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Rihannsu Government Structure

Last Updated Friday June 20, 1997, 10:35 PM EDT

The Rihannsu government is a tightly-run authoritarian tricameral system of checks and balances designed to prevent any one group or individual from monopolizing power for too long a period. Owing its existence to the harsh rule and eventual overthrow of Vriha T'Rehu, the Ruling Queen, the Rihannsu system has worked rather well considering the turbulent history of the Rihannsu people. It is important for all Rihannsu to understand that the seiHehllirh was designed to govern the Two Worlds in isolation, not a rapidly expanding interstellar Empire. Although the seiHehllirh has proven remarkably adaptable and has risen to the challenge, some compromise of the ancient forms has nonetheless been forced upon it.

The second thing to realize is that, although the seiHehllirh was designed to govern the Two Worlds, it was not designed necessarily to govern two united worlds. Through much of our history, various parts of the Two Worlds have frequently been at war with each other. Local governments at that time were much stronger and frequently, representatives in the seiHehllirh would represent districts engaged in armed conflict with each other. In those days, the idea of a unified planetary policy on all but the most important of issues was unthinkable.

For the 1500 years prior to contact with the Federation, the seiHehllirh operated under the conditions described above. It has only been in the last 200 years that our governmental institutions have had to cope with running an interstellar empire. Because of that, our institutions are still undergoing a gradual evolution from the old forms into something more appropriate for the modern challenges of being an interstellar power. This has created a moderate level of uncertainty as the ancient institutions struggle to cope with the new challenges such as interstellar defense, united foreign policy, multi-system government, and greater authority in local government. But these same challenges make this an exciting era and have introduced a new life to our dusty old institutions.

The deihuih is the largest branch of the government, and is itself composed of two houses: the Lower Senate which proposes and passes legislation, and the Upper Senate, which exists strictly to veto legislation. This structure seems to have provided a stable legislative base which prevents the passing of large amounts of revolutionary legislation and promotes stability. Districting for the deihuih is rather complex, a problem which dates back to the origin of the seiHehllirh nearly 1700 years ago.

The deihuih is a descendant of the Grand Council, established shortly after the Landing on the Two Worlds. The Grand Council was a representative body to which each local clan, tribe, or city was to send representatives. When the Grand Council was reformed as the deihuih 100 years later, this unique districting structure remained in effect. While the situation remained tolerable through the planetary history of the deihuih, the settlement of other worlds has put serious strain on it. Districts on newly settled planets are assigned rather haphazardly, coinciding largely with major centers of initial colonization and the political favor of whatever group currently dominates the seiHehllirh.

The procedures for gaining a seat on the deihuih varies from district to district, as well. The most common, however, is through inheritance. Seats are normally held for life and passed down like any other family possession. They may automatically go to the eldest child or perhaps the eldest daughter, or the deceased deihu may be allowed to specify who will inherit her seat in her will. Other districts fill vacant seats through appointment by local officials or by election.

Seats in the deihuih are normally held for life. If a deihu consistently wins the disapproval of his constituents, the normal solution is for them to send him their swords. Eventually, he will either take the hint and commit honorable suicide, or the constituents will get more aggressive in their disapproval. Either way, the situation will resolve itself. Most recipients of such a recall choose to acquiesce, rather than be brought down by a far less honorable assassination.

The actual function of the deihuih is similar to that of legislative branches in governments throughout the galaxy. They propose and pass laws, set budgets, ratify treaties, and scheme and plot against each other.

The third branch of the seiHehllirh is the fvillhaih, the executive and judicial branch. Originally, the fvillhaih consisted of twelve members, one from each continent on the Two Worlds, making it a small executive council. In recent times, it has grown to include one representative from each planet in the Star Empire, in addition to the original twelve. Keep this in mind, as it will be discussed later.

Appointment to the fvillhaih occurs in much the same manner as appointment to the deihuih. That is, hereditary succession most of the time, election or appointment occasionally. As with the deihuih, seats, once attained, are for life. Even the elected fvillhaih cannot be voted out of office. Instead, when a sufficient number of a representative's constituents are dissatisfied with his performance, they will send him their swords. Very rarely is such a suggestion ignored. The fvillhaih combines executive and judicidial functions. They set foreign policy, command the military, lead policy initiatives, appoint judges to courts, and settle constitutional questions and major legal disputes.

Rihannsu have traditionally been wary of absolute rulers. Historians often trace this to a bad early experience the Rihannsu autocracy under T'Rehu. For the purposes of this class, all that's important is that, throughout their history, the Two Worlds have by-and-large been ruled strictly by the seiHehllirh. Although there has been the occasional Empress or Emperor, there were never many and they never lasted for long. The Rihannsu people have never seemed to place a great deal of trust in single rulers.

In the days when Rihannsu society was restricted to the Two Worlds and the fvillhaih consisted of twelve members, this was an eminently workable system. However, the fvillhaih has survived the transition from the Two Worlds to the Star Empire less well than any other institution of the government. A twelve-member executive, while perhaps slightly chaotic, is a reasonable and efficient way to run a government. A thirty-member executive branch remains none of those things except, of course, chaotic. The more the Empire grows, adding a fvillha for every world colonized, the more chaotic this situation becomes.

The solution to this has been the development of the office of daise fvillha. While it is neither a permanent position nor even an official one, the Daise Fvillha, when there is one, is the most powerful single individual in the Empire. So much so, in fact, that when people, both in the Empire and outside it refer to "the Fvillha," it is the daise fvillha whom they mean. In name, the daise fvillha is simply the senior member of the fvillhaih. In practice, he is its leader. Depending on his style, he may be anything from a consensus-builder within the fvillhaih to an almost absolute ruler of the Star Empire.

Because of its unofficial nature, the daise fvillha is a very unstable institution. There is no formal method of succession to the position. The first ones arose shortly after the massive colonial expansion that followed the First Federation War when Imperial policy was plunging into anarchy. Since that time there have been times when the Empire was run by a Daise Fvillha and gaps where it was not.

The first daise fvillhain arose spontaneously. Some have been elected by the fvillhaih itself when a need for someone in that position was seen. More recently, daise fvillhain have taken to appointing their successors. The power of the daise fvillha is normally reserved for affairs which affect the Empire as a whole. This includes major treaties, military operations, colonization programs, and assuring the economic wellbeing of the Empire. More mundane issues have thus far been left to the seiHehllirh.

When the seiHehllirh governed the two worlds and their individual nations, there was no need for a substantial military or diplomatic arm of the government. Planetary defense was, in those days, confined to a small number of automated satellites. The formation of the Star Empire, of course, changed all that. The sudden entry of the Two Worlds into galactic affairs necessitated the creation of unified military, economic, and diplomatic commands and the means to organize and control them. Yet, at the same time, the fvillhaih was growing in size and, consequently, shrinking in efficiency, making unified policy coordination more difficult than ever before, as the daise fvillha was still a thing of the future.

The solution to this problem was the creation of the High Command. The High Command is an advisory body composed of the Legion Commanders of the Galae, the Kiith Mrevhoqq'ghi, and the Tal Shiar. The Khoilmnriir of the Phi'lasasam has also, at times, held a seat in the High Command, sometimes as a full member, sometimes as an associate member.

The High Command is a non-political body which serves to advise the fvillhaih on military, diplomatic, intelligence, and economic affairs. Depending on the current balance of power in the fvillhaih it may report to the fvillhaih as a whole or directly to the daise fvillha if one exists and is sufficiently powerful to arrange this. The High Command has no formal power and can not set or enact policy on its own. Its only function is to advise the government on matters of importance to its members. Of course, in reality, High Command members frequently do a great deal of lobbying for their own ideas and some have had a significant influence on Imperial policy due to their command of large portions of the Rihannsu society.

This discussion has covered the ideal IC form of Rihannsu government. Because TrekMUSE cannot, obviously, simulate an entire Empire composed of billions of beings, these institutions are somewhat modified in how they are practiced in the game. Because TrekMUSE is primarily a military and economic simulation, very little of the civilian government is actually modelled here. The fvillhaih exists only in the person of the daise fvillha, our Director. Although technically this person is the daise fvillha, as described here, he is often referred to simply as the fvillha, since he is the only member of the fvillhaih represented on TrekMUSE. The deihuih, as represented here, is a five member body. Deihuih serve until they leave the MUSE, or reach the rank of riov, when they are replaced by an election in which any Rihannsu below the rank of riov may run and all may vote. The High Command is fully represented.

It should be stressed that, despite not being represented on the MUSE, all of the government institutions discussed here are assumed to too busy dealing with the day-to-day affairs of governing the billions of Rihannsu NPC citizens to take active part in the affairs of the Empire as portrayed on TrekMUSE. However, our governmental system is an important part of our IC background and you should all be familiar with both its practical and ideal IC forms.

On TrekMUSE, the Rihannsu government system differs slightly due to the realities of online play and is set up as follows:

The procedure for passing a decision is a rather simple one compared to the same process in other Empires. Any member of the Senate or Praetorate may propose a bill, which must be posted in a public place and forwarded to the hru'Deihu (Head Senator) of the Lower Senate for initial passage. The hru'Deihu will place the bill on the agenda of the next sitting of the Lower Senate. The Lower Senate then debates and either passes or defeats the bill. If it passes, the bill is forwarded to the hru'Deihu of the Upper Senate, and notice of First Passage is posted. The hru'Deihu of the Upper Senate then places the bill on the agenda of the next sitting of the Upper House.

The Upper House then debates and either passes or defeats the bill. If it passes, the bill is forwarded to the daise fvillha, who either vetoes it immediately or places it on the agenda of the next meeting of the Praetorate and posts notice of Second Passage. The Praetorate will then debate and either pass or defeat the bill. If it passes, the bill is forwarded to the daise fvillha, who either proclaims the bill as law, or vetoes it. If proclaimed, the bill is placed on record. If a bill is defeated by the Upper Senate or Praetorate, the bill is sent back to Lower Senate, which may either amend it and pass it again, or discard it.

A normal citizen of the Empire can get involved in the government of the Empire through one of two methods. First, they can suggest ideas to their hosue representatives in the Rihannsu government. The representatives are there for a reason, so give them your ideas. Second, you could become a Senate member yourself. Your house may want you to become a Senator, and it is an opportunity to participate in the Rihannsu political system.

Graphical Rihannsu Page

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