The Empire of Inimicus votes FOR this Act.
"Although the Imperial Government shares in Cllr Granger's view that palliative care and the right to die ought to be well-established principles of any decent nation. This is why His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos recently signed a Decree commuting past prison sentences for doctors who performed assisted suicides, and legalising assisted suicides for all age groups under strict conditions. In that sense, Inimician policy already goes way beyond the scope of this Act, and I'm sure Cllr Granger would applaud His Imperial Majesty for the steps He has taken in this regard.
"Nevertheless, the Empire would not consider telling other administrations, or even encouraging them, to take similar steps. And that is why the Empire cannot support this Act as it stands. Healthcare policy lies at the heart of a nation's culture, society, and government, and cannot be prescribed -- pardon the pun -- from outside. The Imperial Government sees Cllr Granger's good intentions with this Act, and hope she will bring more encouraging proposals to this Council."
Councillor for Inimicus
Former European Councillor Augustus Barrington was stripped of all titles and his knighthood after being suspected of involvement with the attempt on His Imperial Majesty's life last summer
Portus Inimici, 13th July 2021 -- Inimicus's former European Councillor and suspected criminal mastermind Augustus Barrington arrived in Portus Inimici today after nearly six months of extralegal hiding in the Commonwealth of Leagio. Barrington was escorted by Imperial Guard Investigation Unit (IG-IU) officers on a government flight from Tullion to Portus Inimici Military Aerodrome this morning. In a brief press statement following the transfer of Barrington from the jet to a column of armoured vehicles, IG-IU Commander Albert Rosenfield, who led the Inimician delegation in Leagio, commented: "Working in tandem with Leagioan authorities, the Imperial Guard has extracted Augustus Barrington from a hidden location in Leagio, where he was in hiding with senior organised Leagioan criminals. Barrington was detained for an indefinite in line with the Imperial Decree calling for his arrest."
Barrington, whose vigour as European Councillor was matched only by his shrewdness on the National Imperial Council, is expected to stand trial along with his brother, Maximillian de Barrington, and former People's Tribune Glennis Mayfair, as well as Neo-Venetian coupists Dominic Dalfarra, Marco Brookfield, Lando Ambrogio, and Peter Zan. Dalfarra and Brookfield, whose roles in the Neo-Venetian communist regime was salient, were arrested in an Imperial Navy raid in Neo-Venetia City, while Ambrogio and Zan were apprehended by Imperial Special Forces at a military encampment close to the Inimician-Venetian border, not far from where former Imperial Consul Maximillian de Barrington was arrested attempting to cross into revolutionary territory.
The Emperor's prosecutorial team, headed by Imperial Prosecutor Extraordinaire (IPE) Paulus Robinax, pictured below, has been preparing for this grand court case since last summer, when it became apparent His Imperial Majesty had been the victim of an assassination attempt. By Imperial Decree, criminal procedures were delegated from the Provincial judiciary of Terra Rosarum, where the assassination attempt took place, to the Imperial level, and as such this case will be presented directly to the Imperial Crown Court, which the Emperor chairs. Robinax, in a press statement this afternoon, suggested procedures could begin as early as next month: "His Imperial Majesty and the Inimician people expect these criminals to be brought to justice as soon as practical. I have requested the Imperial Crown Court clear its judicial calendar for August and September in preparation for proceedings to begin."
Under Inimician law, appointments of extraordinary prosecutors are reserved to the Emperor; these prosecutors may be given whatever powers and duties defined in the appointment decree. Robinax, who heads a 100-strong legal team housed in the Imperial Palace, was given full investigatory powers on a national level, and was granted the rank of Commander of the Imperial Guard, allowing him to direct investigation units with the purpose of evidence-gathering. Critics on the National Imperial Council, such as Jeff Speller IC, have suggested that Robinax's position is "illegal" and "dictatorial". The Emperor, however, defended His prosecutor in Parliament last month, saying "the Inimician People can have full confidence in the Imperial prosecutorial team."
Until legal procedures start, Augustus Barrington will be detained in the Military Detention Centre in Portus Inimici, renowned for its high security levels. The other suspects are currently in undisclosed locations spread around the Empire, with the government keen to keep them from mingling with one another.
Imperial Prosecutor Extraordinaire Paulus Robinax
"Cllr Falk addresses an important issue, as ever, and she addresses it elegantly, as ever. I agree with her that the current Court system leaves much to be desired, and her proposed reforms address many of the issues I, too, feel are present in the current layout.
The Empire of Inimicus supports the Chief Justice remaining the only elected ECoJ judge. However, the Empire feels their term should match that of the Premier and Internal Affairs Commissioner; this would strike a finer balance between the constant election cycle we have for six positions currently and the increased stability which Cllr Falk clearly aims to achieve. Moreover, a shorter term would give more nations the opportunity to put forward candidates and more justices to build experience as the Union's most senior judge.
I feel that justices which are randomly picked to hear cases should also get the opportunity to refuse to hear that specific case. Moreover, there may be nations which do not wish to submit a justice for selection at all -- this, too, must be honoured in any reform. I would finally propose that justices which have heard a case be eliminated from the selection pool for the following case -- or even, for the remainder of the Chief Justice's term, to give all justices a chance to hear cases. Despite these objections and suggestions, the Empire agrees with Cllr Falk that this would be an effective way of handling court cases.
Allowing for appeals on cases is a procedure the Empire supports wholeheartedly, although I think we must define the selection procedure for these justices of appeal more thoroughly - what are Cllr Falk's thoughts on how these justices are picked? Does the Chief Justice still sit on appeal cases? The Empire suggests the Chief Justice defers to a randomly-selected panel of either three or five justices, who cannot have been involved in the initial case under appeal.
The Empire also supports the creation of the European Prosecutorial Team, but would ask Cllr Falk to give more detail on who would constitute this team and what it would, effectively, do."
Cllr Nicholas Benfield
Empire of Inimicus
Telum, 29th June 2021 -- Inimicus's temporary legislature, the House of Commons, was disbanded a day early today by His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos, who made yet another surprise appearance in the grand House of Commons meeting chamber during the House's morning sitting. The Emperor, citing Nuntius Inimici polling figures which suggest well over half (63%) of Inimicians now suggest Parliament should never again have a say in Inimicus's choice for European Commission, claimed MPs had "overstepped" their "constitutional bounds". The Emperor's announcement follows weeks of infighting among parliamentarians over which one of Inimicus's legislatures, the directly-elected temporary House of Commons, or the permanent part-appointed National Imperial Council, is legally mandated to determine the Empire's votes for European Commission.
The Emperor, whose constitutional power is absolute, albeit bound to constitutional principles, finally decided on a compromise vote, partially maintaining the Commons' wishes, partially concurring with the National Imperial Council. Following the speech in which He set out this choice, People's Movement MPs attempted to file motions calling for the immediate deposition of the Emperor, the quashing of His decision, and the forced resignation of all members of the Imperial Executive. These proposals were met with vigorous backlash from Emperor's Finest MPs, resulting in fillibusters, disordery conduct, and even physical threats made against MPs in the last week of Parliament's sitting.
His Imperial Majesty, upon disbanding the Commons a day before the scheduled end date on 30th June, also referenced how well over 80% of polled Inimicians agree with His compromise decision, and 86% now view Parliament less favourably than before this year's sitting. Artabanos further warned MPs that "a procedural review" will take place to determine whether the House of Commons "can continue in its current shape". Making amendments to the procedures of the Commons would, however, require a Constitutional amendment, which His Imperial Majesty does not have the power to enact Himself.
In other news, the death of Lord Bentlarch of Orbis Terrarum yesterday brings the House of Nobles, the other chamber of the Inimician Parliament, closer to a dysfunctional death. 150 Nobles sit in the Upper House, and all are appointed by the Emperor. Artabanos, however, has refused to appoint any further Nobles since 2014, leaving nearly half of all Noble seats vacant. Rules of procedure in the Upper House dictate that no sitting may commence unless a quorum of over 75 Nobles are present in the Chamber -- in recent weeks, following the rapid deaths of seven Nobles from old age, this has caused increasing difficulty for the Noble Speaker, Frits Steiner, to start any sessions.
In 2014, 142 Nobles formally sat in the House. As of yesterday, 78 remain. With well over twenty Nobles being over 80 years old, it is considered only a matter of time before the House of Nobles dies a quiet death. His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos has been a long-time critic of the House of Nobles, which only has advisory powers, and vowed to stop appointing its members when He acceeded to the Throne. Critics, including Imperial Councillor Jeff Speller, accuse the Emperor of "attemping to subvert democratic order" and "escaping from any and all scrutiny". Nevertheless, Nuntius Inimici polling now shows stronger support for the formal disbanding of the House of Nobles than support for keeping it in place.
"Your Majesty's most faithful and trusted ally, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos of Inimicus, sends His greetings, congratulations, and good wishes on this momentous day. With great fondness, His Imperial Majesty reminisces to the time when Your Majesty made His acquaintance on a state visit last year. He hopes, as does everyone in Inimicus, that Your Majesty's reign be yet longer, yet more prosperous, and yet more intertwined with the lives of all who enjoy the Emperor's Grace."
Imperial Ambassador to the Kingdom of Montenbourg
His Imperial Majesty Emperor Artabanos of Inimicus
Deputy Speaker Burch Opens Parliament
MB: "Order, order. I formally declare this twentieth sitting of the Ninth Parliament of the Empire of Inimicus opened. Honourable members, I have received a request from His Imperial Majesty to address this House. Your Imperial Majesty, welcome. We will move to a vote on whether to grant Your request immediately, provided no member wishes to intervene."
People's Movement Leader Adolf Danube rises
AD: "Mr Speaker, we all know why Artabanos has decided to show his face here today. We know, as democrats, that he has come to quash the vote we made, as democrats, to determine this country's choice for Premier and Internal Affairs Commissioner of the European Union. We know, as democrats, that our democratic rights are but a faint, thin line surrounding the Emperor's set of powers. What, I ask Artabanos, what exactly is our point, if he will not grant us the basic right to represent the Inimician people? I ask him, no, I implore him, to think carefully about his options -- grant the people's choice, Artabanos, or face the consequences."
Several members rise, shouting ensues. Speaker MB calls for order.
H.I.M. ARTABANOS stands. All members sit.
"Mr Deputy Speaker, I require no advice from Mr Danube, whose record of crimes against this democratic legislature is longer even than Augustus Barrington's criminal scroll. Instead, I would offer some advice to him, and to all the other shouty, rowdy troublemakers in this House: behave yourself. The Inimician people expect dignity, control, and proper procedure. You represent no one with your incessant noise.
"Having said that, Mr Deputy Speaker, I requested to speak in this Chamber on exactly the topic Mr Danube suggested. The Empire finds itself at a fork on the path of history. As with any new state -- the Empire celebrating its tenth anniversary only next year -- experience and crisis lays bare issues in the structure of state. A number of years ago, Inimicus recovered from rebellious politicians whose positions had resulted in excessive power being handed to single individuals. More recently, we saw what danger corruption and intrigue, combined with aggressive foreign rogue powers, could pose to proper rule of law and order. We discovered treachery at the heart of government, for which I, and those responsible, face the consequences.
"This week's crisis is one from which we will emerge stronger. As an administration, as an Empire, as a people. Nevertheless, the issue of whether Parliament, the Imperial Council, or both, decides the Empire's votes for Commission is not one to be taken lightly, and not one for which a simple answer exists. I must disappoint you, therefore, that I have not come to a decision about the future of this process just yet. Instead, I intend to review legal arguments with my advisors, consult with politicians from across the spectrum, and perhaps more importantly, listen to the Inimician people, for what course to take with regards to future European elections.
"However, the time for casting the Empire's Commission vote is here, and we must therefore decide what to do in this round of votes. This is not a matter I take lightly. No crucial decision I have made in my capacity as Emperor has been a simple one. Nevertheless, the Inimician People mandated me to represent them at the highest level of government, and the decision of who is granted the Imperial Prerogative is mine, and mine alone. I have, ultimately, decided the following, and My Decree is as follows:
ARTABANOS, of the Centurians, Legatians, Quaestorians, Imperatorians, Rosarians, Praestorians, and Diutians Supreme Emperor; Ruler of all Inimicians, Supreme Autocrat; Defender of the Inimician Faith; Duke of the District of Telum; Commander of the Inimician Armed Forces; Grand Cross in the Imperial Order of Inimicus; Lord of the Supreme Ordene of Icholasen,
-- Having witnessed the conflicting judgements made by Our Loyal Subjects in the Lower House of Our Parliament, and Our National Imperial Council, concerning the election of the Premier Commissioner and Internal Affairs Commissioner of the European Union,
-- Judging that the use of the Imperial Prerogative, and the responsibility for any decision originating therefrom, are Ours and Ours alone,
-- Further intending to resolve the current conflict in a consensual, practical manner, as befits the stature of Our Office and the Inimician People,
-- Determine that the Empire of Inimicus's votes for Premier Commissioner of the European Union shall be as follows:
- Sofie Čikarová
- Jean-Claude Juncker
-- Further determine that the Empire of Inimicus's vote for Internal Affairs Commissioner of the European Union shall be as follows:
- Emma Granger
- Josephine Areai
-- This Decree being Our full and Righteous Judgement, made on the twentieth day of the sixth month, in the eighth year of Our Reign.
Meeting chambers of the House of Commons (left) and the National Imperial Council
Telum, 18th June 2021 -- National Imperial Councillors have determined Inimicus's votes for European Commission. By a large majority, the NIC chose Jean-Claude Juncker for Premier and Emma Granger for Internal Affairs Commissioner. These preferences completely contradict the choices made by the House of Commons last week, whose members cast their ballots for controversial candidates Josephine Areai and Sofie Čikarová. Given that Areai resigned from the Internal Affairs race not too long ago, the Council did not consider her in its voting sessions today, meaning even the likes of Jeff Speller IC, whose position was to vote as the Commons did, could not cast their vote for her.
Nevertheless, the choice of Čikarová vs. Juncker causes an unprecedented constitutional crisis on the Empire level. The Constitution does not document who, or which body, is mandated to determine the Inimician vote for Commission. Custom has dictated that the National Imperial Council votes on candidates, but a House of Commons motion by People's Movement leader Adolf Danube triggered a vote by MPs, who narrowly backed Areai and Čikarová. "Who holds power in Inimicus?", asks political correspondent Colin Husky, "Parliament or the Council? More importantly, perhaps, what is the function of Parliament if it does not hold any power?"
Preliminary polling conducted for Nuntius Inimici suggests a near 50/50 split in popular opinion: 43% support the Council determining Commission votes, with 42% favouring the Council. Additionally, 66% support a consensual vote, where both the Council and Parliament determine Inimicus's vote together. This consensual option has also been raised by several Imperial Councillors, including Jeff Speller and Imperial heavyweight Basil Lawson. His Imperial Majesty, who naturally possesses the Prerogative to end this crisis, has not spoken out on the issue yet, but is expected to do so in due course.