Madrid – Following the passage and signing of both unification laws, the Kingdoms of Spain and Portugal have now officially combined to form the Empire of Iberia. Both Kingdoms along with the Territory of Morocco will remain as regions under the Empire. The unification marks the first occassion in decades where two independent and sovereign countries have voluntarily chosen to become one without either the use of or threat to use force. Along with being Queen of Spain and Queen of Portugal, the Empress will now also be known as the Empress of Iberia and Lady Protector of Morocco. The Assembleia do Reino will continue to exist as the legislature of Portugal under home rule, however much of its former powers will shift to the newly formed Cortes Generales/Cortes Gerais, which will become the bicameral legislature of the Empire.
While beyond its change in powers the Assembleia do Reino will remain unchanged, the Cortes Generales/Cortes Gerais will see significant changes made to the way it is structured and functions. It will continue to be bicameral with the Senate as its upper house and the Congress of Deputies as its lower house, the number of seats and how they are assigned will be subject to change.
First of all, the Senate. Going forward the Senate will be divided into four parts, the Kingdom of Spain, the Kingdom of Portugal, the Territories and the Nobility. 40% of all seats will go to the Kingdom of Spain, 30% of all seats will go to the Kingdom of Portugal, 20% of all seats will go to the Territories, and 10% of all seats will go to the Nobility. The Kingdoms of Spain and Portugal will decide how to divide their assigned seats based on laws at the Kingdom level, the Congress of Deputies will decide how the seats are assigned for the Territories and the Empress decides which nobles are eligible for entry into the Senate. The number of seats is based on the total number of provinces in all Kingdoms and Territories multiplied by 5. This results in a total of 410 seats. The Congress of Deputies will be fixed at 777 seats. Much like the Senate these seats are divided among the constituent parts of the Empire. 45% of all seats will go to the Kingdom of Spain, 35% of all seats will go to the Kingdom of Portugal, and 20% of all seats will go to the Territories. Unlike the Senate the way members to the Congress of Deputies are elected is established by law on the Empire-level. Every four years elections will be held in the Empire using Party-List Proportional Representation, upon the conclusion of the election the percentage each party obtained in the Kingdoms and the Territories are calculated and seats are assigned based on the percentage in each Kingdom and Territories. The first of these elections is set for February 2101, afterwards the Congress of Deputies will vote on how the Senate seats of the Terrritories will be decided and elections for the Senate can be held. To allow the Cortes Generales/Cortes Gerais to function in the absence of a quorum, the Empress has been empowered to fill unfilled seats with appointees until replacements are elected. She is expected to announce these temporary Senators by the end of the week and is actively consulting representatives of all political parties as well as the heads of local and provincial governments.
The Empress also took the opportunity to begin a new tradition by making an Imperial Address in the now obsolete Spanish Cortes Generales. The full transcript has been placed below.
People of Iberia and the World,
Not since 409 has this peninsula been united. Iberians have fought for this day longer than most countries have existed, and even when we were united under the majesty of the Roman Empire, we were not ruled by one of our own. Today the day has arrived where we can hold our heads high and say to the world. We. Are. One. While the road to get here was long, our road of glory will be even longer. We control the largest navy in the world, we are joined in the strongest military alliance since the fall of NATO, and we are close to controlling all the land on this peninsula.
Ours is a country that values and celebrates freedoms, equality and the ability of each person to make the best future for themselves they can. Luckily we can say that many of the territories formerly under our control hold these same values but not all of them do. As horrific as colonialism was, it is now our responsibility and duty to free those people whose government has not and to protect those people whose government does not. It is for this purpose that I have ordered our glorious military to not only prepare for the defence of Iberia and our allies, but also take action against those countries we have identified as needing freedom. We will deliver this to them, whether their dictators like it or not.
In the areas of the economy, we will continue encouraging free enterprise and passing measures to allow even the smallest company to compete with the largest industrial giants. We will also continue to seek trade agreements with both our former colonial possessions and other countries that have shown an interest in developing negotiations.
When it comes to the European continent, the focus of our efforts will continue being the Byzantine League. As both a Mediterranean and Atlantic power, the Byzantine League is the platform best suited to pursue our specific goals and in the anarchistic <expletive>hole that is the international stage there truly is strength in numbers. We will of course also continue pursuing all available avenues to once and for all eliminate the blight on our peninsula that is the illegal occupation of Gibraltar.
On the global stage, we will continue encouraging diplomatic relations with any country that shows interest and work on developing a robust and stable network of friends and allies throughout the world.
In the future I plan to address all of you like this at least once a year, every government derives its strength from its people. Without you I could have a million crowns and even more thrones, but they would all be useless. You are all what makes Iberia.Empress Alba of Iberia, 10-02-2101, Madrid
The Imperial Address consisted mostly of what many would expect, including the repetition of the goal to end the illegal occupation of Gibraltar, however the explicit threat to use the Iberian military against former colonies with non-democratic governments came as a major surprise. While prior to the Personal Union the Kingdom of Spain was extensively involved in the affairs of its former colonies, it was always believed that the Empress shared no such desire as the Kingdom of Portugal would almost never involve itself after a colony gained independence. While her threat likely has many sweating, it is believed that her most immediate target is Cuba which has been under a communist dictatorship since 1959 after the successful Cuban revolution. While the first seven Presidents were not paragons of human rights, compared to her predecessors Malena Castro (great-granddaughter of the first communist President Fidel Castro) is the devil herself. According to some reports the first female President of Cuba is responsible for as many as 200,000 extrajudicial killings and has personally committed 100 of them, supposedly scaphism is a favourite method of hers and has been employed at her command. The focus on a strong navy and marine corps would likely enable a quick Iberian victory if the Empress were to declare war on Cuba, it however remains difficult to guess how other powers in the region such as the United States of America and Mexico might respond.