Constitution of Questers
|Constitution of the Questarian Federation|
|Created||16th January-1st August, 1991|
|Ratified||1st August, 1991|
|Date effective||August 1, 1991|
|Author(s)||1st Peoples Conference|
|Purpose||To replace the previous constitution and disestablish the capitalist system|
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The Constitution of the Questarian Federation is the national constitution of Questers. It defines the composition of the government, the powers and roles of governing authorities, the system of laws, the rights and duties of the citizen, and the process by which it can be altered. The Constitution overturned all previously existing statutes, disestablished the Monarchy and the Church, and created a de-jure workers state in which the state ideology is Socialism. Divided into eight Chapters, Chapters One to Five outline the powers and roles of what the Constitution calls the five governing authorities: the legislature, executive, omsbudsman, judiciary, and Communist Party. Chapter Six establishes the system of laws and courts, Chapter Seven codifies a socialist system, and Chapter Eight identifies and lists the rights and duties of citizens. A short preamble declares the country to be a Socialist state and briefly considers the previous system of law. Only the Preamble and Chapters Seven and Eight are entrenched.
The Constitution was signed into force by the 1st Peoples Conference, a meeting between the Questarian Communist Party and the Trades Union Congress. The Conference took place in Jesselton during the Questarian Revolution, shortly after the abdication of King Stephen IV. Both groups sent one hundred delegates to collectively write the document, although the text itself was mostly produced by the Communist Party's Central Committee under direction from the Conference. At final ratification on 1st August, 1991, 43 delegates abstained and the remaining 157 signed. 1st August is now celebrated as Constitution Day in Questers. The Questarian Constitution is now the longest-lasting Socialist constitution in the world and regarded as a working example of Sorelism-Powellism.
In the preamble, Constitution mandates that Peoples Conferences are held every two years by the Party and the Congress, in which the Constitution may altered and in which political positions are adopted. Since the Constitution grants the Peoples Conference to power to alter it in any way, there is some argument among legal scholars over which document is superior. However, in practice, the Constitution, interpreted by the Court of Establishment, is the supreme law of the land.
The Constitution was intentionally written in plain English, with the authors paying special attention to use simple words and constructions where possible. Most of the population was poorly educated in 1991, and the authors intended to write a document which could be read and understood easily and clearly.
The Questarian people have thrown off their chains. Answering their just demand to build a better world, the Communist Party and the Congress of Trades Union come together to write a document to make Questers a workers state.
Firstly, all men and all women are made equal, and no man may take for himself that which belongs to all.
Secondly, the Questarian people are not ruled by any King or any Church, and all acts passed by them are made unlawful by this document.
Thirdly, there shall be a Peoples Conference of the Party and Congress every two years, where this document may be changed.
Finally, the Questarian people will labour, always and everywhere, to help the working people of all countries gain their freedom.
Chapter One defines the Congress of the Trades Unions as the country's legislature. Any trade union which wants to be represented must be allowed to join, in proportion to its total membership, so long as the delegates to that union are democratically chosen at the workplace and are subject to recall. The Delegates to the Congress may pass laws by simple majority. The Chapter briefly details procedures, such as quorum rules and a minimum debate time for laws. Chapter One allows the TUC to make any law which does not violate the Constitution.
Chapter One explains the procedure in which the Congress chooses the Cabinet of Ministers and in which it drafts economic plans and sets budgets. The Constitution gives the TUC the right to set budgets and organise, direct, and command the economy. Chapter One also includes the selection of the President of the Trades Union Congress and the various Committees. In 1999 the Constitution was amended to require delegates to spend more than three quarters of the year in session and allowed the President to hold members in session if a quorum would otherwise be lost.
Chapter Two describes the Cabinet of Ministers, but does not specify which Ministers should lead what ministries and how many there should be, leaving this to the Trades Union Congress to decide. Chapter Two charges the Cabinet of Ministers with day to day administration of the country and the direction of the civil service and executive agencies. Although the Constitution does not say how many people have to be in the Cabinet or when they have to attend, or even whether there is a quorum, it does say that all decisions must be made collectively. Chapter Two allows the Cabinet to choose a Prime Minister to lead the Cabinet, although it does not grant him more powers than an ordinary minister; in practice, the Trades Union Congress has granted the PM more and more powers over time.
The Constitution mandates that the Cabinet may recommend members for succession or replacement. The Congress may select another member instead, if two thirds of the Congress delegates approve: otherwise, the Cabinet's recommendation is carried. Cabinet members may resign or be fired by the Prime Minister. The Congress may dismiss any member of then Cabinet by simple majority in a process known as dismissal.
The Constitution allows for the appointment of a public advocate, presently called the Peoples Special Advocate. The public advocate can be removed only by unanimous approval of the College of Justice, who select a successor. The public advocate may not resign although in practice when the public advocate wants to leave his post, the College will dismiss him. The public advocate has unlimited powers to issue warrants and subpoenas, other than when the Constitutional Court decides it would endanger national security. The public advocate may hire special counsel to assist him and may draft legal or police officials in his investigations. The Constitution orders the police, militia, and armed forces to assist the public advocate in executing his duties, if he requests it. For the time of an investigation, a special warrant issued by the public advocate has even stronger legal primacy than statute law.
The public advocate is limited by the Constitution to investigating the following common law crimes: general misfeasance, perverting the course of justice, misappropriation of public property, and accepting a bribe. Although ordinary civil police can also investigate these crimes, the public advocate decides sentencing on successful convictions. Sentences can vastly exceed what they do in the regular courts; between 1991 and 1999 the public advocate hanged 425 public officials for accepting a bribe, which is not a capital offence in the regular courts.
Chapter Four focuses on the College of Justice, the supreme court of Questers, and delineates it into three parts; the Court of Sessions (criminal), the Court of Agreements (civil) and the Court of Establishments (constitutional). Three Supreme Justices sit on each court; in turn those Justices appoint a Justice-General who appoints inferior judges to the judiciary. The Constitution grants positions on the College of Justice for life. Appointments are made by majority agreement of all the Supreme Justices and the Justice-General. In respect to the Constitution, the Court of Establishments has the power to interpret whether a law or decision is constitutional or not, and they may not be overturned by the Trades Union Congress, although the Constitution may be altered every two years.
Chapter Five prohibits any other political party than the Questarian Communist Party. It grants the Party's Central Committee the power to appoint civil servants and manage the machinery of government. In practice it allows the Party strong influence over public servants.
Chapter Six describes the legal system. It begins by stating that all statute law, decrees, and ecclesiastical law which preceded the revolution is null and void. In the interim period, Questers reverted therefore mostly to the common law, a system of customary law in which judges decisions are binding on other judges (stare decisis). Although under the Constitution, the common law is inferior to Acts of Law passed by the Congress, most of the Congress's attention is on planning the economy, so judges have very wide influence on the legal system. There is no penal code, as the system is entirely uncodified. The Constitution asserts respect for the rule of law, disallowing public officials to interfere with the operation of the courts. Chapter Six is not entrenched, so the right to trial by jury is included in Chapter Eight.
Chapter Six divides the law into three parts, with three different court systems; criminal law, civil law such as torts like defamation, and property law. The latter court is newly established; the Constitution provides the property law courts the powers to decide what constitutes private property, which is outlawed and personal property, which is not. There are no penalties for possession of private property, but either public or community authorities may seize property declared as private by the courts. The Constitution encourages "revolutionary" judicial activism but condemns "counter-revolutionary" activism; it allows higher courts to negate the rulings of lower courts based on "counter-revolutionary activism."
Chapter Seven makes Questers formally a socialist state. It legally outlaws private property and gives state agencies the right to confiscate it. The Chapter redefines local authorities, creating County governments and Metropolitan governments responsible for administration of county services and the provision of funds to the basic local authority, the Commune. It grants citizens the right to form Communes. Additionally, the Chapter mandates common ownership; it allows for workers to own their enterprises, or for communal service enterprises to be collectively owned by the Commune. The Chapter is entrenched, so that these rules may not be altered, although it makes exceptions for state agencies. As a result of Chapter Seven the Questarian economy consists almost entirely of government corporations, worker cooperatives, and social enterprises. Chapter Seven outlaws taxation.
Chapter Eight defines rights and duties, and lists those available to the citizen. The final part of the Chapter entrenches Chapters Seven, Eight, and the Preamble. The Questarian constitution generally grants economic, social and cultural rights, with the only civil right being trial by jury and the right to bear arms.
- Right to shelter, food and water, education, and healthcare.
- Right to trial by peers.
- Right to economic participation in terms of both work and trade union membership.
- Right to participation in community and culture and local government.
- Right to bear arms.
- Duty to work.
- Duty to serve when called.
- Duty to co-operate in national emergency.
- Duty to go to the aid of another in an emergency.
- Duty to promote brotherhood.