|Commonwealth of Gandara|
|Motto: Orta recens quam pura nites|
|Anthem: Power and Glory|
- Governor General
Owain ap Cunedda
|Confederal Membership||22 January 2007|
The Commonwealth of Gandara is a Confederal Member located in Ambara. Gandara has some of the most pristine rainforests on the continent and the greatest biodiversity of any Member. It is bordered by Abt on the north, Pantocratorian Ambara on the west, Maria, New Camalad and Kingsland on the south and the Atlantic Ocean on the east.
Owain ap Cunedda, as the King of Gandara, is the Chief of State. He is represented by a non-partisan Governor-General. However, as the King "reigns but does not rule" she has little actual political authority. Political power is held by the democratically elected Gandaran Parliament under the leadership of the First Minister who heads the Cabinet.
What is now Gandara was originally a part of Sahor. Before the Second Ambaran War, the entire area was uninhabited and not officially claimed by any nation. Immediately following the war, Marlund insurgents and members of the Sons of the Reformation began to use camps in the unclaimed area as bases from which to launch attacks on the new democratic Marlund Government. In response, the Resurgent Dream began military operations in Sahor designed to destroy the insurgency's base of operations.
In late 2005, settlers from Taraskovya founded a colony in the northern part of what was then considered Sahor and proceeded to declare themselves a sovereign state. This caused some measure of concern to the established states in Ambara. Pantocratorian Ambara pressured the Resurgent Dream to assume responsibility for unclaimed territory in Ambara. The Resurgent Dream agreed to do so and entered into negotiations with Abt. In the negotiations, the Resurgent Dream agreed to not only recognize Abt but to act as a guarantor of her sovereignty so long as Abt agreed to remain within her present borders and provide assistance in destroying the Sons of the Reformation and the rest of the Marlund insurgency. The Resurgent Dream then claimed the rest of Sahor as Danaan territory but did not organize it into new principalities, instead being content to maintain it as an alienable rather than integral part of Danaan territory under the complete authority of the central government.
Despite original Danaan plans to temporarily hold the land in trust and eventually sell it to friendly foreign powers, population pressures and the spirit of adventure normally associated with an unsettled land led Danaans to begin settling in the area. The status of these communities was a subject of controversy. Because they weren't part of any principality, their citizens lacked representation in Danaan Parliament. However, the Resurgent Dream remained unwilling to create new principalities in Sahor.
With the formation of the Commonwealth of Peoples, the Resurgent Dream determined to grant its Sahor settlements independence within the Commonwealth. The territory of Danaan Sahor was divided into Gandara, Sahor and Jagiella. Self-government for Gandara was established in the Constitution of Gandara Act passed by the Danaan Parliament and confirmed as the first act of the new Gandaran Parliament. The Act established a constitutional monarchy in Gandara with Owain ap Cunedda as King. The Act provided for royal sucession by permanently bonding the title of the King of Gandara to the title of High King of the Resurgent Dream.
Gandara is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy. Under the Constitution, the Head of the Commonwealth is also the King of Gandara and is represented as head of state by the Governor-General. However, the last Governor-General, Elizabeth Crane, was assassinated by members of the Sons of the Reformation and a new Governor-General has not yet been appointed. In the meantime, the Head of the Commonwealth has been personally performing the functions of the head of state in Gandara and thus spending a great deal of his time there.
The Gandaran Parliament has only one chamber, the House of Representatives. The House has roughly 110 seats although so-called overhang seats are possible under the electoral system. Gandaran parliaments serve for three years or until the Governor-General dissolves Parliament either on the advice of the Premier or as the result of a vote of no confidence after which no party or coalition was able to secure the confidence of the House within a reasonable period of time. The Parliament is elected by a system of mixed member proportional representation.
The Governor-General of Gandara, acting on behalf of the Crown, has the power to appoint and dismiss the Premier and to dissolve Parliament. By convention, she may only appoint the leader of the party or coalition with a parliamentary majority as Premier, may only dissolve Parliament on the advice of the Premier or in response to the inability of any party to form a government capable of securing the confidence of the House and may only dismiss a Premier in response to a vote of no confidence. The Governor-General also chairs meetings of the Executive Council which includes all government ministers. The Cabinet is the working executive, chaired by the Premier and responsible to Parliament.
The current Premier is Beatrice Doyle, the leader of the Green Party. A coalition between the Liberal Party and the Democratic Party is in opposition, led by Liberal leader Emma Young. Democratic Concordance, led by Judy Tabard, is a crossbench party which abstains on matters of confidence and votes for or against the government depending upon the merits of the matter and politicial considerations.
The highest court in Gandara is the Supreme Court of Gandara. However, even the decisions of the SCG can be appealed to the Confederal court system if the appeal is based upon some issue of Confederal law.
In Gandara, local government exists in a two-tier structure of departments and municipalities. The departments are each headed by a President appointed by the King represented by the Governor-General on the advice of the Premier and also contain between four and eight locally elected members. The municipalities are governed by a mayor appointed by the King represented by the Governor-General on the advice of the Premier, the Minister of Local Government or the President of the department involved, depending upon whether or not the municipality is officially classed as a city, a town or a village.
Departments are the administrative units for education, healthcare and the judiciary and they provide the functions of municipalities to areas of the department not incorporated into any municipality. Municipalities are the administrative units for law enforcement and transportation. Although they have some discretionary powers regarding the placement of infrastructure and zoning, local government in Gandara has no legislative power and their administrative authority is entirely subject to the statutes of Parliament and the discretion of the Cabinet which maintains a great deal of direct executive authority over local matters.
The departments of Gandara are Agrippa, Condorcet, Adams, Wollstonecraft, Gomeldon, Shelley, Sand, Mill, Arenal, Engels, Jacobs and Wake. The names, boundaries and number of the departments are determined by the Gandaran Parliament.
The platform of the Democratic Party calls for independent, democratic local governments with substantial but not uniform legislative powers and large elements of direct democracy. In villages, this program even includes making public assemblies in which every adult has the right to deliberate and in which every adult citizen is entitled to an equal vote the highest level of local government. This program is not shared by the Liberal Party and is unlikely to be fully implemented in the event of an opposition victory. The degree of local government reform in any Liberal-Democratic coalition government would likely depend upon the balance of power between the two coalition parties and upon political manuevering and deal-making.
Gandara is tropical in the north and temperate in the south. It contains a great deal of tropical rainforest. In the west are the Estaia Mountains. The Anthony River runs on or north of the southern border for most of its length. Its tributary, the Astell River, runs through the capital, Juliet. Two islands lie off the eastern coast, Kollontai and Luxemburg. Gandara is one of only six Confederal Members to share a land border with a foreign country. Abt borders Ganadara on the north.
Flora and fauna
Gandara's best known local animals are the chimpanzee and the gorilla, both of which have substantial populations in the Gandaran rainforest. Unlike in much of the world, neither animal faces any grave human threat do to comprehensive local environmental laws which protect both the animals and their ecosystem. The continued flourishing of the chimpanzee and the gorilla in Gandara stands in contrast to the status of comparable species in other Confederal Members as well as to the condition of the chimpanzee and gorilla internationally. Other interesting animal species include the okapi and the white rhino.
The Gandaran economy has developed rapidly since settlement and the Gandaran people enjoyed a first world standard of living almost from the beginning. The service sector, including a strong tourism industry, dominates the economy. Construction is shrinking as an industry as the pressure for expansion increases and environmental concerns become paramount. The manufacturing sector is vibrant but modest in size. Large-scale commercial agriculture is still rare although urban gardens of various kinds are popular and both supplement the diets of individuals and provide produce for small businesses. Mining and logging industries do exist although they are limited in scope by sustainibility requirements.
Gandara is very economically dependent upon its position as an integrated part of a larger market. This is a position it has had throughout its history as Danaan territory, a member of the Commonwealth of Peoples and then as a Confederal Member. Because this larger market is now a nation and not merely an agreement between independent states, Ganadarans are confident in it and feel no great need for self-sufficiency at the Member-level.
At present, 72% of Gandarans identify themselves with some specific European ethnic group or simply as "white." Another 14% identify themselves as African-Ambaran, as members of some specific African ethnic group or simply as "black." 11% identify themselves as Arabic. The remaining 3% is divided between members of smaller ethnic groups and people of mixed ancestry.
Only 12% of Gandarans are observent members of a traditional religious group, attending regular services. However, 24% are members of a religious body and 34% self-identify as adherents of a religious faith. 42% claim to believe in God or gods. Another 44% claim to be agnostic with 14% identifying as true athiests. Of religious believers, 37% are members of the Gandaran Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends and 32% are members of the Gandaran Union for Reform Judaism. The remaining 31% are divided among a wide variety of different religious bodies.
Gandara is one of the two Members with substantial gender imbalances in their population. In almost all the other Members, the percentage of the population belonging to either gender ranges between 40% and 50%. However, Gandara is 72% female. This imbalance is sometimes seen as a severe problem, especially for single, heterosexual women looking for a companion.
As a component part of the Confederated Peoples, Gandara shares in the national culture while also maintaining some distinctive local culture as well. Some aspects of Gandaran culture stem from the prevalance of an environmentalist perspective, such as small urban gardens, the use of bicycles for transportation over relatively short distances and an aversion to resource intense entertainments. Gandarans are also very food conscious and both organic food and vegetarian dietary movements are influential in Gandaran cuisine.
In dress, Gandarans do not vary much from general Confederal culture. For their day-to-day wardrobe outside of work, most Gandarans wear shorts, t-shirt and sandals, largely because of the climate. They tend to favor light colors and fabrics for the same reason. Many Gandaran shirts bear the images of the gorilla or the chimpanzee, animals enjoying great popularity among Gandarans.
Sport plays only a moderate role in Gandaran culture. Gandara did poorly in the first Confederal National Games, winning only one gold and two bronze medals. No nationally known athletes hail from Gandara and Gandara has relatively few professional sports team. The most popular sports in Gandara are soccer and rugby. Both sports are popular for both men and women.
Public holidays in Gandara include New Year's (1 January), Arbor Day (21 March), Women's Day (15 April), Earth Day (22 April), Labour Day (1 May), the King's Birthday (8 August) and Remembrance Day (11 November).