Cosa

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Cosa
Cosa.png
Lower house of the Ziu
54th Cosa

Leadership
Túischac'h dal Cosa (Speaker) TBD

Structure
Seats 200
54cosa.png
Political groups HM's Government
FreeDem (84)
AMP (46)
PNP (25)

HM's Loyal Opposition
ZPT (25)
NPW (15)
MTGA (5)
Length of term Around 8 months

Elections
Voting system Party-list proportional representation
Last elections November 15 - December 1 2019
Next elections Summer 2020 or earlier

Meeting place
Cosa merrillhall.png
Online, cerimonially Merrill Hall, Abbavilla

The Cosa or Cosă ([ˈkoːzɐ] ( )) (formerly Cosâ) is the lower house of the Parliament of the Kingdom of Talossa, the Ziu. Like the upper house, the Senate, it meets in Abbavilla.

The Cosa is an elected body consisting of a variable number of members known as Members of the Cosa (MCs), each holding a maximum number of seats defined by law, linked to the turnout of the previous General Elections. Each member can elect to represent a particular constituency, for cerimonial purposes, but otherwise represents the whole nation.

Role

The Cosa does not elect the Prime Minister; however, since the Government of the day has to rely on the support of a majority of the Cosa to stay in power, the Cosa wields substantial power over the appointment of a Prime Minister, as the King will by convention choose a name that has been agreed upon by a number of parties forming a majority coalition in the Cosa. Most ministers will also come either from the Cosa or the Senate. The Seneschalsqab can change hands during a term without the Cosa being dissolved: the most recent Seneschals to take office without a General Election were Cesli da Chilseu in December 2012 and most recently Miestrâ Schivâ in February 2019, although the latter subsequently won reelection in her own right.

The Cosa may indicate its lack of support for the Government by rejecting a vote of confidence; motions of confidence are customarily phrased as "Do you wish the current Government to continue in its term of office?", and are voted on once per Clark. When a Government loses a vote of confidence, the Cosa is by law dissolved immediately, and the parties can not attempt to build another Government around a new majority without passing through a General Election. The Cosa does not have the power to remove (or impeach) members of the Government.

Members of the Cosa may also hold the Government to account through Terpelaziuns ("Enquiries") - questions to a member of the Cabinet. Terpelaziuns are traditionally addressed to the Túischac'h, a tradition mutuated by the British House of Commons. There is however no allotted "question time": members are free to submit questions throughout their whole term in office.

Whipping of government bills varies depending on the majority of the day; generally, the notion of the government being "defeated" on particular bills is normally not present in Talossa. There have been instances of ministers resigning due to relevant bills not passing the Ziu, as was the case for Istefan Perþonest in the 46th Cosa; however, this was due to the Senate rejecting the Talossan Monetary Policy Reform Act, rather than the Cosa.

All bills, save a few exceptions, can originate in either the Cosa or the Senate. Contrary to most national parliaments, there is no real supremacy of a house upon another, be it customarily or enshrined into law; therefore, the Cosa is not legislatively more "powerful" than the Senate. However, budget bills have to originate in the Cosa by law, and the Government is required to keep the confidence of the Cosa to stay in office.

Members and elections

The Cosa first assembled in 1985, and for more than ten years it was the only house of the Ziu, until the Senate was added with the 1997 Organic Law. Since 2002, it is composed by 200 seats, and the number of seats each member can hold is determined by law, but is typically around 15 to 20 seats. Previously, the Cosa was composed by 20 seats, with each member holding exactly one seat.

Members are not technically elected to their seats, unless they run as independents, and are appointed to their seats by the leaders of their party. Upon the passage of the Mandatory Cosa Lists Act and Amendment, however, candidates for the Cosa will appear on the ballot from the 50th Cosa General Elections; parties will have to abide to certain guidelines when assigning seats and people outside of a party's list will not be able to collectively hold more than a third of their party's seats.

General Elections take place each time the Cosa is dissolved; this typically happens either when the Government loses a motion of confidence, or at the end of a parliamentary term. The length of a parliamentary term is not enshrined into law, but is pegged to certain prerequisites: namely, it is composed of six Clarks of a month each, of an optional month of recess and of an initial month for govenrment formation and electoral validation. Therefore, General Elections are typically held every nine months, including the month when the elections actually take place.

Parties and independents have to pay a fee of 6¤40 ($10) to assign their seats; this was previously 13¤20 ($20) prior to the passage of the Rebalancing Finances Act during the 48th Cosa.

Upon the end of a General Elections, the 200 seats are apportioned between the parties according to the percentage of the popular vote achieved by each political party. The method followed is a simple proportional allocation.

Write-in voting is permitted, but any write-in party has to pay the 6¤40 ($10) to be able to allocate its seats. Additionally, since write-in parties have by definition not submitted a list of candidates, all of the seats they win are allocated to the party leader up to the maximum limit of seats per MC, with any leftover seat being declared vacant. Similarly, any seats won by parties that do not pay the fee cannot be allocated and are permanently declared vacant upon the end of the First Clark.

Members may lose their seats through resignation, failure to vote, removal by a supermajority, or death. The Secretary of State notifies the Ziu of any incurred vacancies along with the results of each Clark; and the leaders of each party will typically reassign the vacant seats to other members. An Organic provision would technically mandate the King to appoint the replacements, but this has not typically happened, similarly to a related one that allows the King to choose replacement MCs if nobody is selected by the respective party.

Officers

The ceremonial head of the Cosa is the Túischac'h ([ˈtui̯ʃɐx] ( )), or Speaker. The Túischac'h is appointed by the King after recommendation from the Seneschal. The current Túischac'h is Cresti Nouacastra-Läxhirescu MC. The Túischac'h has no particular powers, except for usually initiating debates and receiving Terpelaziuns directed to the Government by Members of the Cosa.

This latter function has however been somewhat inconsistent in recent practice, as the number of questions posed has dwindled and the Tuischac'h has generally been bypassed in favour of posing the question directly to the relevant Minister - notably, members of the RUMP have routinely done so. There have also been instances when Terpelaziuns were presented to the Túischac'h, regardless of the House of the questioner, and one instance when the Túischac'h (specifically, Miestrâ Schivâ) had herself submitted a Terpelaziun, curiously addressing the Mençei despite not being a Senator.

The Túischac'h used to appoint the five members of the Civil Service Committee, which was the only standing committee of the Cosa, but the committee was abolished by the Royal Civil Service (Estabilishment) Act in mid-2018. The Senate equivalent, the Mençei, has a similar power to appoint the Senate's lone standing committee, the Committee on Rules and Administration.

Procedure

Like the Senate, the Cosa usually does not meet in person, but assembles on Wittenberg from the 1st to the 21st of each business month. In-person parliamentary meetings are styled as "Living Cosa", but have never been held in modern times. During Living Cosas, the Túischac'h acts as presiding officer.

During normal practice, votes are typically cast online, on Wittenberg or on the Chancery's database. Unusually, the Cosa does not have a quorum for operating.

A distinction exists between bills that are sponsored by the Government, the Opposition or by none of the two; namely, they are marked on the Clark as being proposed by either "HM Government" or "HM Loyal Opposition", or if not, are considered to be Private Member's Bills. However, since in Talossa the Government does not "run" the legislative agenda, the bills are treated exactly the same, and there is additionally no "official opposition" as estabilished by statute, rendering the relative signature effectively never used. Government Bills are instead sometimes seen in practice - for example, Budgets are customarily submitted as such.

The Prime Minister has the power of declaring a month of recess for each term, which in recent times has typically coincided with January (to allow for Christmas and New Year holidays) or one of the summer months. The Prime Minister can also have a Writ of Prorogation issued at the beginning of a term, which delays the start of the First Clark by a month and removes the Sixth Clark; while recess is fairly common, prorogation has never been used in modern Talossan history, if ever.

Current composition

Cosa
← 53rd Jan 2019 - current
Elected December 2019
Assembled 1 Jan 2020/XLI

Tuischac'h Vacant
Appointed TBD
Dean Miestrâ Schivâ (FreeDems)
Serving since the 49th Cosa
Second Schivâ Cabinet
Government (155) FreeDem (84)
AMP (46)
PNP (25)
Opposition (45) ZPT (25)
NPW (15)
MTGA (5)
54cosa.png
Database entry

The 54th Cosa session began on 1st January 2020/XLI.

Election results

The results of the General Elections are as follows:

Party Votes Share
   Free Democrats of Talossa 33 41.77%
   Awakening and Magnifying Passion 18 22.79%
   Peculiar Nationalist Party 10 12.66%
   Zefençadéirs del Päts Talossan 10 12.66%
   New Peculiar Way 6 7.59%
   Make Talossa Great Again 2 2.53%
Present/Invalid votes: 11

As such, the seat apportionment is:

Party Seats
HM's Government (155)
   Free Democrats of Talossa 84
   Awakening and Magnifying Passion 46
   Peculiar Nationalist Party 25
HM's Most Loyal Opposition (45)
   Zefençadéirs del Päts Talossan 25
   New Peculiar Way 15
   Make Talossa Great Again 5

Members of the 54th Cosa

Free Democrats of Talossa (84)
   Miestrâ Schivâ 20 Prime Minister, Minister of Culture
   Txoteu Davinescu 12 Foreign Minister, Minister of Defence
   Martì-Paìr Furxhéir 20 Backbencher
   Txec dal Nordselva 20 Backbencher
   Munditenens Tresplet 12 Backbencher
Awakening and Magnifying Passion (46)
   Cresti Nouacastra-Läxhirescu 12 Attorney General
   Jordan Placie 12 Backbencher
   Andy Park 11 Backbencher
   Breneir Itravilatx 11 Backbencher
Peculiar Nationalist Party (25)
   Eovart Grischun 13 Interior Minister
   Litz Cjantscheir 12 Finance Minister
Zefençadéirs del Päts Talossan (25)
   vacant 25 -
New Peculiar Way (15)
   Eiric Börnatfiglheu 10 Leader of the Opposition in pectore
   Iason Bitxichë Taiwos 3 Opposition
   Audrada Rôibeardét 2 Opposition
Make Talossa Great Again (5)
   Mximo Carbonel 5 Opposition