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Posted by10 months ago

TL;DR: The Swiss model of a Federal bi-cameral assembly that appoints the executive is simple and effective. We should at least look at it.

The other day u/ComradeKenten shared his proposal for a PanAmerican in graphical format in the post “My proposal for a PanAmerican Government”, which started an interesting conversation. Here’s the link to that post:

https://reddit.com/r/PanAmerica/comments/rdljqj/my_proposal_for_a_panamerican_government/

Expanding on that I would like to propose we look at the Swiss model and considering as a good starting point for us as well. First let’s consider the challenges in putting together a PanAmerican government, which will entail moving certain powers from a diverse collection of national governments to a federal government.

It is important to understand this point because usually we think on the benefits of working together, the “together we’re stronger” which is indeed very appealing. Who among us hasn’t dream about being a citizen of a powerful nation, with a mighty economy, strong currency, powerful army and all that?

The question of who is going to lead such a powerful nation and how are these group of people going to be selected cannot take a backseat to our aspirations of unity. Also very important to consider is human nature, specifically what having lots of power at your disposal do to the human character.

Having said that I propose that we look at the government that the Swiss has put in place to rule their confederation. Not all of it, otherwise this would be a really long post; I am not even considering their direct democracy model in this post, but you should look into that as it’s very interesting by itself.

At the federal level Switzerland has a bi-cameral assembly (the Federal Assembly), with the National Council elected by the people (the lower house) and the Council of States representing the Swiss Cantons (the upper house). It is left to the cantons to determine how the members of the Council of States are selected and the constitution only mandates that it be done in a democratic manner.

The executive powers are held by the Federal Council, composed by seven power-sharing Federal Councillors elected by the Federal Assembly. Each one of this councillor head one of the seven federal departments of the Swiss government and the position of president of the Swiss federation rotates among these members on a yearly basis.

The fact that these councillors are appointed by the Federal Assembly and not popularly elected is important: there is no executive directly elected by the people, which I believe in a proposed PanAmerican union will be such a contentious issue that it would stop the project in its track. Being that I’m from what would be one of the smallest nation in such an union I would be concerned of having at my leader someone that is basically put in place by the voters of the biggest nations in the union.

Who will have the executive power, who will be the commander in chief of our armed forces, what power will that person have and when? Those are questions that people are going to be asking themselves before allowing their popular elected leaders to transfer certain powers to a PanAmerican executive by agreeing to joining such an union.

The Federal Council model would go a long way to reduce these concerns in a proposed PanAmerican union. I would propose that we adopt the Swiss model as a starting point with a few minors modifications:

A Bi-cameras federal assembly with a popularly elected branch similar to the Swiss National Council (the lower house) and the Council of the Republics representing each nation. Each nation will have at a minimum one representative in the popularly elected lower house and just two representatives in the Council of the Republics.

The members of the Council of the Republics are appointed, not elected. Why? Balance. The lower house represents the people and it will be chaotic due to its nature. We could potentially have dozens (if not hundreds) of factions vying for power, wheeling and dealing. Just imagine your current chamber of deputies or representative and imagine hundreds of them in a PanAmerican capital. Do you really want TWO of that?

The Council of the Republics are to be appointed by each nation National Assembly and I would specify for no more than two consecutive terms. By its nature, by they being appointed it means that all the factions in the National Assembly will have to put all their differences aside and arrive on a consensus of who is going to represent them. I believe there are more than two individuals in each of our nations that we respect even if we don’t like all of their politics. Imagine a Council of the Republics full of people like that as a counterpoint to the political chaos in the federal lower house?

These two federal chambers will them work together to select the members of the executive who will run the federal government and take turns as head of state for one year. That should keep them in check and will not make it a very appealing position for the megalomaniacs that turn into dictators. I mean, they will actually have to work and wait their turn just to be president for one year?

Just a historical note from other people: you know the Cossacks from Russia? They elected among their military commander one leader that would rule for just one year, so that none would get too powerful and become a dictator. Under that system they ended up growing the Russian state from Europe all the way through Siberia and up to the Pacific Ocean. If it works for them, term limits should also work for us./r/

Again, this is just a starting point. What do you think about this proposal? Love it? Hate it? What would you change?

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