The present Constitution of Calaré originated during the negotiations to end the Civil War. At the time, it was accepted by all parties that Calaré would begin to pursue a path towards independence. Negotiators from the four-party talks developed a number of different constitutional models that could be presented to the people through a series of rolling plebiscites. The outcome of these early negotiations was an acceptance that form of government similar to what existed in Australia at the time was the most suitable model to be put forward to the people. This was attached to the Treaty of Singapore ratification referendum and provided that a convention would assemble in Duvall within a year to draft a constitution.
This assembly has become known as the first Constitutional Convention. The convention met for a month between the 6th February and the 9th March 2001 and drew up much of the Constitution as it now stands. The constitution provided for a strong executive, with the King playing a direct role in the administration of the state through his chairing of the Executive Council. There was a unicameral Parliament, consisting only of the House of Assembly. The provisions relating to the judiciary and counties that we know today were also drawn up at this time.
In 2007, after six years of independence, the second Constitutional Convention was assembled to make some small changes to the Constitution. This convention expressly recommended that an occasional deliberative body be established to debate constitutional changes, and to formally elect a new monarch when they ascend to the Throne. The second Constitutional Convention in 2007 also recommended the inclusion of provision to automatically repeal expended provisions after a period of five years. Attempts by republicans to abolish the monarchy were rejected.
Preamble - The introductory paragraph of the constitution is known as the Preamble. The Preamble neither grants any powers nor inhibits any actions; it only explains the rationale behind the Constitution, stating that the people, humble to Almighty God and loyal subjects of the King, do declare themselves to be an independent nation.
Chapter I - The first chapter deals with the nation of Calaré and the various symbols of nationhood. Part one deals with the right to self determination, the territory of the Republic, the grant of citizenship to all Calaré upon independence and the status of English as the national language. The second part deals with the national symbols, including the flag, coat of arms, great seal and the royal regalia.
Chapter II - The second article outlines the powers of the Crown and the Executive Council. Divided into three parts, the first part makes provision for the eligibility to ascend to the Throne, as well listing the powers of the Crown in relation to the Executive Council. Provision is also made for remuneration to be made to the King through the Privy Budget. Part two deals with composition and appointment of Ministers of State. Part three deals with the appointment of civil servants, which is devolved to the Parliament.
Chapter III - The power of the Parliament is laid out in the third article, which states that legislative power is vested in the King, the Seanad and the Dáil Calaréann. The Powers and qualifications for membership of house are defined, as are the collective powers of the Parliament as a whole. Much of the second article is based upon the now former Australian Constitution of 1900, and include provisions such as the double dissolution election and the parliamentary nexus.
Chapter IV - The Judiciary is dealt with in the fourth chapter. The article requires that there be one court called the High Court; Parliament, at its discretion, can create lower courts, whose judgements and orders may be reviewed by the High Court. The chapter also enshrines the right to trial by jury in all cases in the country where the offence was committed.
Chapter V - The fifth article ties up many of the loose ends in the constitution, and deals with many miscellaneous provisions. The provisions include taxation and debt, transitional provisions, local government, altering the constitution, the seat of government, and expended provisions. Parts one and two were part of the original constitution. Parts three, four and five were added by referendum after the constitutional convention of 2007 . Part six was added in 2009, after a referendum held in the previous year.
Schedule - The constitution concludes with a schedule outlining the oath of allegiance and the oath of office that must be taken by all figures serving any institution it has created. Any person serving as a public official or civil servant must take one or both oaths before assuming the position to which they have been appointed.
Interpretation & ChangeEdit
The power to interpret the constitution rests solely with the High Court, as specified by Chapter III. Since independence, the court has built up a body of law, known as Calaréann constitutional law, which forms the bedrock of all legal decisions taken by the court.
Changing the constitution is a step process. First, both Houses of Parliament must approve for a convocation of a constitutional convention to assemble and within the narrow terms of reference set by Parliament, decide on what changes are to be proposed. The convention shall then frame a question which is put to the people by means of a referendum, which requires a 'double majority' of a majority of electors in a majority of the counties to be carried.
Calaré, in the tradition of all Westminister democracies, operates with a number of unwritten rules and conventions. These conventions exist only due to tradition, symbolism and their support by all sides of politics, and can be changed by mutual agreement by all parties. They have no force in law, and cannot be contested in court if a convention is breached. Some of the major conventions include:
- The Monarch will grant royal assent to any bill passed by parliament
- The Monarch will not participate in the political process unless there is an extreme circumstance that merits the use of reserve powers
- The Monarch will not make partisan speeches or state partisan opinions
- One-quarter of members of the Cabinet shall be members of the Senate
- All Cabinet members shall be members of the Executive Council.
- All executive decisions are taken by a formal meeting of the Executive Council
- A loss of supply requires either the resignation of the Prime Minister or a parliamentary dissolution;
- The Senate will not deny supply to the government unless that are extreme and compelling reasons for doing so;
- The children of peers who hold a courtesy title shall not seek election to the Dáil Calaréann
- During a General Election, no major party shall put up an opponent against a Speaker of the Dáil Calaréann seeking re-election.