Council approves Law governing Sôgmô’s Succession

The Council has unanimously approved the bill regulating the Sôgmô’s succession, a bill which was submitted by því earlier this session. The law will now regulate the constitutional procedure by which the position of Sôgmô of the State of Sandus succeeds following the death of a reigning monarch. Until now, the Sôgmô’s succession has been a matter of þess private last will and testament; it is now a matter of public law.

This new law establishes:

  • the process of electing an heir
  • a body of five people, the Caucus of the Quinque Interreges, who will create a list of candidates
  • that the Party will select two candidates
  • that the Winter Solstice elections will elect the heir
  • the broad criteria by which candidates will be sought and judged, paying attention to a candidate’s compatibility with the Sandum Philosophy, their political ideology, their character and good faith, and their view on the general administrative responsibilities of the Sôgmô, in addition to others
  • the Office of Heir Elected, as well as the respective functions and powers of that office
  • legatees for cooperatives, authorities and institutions, and honorary orders

Read the new law here.

The most important function of the new law is that it regulates the procedure by which a new heir is elected in the State of Sandus. An heir is elected for a period of five years, though that term can be indefinitely prorogued by the Sôgmô. Every five years, in the December of a year ending in 3 or 8, a new Caucus of Quinque Interreges (five rulers between a king) is established to create a list of desireable candidates who fit the criteria which the caucus and the law specify. By November, the caucus creates a short list of three to five candidates, which will be made public and with appropriate commentary. In November, the Party Congress will convene and will select two candidates who will be the candidates of a general election in December, during the Winter Solstice elections. The first election of an heir is scheduled for 2019, meaning the caucus will meet for the first time in December of this year.

The caucus looks to the following criteria to determine an heir:

  • “The sôgmô-elect must adhere to the Sandum philosophy, must make a statement of faith in the basis of the Sandum philosophy, and must strive to continue to develop the philosophy based on its established foundations; the sôgmô-elect must swear or affirm that það will govern with a view recognising the suffering of this world and the role of a benevolent government, such as þess, to overcome this suffering for the Sandum people and nation and to work within the socialist principles of the State of Sandus and of the Citizens’ Party.”
  • “The sôgmô-elect must decide whether or not to take up the office of Sacer Flamen of the Collegium Sacerdotium. If the sôgmô-elect will take up the office, then það must perform the Tibetan Buddhist and Roman polytheist rites associated with the office; if not, then the triumviri interreges must find a new Sacer Flamen who is a cultor religionis Romanae and a Tibetan Buddhist and who is willing to become a civis citizen of the State of Sandus.”
  • “The sôgmô-elect must become a member of the Citizens’ Party of Sandus and must be a supporter of socialism yet also with a view toward moderation.”
  • “The sôgmô-elect will swear the oath of citizenship and of the office of sôgmô in a simple, candid coronation ceremony, decked in white and assuming the robes of office. The preparations for the ceremony will be þinna [theirs].”
  • “The sôgmô-elect will receive the necessary information to control the administrative functions of the State of Sandus, its websites and public media, et cetera.”

In addition, the caucus considers the candidates’ characters and qualifications for the position.

After an heir is elected, they will occupy a new office: the Office of the Heir Elected. This office has no constitutional powers, except to act as the ceremonial representative of the Sôgmô. The reigning Sôgmô may bestow extraordinary powers on the heir during þess old age and during expedient times. The heir elect may also receive other duties and powers bestowed upon them by the Sôgmô’s will. An heir is automatically eligible for a knighthood, though the heir elect ought to be made the baron or baroness of a substantively entitled barony, such as how the Principality of Wales or the Dauphiny of Viennois are used.

Since the heir is an elected office with a term limit of five years, Sandus could potentially in the future have an heir who will no longer be heir. In the case of heirs sine officio, as the law calls them, they are still entitled to a knighthood, but not to the substantively entitled barony. Disgraced heirs, however, will receive nothing.

In the case of disgraced heirs, the Sôgmô may remove the heir or the heir may be impeached by the Council, and heirs may resign. At times during vacancies of the office of the heir elected, the Sôgmô may appoint a new heir with the approval and consensus of the Party Secretary and the Facilitator of the Council. The appointment must be confirmed by the next appropriate Winter Solstice election.

The law also deals with heirs who are unwilling to take up certain managerial positions the Sôgmô currently has in Sandus, such as over cooperatives, authorities and institutions, and honorific orders. In those cases, the law provides for various arrangements for “legatees,” or people who are delegated to take up the managerial position on the event of a sôgmô’s death. Economic cooperatives will elect a new manager, while non-economic ones can either choose an election procedure or the caucus can elect a new manager. In the case of so-called “royal cooperatives,” a future sôgmô may reclaim the position. The only exception is that honorific orders, like the Most Honourable Order of the Throne of Sandus, must have their sovereign taken up by the heir elect.

Decisions of the First Session of the Council in 2018

The First Session of the Council in the Administrative Year 2018 lasted from 2 January to 31 January 2018.

The Council decided to pass the proposed law on the immigration and citizenship application process.

This was the third month of Facilitator Hatsu Ryuho’s three-month term. A new election will now be called.

Facilitator Hatsu Ryuho

Sôgmô proposes Law on Citizenship, Immigration Process

The Sôgmô has proposed a new law in the Council governing the process by which foreigners become Sandum citizens, though it has no bearing on citizenship in Sandus. The law contains five sections concerning the process, the affirmations of the Sandum Philosophy, citizenship oaths, Sandum officials charged with immigration duties, and removal from citizenship.

The law, if ratified by the Council, would be the first such law to be enacted by the direct democratic assembly of the State of Sandus.

Section 1: Application Process
The first section on the application process makes a few minor changes in terms of forms to the current system and makes a few additions. In terms of changes, this section alters the forms which applicants use to apply for citizenship. Currently, the same form is used for those applying for civis and peregrinus status and another for socius status; under the reformed system, socius and civis applicants would apply through the same form, while those whose terminal citizenship status would be peregrine would file through a separate form. In addition, this law envisions the addition of a French-language form to become a citizen. Finally, the first section also ratifies the process by which applications are received and handled by the Sôgmô’s office and clarifies some grounds by which applications may be rejected.

Section 2: Affirmations of the Sandum Philosophy
To date, all applicants for Sandum citizenship are required to believe in the Sandum Philosophy, the national philosophy of the Sandum nation divided into three categories. This law expands that requirement to include several affirmations which applicants must affirm.

“I affirm that all people suffer in life.”
“I affirm that workers should own the corpus of production in which they labour.”
“I affirm that the public should own the means of production.”
“I affirm the principles of the rights of life and of all public freedoms.”
“I affirm that Sandum society ought to be free, liberal, and tolerant.”
“I affirm the republican constitution of the State of Sandus.”
“I affirm the value of the tripartite Sandum Philosophy.”
“I affirm the political theories of Libera, Realism, and Philia.”

Section 3: Oaths of Citizens
Another ratification of standard practice in Sandus today is the fact that the law now requires a final step to “certify” one’s citizenship: the taking of the oath of citizenship. There are three oaths, based on one’s citizenship status, and the law ratifies the text of the oaths used since July 2016.

Section 4: Sandum Officials Empowered in Immigration
The last two sections of the law concern potentially constitution-altering provisions.

The law expands upon the range of immigration powers with which State functionaries (known in Sandus as chargé(e)s d’affaires) can potentially be invested and empowered by the Sôgmô. While these powers are not significant—they primarily include administrative functions—these powers nevertheless divorce much of the immigration process from the Sôgmô in theory, except for the final decision to approve or reject an application. (Section 1 maintains that this is the Sôgmô’s sole authority.)

Phrased differently, these powers would require a decentralisation of public record-keeping and administration from the Sôgmô to an increased number of State agents.

Section 5: Removal from Citizenship
This section legitimates the process by which citizens may be stripped of their citizenship, an event which has not happened in Sandus since 2011. This section repeats much of the emphasis on wording of “good faith,” “good character,” and “philosophical purpose” discussed in Section 1, and contends that violations of these principles are grounds for expulsion from Sandus.

But this section also establishes a process of appeal for those expelled—appeal, that is, to all three leaders of the constitutional branches and to the Council directly. The ramifications of this would be significant. For the first time, in a judicial manner, a system of appeal would be established and a hierarchy of justice would be founded. This would have important implications for a future Sandum justice system.