WNTR 120 - Government of Wintreath
The Government of Wintreath
A Functional Guide

Overview of the Government

The current government of Wintreath came into being on December 1, 2013, when the Fundamental Laws of Wintreath came into effect. The Fundamental Laws is the current Constitution of our region, and replaced the provisional absolute monarch that had governed since the region's founding with the constitutional monarchy that we have today.

Our government is divided into two branches: the monarchy itself, which serves as the Executive of the region, and the Storting, which serves as both the legislative and judicial branch of the government.

The Monarchy (Executive Branch)

Overview of the Monarchy
The Head of the Executive Branch is the the Monarch, who is responsible for running the day-to-day affairs or the region, implementing the laws passed by the Storting, overseeing the region's external affairs, and determining policies related to the region's families and nobility. In order to do this, the Monarch is empowered to make Royal Decrees in any of these areas, which are final and binding immediately upon publication.

The Monarch additionally had the authority to delegate his or her own powers to subordinates and organize the Executive, allowing for the creation of Ministries that are dedicated to specific areas and the appointment of people to staff them. In Wintreath, Ministries are staffed by a Jarl (Minister) which is appointed by the Monarch and a Thane (Deputy Minister) which is appointed by the Jarl. All ministries can request help in fulfilling their projects from the Civil Service, a pool of Citizen-volunteers that work for the ministries.

Selection of the Monarch
The Monarch is unelected and serves for as long as he or she is willing and able. In the event that the reigning Monarch abdicates the position or is unable to continue serving, he or she has the right to select their own heir, who may be styled the Crown Prince/Princess or Archduke/Archduchess, depending on whether the heir is part of the royal family.

The Executive Cabinet and Ministries
The Executive Cabinet of Wintreath is called the Riksråd, and is made up of the Jarls and Thanes of each ministry. The Riksråd allows for coordination between the ministries and also serves as an advisory body to the Monarch. Ministries may also be created or dissolved by the Monarch as needed to best carry out the duties of the Executive and to meet the needs of the region it serves.

The Ministry of Culture works with events and activities in the region, such as games, tournaments, roleplays, and more, and ensures that there are fun things for people in our region to do! They may do this by either creating and running these activities themselves, or helping a Citizen that is interested in starting one. If you're having fun in a regional event or activity, you probably have the Ministry of Culture to thank.

The Ministry of Defense administrates our regional military, currently the Hvitt Riddaral and Skydande Vakt. It is responsible for bringing in new recruits, providing training and getting them ready for military operations, and ensuring that troops are available for operations as they come up. They also determine military policy with approval of the Monarch and are responsible for carrying out that policy.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs ensures that the region is diplomatically active to the regions we have relations with, as well as managing the relations themselves. This may involve creating and sending dispatches to other regions, negotiating treaties, attending conferences and other events the region has been invited to, and pruning relations with regions that have gone inactive or are otherwise not compatible with our foreign policy.

The Ministry of Integration makes sure that our residents and Citizens are getting what they want out of the region, or at least to figure out why they could not so we can improve our region going into the future. It may be responsible for keeping track of what Citizens are active and who has gone inactive, ensuring that Citizens are aware of what they can do and be a part of in the region, and getting feedback on how the region could be improved to the benefit of our residents and Citizens.

The Ministry of World Assembly Affairs handles everything related to the NationStates World Assembly, from making sure WA nations are endorsing the delegate to determining how vote for WA resolutions. The Jarl of World Assembly Affairs doubles as the Delegate of the region, and as such has additional Executive authority to send region-wide telegrams, ban and/or eject nations that are disrupting the region, and update the region page as needed.
The Riksråd in Action
In accordance with Royal Decree 007: Regarding Sunshine Provisions of the Riksråd, Cabinet meetings and discussions from over a year ago are unclassified and are able to be viewed by our Citizens here! This allows Citizens to both understand how the Cabinet works in practice and to see the thinking and discussions that led up to historical regional decisions by the Monarch.

The Storting (Legislature and Judicial Branch)

Overview of the Storting
The Storting is the regional legislature, and is responsible for creating laws and policies for issues that have not been delegated to the Monarch in the Fundamental Laws or other relevant laws. For most legislation to pass the Storting and become law, it must be approved by a majority of both chambers of the Storting. The Storting is also responsible for accepting court cases, and if a case is accepted members of the Storting will serve as judges for the trial.

Makeup of the Storting
The Storting is made up of two chambers: the Underhusen and the Overhusen.

The Underhusen is elected by the Citizens of the region every two months and serves as the voice of the Citizenry. After every election, the Underhusen selects a Speaker who leads the Underhusen during that term and is responsible for ensuring the procedural rules of the chamber are carried out.

The Overhusen is appointed by the Monarch at the conclusion of each Underhusen election and serves for concurrent terms. The Monarch also has the authority to select a Chairman, who serves the same role as the Speaker of the Underhusen and has the additional responsibility of introducing legislation passed by the other chamber.

The Legislative Process
All legislation begins by being introduced in the Underhusen by any of its members. Once introduced, the Underhusen may debate and amend the legislation until there is a motion to vote which is seconded. At this point, the Underhusen votes and if the legislation passes, it's introduced to the Overhusen by its Chairman.

Unlike the Underhusen, the Overhusen has no authority to amend legislation so once introduced it immediately goes to a vote. If the Overhusen passes the legislation it becomes law. If the Overhusen fails to pass the vote, the Underhusen can take one of three actions:

1) Reintroduce the legislation and amend it to address the Overhusen's concerns. This starts the process over again and if passed goes back to the Overhusen.

2) Attempt to override the Overhusen's rejection by a 2/3 supermajority vote. If passed, the legislation becomes law with no further input from the Overhusen.

3) Choose not to reintroduce for amendment or override, effectively allowing the Overhusen's rejection to stand.

The Judicial Process
When a court case is filed, the Storting may either accept or reject the case by a vote of both chambers or choose to ignore the case by not introducing it. If the case is accepted, a member of the Overhusen is selected to preside over the case, and two members of the Underhusen are selected as associate judges. The case then proceeds according to the court rules adopted by the Storting.

The Founder

Overview of the Founder
The founder is the person who created the region in NationStates or the person who possesses the nation used to found the region (The Winter Nomad). While this is not a government position, it is granted its own authorities under the Fundamental Laws, in recognition of the fact that the founder effectively "owns" the region and has full in-game control over the region.

Specifically, the authorities granted to the Founder allow him or her to own,  maintain, secure, and develop the official Wintreath sites, such as the off-site forums or chatroom, to delegate administrative responsibilities to others, and take action to ensure content placed on Wintreath sites does not compromise the security of the site or violate real-world laws and terms of services.

The Founder and the Social Contract
The Founder has the technical ability to take any action within the region due to his or her control over the founder nation and root administrator account on the forums, even actions that would violate or destroy the Fundamental Laws and the government and laws created by it. However, by allowing the adoption of a regional Constitution, our founder has agreed to abide by it, enforce it, and protect it for the good of the region and all within it.

This arrangement is known as the "social contract" between the founder of a region and the people within it, and it is a common arrangement in regions with both founders and regional governments. When a founder reneges on this arrangement once made, it is often called a "founder coup" and can have serious repercussions for both the region and the founder, unless the action is supported by the Citizens of the region.

Selection of the Founder
In the event that the founder abdicates the position or is no longer able to serve, he or she has the right to choose their successor, at which point they will transfer ownership/root admin of all Wintreath properties to the new Founder.