Commonwealth of Four Palms
|National motto: Libertad, Igualdad, Justicia|
|Other||Seminole, Wenedyk, English, Scandinavian|
|Important Cities||Orlando, Kissimi|
|Gran Cacique (Principe)||Don Juan Miguel Ciprés|
|Prime Minister||Donya Conde Mercedes Duarte de Silva|
|Independence||from Republic of the Two Crowns|
|Provisional Name||Mancomunidad de Cuatro Palmas|
|(recognized)||2009 (Ireland, NAL)|
|Constitution||15 January 2010|
|Currency||1 lira = 8 reales = 64 soles|
|Organizations||CELCAGOM (organisation currently defunct)|
The BBC first reported back in October of 2007 that guerilla activity was everywhere in evidence in the RTC's occupational Zone of Control in South Florida. The intervening year has seen not only a rise in such activity, but increasing fortunes for the freedom fighters. In late 2008, various news agencies reported on bold rebel activity in four of the RTC's occupied regions, known among the rebels as condados: Las Palmas, Kissimee, Orlando and Bahia de la Palma. Within the first fortnight of 2009, the four regions had pushed Coronal forces south into Rzebamarz and declared independence.
The modern history of the Commonwealth has its roots in the South Florida relocation camp popular movement known as Frente Nationalista. Formed as early as 2005 among the destitute of the relocation camps, it is based on a strong sense of civilian activism and non-violent resistance against corrupt authority. It is truly a people power movement involving all aspects of Floridian society from grandmothers to toddlers, former soldiers, doctors, professionals, laborers and clergy. This movement gave rise to a political action group known as Partida Nacionalista with the aim of implementing the Frente's move for change in South Florida one region at a time, if necessary. Illegal "governments", known as barrios, have sprung up among the inhabitants of the relocation camps which sought to parlay with the occupying forces in an effort to seek a swifter conclusion of the occupation itself. As time passed and no progress was made, various guerilla groups became more active, especially in the northern quarter. The slogan of the movement is Cuatro annos -- basta!, meaning "four years (of occupation) is enough".
In mid December of 2008, fierce rebel fighting and increased civilian protests caused the RTC's previously well-run military organisation to break down, and Coronal forces were pressed to a rapid retreat. On the 25th of December, Las Palmas was abandonned to rebel forces in what has become known as la Victoria de la Navidad. A Declaration of Independence was drafted, circulated among the barrios, and sent to the rulers of the RTC and delivered it to leaders of the invasion forces. The Declaration enumerates the varied crimes against humanity committed by the initial Scandinavian invaders and the later Coronal occupiers since the 2004 war and under no certain circumstances declares Las Palmas to be a free and independent Commonwealth.
Las Palmas wasn't the only region where strong rebel activity broke out. Within a week of the Christmas Victory, the three condadoes immediately to the south, Kissimee, Orlando and Bahia de la Palma had united their forces as the Confederacion de las Tres Manos and, spurred by victory in Las Palmas, had driven Coronal forces nearly to their borders. Victory came on 10 January 2009 when a provisional armistice was signed by Coronal commanders and occupation forces withdrew to Rzeba Marze.
Formation of the Commonwealth
On the 12th of January, the four condes, governors of the newly declared commonwealths, met in the war and furacano ravaged town of Cocoa. Here, they reaffirmed the Declaration of Independence and proposed the formation of a new Commonwealth -- that of the Four Palms (one for each of the victorious condados). The condes met with their governing councils and military leaders and the proposal was accepted.
A Constitution is being drawn up that will, according to conde Marco-Antonio Cortez of la Bahia: "preserve what was good about the governments in our past history, avoid what was excessive or wrong, and provide a sensible balance between portions of government. Most importantly, it will spell out those aspects of life that the government may not violate -- a sort of, mm, 'carta de derechos'. One thing we have learned since 2004 is that powerful governments may too easily wield a crushing power of oppression against a people. This is evil, and we wish to pass on to our future generations as ideal a government as possible."
Provisional Commonwealth Articles were drawn up immediately and agreed to by the four condes on 15 January. Ambassadors were also sent from the provisional government to the NAL, to the Irish occupation government in Tampa as well as to the RTC occupation government in Miami. The NAL responded by sending Senators Robles and Carasaig, from East and West Florida respectively, to visit the Commonwealth and report back to their capitals and to Philadelphia itself.
Questions of membership in a future greater Floridian government are not to be specifically addressed during the constitutional convention, due to the unsettled status of the peninsula.
Since 15 January, the Commonwealth has been governed by a council composed of barrio leaders from each occupation district.
The Commonwealth is composed of four condados, governed by condes who are chosen from among the barrio leaders. Presently, they are Jose P. Calderon (Las Palmas); Marco-Antonio Cortez (Bahia de la Palma), Mercedes Duarte de Silva (Orlando), and Maricela Sanchez de Calderon (Kissimee).
Each Condado is held to be an independent state that has willingly joined together and is now and henceforth to be bound by the Constitution of the Commonwealth.
Since the ratification of the Constitution, the Provisional Council was replaced by an appointed bicameral Cortes, whose upper house is styled Corte de los Hidalgos and whose lower house is styled Corte de los Pobles, thus a distinct reversal of the Presidential period of Florida-Caribbea histoy, recalling the first decades of independence from Castille. The upper house is composed of the remaining central Floridian hidalgos (three) and the Native caciques (one), the bishop of Orlando and five condes from each of the four provinces. The lower house is composed of members of the old barrio governments.
The head of government is the Primer Ministro de la Mancomunidad de las Cuatro Palmas. The interrim Prime Minister is the popular Conde of Orlando, Donya Conde Mercedes Duarte de Silva.
Elections are scheduled for the first Friday of May, 2009. After that time, the lower house will be composed of a number of delegates to be determined by elections based on the population of electoral districts within each province.
Sadly, the scheduled elections had to be postponed due to a falling-through of a deal with France Election to purchase used voting machines. The French government had (perhaps legitimate) concerns about repayment of the loan as well as a last minute gripe about potential security issues. Cuatro Palmas continued with negotiations until it was discovered that many of the F-E machines they were planning on buying were part of the election machine scandal in France a couple years back where people weren't able to get their votes registered properly. It was decided at that point to seek an alternative.
Elections will now be held, tentatively and based on any threat of tropical storm activity, the fourth weekend of August of this year (2009). The provisional government has declared that good old-fashioned paper ballots will be used, and that representatives from Ireland, the NAL, the FK and France will be on hand, per previous agreement, throughout the commonwealth to ensure no elections fraud.
The August election looks to be interesting, as the Dos Manos and Coalicionistas are going to have to form a coalition government, unless one or the other can get a clear majority. The winners will have to decide carefully how to approach relations with the Irish, the nascent RSF, the RTC and the C-P people themselves. There are also a couple of initiatives scheduled to be on the ballot. Contrary to previous statements, there will be a general and non-binding Question asking the people whether they would have C-P be entirely independent, entirely integrated into RSF or partake in some ambiguously limited way as part of some kind of confederation within the RSF. The fortunes of either party rest on how C-Palmans respond to this question. Other questions involve the status of minority Scandinavians and Venedes; a plan to restore the monarchy; a plan to equitably redistribute "vacant" lands; and a plan to set aside ecological reserves (i.e., national parks).
- Partida de los Dos Manos, composed of former Partida Real and Partida Nacionalista members -- 47%; vid. "Frente Nacional" plus pre-FC conservatives and royalists plus FC anti-juntists and republicans; seek a stable and democratic independed C-P.
- Partida de la Grande Coalicion -- 46%; Frente Nacionalistas that seek full integration within a proposed "Republic of South Florida".
- Partida de Accion Social -- 4%; a more radical socialism than is present in any of the other parties; seek to form a purely socialist republic.
- Partida de los Antes (i.e., Whig Castellano) -- 2%; like the American [Whig] party, they promote the primacy of the legislature over the other branches of goverment, including the monarch.
- Partida Monarquista -- 1%; a scion of the old Partida Real, but more Native in outlook; seek the elevation of a Palman cacique as king.
The Dos Manos party has gained the most popularity, largely by ensuring that they've ensconced all "what has been good" about F-C and the Floridian character within its planks, plus a lot of the old conservative ideals that have been keys to Floridian politics since colonial times -- a fairly conservative stance on social issues, sense of duty to king and country, and all that. The Grande Coalicion is (tacitly) favoured by the Irish on account of its strong desire to integrate Cuatro Palmas fully into the Irish backed Republic of South Florida (the Dos Manos tend to be full independents, but a large number are willing to consider some kind of confederation within the Republic).
The Accionistas are ostensibly founded in "principles of the Catholic faith", but really are promoting a centralised statism with a veneer of social action. The Accionistas descend from the old F-C Partida Centralista y Socialista, which got going as a means of reorienting the people towards socialism via the schools and the "church". You know, if it was preached from the altar, people would follow along. The dictators of the old F-C found it a convenient way of amassing great power and wealth without really having to work all that hard for it. This party is the refuge of all the remaining Destinarios, Socialistas, Caribbeanistas, and disaffected Juntistas.
The De Los Antes are, interestingly, the oldest Floridian party, dating back to the 1840s. They have always promoted a strong parliamentarian form of governance, and one wherein the king (or later president) would basically be no more than a functionary of the Congreso, rather than part of an independent branch of government.
The Monarquistas are a Native-oriented party (though very few Natives are members (most of them are either Dos Manos or Accionistas)), whose main aim is to declare Cuatro Palmas a Native kingdom. And presumably kick the Castellanos out.
CurrencyIrish shillings, and thus makes the Palman lira equivalent to the Southwest Floridian peso. The first coins delivered, struck by a medal and engraving firm in East Florida, were half, one and two real denominated aluminium tokens, there being little hard currency in the region.
These first coins are supplemented by a paper series of notes in various denominations. It is expected that as the economy makes a recovery, the provisional currency tokens will be replaced by an internationally acceptable standard, though will remain valid.
The lira-denominated currency replaces the various provisional scrip moneys issued by the four regions, all the unofficial scrips and chitties used by inmates of the relocation camps and the curious system of playing card money issued by one of the rebel armies' high command. The RTC's talar denominated currency remains valid, though its status has been demoted from "official currency". Further, and with an aim towards attracting the foreign tourism market, EF, SR, NAL and Irish home currencies are all accepted.
The flag of the Tres Manos was a triskel of three interlocking fists, black, upon a red background.
Results of the 2009 Elections
The final date for the first post-war General Election in the commonwealth was 9 September 2009. Apart from consolidating the shape of the new government, several landmark referendum items were considered by the voters and acted upon. January 15, 2010, was set as the day for the seating of the newly elected government. The official name of the country is to be Mancomunidad de las Palmas.
The basic form of the government, as established by the Provisional Council, was retained. Separate branches of government were reserved for the Legislature, the Judiciary, the Executive and the Poder Real. The legislature, or Cortes, has two houses as previously delineated. The Hidalgos will consist of 50 members, 10 seats of which are hereditary in nature, the remaining are elected: 5 Native caciques, 1 each for the bishops of Orlando and Bahia, and 3 for the hidalgos. The other 40 seats are elected 10 elder statesmen from each condado. The Pobles will consist of 100 junior members elected by locality. The judiciary will consist of a High Court plus various levels of district courts. Five justices will comprise the highest level of the system. The executive will be comprised of the prime minister, who will be head of government, and cabinet. The head of state will be a prince whose role is to balance the other three branches if one or two become too influential.
The Constitution spells out the duties of each chief minister. Of curious note are the powers granted to the crown, namely to "champion the rights of the people" and to "veto legislation deemed to be destructive of the people's rights". The Constitution also guarantees certain illimitable rights to Commonwealth citizens: freedom of religion; free press; right to petition government (both via public demonstrations and through the office of the prince) among several others. Members of the CP serve for terms of two years each and may serve no more than three terms; an MCP must be at least 25 years old to serve. Members of the CH serve for six years and may serve no more than two terms (except the reserved seats, which are hereditary and thus not dissimilar to the life peerages found in the FK or NAL); an MCH must be at least 40 years old to serve. The justices are appointed for life, but may not be younger than 50 years of age to be considered (though the prince or the prime minster may request an exception). The prime minister is elected for a single term of six years. The crown is reserved to three classes: eligible members of the House of Borbon de las Floridas (the original Floridian royal family), the House of Borbon (the Iberian royal family) and the Native caciqueal families. Though the crown is elective, the incumbent reigns for life unless deposed or abdicates.
A coalition government between the Dos Manos and Grande Coalicion has been formed; the two parties garnering half the seats each; the Accion Socialista won exactly zero seats in the Cortes; the other minor parties won four seats. Prime Minister Donya Conde Mercedes Duarte de Silva was returned to serve for a full term. The crown was granted to Juan Miguel Ciprés, a Seminole cacique.
Of the referendum items, perhaps the most eagerly watched was the "question of independence". In what has become known as the typical style of the neo-Floridian, the result was "yes-no". Full independence from the RTC's Zone of Control garnered 95% of the vote; full independence from a putative "South Floridian State" won only 41% of the vote. 53% of Palmans chose to "consider the possibility" of some kind of union with the rest of southwestern Florida while only 17% voted for full integration into the Irish backed proposal. A question was asked about proposed unions with Ireland, the NAL and the RTC. Only 4% of voters considered a union with Ireland; 0.8% considered a union with the NAL; 0.01% considered a union with the RTC.
On the questions of the status of Scandinavians and Venedes living in the commonwealth, 78% of voters approved allowing Scandinavian residents to claim citizenship provided they pay a restitution of R1000 and utterly abandon their SR citizenship; Venedes may claim citizenship providing they pay a restitution of R200. Veneds who were in the army would be excepted from the restitution provided that they accept induction into the Commonwealth Army; no Vened would be stripped of his former citizenship, but of course any RTC laws regarding dual citizenship would apply. Regarding the plan to equitably redistribute "vacant" lands, certain parcels near the Native tribal lands will be ceded to the Native Council; other lands will be returned to their rightful owners (who are also residents of the Commonwealth); other Floridians will be compensated; any land owner who can not be located forfeits the land (but upon future satisfactory claim thereto, will be recompensed); a plan to set aside ecological reserves (i.e., national parks) was resoundingly approved. Lesser advertised questions involving property seized by the occupying army's general staff (Bambarilya in particular), el Generalissimo's personal property (his "private airforce" in particular) and the disposition of the remaining squad of RTC forces resident in their fortress were also dealt with. A question regarding the sale of territory to Greece was denied by 85%; however a proposal to offer a more favourable deal to Greek investors was narrowly approved 42% to 33%.