The Empire is a highly theocratic, authority-minded society and a monarchy. However, its government is representative. There is the Supreme Assembly of State - the Imperial parliament - and the head of government, the Arch-Chancellor of State, is an elective position. The Empire has universal sufferage for persons 21 and older.
Political Factions / PartiesEdit
The Imperial political spectrum can be brokwn down into three essential categories - Left, Center and Right, although it should be noted that the Imperials themselves do not use this system of distinction. The Left, in the Empire, supports ideas similar to classical liberalism: a roleback of government control and a higher degree of permissiveness within Imperial society, more openness and tolerance towards foreign beliefs coupled with a generally less aggressive and more limited attitude to the military. Conservsely, the Imperial Right represents a more pro-government, pro-religion and less tolerant stance. The Right generally wants to see an expansion of government power and a higher degree of enforcement for cultural orthodoxy. Rightists are also generally more in support of the military, and some Right factions wish to see aggressive wars of conquests waged against all the Empire's enemies (the Helvetans, in particular). The "Center", which has dominated Imperial politics all throughout the nation's recent history, supports large government economic involvement and a strong social safety net more than the other parties, and is perhaps the most pragmatic and economically-minded area. The "Center" is eptomized and dominated by the Principalist party, which is also the most diverse and encompassing of the parties, in ideological terms.
The Principalists are the largest party in the Supreme Assembly of State, having maintained an absolute plurality of seats for several uninterrupted centuries. Currently, the Principalists control approximately 50% of the Assembly. The Principalists consider themselves to hold most true to the edicts of the Empire's founder, Markus, and oppose attempts from the Right to interprit and legislate the Empire's religious beliefs, or to pass laws extrapolating and building upon the Empire's religious foundational teachings. However, they also oppose the Left's attempts to reduce government involvement in the economy and culture, believing that the Empire should be united by "a diversity of cultures under common principles", hence the party's name. Principalists oppose the aggressive stance of the Right but decry the pacifistic tendancies of the Left. Principalist rule in the Empire has seen a strong curtailing of the nobility's powers and privileges to the point of almost nonexistence - the only social distinction the nobility still enjoys come in the form of family ties, titles and money. The current Arch-Chancellor of State - Karl-Horäs von-und-zu Immerweiss, a member of the Centrist Party - is the first non-Principalist to hold the office in approximately 250 years.
The Principalists enjoy the most widespread and diverse support base in the Empire, but do not strongly command the loyalty of any particular sect of Imperial society. They are not dogmatic enough for the religious fundamentalists, aggressive and conservative enough for the Rightists or permissive enough for the Leftists.
The Centrists, despite their name, are not the most ideologically-center party in the Empire, leaning more toward the Left. The Centrists are not against the Imperial government and do not seek to roll back its powers, but seek a "freeing" up of the Imperial economy - which has several industries, particularly heavy industry, that are completely dominated by the government. Centrists wish to see a curtailing of military spending and seek more diplomatic solutions to international problems. They also want to see the Empire more opening and accepting of foreigners, and wish to see a complete end to the practices of Indentured Servitude. While the Principalists have ended the practices of outright slavery and legal inequality, the Centrists believe the Principalists have not gone far enough and believe that the Empire is becoming a police state. Many Principalists are sympathetic to this aspect of Centrist policy, but disagree with them on economic terms (a notable example of a Centristic Principalist is Marshal André von Massener).
Centrist control of the Imperial State over the last 20 years has seen wide curtailing of government involvement in several economic sectors and an end to the construction of the Empire's eastern border forts (a project begun by the Principalists), many of which have been left unfinished. This has caused a boom in the value of the Imperial Marc, the Empire's currency, but a reduction in employment levels. As such, the Centrists have enjoyed a wide surge in popularity recently - among those not disenfranchised by their policies, at least. But they were elected on promises of ending the brutal bloodshed over the Pribältikan rebellon. Their inability to win the war has handed considerable support back to the Principalists, who in turn have promised a surge to end the war for good. Centrist hopes of breaking the wavering Principalist deadlock in the legislature are no longer looking likely, and the electoral results for the next Assembly are a point of deep contention. The Motto of the Centrists is a quote from Markus: "Bring me the sons and daughters of other lands, bring me those who seek lives of stability, tolerance and peace. Give me your hungry, sick and tired, your abused, your persecuted masses. Give me the offspring of foreign skies. They too are my children, as much as any other."
This phrase is traditionally spoken to all foreigners who enter the Empire, and is engraved in golden plaques on all the Empire's border crossings, bridges and defensive forts - even those at the Helvetan border. The plaques are generally also written in the language of the nation sharing the border, including the Helvetan language.
The Traditionalists are the largest of the Empire's right-leaning political factions and the third-largest over all after the Principalists and Centrists. Traditionalists are more moderate than the other, smaller Rightist groups and frequently caucus (vote with) the Principalists in opposing left-leaning legislation. There is a large degree of overlap between the Traditionalists and Principalists, with the main goals of the Traditionalists revolving around the protection of the status quo, Old Money (noble money) and a firm but not overly aggressive military stance. The Traditionalists are vocal supporters of the war against the Pribältikan rebels as well as the Imperial Church's right to judicial authority, with some of them going so far as to say that criminals should only be tried in Civil Courts once it has been determined that they have not violated any religious laws. Though the Traditionalists have not had a Chancellor in office for the better part of a millenium, they remain a strong counter-balance to left-leaning tendancies among the Principalist majority and play an important mitigating role in the increasingly-reformist atmosphere of Imperial politics.
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