Fureidis is a constitutional republic with a broad distribution of powers. Each island has its only local government with local responsibilities, and these have an independent constitutional authority, but they were never at any time independent sovereignties that federated, and the government is perhaps best described as a feudal representative republic.
The head of State for Fureidis is the Pelaku Surgya (“Perpetuator”), whose powers, nominally sweeping, are in practice ceremonial or reserved for dire emergencies. The Perpetuator is elected for a term of five years from among constitutionally qualified candidates nominated by the Great Deliberative Council.
The Great Deliberative Council consists of 99 members. Eleven are elected each year for overlapping nine-year terms, by proportional representation. The Council sets policy, holds ministers to account (they serve during its pleasure), permits the appropriation of public funds and borrowing on the credit of the State, confirms and may impeach the holders of statutory offices, and may amend schedules, set rates, and recognise facts as provided by statute. But to amend or enact a statute it must put a bill to plebiscite, requiring a 2/3 majority. This makes government cumbersome.
Each island or group of small islands has its own pelaku and its own deliberative council, on the same scheme but smaller scale. Local governments have independent constitutional authority over defined local matters. They can be impeached by the Great Deliberative Council, but the process is difficult, so they are practically independent, and often quarrelsome. Islands compete with one another to lure business into their jurisdictions by making attractive regulations, waiving taxes, and imposing barriers to trade. They also engage in disputes over maritime resources, despatching their rangers and coast guards to arrest trespassers and seize their ships and tackle, sometimes even to destroy structures and shoot down drones. Few people have been killed yet, but the world government is annoyed.
The judiciature on Fureidis is a hierarchy of expert jurists, called hakim. Courts are self-perpetuating by co-opation. That is, higher courts fill vacancies on their benches by electing hakim from lower courts for promotion. The lowest courts top themselves up by co-opting qualified lawyers: professional advocates and legal academics.
Judges sit in panels to try felonies and other serious cases, alone to deal with misdemeanours and minor civil matters. Procedure is adversarial, the judge or panel acting as finder of fact and declarer of law in what is formally a dispute between the State and the accused.
Protections for the accused are moderately strong, though confessions in custody and uncorroborated police testimonies are admitted, and the courts will draw inferences from silence. One interesting exception is that in prosecutions for incest, adultery, and sodomy (which are felonies) and fornication (a misdemeanour) the courts positively require eyewitness testimony from four witnesses, each confession counting as only one eyewitness testimony. The same rule does not apply to rape or child abuse.
Law enforcement & peacekeeping
Each local government (island or small group) has its a single police service, which includes a uniformed branch with peace-keeping duties and a detective branch, promoted from police, with investigative functions. The world government has a small array of investigating agencies and independent commissions, and commands a world gendarmerie.
Each local government also has its own coast guard with a buffet of rescue, enforcement, inspection, and revenue-collection duties. These have sometimes been engaged in vigorous disputes over fishing grounds, poaching etc., though so far stopping short of warlike action. The maritime branch of the world gendarmerie is no happier about this that the Imperials in orbit.
Fureidis is afflicted with an assortment of old but un-repealable “moral” laws that create victimless crimes.
- There are sweeping bans against the use of recreational drugs such as alcohol (but not mild stimulants such as caffeine.
- Prostitution and patronising prostitutes are a felony and a misdemeanour respectively.
- Most types of gambling are forbidden.
- Pornography and sex toys are banned.
- Sodomy, adultery, and incest (to a patrilineal standard) are felonies, and fornication a misdemeanour, but they are hard to prove to the required standard.
- Public nudity and even indecent dress is a misdemeanour.
Despite all that, polygyny is technically legal (provided that each wife permits subsequent wives when drawing up the marriage contract), though considered immoral.
In addition to this, most local governments require wholesalers and vendors of many goods, and suppliers of many services, to have local licences and to buy deal only in locally-made goods.
The result of all this is that there are lucrative black markets in imported goods, unlicensed services, gambling products, alcohol and other drugs, pornography, racy entertainments, and prostitution. These naturally support organised crime, which is naturally violent and contributes to corruption.
Ships at sea are allowed to carry military smallarms “to protect themselves from pirates”.
Serious crimes are punished with terms of incarceration. Lesser offences by exacting either fines or labour services.