The local government bodies of the Imperium of Barrayar are a set of bodies, rules, models and traditions which vary widely across the Empire, according to tradition, organic evolution and different ways of establishment. However, despite this, there is a common model where the Imperial Authority has not any pre-existing limit, that is to say in the Southern Continent as well as on Sergyar. In other places, i.e. Northern Continent and Komarr, the Imperial Authority is variously modulated, according needs and traditions.
The planet of Barrayar for purposes of administration consists of 124 Districts, 280 Regions and a number of municipalities. All these subdivisions, alongside with central government, constitute the planetary government.
The subdivisions of the imperial state is administrative in nature: the political power is held by the central government and by the whole Empire. Municipalities, Regions and Districts are a sequence of levels of government, according to a hierarchical system.
The planetary administrative system of Barrayar, is divided into the following levels:
- 124 Districts, of whom
- 60 Northern Districts, each ruled by a District Count with a different subdivision
- 64 Southern Districts, which are subdivided into 280 Regions
- Regions are in turn divided into 36,569 municipalities
- 3 Special Urban Communities (Vorbarr Sultana, Black Reach City, Neurussland)
The planet of Barrayar is composed of two major continents. The Northern Continent is subdivided into 60 Districts, each ruled by a Count, who sits in the Council of Counts. Southern Continent is formally a personal property of the Emperor: although it is also divided into 64 Districts, its system and legal status is quite different.
Apart of the rest, there are orbital installations, as well as mining installations or scientific facilities.
Northern Continent Edit
In Northern Continent, a District is an area of the Empire of Barrayar that shares sovereignty with the Imperium central government. Since the reign of Dorca Vorbarra, there are sixty Northern Districts. A Barrayaran subject is a citizen of both the imperial entity and of his District of domicile. District domicile and residence is flexible and few government approvals are required to move between Districts.
The Barrayaran legal system allocates certain powers to the central government and places some limitations on the District governments. The tasks of public security, public education, public health, transportation, and infrastructure are primarily district responsibilities, although some of these have significant imperial funding and regulation as well.
The District Count is the sole and ultimate ruler of his District. Each Count runs his District on his own, and Districts' organisation and operations are not the same across the continent, although some common models can be found, such as the granting of charters to major cities.
District governments are power originating from the relevant Counts and from the Emperor through their individual legal systems. The general tendency has been toward centralization and incorporation, with the Imperial government playing a much larger role than it once did. For example, the Imperial government, which includes the Council of Counts, can regulate monorail traffic across District borders, but it may also regulate monorail traffic solely within a District, based on the theory that wholly intra-district traffic can still have an impact on inter-district communications. Northern Districts may be divided into further territorial levels, which may be assigned some local authority but are not sovereign; the administrative structure varies widely by District.
Local Count's Justice is also run by and for the District Count, who exercises it either by Count's Voices and by Count's Courts. District Counts are free to organize their individual governments any way they like, so long as they conform to the sole requirement of the Empire general legal custom that they are the ultimate rulers. In practice, each District has adopted a similar system of government generally along similar lines as that of the Imperial government. District Counts can also organize their judicial systems differently from the Imperial judiciary, as long as they protect the duty to procedural due process. Most have a trial level court, an appellate court and a Cassation Court, as well as a Count's Voice system.
Districts are required to give at least faith and credit to the acts of each other's bodies, which is generally held to include the recognition of legal contracts and criminal judgements. Other legal acts are often recognized District-to-district according to the common practice of comity. A District must extradite people located there who have fled serious District charges, if the other District so demands. Districts may also enter into agreements between two or more Districts. Such agreements are frequently used to manage a shared resource, such as transportation infrastructure or water rights.
Open method of coordination Edit
The open method of coordination is a means of governance in the Northern Continent, based on the voluntary cooperation of its Districts. The open method of coordination is a light but structured way Northern Districts use to cooperate at continental/planetary level. This method helps to build consensus on solutions and their practical implementation.
The open method rests on mechanisms such as guidelines and indicators, benchmarking and sharing of best practice. This means that there are no official sanctions for laggards. Rather, the method's effectiveness relies on a form of peer pressure and naming and shaming, as no participating District wants to be seen as the worst in a given policy area; of course, if it is deemed that a policy is not in the interests of his District, each Count may exit from the policy coordination or by the method altogether.
The open method of coordination works in stages. Firstly, a board made up by participating District Counts (or their representatives) or in some cases the Council of Counts agrees on broad policy goals. Secondly, participating Districts then transpose guidelines into internal policies. Thirdly, specific benchmarks and indicators to measure best practice are agreed upon. Finally, results are monitored and evaluated. However, the open method of coordination differs significantly across the various policy areas to which it has been applied. It is a decentralised approach through which agreed policies are largely implemented by the participating Districts and supervised by the board or the Council of Counts. The Government of the Empire has primarily a monitoring role; in practice, however, there is considerable scope for it to help set the policy agenda and (albeit to a lesser extent) persuade reluctant participating Districts to implement agreed policies. Under the open method of coordination, experts from District governments meet 6 to 8 times over 18 months to exchange good practice and produce policy manuals or tool-kits.
The actual method of coordination are based principally on jointly identifying and defining objectives to be achieved, jointly established measuring instruments and benchmarking, i.e. comparison of the Member States' performance and exchange of best practices (monitored by the Government of the Empire).
The Government of the Empire is responsible for organising the coordination processes, hosting most of its meetings, reimbursing travel expenses, and supporting participating Districts with research and studies. The Government does not chair coordination meetings or decide who participates; it is the responsibility of District governments to designate the members of each group, who elect their own chair at the first meeting. The group decides if and how to involve additional experts. The Government of the Empire also produces reports on the implementation of the processes.
Extra-planetary settlements, installations and facilities Edit
Within the Barrayaran boundary there are several orbital bases and stations, as well as installations of varying nature and origin, built on the two moons, on uninhabited planets or established in the void. Among these space stations there are the civilian jumpstations at the ends of the wormholes towards Komarr. Each of them has its own administration structure.
Lagrangian Stations Edit
Barrayar has two moons. This determines the presence of several Lagrangian points, which are used to house several void objects, especially of military/surveillance use.
The Lagrangian points are the five positions in an orbital configuration where a small object affected only by gravity can theoretically be part of a constant-shape pattern with two larger objects. In contrast to the collinear Lagrangian points, the triangular points (LSBP4 and LSBP5, i.e. Sun-Barrayaran Lagrangian Barrayaran Point 4 and 5) are stable equilibria. When a body at these points is perturbed, it moves away from the point, but the factor opposite of that which is increased or decreased by the perturbation (either gravity or angular momentum-induced speed) will also increase or decrease, bending the object's path into a stable, kidney-bean-shaped orbit around the point. In the Barrayaran-Moons cases, the problem of stability is greatly complicated by the appreciable sun gravitational influence.
Lagrangian Stations is the collective name for the two massive space stations built on the LSBP4 and LSBP5 equilibrium points in the orbit of the Barrayaran star-planet system. While there are several other planetary bodies within the star system of Barrayar, none of them has inhabited Lagrangian points.
The Xav Vorbarra Station (LSBP4) and the Ezar Vorbarra Station (LSBP5) were conceived, proposed and built between late 2970s and early 2980s. They house, respectively, 152,500 and 185,000 inhabitants, mostly but not only immigrants and high-technology industries workers. They also house military-related civilian activities for the near His Majesty's Space Stations. As space stations, both settlements practice rigorous sanitary screening.
The administration of the two Lagrangian stations, due to the important stakes hold by the military complex, is entrusted to the Inter-ministerial Regulatory Committee for Administration and Management of Lagrangian Stations. The committee consists of the Ministry of War, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of the West, and it is the ultimate administrative body for what concerns the ordinary governance.
Below the Inter-ministerial Committee in each Station there is the Station Governor, appointed by the Emperor on non-binding suggestion of the Inter-ministerial Committee; however, no civilian has been appointed until the present date (3003 A.D.). The Station Governor has large regulatory and management powers, his functions being constrained only by the settlement nature and features: he directs the rescue and police activities, although he is not the local commander of such bodies, enacts ordinances and regulations, presides over the local Barrayaran courts and chairs the Station Commission for the Order and Security. Real day-to-day powers, however, are those of administrative police, focusing mostly on biocontrol, health, prevention, environmental and quarantine policies.
The Governor is assisted by a complex of offices, bureaus and other bureaucratic bodies, and by the Consultative Board, composed of representatives of industries and of inhabitants. In turn, industries delegations are composed of both shareholders and workers representatives, ensuring a degree of corporatism. The Board has mere consultative powers, although can reject a regulation bill (but not ordinance ones), forcing the Governor to submit rejected bill to the Inter-ministerial Committee.
Within the Stations there are some autonomous sectors, entirely managed by specific bodies: the Quays, which fall under the exclusive competence of the respective Quays Departments, and the Power Generator, which is managed only by the relevant Engineering and Power Authority.
Security and law enforcement in each Station are ensured by a Security Commission which ensures the co-ordination of activities in a such compartmented space and is composed by the Presidents of Barrayaran Station Criminal and Civil Courts of First Instance, of the Imperial Criminal and Civil Station Courts of First Instance, the Police Senior Councillor in charge of the local Imperial Police Force, the Captain of the Imperial Security, the Imperial Loyalty Chief Commissioner in charge for the Special Corps of Gendarmes and the Liaison Captain of the Service Security.
Xav Vorbarra Station Edit
The Xav Vorbarra Station is located on the Lagrangian Point LSBP4, next to the military Serg Vorbarra His Majesty's Space Stations; it serves as a hub for entry space traffic directed to Barrayar and as a industrial centre for experimental and high-technology industries, as well as to space traffic-related service providing, with 152,500 inhabitants. The Xav Vorbarra Station is also inhabited by 22,300 foreigners, making it the second most populous foreign community within the Barrayar star system after Vorbarr Sultana, while the remaining inhabitants are further subdivided: 100,400 Barrayarans and 29,800 Komarrans, although all are subject to the Barrayaran jurisdiction. The Station was established as a separate administrative entity in 2984, when Brigadier General (retired) Ivan Tochev was appointed first Governor; previously, the various offices were directed from Vorbarr Sultana by the Delegated Senior Councillor of the Ministry of the West, the last one being Ivan Tochev himself.
Ministry of the West Edit
The Ministry of the West is in charge of overseeing Barrayar's South Continent, which is in the planet's western hemisphere (henceforth the name), as well as of overseeing Sergyar and Komarr. The Ministry tasks and duties include the overall management of the Southern local government, the co-ordination and facilitation of terraforming efforts, the direct management of the terraforming efforts on the Southern Continent, and the overall supervision (but not management) of the Komarran and Sergyaran Viceroyalties. Broadly speaking, the Ministry is responsible for the management and conservation of Imperial land and natural resources. The Ministry is administered by the Minister of the West, who is a member of the Council of Ministers.
The Ministry is centrally organized along three main Departments, which deal with various issues of the support of local authorities:
- Department of Territorial Affairs: it is the main operational arm of the Ministry, and it performs functions relating to general administration and planning, including support of the tasks of government in the territory, guarantee the regular functioning of the elected organs, Directorate General of local finance, supervising the registry.
- Department of Protection of Oceans and Atmosphere: it is the executive-scientific department focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere. The Department is the counterpart of both Territorial Affairs and Land Management Departments, and supports the usage of oceans and atmosphere, charts seas and skies, guides the protection of ocean resources, and conducts scientific research.
- Department of Public Lands Management and Terraforming: the Department is the executive department which administers Southern Continent public lands. Therefore the Department is in charge of distributing accessible public lands as well as coordinating both private and public terraforming efforts on the Southern Continent; it is also tasked with supporting Northern Continent counterparts.
Southern Continent Edit
The Southern Continent is divided into 64 administrative Districts, 62 of which are on mainland, and two of which are archipelagos. Each District is further subdivided into Regions, ranging in number from 3 to 5 per District. The Imperial system of local government gives two broad aspects for the various heads of local government bodies: on one hand, they are representatives of their communities and are charged with limited, corporative and non-democratic self-government functions; on the other hand, they are representatives of the Empire, of the Imperial Crown, of the Emperor and of the person of Emperor Serg Vorbarra, and therefore are empowered with the duty of exercise the sovereign functions, i.e. mainly collecting Imperial taxes and revenues, ensuring instruction, guaranteeing the public order and security and giving execution to all Government policies. While responsible to the Ministry of the West for general duties, governors and other local government heads are dependent on the Ministry of Interior for public order and security duties.
Imperial Lands Distribution Committee Edit
The Imperial Lands Distribution Committee is a body that oversees the assignment of Southern Continent lots. The Committee, being a body of the Ministry of the West, Department of Colonization Affairs, has a Continent-wide jurisdiction, and consists of several sub-Committees, at both District and Region level. Both the Imperial Committee and sub-layers consist of a Bailiff and four Provosts.
All Bailiffs are appointed by the Emperor, upon proposal of the Minister, while Provosts are appointed directly by the Minister himself.
Southern Districts EditThe Southern Continent is divided into 64 administrative Districts, 62 of which are on mainland, and two of which are islands. Each District is further subdivided into Regions, ranging in number from 3 to 5 per District.
Southern Districts lack full separate legislative authority and therefore they cannot write their own statutory law; each District is administered under laws passed by the Government of the Empire.. They levy their own taxes and, in return, receive a decreasing part of their budget from the central government, which gives them a portion of the taxes it levies.
Districts have considerable discretionary power over infrastructural spending, e.g., education, public transit, universities and research, and assistance to business owners. Local services of the State administration are traditionally organised at District level, where the District High Sheriff represents the Government. Since Barrayar is an unitary state, there is little true political power and weight that Districts actually hold. The District seat of government is called the Capital City and is generally a city of some importance, roughly at the geographical centre of the district. Each District is administered by a General Council, an assembly appointed for ten years by the Prime Minister or, in his absence, by the Minister of the West, with the District High Sheriff, who represents the Government in each District and serve as its local chief executive: he often is a retired military officer and is appointed by the Emperor. The District High Sheriff is assisted by one or more Aldermen (which are appointed by the High Sheriff himself) and by Regional Sheriffs.
District High Sheriff Edit
In the Southern Districts, the title High Sheriff refers to the chief executive of each Districts, appointed to represent the central government and to carry out the local governance. The Lieutenant High Sheriff, who ranks as a Regional Sheriff and an Alderman, succeeds to High Sheriff office vacated by the removals from office, the deaths, or the resignations of the previous governors or serves as unofficial acting High Sheriff in case the incumbent High Sheriff is disabled; Lieutenant High Sheriffs also serve as presiding officers of the General Council.
District Governments have some powers, each District managing to a certain point internal government. The High Sheriff heads the executive branch in each District and has considerable control over government budgeting, the power of appointment of many of the District officials, and a patronage role in legislation and regulation. The High Sheriff is directly appointed by the Government of the Empire. High Sheriff can veto local bills, as well as the power of the line-item veto on appropriations bills. The High Sheriff's veto can be overridden by the Minister of the West upon a formal request (passed with a two-thirds majority) made by the General Council. The High Sheriff also has an official residence, which also is a seat of government.
The Lieutenant High Sheriff is the highest District official after the High Sheriff, standing in for that officer when the High Sheriff is absent from or temporarily incapacitated. In the event an High Sheriff dies, resigns or is removed from office, the lieutenant High Sheriff typically takes his post until the new appointment. The High Sheriff and the Lieutenant High Sheriff are appointed together. The Lieutenant High Sheriff is also the presiding officer of the General Council of the District.
General Council Edit
The General Council is a regulation-making assembly, established in order to provide the District High Sheriff of a stakeholders' say. The assembly members (referred to as Councillors) are appointed for ten years by the Prime Minister or, in his absence, by the Minister of the West; the appointment follows the election since the 2991 Local Government Act. General Council's powers are somewhat extended: it can draw and approve local bills, raise some forms of local taxes, formulate the appropriation bill and approves the local budget, although the High Sheriff can override the Council by vetoing individual appropriations.
The General Council is composed of indirectly-elected representatives of several types of local bodies; at least a Councillor for each Region (appointed by the Regional Sheriff), one for trade unions and one for entrepreneurs' unions, one to three Councillors for each District University network, one to two Councillors for Imperial Schools (both public and private) and one Councillor for the District capital city. In addition, according to the District population size, there may be from 5 to 15 Councillors elected by the government bodies of Arrondissements and Municipalities, as well as up to three Councillors elected exclusively from the Local Rural Communities governance bodies.
Public Security Edit
The High Sheriff is the District Authority of Public Security. He has overall responsibility for law and order and public security in the District, oversees the implementation of the directives issued in this regard and ensures unity of direction and coordination.
For these purposes, the High Sheriff must be promptly informed by the Director of Public Security and the District Commander of the Special Corps of Gendarmes, however, have a bearing on how much of your order and public safety in the province. The High Sheriff has the public force at his disposal and directs their activities.
In the administrative division of Barrayar, the Region is the second of the three levels of government below the national level, between the District and the Municipality. Regions may be further subdivided into mandments and sub-mandments; the latter two have no autonomy and are used only for the organisation of public services.
Regions are administered by an appointed Regional Junta and their Regional Sheriff, whose main areas of responsibility include the management of a number of social and welfare allowances, of junior high school buildings and technical staff, of local roads and school and rural buses, and a contribution to municipal infrastructures. Both Junta and Sheriff are appointed by the Prime Minister or, in his absence, by the Minister of Interior; however, there is also an indirectly elected Regional Council, which is charged to pass the most important regulation bills.
Imperial Service colonization Edit
In order to spread loyal citizens-subjects, since the 2980s the Government has established several Government-backed, subsided and supported colonization settlements in the Southern Continent (especially the southernmost Districts and zones). These peculiar settlements are under a specific discipline. The goal of secure colonization is achieved through colons drawn from honourable retirees-peasants, who act both as colonists and as militiamen presiding the new lands in the cases of insurgency. These soldiers are unofficially but carefully selected to be fanatics of the principle of "blood and soil". Within each Settlement Area (corresponding in surface to an individual District), 36 to 40 smaller "Settlement Points" are also established, as well as a number of "settlement strings", being the basic element of colonization.
The population of the Settlement Points points is to be circa 20-30% former career military. In the central zone of the of the point there is an urban centre of c. 15-20,000 inhabitants (organized as a Middle Town Municipality, known also as Organized Middle Town), which is to be surrounded by closely located outposts villages in a 5–10 km radius. Villages have to secure the control of all communication nodes. The Settlement Point is administered as a Region, and usually the Regional Sheriff is a retired senior officer. Villages surrounding the Organized Middle Town constitute an individual Arrondissements and may choose freely the landowning form.
The settlement strings are to be located along major routes. These are connected by a major highway, along the track of which the aforementioned urban centres are built, roughly every 100 kilometres. Settlement strings compose the backbone of several Arrondissements. This colonization effort is organized under the "National Service Program" aimed to combine military service and establishment of new agricultural settlements. The "National Service Program" is divided into several parts:
- The military period (the regular 20 years, shortened to 15);
- The settlement mission period;
- Routine security measures;
During the regular military period, future settlers serve together in individual military formations. Usually, settler groups are sorted in order to get a multi-purpose community: engineers, pioneers, clerical work, construction troops, but also combat specializations. As part of their service, the members of the same group are entitled to serve in the same task forces, and to hold regular group meetings. At the end of their military service, members return for half a year of routine security measures activities. The initial settlement mission period lasts a year or a year and half, in which the group performs the establishment of new settlements and expansion of the existing Imperial Service rural communities. After the starting phase, the settler are discharged from active duty and live and garrison their assigned area. They are also provided of their personal weapons, and (limitedly to settlements in unstable areas) some unit weapons.
Arrondissements and Municipalities Edit
The Regions are further divided into Arrondissiments and Autonomous Municipalities, governed according to two different systems.
While the municipality is the lowest level of administrative division in the Southern Continent, this system applies to urban centres of a certain size. Each of the municipalities possesses a Municipal Commissioner and a Municipal Council who jointly manage the municipality from the city hall; Municipality government has varying powers, composition and procedure, according the varying size of the municipality. Apart few exceptions, Municipal Commissioners are appointed by the District High Sheriff with the consent of General Council, while the Municipal Council is appointed by Regional Sheriff. The Imperial Law makes allowances for the vast differences in Autonomous municipality size in a number of areas of administrative law.
In the Southern Continent, a Municipality is an urban centre which is independent from Arrondissements and therefore it is subordinated only to the Region or, in case of a District Capital City, only to the District. Municipalities governance, government and powers vary according their size, being grouped within three classes. As a general rule, all three classes have some limited form of administrative participation. The appointed head of Municipalities is the Portreeve. Municipalities are long-time settled urban centres which serve as Arrondissement hubs; typically each Municipality serves as a hub for two or three Arrondissements. Municipalities are classed into three categories:
- Country Towns, recently separated from Arrondissements, where factories and educational facilities have started to appear; Country Towns have 7 to 12 Municipal Councillors, and the Municipal government is renewed every 3 years.
- Small Towns, with a industrial borough, a separate area of high-class housing, as well as a complete secondary education set; in some cases there are also university/tertiary education facilities. Small Towns have 13 to 18 Municipal Councillors, and the Municipal government is renewed every 4 years.
- Middle Towns, with defined industrial, educational commercial and various types of residential area. Usually Regional and District Capitals are at least Middle towns. Major Middle towns are also university seats. Middle Towns have at least 19 Municipal Councillors (the maximum number depending on the population size) and the Municipal government is renewed every 5 to 7 years (the term too depending on the population size).
Rural Arrondissements Edit
Rural areas are framed under the arrondissement system, which have an organic democracy governance system. Rural areas are also featured by a mixed type of property: the Local Rural Communities enjoy of a communal property of land and production instruments, while ordinary villages are based on private property.
The Arrondissement administrative bodies consist of a Arrondissement Representative Committee and of a Arrondissement Executive Board, appointed by the District High Sheriff and chaired by the Arrondissement Reeve. The Committee consists, in turn, of five classes of members:
- Vor proprietors, who sit in person;
- Delegates of the small independent landowners;
- Commissioners of the Arrondissements Municipalities (i.e. Arrondissement Capital towns, ordinary land ownership);
- Heads of Local Rural Communities (small settled centres, special land ownership);
- Heads of Villages (i.e. small settled centres, ordinary land ownership).
The Arrondissiments are given large powers in relation to the incidence of taxation and such questions as education, medical relief, public welfare, food supply, and road maintenance in their localities. The Arrondissement are however subordinated to the Regional Sheriffs, whose consent is necessary for major decisions. They also have powers of discipline over the members.
The chief sources of Arrondissement revenue are rates on lands, forests, country dwellings, factories, mines and other real estate.
From a social point of view, the Arrondissement system is based on three main social classes: Vors and independent landowners, peasants of the Local Rural Communities and townsmen; the latter class provides essentially technicians and expertise (each Arrondissement has at least a set of technical education institutes) which are necessary to both the Local Rural Communities and to independent proprietors, as well as limited industrial products for agriculture. Each Arrondissement tends to be an economic unit, being capable to provide the most basic needs to the local population.
Local Rural Community Edit
The Local Rural Community is a form of both local government and production mood that was instituted during the reforms performed in by then-Prime Minister Serg Vorbarra after the 2960s crisis.
These Communities are peasant communities, as opposed to individual farmsteads, holding their land in communal ownership within a community, which acted qt the same time as a village government and a cooperative. Each household has the right to claim one or more strips from each section depending on the number of adults in the household. The purpose of this allocation is overall social, due to the fact that the Local Rural Community acts as a single entity. Strips are periodically re-allocated to ensure equitable share of the land.
The eldest members of the household made up the community assembly in order to govern the redistribution of land. Families come together to form a community that depends on the concept of mutual help. The householders elect a Village Speaker who acts as a collector of taxes, for the repartition among individuals of the taxes imposed on the commune. Families cannot be deprived of their houses or implements necessary for agriculture; nor can the whole Community be deprived of its land. In the Rural Community by the Local Agricultural Cooperative, which operates in a comprehensive manner the land. Membership in the Cooperative is mandatory, and tax obligations are collective.
Greffiers are monocratic structures of the lower administrative levels, i.e. Regions, Municipalities and Arrondissiments. The Greffiers are employees of the Ministry of the West in order to ensure the centralized control of the system of local government. The Greffier is appointed by the Minister of the West or by the Regional Sheriff according to the importance of the institution.
The Greffier oversees the managers performance and directs their activities, participates in an advisory and assistance role to the Council meetings and the meetings of the Board and expresses the opinion of regularity on each proposed resolution. Moreover, he is a Judicial Officer and acts as a Notary Public. In particular, in Arrondissiments the Greffier has all the functions of management. In addition, the Greffier is responsible for the prevention of corruption, being linked to the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty.
There are four Greffier Classes, which correspond to different government levels:
- A-Class Greffier: Regions, large Municipalities (Middle Towns);
- B-Class Greffier: small autonomous Municipalities (Country Towns and Small Towns), Arrondissiments;
- C-Class Greffier: Arrondissements Municipalities and Local Rural Communities;
- D-Class Greffier: Villages
Special Urban Communities Edit
A Special Urban Community is a city that has a status equivalent to that of a District. Hence, like the Districts, such cities are under the direct administration of the central government. There are three directly governed cities on Barrayar: Vorbarr Sultana, Black Reach City and Neurussland. Each Special Urban Community has its own system of government.
The planet of Komarr, differently from Barrayar which does not possess a planetary government distinct from the Government of the Empire, has a centralized government body presided by the Imperial Representative, performing the same functions of the Barrayaran Viceroy.
Emperor Serg Vorbarra has introduced, in continuity with his predecessor's latest policies and reforms, a partial association of the Komarran oligarchy to the conduct of planetary affairs, while the legislative power related to the government of the single domes is entrusted to the Komarran local share-holders as how was before the Barrayaran conquest, although under the local Imperial Representative's surveillance and supervision. Both in central and in peripheral bodies, governance is shared between local share-owners assembly and local Imperial representative, variously styled. The former makes and prepares laws and legislative acts, the latter decides whether approve them and provide executions, as well as emergency legislation.
Komarr was born as a semi-democracy: the early Komarran colonists set up a reward system. In addition to an inalienable vote, the colony awarded additional votes and to those taking on the work and risk of creating more living space. Nowadays, being a corporation, governance was, and still is, exercised by share-owners and their vote is proportioned to their amount of share; however, being also a planetary community, all Komarran citizens (including Barrayar-born people legally resident) have at least one voting share, inalienable by law, while additional shares can be purchased on a secondary market. These "extra votes" are inheritable and trade-able. The plutocratic oligarchies control the government by clan possession of these extra votes. In order to avoid the degeneration of a private corporation owning the planetary corporation, voting shares cannot be held outright by corporations-they have to be in the hands of individuals.
Komarran oligarchs, although being actually in charge of planetary affairs, are not an individual social class formally designated, due to the fact that "Oligarch" is anyone who controls more than their single personal share. "Real" oligarchs control all the shares of a wealthy Komarran family, even thousands or more. Regardless of the *actual* value of the shares, the psychological value in shares has a relevant role in the consensus construction (single (or few)-share Komarrans are set up to identify themselves strongly with owners of huge funds) and in the decision-making, although the latter social function has been greatly reduced since the Barrayaran conquest. Typically, a planetary-level oligarch detains from a thousand to five thousand planetary voting shares.
The ownership of shares is not only designed to have the right to vote, but also to enjoy profits (and suffer losses) of government-owned undertakings.
In order to thwart attempted chicanery with its voting system, voting shares can't be held outright by legal persons, but they have to be in the hands of individuals, with tested systems for proxies.
Komarr Corporation Edit
Komarran government formally has a dual nature: for Imperial interests it is a Viceroyalty, while for local matters is organized as a planetary corporation, which owns the whole planet. Voting shares are owned by Komarran citizens: at least a single share is granted by law, extra-shares could be purchased and brought. The owner of 67% of Komarran Corporation is the Barrayaran Empire, personified by the Emperor, which delegates his Imperial Representative to govern the Komarran Corp.
The Barrayaran legal system allocates certain powers to the Komarran Corporation.
Imperial Representative Edit
The Imperial Representative is the deputy and delegate of the Emperor and of his Government in order to govern the planet and the star system of Komarr. The Imperial Representative is also the chief executive of the Komarran Board: he may approve or veto bills passed by the Komarran Council in matters regarding self-government sphere. Imperial Representative can appoint his ministers of Komarran Board and dismiss them. The Imperial Representative is the head of the executive branch of the devolved government of Komarr. He is accountable to the Emperor and, from a political point of view, to the Council of Counts.
The Imperial Representative is the Viceroy of Komarr and head of the Komarran Board. The Imperial Representative chairs the Board and is primarily responsible for the formulation, development and presentation of Komarran policy. As representative of the source of justice within the Barrayaran borders, he is also the chief of the whole Komarran judiciary, as well as the chief of the whole local security forces. In his capacity of Viceroy, the Imperial Representative can require the Imperial Service assistance, although he is not directly in charge of armed forces and of Imperial Security.
The Imperial Representative is appointed by the Emperor with the consent of the Council of Counts. Members of the Board as well as the Komarran law officers, are de facto appointed by the Imperial Representative: however, highest officials are unofficially proposed by the Komarran Council, officially and formally proposed by the Imperial Representative and approved and appointed by the Emperor.
Aral Alexander Graceev is the current Imperial Representative; he resides in the Imperial Government Building, Solstice, Solstice Sector.
Powers and duties Edit
The Imperial Representative is the chief representative of the Emperor of Barrayar and is the head of the government of Komarr as both a Viceroyalty and a Komarran law-based planetary corporation. According to the Basic Annexation Law, the Imperial Representative exercises the following powers and functions:
- To lead the government of the star system;
- To be responsible for the implementation of Imperial law and of Komarran local laws;
- To sign bills passed by the Komarran Council and to promulgate Komarran local laws;
- To approve budgets passed by the Komarran Council and report the budgets and final accounts to the Government of the Empire for the record;
- To decide on government policies and to issue executive orders;
- To nominate and to report to the Government of the Empire for appointment the local governors and chiefs of central departments;
- To appoint or remove judges of the courts at all levels in accordance with legal procedures;
- To appoint or remove holders of public office in accordance with legal procedures;
- To implement the directives issued by the Government of the Empire in respect of the relevant matters provided for;
- To conduct, on behalf of both the Komarran Corporation and the Viceroyalty of Komarr, external affairs and other affairs as authorized by the Government of the Empire;
- To approve the introduction of motions regarding revenues or expenditure to the Komarran Council;
- To decide, in the light of security and vital public interests, whether government officials or other personnel in charge of government affairs should testify or give evidence before the Komarran Council or its committees;
- To pardon persons convicted of criminal offences or commute their penalties; and
- To handle petitions and complaints.
Komarran Board Edit
The Komarran Board is the executive body of the Komarran Corporation: it serves as planetary government. The Board is responsible in Komarr for all issues that are reserved to the Komarran Corporation; such devolved matters include health, education, justice and policing, rural affairs, economic development and transport. Furthermore, the Board is responsible for execution of Komarr-related policies of the Government of the Empire.
Komarran Immigration Services Edit
The Komarran Immigration Services is an Komarran Board sub-department. It is responsible for immigration arrangements, border control, citizenship, ethnic affairs, multicultural affairs. The purpose of the Komarran Immigration Services is to manage movement and settlement of people on Komarr and their entrance into the Imperium across Komarr. The K.I.S. is depends on the Komarran Security Department and is overseen by the Ministry of the Interior on Barrayar.
Planetary Security Commission Edit
The Planetary Security Commission is a Komarran Board sub-department tasked with coordinating security policies, as well as providing an useful top-level forum. Although the supposed role is to support the Imperial Representative's planet-based policies, the latter's participation is confined to chairing meetings and to appointing the Security Advisor, who is also in charge of the Imperial Representative's Security and Military Office. Members of the Komarran Planetary Security Commission are:
- Chief of Komarran Security Department (or a deputy);
- Chief of Imperial Security Komarr (or a deputy);
- Liaison Officer of the Service Security (or a deputy);
- Liaison Officer of the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty (or a deputy);
- Director of Komarran Immigration Services (or a deputy);
- Imperial Representative's Security Advisor (traditionally a retired security officer), secretary.
Komarran Council Edit
The Komarran Council is the 200-seat ruling council of the planet Komarr. After long preliminary phases, the Council was fully re-established in 2989 as premise to the policy of devolution of local powers to Komarr. Traditionally, the wealthiest families purchase seats in Komarr's ruling council, permitting family members to serve as Komarran Councillors.
The Komarran Council, which acts as Komarran legislature, has limited but effective powers, enjoying of the Cooperation procedure: the Council of Counts could reject the proposed law by the Komarran Senate by adopting a resolution with a qualified majority of 40 votes (out of 60 in total). The Cooperation procedure is permitted only on relatively restricted areas regarding the custom duties, some areas of the Komarran monetary policy and Komarran share-voting procedures and rules, within strict limitations dictated by the Emperor. However, in entirely internal matters, where general interests of the Empire are not involved, Komarran Council can legislate with the sole consent of Imperial Representative.
The Komarran Council is chaired by Chancellor General, who is elected by the Councillors, and has also the important function of supervise most of Komarran Board branches: he can, therefore, summon branch chief requesting clarifications and explanations, but nor he neither the Council can issue punishments.
The Council Commission of Inquiry is the body responsible for the preventive evaluation and analysis of the issues to be submitted to the Council. The Commission consists of nine members elected by the Council itself among the former Councillors.
Komarran Planetary Court Edit
The Komarran Planetary Court is the highest court on Komarr for what regards Komarran Law. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over Sector courts and Dome court cases, both civil and criminal, with the exception of interventions of the Supreme Court of Empire, which are rather sporadic, of the Imperial Representative on behalf of the Emperor or of the Emperor himself. The Court consists of a Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices who are nominated by the Emperor and confirmed by the Council of Counts. Once appointed, Justices have 10 years tenure unless they resign, retire, or are removed after impeachment.
Within the Komarran Planetary Court the specialised merchant section is named "Supreme Committee of Merchants" and receives appeals from the subordinated "Committee of Merchants", which are system-wide bodies; beyond the Supreme Committee of Merchants, there are other Sections, both civil and criminal: five Criminal Sections and five Civil (non-Merchant) Sections.
The planet is divided into twenty equal-sized Sectors, with responsibilities for regional government, headed by the Imperial Sector Representative. The Sectoral assembly is composed of 40 to 60 elected representatives of share-owners. Each Sector has a capital domed city, which gives its name to the whole Sector. Each Sector has at least a domed city; many also have several smaller domes for terraforming work. Sectors are the main local framework for affairs exceeding Dome-level competences: since the Sector Governments run their own internal affairs, they have control over a part of local tax money, run their local Sector Court of Appeals and provide a significant quota of local public services.
Sector Imperial Representative Edit
The Sector Imperial Representative is the deputy of the planetary-level Imperial Representative. He is in charge of representing Imperial interests, of providing execution to both Imperial and planetary policies and acts, and to bills passed by the local Sector Assembly, unless the latter ones are judged of being capable of harming Imperial interests. In order to execute laws and acts, the Representative presides the Sector Executive Commission.
The Sector Imperial Representative resides in the local Sector Consulate Building.
Sectoral Police Services Edit
All Sectors operate sector-wide police forces. They may are called "Police Service - SECTOR NAME" (e.g. "Police Service - Solstice Sector"). Sector police are a police body unique to each Sector, having sector-wide authority to conduct law enforcement activities and criminal investigations. In general, they perform functions outside the jurisdiction of the Dome Security Office, such as overseeing the security of the Sector capitol complex, protecting the Imperial Sector Representative and local officials, training new officers for local Dome police forces, providing technological and scientific support services, and helping to coordinate multi-jurisdictional task force activity.
Sector Assembly Edit
The Sector Assembly is the legislative body of the sectoral government. Differently from Komarran Council, it is composed of elected representatives of share-owners, and not of direct seat purchasers: however, Sector Assemblies are elected according each's voting power and there is no equality. It has a general competence over sectoral matters, such as administration, health services, terraforming specifications (within the planetary framework), security regulations and inter-dome services.
The Assembly is elected according to a electoral systems with single-member legislative districts: usually an average Dome has 3 to 8 representatives.
Domed cities Edit
Due the inhospitable environment, all the Komarran population is closed within the domed cities. These cities are sprawling urban communities covered by massive arcologies which keep citizens protect from the oxygen-poor atmosphere. Cities are far apart from each other, and outside them there is nothing but some research stations and Komarr Terraforming Project advanced laboratories: therefore the City is the very basic unit within Komarran polity and all basic services are carried out on a City basis.
Since cities are the very basic level of essential services provision, Dome Government retains the most part of taxes which are not to be turned to the Imperial Government.
The executive–assembly government system is the form of local government adopted for the Komarran domed cities. Characterized by having a governor who is appointed by the Emperor, the executive–assembly consists of an executive branch, a governor and a unicameral council as the legislative branch. The appointed governor is given almost total administrative authority and a clear, wide range of political independence, with the power to appoint and dismiss department heads without council approval and little, or no public input. The governor prepares and administers the city budget. The governor is appointed to a five-year term and is responsible for the administration of city government.
The City Assembly is a unicameral body consisting of 30 to 60 members, each elected by local shareholders, normally for five-year terms.
In each Dome the "Commission for Peace" is a criminal court in charge of settling minor acts of violence, while the "Judges of the Undesidered Ones" deal with major criminal cases.
Executive branch Edit
The executive branch consists of the Imperial City Representative-and-Governor and two to five Borough Lieutenant Governors. The heads of city departments are appointed by the Governor. The Governor also appoints several Deputy Governors to head major offices within the executive branch of the city government. Deputy Governors report directly to the Governor.
City Imperial Representative-and-Governor Edit
The City Imperial Representative-and-Governor is responsible for all city services, police and fire protection, enforcement of all within the city, and administration of public property and most public agencies. The Governor is appointed by the Emperor for a five-year term.
Lieutenant Governor Edit
Each recognized borough within the city is headed by a Lieutenant Governor. The Lieutenant Governor's powers are limited. They generally serve as ceremonial leaders who advocate for their boroughs on key issues. Lieutenant Governors advise the Governor on issues relating to each borough, comment on all land use items in their borough, advocate borough needs in the annual municipal budget process, administer a small discretionary budget for projects within each borough, appoint Community Boards, and chair the Borough Boards.
Dome Assembly Edit
Legislative power in domed cities is vested in the Dome Assemblies. Bills passed by a simple majority are sent to the mayor, who may sign them into law or veto them if bills are judged of being capable of harming Imperial interests. The Assembly is a unicameral body consisting of 30 to 60 Assembly members. Assembly members are elected every five years.
Assemblies have several committees with oversight of various functions of city government. Each Assembly member sits on at least three standing, select or subcommittees. The Speaker of the Assembly is ex officio members of every committee.
Sergyar is part of the Barrayaran Empire as a Vice-royalty. The Viceroy is appointed to govern and rule over Sergyar, based on his authority as Emperor of Barrayar and Sergyar being territory of his Empire. The viceroy has some military authority for matters directly related to the system security; although it is not a military position, he is most often a military officer, both active duty and retired.
Viceroy carries as much clout as Imperial Auditor; the Viceroy speaks "with the Emperor's voice", the Viceroy doing so in the running of a government.
It is to note that, while Komarr is "only" five days away from Barrayar, to reach Sergyar from Barrayar with a fast courier a one-and-half weeks long trip is needed. Therefore, any fast physical communication takes no less than three weeks to go from the capital to Sergyar and to return. Such a distance makes necessary to establish a semi-autonomous government system, and the human factor is more important in the choose of the Sergyaran Viceroy than in the choose of the Komarran Representative.
Viceregal Government Edit
The Vice-royalty is administered by a Viceroy residing in Capital City, who runs the Viceregal Government, which in turn has administrative oversight, direction and control powers and legislative and executive functions for the planet. Most matters are handled by the local governmental bodies, which govern the various regions of the Vice-royalty. First among these are the 21 Territorial Chanceries, which are administrative and regulatory authorities as well as superior tribunals. Each of the Territorial Chancellors is responsible directly to the Viceroy in administrative matters, although in judicial ones he is responsible to the Legal Commission. Chancery districts further incorporate the smaller divisions known as Governorates. At the local level there are 630 Districts, which are headed by a Government Commissioner, who has judicial and administrative powers.
Viceroy's General Commission Edit
The Viceroy's General Commission is the most important administrative organ of the planet. It consists of eight Executive Commissioners, who in turn preside over individual Executive Commissions which are responsible to subject to the Viceroy's approval general rules pertaining their own area of responsibility. Civil suits of sufficient importance and criminal cases can be appealed from a Chancery to the General Commission, Legal Commission, functioning as a court of last resort.
The Central Organizational Committee is a body present within the Sergyaran Viceroy's General Commission (but not part of any Executive Commission) that handles construction and colonization matters as well as development of the colonial settlements on Sergyar.
Planetary Security Executive Commission Edit
The Planetary Security Executive Commission is a Sergyaran Executive Commission tasked with coordinating security policies, as well as providing an useful top-level forum. Differently from the Komarran counter-part, the Sergyaran Planetary Security Commission is a quite significant body, and its president is a General Commission-level figure. Although the supposed role is to support the Viceroy's planet-based policies, the latter's direct participation is usually confined to appointing the Security Commissioner, who is also in charge of the Viceroy's Security and Military Office. However, if a crisis arises, the Viceroy is fully empowered to attend and preside the Commission meetings. Members of the Komarran Planetary Security Commission are:
- Director General of Sergyar Police Service (or a deputy);
- Chief of Imperial Security Sergyar (or a deputy);
- Liaison Officer of the Service Security (or a deputy);
- Liaison Officer of the Ministry of Protection of Imperial Loyalty (or a deputy);
- Director of the Sergyar-based Department of Immigration offices (or a deputy);
- Viceroy's Security Commissioner (traditionally a retired security officer), President.
Territorial Chancery Edit
The Sergyaran Territorial Chanceries are composite authorities which have regulatory, executive and judicial functions, and thus represented both the Emperor in his role as maker of laws and dispenser of justice and the Viceroy as Emperor's representative. Chanceries share many government duties with the Viceroys. In Viceregal capital, the Viceroy himself serves as a Territorial Chancellor. The Territorial Chancellor serves as the Government Commissioner of the local district and the region is often referred to as a "Pretorial District". The Viceroy retains the right to oversee, control and manage the administration of other Territorial Chanceries, but could not interfere in judicial matters out of the review of the Legal Commission.
Chancery officials, especially the Chancellor, are subject to two forms of review. At the end of the Chancellor's term, a judgement of the period in office is carried out, which reviews the Chancellor's performance on the job and collected interviews many people affected by the Chancery's performance. Unscheduled inspections are also carried out by the Viceregal Auditors or even by Imperial Auditors, if the Emperor feels it is needed.
Judicial functions Edit
In their judicial function, a Chancery hears appeals from cases initially handled by justices of first instance. The Chancery also serves as the court of first instance for crimes committed in the immediate jurisdiction of the city that served as the Chancery's seat and any case involving Imperial officials. Criminal cases and major civil cases could be appealed to the Viceregal Legal Commission, and only then within a statute of limitation of one year.
Size and composition Edit
The size and composition of a Chancery varies over place. Usually, a Chancery has four Deputy Chancellors, one Chancellor and two Judicial Chambers, handling civil and criminal cases separately. The Civil Judicial Chamber has seven Civil Judges and a Prosecutor. The Criminal Judicial Chamber has five Criminal Judges and its own Prosecutor. In addition the Chancery has sundry other officers such as notaries, bailiffs, and public defenders.
Internal movement Edit
District residency are quite flexible and few government approvals are required to civilian subjects in order to move between Districts or within the Empire. The passport regime identifies everyone's place of origin within the Empire of Barrayar. A person is bound to his or her permanent place of residence; only within his or her place of residence a person could receive higher education or advanced medical treatment, although these services are not limited to the location registered. All residents are required by law to record their address in the document and to report any relevant changes to a local office of the Ministry of Interiors or to a District purpose-dedicated office. The change of residence was farraginous before the Vorkosigan Residence Reform: after 2910s, change of residence can be prohibited only under special circumstances, and ordinarily in Northern Districts a Count could not oppose to a transfer of a vow of fealty, although there is a number of bureaucratic passages.
However, internal passports were not necessary for travelling per se; bus, train, and air tickets were sold without names, except when travelling to/from special areas. Nevertheless, passports were necessary for temporary residence permits in a number of situations such as checking in a hotel or renting a private dwelling.
The passport contains the full name, sex, date and place of birth and a hologram of the bearer. It also contains remarks about the holder's registered home address, military duty, marital status, children under 14, other passports issued by the authorities, blood type and individual taxpayer identification number.