The Prime Minister is head of government of the Empire of Austenasia. Elected every four years by the people from among the Representatives, the Prime Minister holds important rights and responsibilities to assist in the governance of the Empire.
The position of the Prime Minister has evolved over time, with its level of authority dependent upon the holder of the office and their relationship with the Monarch.
The Prime Minister serves as the public face and voice of the elected Austenasian government, and as the leading member of Cabinet responsible for overseeing its regular activities and co-ordinating its work. Two of the most important powers of the Prime Minister are their exclusive right to nominate Cabinet ministers for the Monarch to appoint, and their ability to cast a deciding vote in the case of a tie in the House of Representatives.
Lord John Gordon, Viscount of Thetford
Lord John Gordon is the incumbent Prime Minister, having been in office since 1 June 2020. He was not elected in a general election, but was instead appointed to the position directly by Emperor Jonathan I with the emergency powers assumed by the latter in the context of the political crisis ongoing at the time (see Prince Dionisiy, below). Lord Gordon had been the opponent of his predecessor Prince Dionisiy in the February 2020 general election, gaining 41% of the vote. This would have been a majority of the vote had the towns which left Austenasia alongside Prince Dionisiy’s resignation not been in Austenasia at the time.
Lord Gordon’s premiership has seen a return to political unity and stability, a record-breaking growth in Austenasia’s population and land claims, and a cultural flowering of heraldry and monuments, to the extent that the second half of 2020 was termed by some the “Austenasian Renaissance”.
Lord Gordon joined Austenasia with the annexation of his family home as the Town of Palasia on 12 July 2013.
Former Prime Ministers
HIH Crown Prince Jonathan (2008-13)
Crown Prince Jonathan – the future Emperor – was declared Prime Minister in the Empire’s Declaration of Independence on 20 September 2008. He won two general elections during his term, securing democratic mandates for his premiership on 1 January 2009 and 23 December 2011.
During the reign of his father Emperor Terry I, the Crown Prince was as Prime Minister the undisputed executive leader of government. However, under the two succeeding Monarchs, Emperors Esmond III and Declan I, the premiership gradually took on a more subservient and advisory role as the powers of the Throne increased. The adoption of the Austenasian Constitution of 2011, championed by the Crown Prince and in force in slightly amended form to this day, cemented the executive, legislative, and judicial authority of the Monarch over that of the Prime Minister.
During Crown Prince Jonathan’s term as Prime Minister, he wrote the vast majority of the Empire’s legislation, defended the constitutional government during the Austenasian Civil War, and even after losing most of his actual power to the Throne was able to work behind the scenes to arrange for Declan I to become joint Emperor after misgivings about the sole reign of Esmond III. He also served as the primary diplomatic representative of the Empire, representing Austenasia at the 2011 Intermicronational Summit and the 2012 PoliNation Conference, and negotiating numerous treaties of recognition and friendship with other small nations.
Upon the abdication of Declan I on 20 January 2013, Crown Prince Jonathan accepted the Throne and so became the incumbent Emperor Jonathan I, automatically losing the office of Prime Minister.
Lord Marshal William Kingsnorth (2013: Acting)
As Deputy Prime Minister at the time, Lord Marshal William became Acting Prime Minister upon the ascension to the Throne of Jonathan I on 20 January 2013. He proposed no new policies and made no attempt to take on any executive leadership, due both to the proactive exercise of the powers of the Throne by Jonathan I and to his respect for the fact that he had not been elected to the position. The Lord Marshal treated his use of the powers of the position of Prime Minister as an almost ceremonial function, focusing instead on his duties both as Representative of Zephyria and as the holder of several offices in Cabinet. As such, his premiership has been described as functioning mostly as a “rubber stamp” for the decisions of the Emperor.
After several months in office as Acting Prime Minister, a general election was called for 18 November 2013. The Lord Marshal initially stood for election, but withdrew and endorsed Countess Eritoshi shortly before voting took place.
HIH Countess Eritoshi of Memphis (2013-15)
Countess Eritoshi of Memphis, Representative of Thanasia, was elected Prime Minister on 19 November 2013 with 66% of the vote. Whereas Lord Marshal William’s premiership had been one of passive support for the decisions of the Monarch, Countess Eritoshi’s was very much one of active support. Functioning as an “enforcer” for the Emperor, the Countess used the Prime Ministerial deciding vote and the prestige of her office to have legislation and policies proposed by Jonathan I passed more easily through Parliament.
The Empire grew rapidly during Countess Eritoshi’s premiership, with its population more than tripling from 24 to 75, and expanding from four towns to ten. By early 2015, the Austenasians who had elected the Countess had become but a small part of the electorate, and it was agreed that it was only fair to call a new general election.
Despite establishing the Green Party of Austenasia to organise her supporters and manifesto, the Countess lost the March 2015 general election to Lord Admiral Kennedy.
HIH Lord Admiral Joseph Kennedy (2015-20)
Lord Admiral Joseph Kennedy served as Representative of New Richmond. He was elected on 4 March 2015 with 68% of the vote, and re-elected to a landslide victory on 28 February 2019 with 87% of the vote after his rival dropped out.
The Lord Admiral returned the office of Prime Minister to being one of an active head of government, proposing numerous pieces of legislation, overseeing governmental and military reforms, and securing concessions from the Throne such as the pledge to have all Cabinet appointments nominated by the Prime Minister before approval from the Monarch. He championed reforms to promote accountability throughout the government, and worked to promote a culture of democracy and to secure and expand checks and balances on the powers of the Throne.
Lord Admiral Kennedy did not stand for re-election in February 2020, instead leading New Richmond in creating the independent Commonwealth of New Virginia. He remains an Austenasian Caesar, Chief Advisor of the Privy Council, and governor of the territory of Fraternitas.
HSH Prince Dionisiy I (2020)
Prince Dionisiy I was elected with 52.3% of the vote on 13 February 2020, but resigned on 1 June later that year after the shortest term ever served by a Prime Minister. His brief term was dominated by the issue of constitutional reform, a platform of which he had been elected on. Disputes within Parliament over the amendments proposed by the Prince led to divisions which eventually became bad enough to force the Emperor to temporarily assume emergency powers to calm the situation.
Prince Dionisiy worked towards restoring order and co-operated with former rivals to re-establish unity in the government, but the controversy eventually led to his decision to resign after several claims led by his friends and supporters decided to leave Austenasia.