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Royal Landsraad of New Tarajan
Palace Van Geldern façade
The façade of Palace Van Geldern, seat of the Landsraad

Founded

1561

Type

Upper House

Term limit

None

Chairman

Lord President Prince Maximilian Van Sondenburg

Seats

29

Meeting place

Palace Van Geldern, Astana

The Royal Landsraad of New Tarajan, simply known as the Landsraad, is the upper house of the Kingdom of New Tarajan, representing all the 31 States of the federal Kingdom and its colonies, and expressing the will of the Major Houses who are entitled to their government. It is also the highest judiciary body of the Kingdom.

It has been labelled by many as "the most aristocratic governmental body of the world" (being composed often entirely by aristocrats).

History

The first mention of the body which will later officially be known as Landsraad dates to the year 1561 when, with the end of Ajanic rule over all Tarajan, the Antanaresian lords, still not united under a single ruler, were trying to find a way to resolve the disputes emerging among themselves.

The Landsraad was thus created as the formal place of meetings for all the Antanaresian lords of the lands of Tarajan. It didn't have any specific power, nor a precise constitution. With the rising to preminence of House Van Vinkel, the Landsraad became the focal point for the resistance of the other lords against their powerful neighbors. Thus, it was under the banners of the Landsraad that the majority of the Major Houses united against House Van Vinkel in 1594. In this period, the Landsraad, as a unified body representing the Tarajani lords, even offered to swore vassallage to Antanares, to enlist its help in the incoming conflict, thus demonstrating its evolution in the conscience of the contemporaries.

In 1595, the Landsraad armies were crushed by Sigismund Heinrich II Van Vinkel at the Battle of Himeraa. As a consequence, the Landsraad as a whole surrendered to the prince, proclaiming him first King of Tarajan. From that moment on, the Landsraad became the main legislative and consultive body of the newly-born Kingdom, representing in front of the King the will of the still-powerful aristocratic Houses. During the XVII century, the Landsraad still retained its role as focus for aristocratic resistance against the absolutistic ambitions of the Royal House: this situation will end only with the Second Capitulum Pacis of 1652, emanated by Sigismund VI, which definitely re-organized the Kingdom.

The Landsraad sees its preminent position recognized by the King, with the recently-created Diet relegated to a secondary role. This way, the aristocracy was actively co-opted in the government of the Kingdom, ending centuries of internal struggle between them and the Crown. This peculiar situation was contested only in 1789, when the Liberal Revolution saw the Diet taking power, under the pressure of its liberal and revolutionary members, and the Landsraad relegated at first to the role of consultive body, and then definitely abrogated when also the King sided with the Diet, and a counter-revolution organized by the Major Houses failed at the Second Battle of Horatstadt (1791). The power of the Major Houses was restored only after the fall of Rudolf De Ruyter and the end of the Altigantan Wars. The threat De Ruyter posed to the very survival of the Royal House led the new King Friederick Wilhelm I to reconcile himself with the Major Houses, and to reconstitute the former political organization, including the Landsraad (1810).

The Landsraad kept performing its role as the main legislative body of the Kingdom until 1914, when the Tarajani Revolution led to a communist regime to seize power: the Landsraad was dissolved once again, together with the whole monarchical regime. In 1944, with the Declaration of Regeneration, King Conrad III restored the previous organization under a more absolutistic view, where the Landsraad became the most important aid and pillar of the King's restored power. In 2010, King Friederick Wilhelm II of New Tarajan changed the new system with a whole new reform: the Landsraad kept most of its powers, but now is flanked by a more powerful Diet.

Organization and functions

The Landsraad is composed by 28 seats (now 31, after the creation of three new States in the Stargard Prefecture), each representing one of the States of the Kingdom (including the Free Cities, which are States at all effects) plus one representative for the overseas territories and colonies (usually, this role falls on the shoulders of the Royal Viceroy for the Colonies); all other members being the Heads of every State of the Kingdom, they all represent the Major Houses of New Tarajan. They also elect their Lord President, chairman of the Landsraad (when the King is absent), among themselves.

As a legislative body, the Landsraad fulfills a double role as House of Lords and Federal Senate: it can independently propose and approve laws (except in the case of certain laws deemed of national or strategic importance, in which case they need to be approved by the Royal Diet as well); it can issue advises and suggestions for the executive and the King; it gives its approval for the appointment of a new Prime Minister. Ceremonially, it's the Landsraad which welcomes firstly foreign representatives and heads of State and government together with the King.

Until 2010, the Landsraad had the power to overcome the Diet during a legislative process, in case the latter was falling under political obstructionism. With the reform of 2010, however, this power has been greatly reduced: the Landsraad cannot interfere anymore in the legislative process of the Diet on its own; however, it can overcome the Diet if the King and the Prime Minister believe the situation to be of extreme urgency.

On the judicial level, the Landsraad has the role of high court of the Kingdom: seven of its members, chosen by the King every five years, compose the Landsraad Court (chaired by the King himself), the only body able to welcome appeals against the ruling of a Federal Court (Federale Reichtbank). Moreover, the Landsraad Court is the sole judicial body which can judge upon major crimes committed by a member of the Major Houses or the Royal House itself.

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