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New at this.... I am looking for the best way to classify the system/form of government described below in a story I'm working. It looks like a mash of many different things.

There originally existed 12 countries, each ruled by a separate bloodlines. Each country's leader is decided magically from that bloodline, and where social standing depends on if you are in that bloodline or not. The countries decided to unite to form a larger country ruled over by a council of the 12 leaders, where each leader still has full control of their own province in the union. Eventually it becomes too cumbersome for these leaders to be involved with ruling their own territory and being involved in the council, along with revolts from the people for more influence on decisions.

Through reforms and a constitution the country now still has the council of leaders, but they elect among themselves one member to act on the council's behalf as the president of this country. All major laws still require a majority vote in the council, but the president can manage most routine functions. The legislature consists of two chambers: an assembly that is voted on by the people and a senate appointed by each leader. A Prime Minister chosen by the Assembly acts as the head of legislature which includes scheduling the review of bills and providing the bills to the President and Council following approval in both chambers. Judges for the judicial branch are each appointed by each of the 12 leaders. The council can perform a vote of no confidence on the presidency, legislature, and the judicial branch; however, the 12 leaders can only be replaced by death or resigning. Favoritism for the magical bloodlines still exist and make up the majority of cabinet-type positions, senate, and are members of the assembly and so in essence there are still elements of nobility/aristocracy.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hello and welcome to Worldbuilding! I hope that you will find your experience on this site both interesting and useful. You may want to take the tour and peruse the help center in order to become better acquainted with the rules and expectations of this site. Specifically, what is the specific question that you are asking? Please edit the question to make it clear what the question is. (And the overall structure is a federation, obviously. Note that you are using the title Prime Minister in a very strange way -- presiding over the legislative assembly is not what any Prime Minister ever did.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Sep 19, 2022 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ Are you just looking for the names of these things? The name for the first form is something like thaumaturgocracy or something like that, from thaumaturge. en.wiktionary.org/wiki/thaumaturge The second is a parliament mixed with an oligarchy. $\endgroup$
    – BillOnne
    Sep 19, 2022 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Sep 19, 2022 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ You can categorize your system of government whatever you want. Categorization and taxonomies are both human attempts to fit the complexities of the real world into manageable chunks that are easier to reason about, or communicate, at the expense of detail. I fail to see how asking what to call a government is a suitable worldbuilding question for this site. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Sep 19, 2022 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ I see some similarities with current polical system of Malaysia. $\endgroup$
    – Heopps
    Sep 21, 2022 at 9:34

3 Answers 3

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Underneath all this is an important bit of worldbuilding

Generally we don't answer questions like, "what's the best name for X?" But in your case, you're looking for something that will help you continue to develop your world, not simply a bit of paint. This is important, because we're delighted to help you create and consistently use the rules of an imaginary world of your own creation — but we're not willing to help you tell your story, which is usually all a name is good for.

But, as I said, in this case you're looking for something more than just an arbitrary bit of window dressing. Identifying the form of government will help you to refine the rules of your world. But let's help you understand the worldbuilding process and not just answer your question.

  • When analyzing your world, it's often a good idea to remove the story elements from the question, then re-analyze the question. What you'll often discover is that the question isn't that complicated. It was just made to look so due to the fog of your story. This is why we have a vote-to-close reason called "too story-based."

In your case, we need to remove the question's dependency on magic. The magic doesn't have any relation to the question other than to justify why the original feudal conditions of your pre-government exist. Once you remove the magic, what are you left with?

  1. You began with a loosely-bound group of feudal states not unlike Europe's ancient history.
  2. What they became was a Parliamentary Repubic with one house of "commons" and another house of (magical) "lords."

In other words, your government is very similar to the modern government of England other than you appear to not have a ruling monarch.

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  • $\begingroup$ In general answers on Main aren't the place for writing about site policy. You seem to be reading between the lines, and finding a non-obvious interpretation of the question not present in the text. In the past when you have encountered questions like that you've worked with the OP to clarify their intent, and revise the question rather than dive in with an answer that seems to be more about site policy than it is about answering the OP's question. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Sep 19, 2022 at 20:29
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    $\begingroup$ @sphennings Baloney. It's the perfect place to help new users learn about site policy (and I wish people would do it more often). Further, if you think I read anything between the lines, please explain how the word "magic" in the OP's question describes anything other than the process of identifying nobility. If you can't do it (you can't...), then I didn't read anything between anything. I simply showed the OP how to look past his story to ask his questions. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Sep 19, 2022 at 20:36
  • $\begingroup$ 1a. I agree with the advice about policy in your answer. 1b. An answer isn't the place for that advice. 1c. If a question has issues it should not be answered, even if the answer includes information about resolving said issues. 2a. My issue with this question is with the core ask of "What is this system of government?". 2b. Removing references to magic in the question will not resolve these issues. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Sep 19, 2022 at 20:46
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    $\begingroup$ @sphennings the policy advice fits as well as a frame challenge, which is a way to answer a question on an SE. Sometimes, an answer on an SE site needs to identify the flaws in the question in order to declutter the question and provide a useful answer. That's related to why the frame challenge is a tool we can use. JBH very concisely has identified the core question that needed answering, and provided an answer, and in so doing has explained it in a neutral to friendly tone. $\endgroup$ Sep 19, 2022 at 21:01
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    $\begingroup$ @sphennings That's straining at a gnat. But if you want to argue about it that badly - yup, I'm assuming the OP is still developing his world and can use this information for that purpose. Of course, that purpose is shared by each and every person who asks a question on this stack, but that's beside the current point. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Sep 19, 2022 at 21:25
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I would recommend looking into the Swiss Confederacy government system which is pretty much what you described in your question. The "President of the Swiss Confederacy" is a first among equals title given to one member of the 7 member Federal Council who collectively serve as the Head of State for the nation, though the President is the one tasked with fulfilling the duty as the person who does this job as required. The President serves for one year, starting on the first of that year, but the term in the council is 4 years and there are no term limits. This is called a Federal Assembly Independent Directorial Republic. Switzerland is the only type of real world government of this nature.

Federal refers to the nature of the central government having been created by the ceding of limited sovereign powers to a central power by two or more nations while retaining a number of sovereign powers to their own authority.

The term Prime Minister is problematic, as the phrases typically refers to a Parliamentarian who is the Head of Government which neither your government nor the Swiss Government do. Rather, a close analog would be the U.S. Speaker of the House, who is in charge of the legislature's lower house and it's internal governance. The Swiss refer to the same position as the (Federal) Chancellor.

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So looking through the various powers you've described the broadest term for this type of government would be an oligarchy. Virtually all power is vested in the Council of 12 magically selected people. Any power they do not directly possess they still dominate due to control over virtually every other branch of government by appointing their members, retaining veto power (which cannot be overturned), and also the ability to dissolve other branches and vote people out of office with no oversight or checks to these abilities.

For example: the legislature. This branch is divided into two chambers, one of which the Council explicitly controls by appointing its members. So even if the Council does not itself have any say in proposing laws, its handpicked legislators do. Even should the Senate fail to do the bidding of the Council, the Council still has veto power over anything the legislature proposes, and there is no way for the legislature to overturn this veto. Even without the power to actually write laws, no laws are passed that the Council does not have a hand in making, and does not explicitly approve.

Or the Judiciary: like the Senate, it's Council-appointed. You did not bother to enumerate the specific powers of the Judiciary, but it's probably safe to assume they have no ability to check the Council's power either, even if they had a mind to, which is doubtful since they owe their appointment to the Council which has the ability to shut down and remove from office any other part of government.

That just leaves the Assembly, and the "prime minister", outside the Council's direct control. The Assembly is democratic, as is the office of Prime Minister. However the only power they have is over the lawmaking process, and as we have already seen, the Council ultimately dominates this process and leaves no recourse for the Assembly to overturn its decisions or check its power. Even if the Assembly did attempt to rebel, the Council has the legal right to no-confidence the entire legislature.

These other branches of government are the trappings of a republic, but all real power lies with the Council, an unelected body of executives that sit for life. What else could this be but an oligarchy?

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