Martian Factbook 3224
Full Name of Polity: Mars Association of Free Colonies
Flag: MSN Ensign
Home World: New Mars
Type of government: Representative Democracy
Independence: Traditionally dated from the Hellas Declaration of June 13th, 2172CE (UC2832.165)
National Holiday: Independence Day (day 165)
Constitution: The present Martian Constitution was framed by the New Mars Constitutional Congress of 2977, although it is largely based on the Articles of Association of the 2943 Martian Association of Free Colonies.
Legal System: The Martian legal system is adversarial, and derived from Anglo-Saxon legal traditions.
Number of member worlds in:
Q0 - 11
Q1 - 9
Q2 - 8
Q3 - 9
Q3 - 7
Q5 - 16
Q6 - 7
Q7 - 18
Q8 - 11
Brief History of Polity:
The MAFC was created during the confusion of the 'Great War of Liberation' (2940-45), led by the New Mars Helix and a variety of other colonies and refusenik worlds that formed the 'Federation of Free Worlds' and then, in 2943 the Martian Association of Free Colonies.
Splits developed in the MAFC following the Belter-dominated 'Steel worlds' of Asteel and Steelyard forcing the MAFC to sign away its claim to Old MArs in the Treaty of Io (2945), and preventing the MAFC from aiding the Sirian Helix in its struggle against the Sirian Socialist Republic. This, and tensions caused by the mass movement of ethnic Martians from Old Mars to MAFC worlds led to deepening divisions in the MAFC and its polarisation into 'Martian' and 'Esteeler' factions. Eventually, the 'Federation of Asteel' led a breakaway faction in the brief Martian Civil War of 2976.
The MAFC Constitutional Congress of 2977 formed the current MAFC; a loose, federal state bound together by the institutions of the Senate and the Martian Star Navy. More recently, within the past 100 years there has been something of a centralisation of power again in Quadrant 0, via the formation of the Martian Union within the MAFC, but this in turn generated pressure for more power for the Quadrants and the formation of the Mars Colonial Growth Faction.
For a lengthier treatment, see here.
- method of appointment
Technically under the 2977 Constitution the Senate acts as both Executive and Federal Legislature. In practise the Senate Interstellar Coordination Committee acts as a de facto cabinet, and its members are appointed from within the Senate by the ruling party or coalition within the Council of the Martian Union. The Supreme Councillor of the Martian Union is then 'invited' by the ICC to be President of the Committee and acts as a de facto 'Martian President'. This arrangement lapsed under the 2996-3200 Pickles Administration and the MAFC returned to Senatorial governance. The system was revived by the Harness Administration, but again lapsed following the non-confidence vote that brought down the Harness government. The MCGF-dominated governments since then have preferred to by-pass the Martian Union, running the ICC from the Senate.
- powers of the ICC
Appointment of heads of major ministries, drawing up of budget proposals, proposals of legislation. Oversees the Intelligence Services, and Martian AI Detection Service.
- method of appointment
The main MAFC-wide legislature is the Martian Senate. There are 50 seats. Senators serve 6-year terms. Of the 50 seats, 36 are directly elected by the populaces of Q0-Q8, on a population basis, with 1 seat for every 500 million citizens (approximately). The remaining 14 are selected by a variety of different bodies, intended to represent major walks of Martian life. There are also 4 Military Senators (including the chair of the influential Martian Veterans' Association), selected by the MSN Chiefs of Staff, 2 Business Senators, selected by the Martian Institute of Directors, 2 Religious Senators, selected on a rotating basis according to the proportion of the MAFC population adhering to each religious denomination, 2 Academic Senators, selected by the Martian Universities Council, and representatives for Sport (selected by popular vote), Justice (selected by the Association Supreme Court), Social affairs (selected by the Social Affairs Committee), and Culture (selected by the Senate Arts Committee).
The Senate, via its various subcommittees, has oversight responsibility for the various ministries and ministers. It has civilian authority over the Martian Star Navy. It appoints justices to the Association Supreme Court. It must approve all legislation proposed by the executive, including the budget. It can also deselect (subject to judicial review) member worlds, impeach Quadrant High Councillors and Supreme Councillors, Councillors of the Martian Union, and fellow members of the Senate. It can also introduce legislation, although this latter tends to be the province of the ICC.
The MAFC Senate 'competency' in lawmaking is however limited to certain areas (mainly to do with security, foreign policy, and the Association budget). Many areas of Martian law operate on a principle of Subsidiarity and must be devolved to Regional Councils.
- method of appointment
The nine Members of the Association Supreme Court are selected by the MAFC Senate. Members of lower tier Association Courts are selected by the Supreme Court and ratified by the Quadrant Regional High Council.
The Supreme Court must uphold the constitution of the MAFC and can rule any action of any other branch of government unconstitutional. Votes of impeachment or deselection of member worlds are subject to judicial review. It is also the supreme court of appeal for cases in other Association Courts.
Political Parties and Leaders
Central Democratic Party
Centre-right pragmatists, the CDP is main opposition party in both the Senate (12/50 seats) and the Council of the Martian Union (125/465 seats). It formed the Charles L Harness Administration from 3200-3206, prior to the Douglas Affair and the Senate vote of no confidence, and after a brief period of opposition from 3206-3210 was part of a coalition government with the MCGF from 3210-24, until the fall of the Nonboris administration.
It is led in the senate by Senator Treesa April.
Martian Liberal Welfare Party
The MLWP is a left-of-centre party of considerable age. It lost power in 3200 due to a series of political scandals and its disastrous handling of the economy and the Exterminator War, but enjoyed a resurgence from 3205-10 under Senator Anton Dec. It spent a long period in opposition during the ascendancy of the CDP-MCGF coalition, but surged back to power following a good showing in the 3224 elections. It is the largest party in the Senate (16/50 seats) and the largest party in the Council of the Martian Union (179/467 seats), and leads the current government.
Martian Colonial Growth Party
The MCGP are federalists and are strong in the outer quadrants. It has made major gains in Senate elections in 3206 and 3210, becoming the largest party in the Senate and the major coalition partner of the CDP. It was in government 3206-24, first as a partner of the MLWP, and from 3210-24 with the CDP, before a series of scandals forced the resignation first of firebrand leader Antoinette Banderas in 3217 and then Augustus Nonboris in 3223. It was roundly punished in the 3224 elections and has shrunk to only 5 senate seats and 15 in the Council of the Martian Union.
New Helix Party
Neo-Darwinists and very libertarian, the Helix is seen as the most extremist of Martian political parties. It is nevertheless the fourth largest party in the Council of the Martian Union, with 52/467 seats, and has 5 Senators. The New Helix Party is in perpetual opposition and exists mainly as a pressure group in electoral forums.
It is led by Simon Shakewell, the High Adept of Clewg for New Mars.
Humanity's Future Party
Idealists and pan-humanists, interested in uniting humanity. The HFP have 4/50 senators and 61/467 councillors, making them the third major party in that body. They are traditional allies of the MLWP and form part of the governing coalition.
Free Mars Party
A conservative and traditionalist party, usually identified with wealthy landowners and the like. They have 6/50 Senators and 28/467 Councillors. The FMP is a traditional ally of the CDP, although it jumped ship over Douglas and helped bring down the CDP government, and did so again after the Zubat affair. It has been in government with one coalition partner or another since 3210.
They are led by Senator Philip Dermond (Q4).
Political Pressure Groups and Leaders
The major political pressure group is the Martian Star Navy, which exerts major influence behind the scenes of MAFC politics, especially via the Martian Veterans' Association (MVA). The current Naval Chief of Staff is Thai-Sho Wells, and the head of the MVA is Thai-Sho Maria Von Tirpitz (retd).
There is a significant body of opinion for reunification of Old Mars with the MAFC, and fundraising and support for opposition movements on Old Mars is coordinated by MarsAID, a body closely affiliated to the Free Mars Party, and led by Adam Jerries. MarsAID has always denied involvement with anti-Earth terrorist groups.
There is considerable support for further genetic engineering of the MAFC populace to return it to its 'genetically pure' days of 300 years ago. The charity Gattaca is a major force for pushing this, and is a major funder of the New Helix Party.
Atheist/no religion: 27%
New Jewish: 3.9%
Universal Church: 3%
Way of Enlightened Humanity: 2%
International Organisations membership:
Interstellar Forerunner Foundation
Treaty of Old London
Mars - Venus Treaty of Understanding
VIMES (Venerian Martian Sirian Police Cooperation treaty).
Economy - total SV: 985 (3220)
Population : 9.46 billion
The MAFC is actually by far the smallest by head of population of all of the major powers. Its ranking as one of the Big Four comes from the fact that its economy is heavily militarised, and its military spending is thus equivalent to the GFA or Venerian Republic. In order to achieve this, Martian military spending per capita is actually 3x higher than for those nations.
Current international disputes
Mars maintains a claim over the former Martian colony of Vulkan (Q0), destroyed by mass driving in the Asteel War of Secession of 2976, and recognised as an official war grave by the Association.
Mars maintains a claim over the former Martian colony of M'Drid (Q7), destroyed by ecological catastrophe in 2993 and now interdicted under the Treaty of M'Drid.
Mars has renounced any formal territorial claim to the world of Old Mars, but remains closely involved with and interested in events there, and still has close cultural ties with the world.
Key Legislation / Regulation on:
- Press Freedom
Freedom of expression is guaranteed by the 2943 Articles of Association (as incorporated into the Revised MAFC Constitution of 2977). Privacy and libel laws vary across the Association, but are usually interpreted fairly liberally where cases reach Association courts, and it is virtually impossible to win a libel trial within the MAFC.
- Personal freedom
Freedom of movement and association are also guaranteed by the Articles of Association, and can only be abridged during declared States of Emergency, a State of War, or via the imposition of Martial Law. Privacy laws vary from world to world but must uphold minimum standards of personal freedom specified by national legislation.
Mercenary companies are subject to a licensing procedure. Mercenaries must abide by MAFC weapons, customs and other local legislation while within MAFC space. In general there is a relaxed attitude to low-level mercenary activity where this is within the law. Large scale private armies are however frowned upon within MAFC space.
- Armed merchants
The MAFC operates a licensing scheme for companies registered in Martian space. Armed Merchants from other polities must complete MAFC licensing procedures before being allowed to operate in MAFC space.
- Death penalty
There is no death penalty within the MAFC. The most serious punishment is chemical erasure of memory and personality ('mind wipe'). This is traditionally voluntary except in cases of treason or other High Crimes (e.g. involvement in AI production).
- Accession / separation of colonies
Accession and separation must be as a result of a fairly-administered plebiscite vote across all of the adult population of the world in question. Worlds are free to join or leave the MAFC as they wish, and although the decision must be ratified by the Senate it would be very exceptional circumstances where the Senate intervened. The Senate may - subject to judicial review - admit or suspend members without a plebiscite under exceptional circumstances (for example continued and flagrant breaches of Association regulations).
- Religious freedom
There is freedom of conscience within the MAFC, except where beliefs or practises contradict existing legislation. The only religions banned outright within the MAFC are the so-called 'Truthsayer' cults of AI proponents, and the 'Exterminator cults' which have sprung up in the wake of the war. Two seats on the MAFC Senate are reserved for representatives of religious organisations. Discrimination on the basis of religious afiliation is forbidden except where beliefs may compromise a person's ability to perform a certain job (e.g. pacifists in the armed forces, Jehovah's Witnesses as medical doctors). There are no restrictions on faith-based schools.
Piracy is a crime under Martian law and subject to the usual punishments. It is not regarded any differently to other cases of armed robbery, grand theft etc. The Martian Star Navy (especially its Star Guard division) cooperates closely with MarsPol and the Martian Rangers in tracking down and punishing pirates. Mars has some formal information sharing structures with the Venerian Republic and Sirian Socialist Republic on trans-national criminal activity via the VIMES Treaty. The MAFC also cooperates more informally with other major nations.
- Artificial Intelligence
Any involvement in AI-related activity is one of the most serious crimes which can be committed within the MAFC. Since 3203 the Martian AI Detection Service has been formed with wide-ranging authority to deal with suspected cases, replacing previous ad-hoc arrangements. MAIDS however officially has investigative powers only and detention, arrest and prosecution must be carried out by legitimate police authorities such as MarsPol or the Martian Rangers.
The MAFC has formal extradition treaties with the Venerian Republic and Sirian Socialist Republic and is a signatory to the Potato Treaty on extradition for High Crimes.