glancing at the bottle now and then, "Part of the plan, eh?"
"Part of the plan."
Silence. Awkward silence. "Anyway", the Emperor's guest began after a few seconds, "How are we going to do all this? Will the people understand? It's not something usual, obviously."
April 10th 2015
Inimician House of Nobles
[[not strictly IC secret - parliament broadcast is public]]
"And that is why standing Orders should be suspended, my Noble friends. I am confident His Imperial Majesty will understand."
Fools. Every single one of them. There were times when Emperor Artabanos regretted His decision to reinstate this old custom, but He had had to in order to please the people. Various news reporters and influential talkshow hosts had called for a parliamentary body to keep the Emperor to account, so Artabanos had conceded the reinstitution of the Nobles' Chamber of Parliament. 'Oh well', He thought as He looked to the ceiling above his Nobles Throne, one of two Thrones in Parliament, the other being in the Central Lobby, used for State Openings, 'It's a fancy building, anyway. 'T would've been a shame if it were still empty. Moreover, it's giving these old women and men something to vent their moans in.' And indeed it did. Lord Strathfield had just called for a suspension of Standing Orders as he had been refused leave by the First Noble of the House to move a motion on keeping the Emperor's power in check. Obviously the First Noble was one of Artabanos's chums, he would not dare give such an important position to someone from the Centre-Conservative Union or, heavens forbid, the Inimician People's Front. No, First Noble Hugh Allister was a great United Green Front Noble, and always ready to support Artabanos.
"Therefore, I would like to ask His Majesty to express to us why He --", Strathfield continued, but was cut off by the Noble Speaker, Frits Steiner: "Before I allow the Noble Friend to continue, I would like to stress that he ought to use proper terminology. Our Emperor should be addressed with His Imperial Majesty."
Artabanos smirked slightly, but remembered He could not laugh too hard. Strathfield was one of few Nobles who could cause serious trouble for his plans. Plans which would ultimately benefit the Nobles, too. The people as a whole would be completely rid of all this untransparent political wishwash, these constant lies and backdoor deals. "Well, my Noble Friends, the matter at hand is very simple", Artabanos said has he stood up. A recent custom had been instituted by the First Noble, that all Nobles have to stand up when the Emperor rises to his feet, "By the way, please sit. Anyway, do you want an inconsistent political structure that takes months, no, years to come to material decisions, or do you want one strong leader with a full, absolute majority mandate who is able to make swift and effective decisions? I think all sensible politicians would want the latter, and that is why I will use my constitutional right to overrule my Noble Friend Lord Strathfield's motion, should Standing Orders be suspended and the motion agreed to."
Before He could continue, a raucous noise erupted from the chamber. The wall-mounted cameras all pointed at Artabanos, who could not resist sighing and closing his eyes in frustration. He could not care about the reactions the critical press - for as far as there was still critical press in Inimicus -, He would be able to coax the people into believing him anyway, and the country better for it. If all His plans worked out, every Inimician with a yearly income of under 365,000 Poives would be 5,000 better off on a yearly basis, 10,000 per year for incomes under 50,000. A fifth of their wealth added. A fifth. That is what Artabanos wanted to achieve, but these fools only wanted to hold Him back. Of course, He would be better off Himself, too, but that was only fair, since He was pretty much the Inimician people's saviour. More food for thought as He sat back on His Throne.
Inimician House of Commons
May 8th 2015
"Court of Audit?"
"Check. Nicola's in control there. Revenues and expenditures are covered-up."
"Council of State?"
"Check. John Marr is in charge of the Advisory Body, Jenna has the Law-making Body."
"As you know, James has that position."
"I don't have the names exactly, Your Maj, but it's under Your control."
"Great, great. Now all we need is the Speakership', Emperor Artabanos said, whispering, to Prime Minister Speller. The two officials were attending a House debate on extending the European Cannabis Act to full legalisation of soft drugs, but actually just used the occassion to have a good chat about the country's future. All major governmental bodies were now under the Emperor's full control, except for the Commons speaker. However, that was soon about to change, as Artabanos was planning to put His long-lost friend into that position right after this debate. He was getting tired of waiting: whether or not Parliament agreed, He would either manipulate the results or overrule the House in favour of full soft drug legalisation. Finally a good initiative from Europe. Plus, He could openly support the Abolition of Capital Punishment Act while still forging death certificates, taking out the poisonous people in government and in society alike, so the people of Inimicus could finally be free and prosperous.
"And that is why I and the IPF are wholly opposed to this stupid Act, and will do everything in our power to stop it. Thank you."
Finally, the moaning was over. The Centre-conservative Union and the Inimician People's Front were both opposed to the extension of the Act, with some of the Inimician Liberal Appeal's MPs joining them. As the smallest party, the IPF spoke last in Parliament, and everyone was bored by the time they got done, including Artabanos, who had been plainly discussing how to get rid of the IPF with His Prime Minister. Before the IPF spokesperson returned to his seat, however, five well-built men entered the chamber and presented sidearms at MPs. From the podium the spokesperson announced: "We are taking over the government. Remain calm. No one need be hurt. Except one person in this Chamber."
Gasps of shock and horror filled the Chamber and the public galleries as MPs, the Cabinet and Artabanos were faced with firearm barrels pointed at them. They raised their hands in innocence, but some MPs attempted to flee the the chamber. They were stopped by the armed men. The IPF MPs were seemingly confused as Imperial Guard officers formed up outside the Chamber in combat formations. "The Inimician People's Front is taking over." Artabanos was shocked.
Everything was going according to plan.
Inimician House of Commons
May 8th 2015
Lots of firearms, lots of screaming, lots of noise. The House of Commons in complete disarray. Inimician People's Front rebels, trying to take over the government. The cameras which usually filmed the proceedings had been shut down, their image replaced with a video of Adolf Danube, the IPF leader, reading out a speech. It was a scenario Artabanos had actually feared during the early, slightly unstable days of his reign, and now, it had become reality. No one expected this. The Inimician People's Front had always been viewed by everyone - including Artabanos - as a small band of national-socialist anti-semits who booed along the sideline. Now, however, Artabanos was going to lose either his power or his life; for him, the choice was easy. He had never seen himself as much of a hero, but he would never abdicate, especially not to see his regime replaced by an IPF dictatorship. No, they would not take him. He was going to die, the IPF was going to take over, and Inimicus would have to swallow it.
Or so everyone thought.
The slightest hint of a wink. Artabanos exchanging glances with Danube. A slight smirk on the Emperor?s face. Doors opening. Smoke grenades were thrown into the Chamber, causing chaos within the IPF ranks. Artabanos?s great moment had begun. He quickly grasped for the sidearm he had hidden in his suit as he saw several shapes coming towards him through the fog. Hundreds of Imperial Guardsmen stormed the Chamber, and Artabanos saw a clean chance to get rid of some of his opponents. He was not going to do any real fighting himself, of course. He was Emperor, he had people to do dirty stuff for him. He crawled to an exit, pushing the Prime Minister in front of him ? who, as Artabanos noticed, had a fancy bottom ? and after getting her to safety, he turned to a small brigade of Imperial Guardsmen.
?Get the IPF members?, he ordered.
Those loyal soldiers. The cries of the seventeen fascists were not even audible amidst the shots and shouts.
When the smoke cleared, the IPF presence in the Chamber was gone. Artabanos stood up, and felt a stinging pain in his left arm. His hand came back bloody when he rubbed the painful spot. Because of the incredible situation he did not fathom immediately that he had been shot. He was standing in the middle of the room, in his own box ? to which he had apparently returned during the event ? with a sidearm in his hand and a bullet in his arm, and thought: ?Yes. They will carry me on their own hands.?
Inimician House of Commons
June 12th 2015
In the first Commons sitting with the new seventeen MPs present, the House was packed with people. Everyone who had the right to sit in the Chamber was in their seat, and the public galleries were black with spectators. Artabanos had been forced to come, although he was about to set the next stage of his power plans in motion, so he didn?t particularly mind. This was actually one of the few Commons meetings he didn?t find boring: he could meet the new MPs and hear what they had to say ? although those affiliated to the main parties didn?t have much new to state ? only to criticise those ideas in his mind, and sometimes in his speech. He was, by custom, invited to hold a long speech detailing what he thought of the new Parliament ? or in this case, the new MPs ? which was his favourite speech of the year. This time, however, he would use the opportunity to lay out his new plans for the future of his reign. Parliament had become obnoxious and useless: he would be able to make much more quick and efficient decisions to determine the future of Inimicus and ensure the well-being of the people if he had personal control of the entire government, aided, perhaps, by a farce of democratically-elected advisors. The Commons were under his control anyway, so they did not have to meet anymore, or at least not very often.
?Then I would now like to invite His Imperial Majesty, our Emperor Artabanos, to deliver his statement?, the Deputy Speaker announced, which reminded Artabanos that he still had to put a new Speaker in place.
As was customary, the Imperial Inimician Anthem was played before Artabanos started. ?Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, and thank you to you, Honourable Members, for allowing me to speak in your midst. I am glad the by-election we had two days ago has proceeded smoothly and efficiently, true testimony of what the Inimician nation, its people, and its representatives, can perform. However, it is this efficiency about which I am concerned. Recently, we have seen many examples of continuous slacking, rigorous declaration of expenses, and filibustering in order to delay procedure, all in this House of Commons?
A shock seemed to go through the House as Artabanos saw some MPs looking rather guiltily at some colleagues, although others just had a I-know-I?m-guilty-but-I-have-to-keep-a-straight-face-look in their eyes. The radical Centre-Conservative Union wing leader, meanwhile, had a radish-red complexion on his face. Artabanos gave him a quick look before continuing: ?As a matter of fact, honourable ? or rather, not-so-honourable ? members, I have here a list detailing enormous fraud committed by you, my dear parliamentarians, with the second home nomination rules, with subsidising property development, with food claims of over a thousand guilders a month, and with income tax.
?This is not just something that concerns you, it is also something that concerns your Speaker. Perhaps it is also because of this that he resigned not long ago, not just the heinous attack on My Imperial Person. My friends ? or is that term appropriate? ? I am going to take draconian action against this. I know this is supposed to be a day of celebration and welcoming of new members, but I have been in deliberation with my friends in the Cabinet, and we think it is best to relinquish you all of your duties. Not today, however, not today.
Cries of disgust and outrage filled the Chamber and the public galleries. ?I would like to ask the spectators on the galleries above us to remain quiet, it is not permitted for them to show any sign of political affiliation?, the Deputy Speaker announced.
A radical CCU?er stood up when the raucous had calmed down and spoke: ?Your Holy Majesty, with all due respect.... I think this is a blatant attack on our democracy and You should not be allowed to follow through with it.?
?Oh but I won?t unless I get your approval. Surely you think the people would trust you more if you took responsibility for your expenses fraud and may refrain from lynching you if you dishonourably resigned?, Artabanos countered, followed by some approving voices from the chamber. ?Well then, let?s put it to the vote?, the United Green Front Leader said, ?But this is a constitutional change and will require a two-thirds majority.?
?Maybe the Honourable Lady would allow me to finish first?, Artabanos replied and continued his speech: ?As I was saying, this list contains a huge amount of details as to which MPs committed this scandalous fraud, how much they owe me, the state, and how those confronted with their crimes have kept denying them. I will send these papers to each and every one of you so you will know I am not deceiving you.
?So, what do I think should be the appropriate measures to take? Well, since the list also contains data from long ago, even from Parliaments dating back to the Old Republic, I would want to disband the House of Commons and not have it return for an entire year. If the amendments I am proposing are carried through the House, the Commons will meet for one month every year, and no more. The Parliament will be newly elected every time it sits, and will be composed of 150 constituency members, and 200 proportionally-elected ones. That would mean that you have until July 12th, i.e. the usual summer recess, to deliberate your shame and guilt.
?In order to protect the democratic legitimacy of this country, I will allow the House of Nobles ? in a new composition ? to remain in service. I will also keep attending the Nobles every week, as usual. Moreover, I will instate a National Imperial Council, consisting of my Ministers, two advisors hand-picked by myself, two delegates from every province, and one from the generality, who will be elected by Alternative Vote. This Council will make legislation, and with majority approval, execute it. I intend to form this Council within a month?s time. The Council will also take over every duty Parliament currently has during the time Parliament is not sitting. Therefore, the constitution will be amended to say ?Act of the National Imperial Council? besides ?Imperial Decree? and ?Act of Parliament?.
?Moreover, the following amendments shall be made:
- Article XVIII, section 2: The two Houses of Parliament The National Imperial Council shall meet to consider and decide upon a Bill for granting such consent [for contracting Imperial marriage] in joint session.
- Article XXIX, section 2: The Bill for this purpose shall be presented by or on behalf of the Emperor. The two Houses of Parliament The National Imperial Council shall consider and decide upon the matter in joint session. Such a Bill shall be passed only if at least two thirds of the votes cast are in favour.
- Article XXX: 1. A successor to the Throne may be appointed by Act of Parliament National Imperial Council if it appears that there will otherwise be no successor. The Bill shall be presented by or on behalf of the Emperor. upon which the Houses shall be dissolved. The newly convened Houses shall discuss and decide upon the matter in joint session. Such a Bill shall be passed only if at least two-thirds of the votes cast are in favour.
2. The Houses shall be dissolved if there is no candidate on the death or abdication of the Emperor. The newly convened Houses shall meet in joint session within four months of the decease or abdication in order to decide on the appointment of an Emperor. They may appoint a successor only if at least two-thirds of the votes cast are in favour.
- Article XXXII: Upon assuming the Imperial prerogative the Emperor shall be sworn in and inaugurated as soon as possible in the Imperial City, Patricio, at a public and joint session of the two Houses of Parliament. The Emperor shall swear or promise allegiance to the Constitution and that he will faithfully discharge his duties. Specific rules shall be laid down by Act of Parliament National Imperial Council.
- Article XXXIV: A joint session of Parliament A session of the National Imperial Council is needed to amend the system of Imperial succession described in the Articles above. A two thirds majority is required for any Bill or Amendment to be passed.
- Article XXXV: replace ?Houses of Parliament? with ?National Imperial Council? and all context associated therewith.
- Article XXXVI: The Emperor may temporarily relinquish the exercise of the Imperial prerogative and resume the exercise thereof pursuant to Act of Parliament National Imperial Council. The relevant Bill shall be presented by or on behalf of the Emperor. The two Houses of Parliament The National Imperial Council shall consider and decide upon the matter in joint session.
- Article XXXVII: 2. The Regent shall be appointed by Act of Parliament National Imperial Council. The two Houses of Parliament The National Imperial Council shall consider and decide upon the matter in joint session.
3. The Regent shall swear or promise allegiance to the Constitution and that he will faithfully discharge his duties before the two Houses of Parliament National Imperial Council meeting in joint session. Rules regarding the office of Regent shall be made by Act of Parliament National Imperial Council, which may contain provisions for succession and replacement. The two Houses of Parliament shall consider and decide upon the matter in joint session.
- Chapter III: Parliament: all detailed amendments shall be presented to you well in time before voting begins.
- Chapter IV: Council of State, Court of Audit, National Ombudsman, and other permanent advisory bodies: this chapter shall be scrapped and its regulations henceforth set up by the National Imperial Council
- Chapter V: Legislation and administration: this chapter shall be scrapped and its regulations henceforth set up by the National Imperial Council
- Chapter VI: The administration of Justice: in accordance with the separation of powers, this Chapter shall remain unchanged except for nominal amendments
- Chapter VII: Provinces, municipalities, water boards, and other public bodies: this chapter shall be scrapped and its regulations henceforth set up by the National Imperial Council.
- Articles will be added to regulate the National Imperial Council.?Honourable Members, this is all I have to say for now. I will send you the details before the vote, which I would like to see scheduled tomorrow. I hope you will support my in my cleansing of the Inimician democracy. Thank you.?
This was all Artabanos needed to say. He had to list some of the formalities, but his message was clear and safe. He was more than certain a two-thirds majority of the House would support him. ?Hehe, they?re voting themselves down?, he thought as he retired from the House, leaving the MPs discussing and shouting amongst each other. Another step in the empowerment of himself, and the further development of the Inimician people?s well-being and wealth.
House of Commons
June 13th 2015, Special Saturday sitting
?I would like to move that His Imperial Majesty?s proposals, duly explained and distributed throughout this House, be accepted and ratified?, the United Green Front Leader of the Commons moved. This was a vital moment for Emperor Artabanos, who was sitting behind his own Commons lectern. ?If they decide to vote against me, or if there is no two-thirds majority, I?m screwed...?, he wrote on a piece of paper, which would probably go on a heap of hundreds of papers stacked in his private quarters,, ?Oh, who am I kidding. Of course they?ll vote for me. This is why Parliament became a farce in the first place.?
The Deputy Speaker began (again reminding Artabanos he still needed to have the House ?elect? a Speaker): ?As many as are of that opinion, say YEA?. A raucous of ?YEAs? passed through the Chamber. ?On the contrary, NAY?. A disturbingly loud NAY noise filled the House. ?Roll call vote! I call the clerk.? All these formalities were making Artabanos sick. This was another reason why he wanted to get rid of these bureaucrats: the foolish formalities which they would never let go. It had no use to abolish them, because MPs were not going to dismiss them anyway. The clerk began calling out all the names of all the three hundred-and-fifty MPs. Since this was a constitutional change, Artabanos needed a two thirds majority to pass his proposal. He kept track on a second piece of paper, probably another one which would end up on the large stash. Yea, yea, yea, nay, nay, yea. ?Why do we even use these bloody old-fashioned words??, he scribbled next to his counting. Nay, nay, nay, yea, yea. Was it going the right way? Surely it was, Artabanos had been able to ?convince? most MPs of his cause.
Forgiving some MPs? expenses, for example, had been a most effective way of turning them to the light. This way, Artabanos had been able to convince even some Centre-Conservative Front radicals to vote for him, testifying how corrupt Parliament was. Nay, yea, yea, nay. Fifty-fifty so far, but the United Green Front still had to be counted. As he counted, Artabanos contemplated what he was going to do if he was defeated. Adjourn parliament himself? Wouldn?t that be frowned upon by the international community? Although, he was elected democratically himself, so he could justify everything. Moreover, the provincial election in Terra Praestoris, where the Support for Artabanos party had gained a single majority in a proportionally-elected assembly, proved the people were behind him.
The roll call concluded and the clerk stood up to speak: ?The result of the roll call is as follows....
?The Yeas, two-hundred-and-seventy-six;
?The Nays, seventy-four.?
She did some quick calculating before continuing: ?This means that, err, seventy-eight point nine percent of Members have voted in favour of the motion. The motion is therefore passed by a margin of twelve point nine percent, or forty-five votes.?
Even though Artabanos was sure he was going to win the vote, a sense of relief still filled his body when he saw the results on his paper and heard them read. He had accomplished what he had wanted to do for ages, since he was elected as Emperor.
?I would like to invite His Holy Majesty to make a short statement as to the consequences of today?s vote.?
Artabanos took a sip of espresso, and rose to his lectern: ?Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am glad this House has taken responsibility for its actions and scandalous conduct. You will now have another month to deliberate over the consequences of your vote and behaviour, and decide upon a new date for next year?s parliamentary election to take place. In the meantime, I will assemble and organise the election of my National Imperial Council. Two delegates appointed by myself, one elected by the newly-instated Generality, two by every Terra, and the entire Cabinet, counting up to twenty members. Our decisions shall be made efficiently and quickly, whilst maintaining the democratic legitimacy this nation has fought so hard to achieve. Thank you.?
Raucous applause. Their own democracy, destroyed by MPs themselves.