The Oksan nation of Uuksam is as close to a representative democracy as can be found in the former Imperial sphere. It ended up so almost by accident, after a series of struggles for succession and Imperial invasion had left it bereft of a leader, any clear lines of succession and a distrust of autocratic government in general. The theories of an obscure political theorist, Gaatok of Rylim, suddenly gained support and respect, and thus the Republic of Uuksam was born.
Power resides in the body known as The Legislature, which is comprised of two houses. The upper house, the Magisters Supervisory, are elected for life by members of the lower house, the legates. The role of the Magisters Supervisory is to see that the business of the Legislature is conducted according to procedure, and to produce the actual drafts of bills of state. They have the power to censure legates according to the laws governing Legislature procedure, but have no voting rights of their own. There are approximately one hundred or so Magisters Supervisory.
The lower house, the legates, are a larger body and it is they who do the voting on matters of state. The lower house has between five to ten times the number of members of the upper house at any one time, depending on the matter being debated. Attendance in the lower house is open to all who meet the requirements (see sidebar), and who can make the journey to the Palace of the Legislature in the capital city of Malentor.
Uuksam is represented on the Oksan Council of Kings by the Speaker, who is elected by majority vote from members of both houses.
Since the Legislature is based in Malentor, and a person must travel to Malentor to exercise his or her democratic rights, this tends to exclude those living in the more remote regions of Uuksam. To overcome this, several methods have arisen.
Vote by proxy. A group of landowners can get together and decide to sign over their votes to one person, who travels to the capitol and votes on behalf of all of them. This can, sadly, lead to corruption, where the proxy decides not to vote the way they were asked to, or where someone claiming to be acting by proxy votes for multiple people, who may be out of the country or even dead.
Political parties. People band together based on a common ideology, they raise money, and then offer to help those wealthy landowners (or impoverished veterans, or travelling merchants) get their votes counted using proxies, petitions, paying for somebody to watch the farm for a week, or whatever.
Sometimes a party buys some wagons and rides through the smaller town, offering a ride to anyone with the vote if they'll only listen to some speeches and vote for their candidate. These parties tend to be temporary affairs based on one policy only (such as the infamous "Three Day Week" party). Once the matter has been addressed, the parties fall apart. So far, Uuksam has not seen anything like a bi-partisan system based upon conservatives vs. progressives.
Since wealth plays a part in one's eligibility to vote, that gives the perfect avenue for foreign powers to buy a candidates by stumping up the necessary funds (preferably through convoluted channels to disguise the fact). Furthermore, it can lead to "rotten boroughs" where a proxy acts as a lordling over his jurisdiction. Many proxies take the money and run, living the high life in Malentor whilst their supporters keep paying money in the hopes of getting results. It is a far from perfect system, and the self-regulation doesn't help, but for the most part it works.
The Empire of Splendour
Places of Interest
The rules governing who may act as a legate (thus speaking and voting on a topic) are based upon expertise. To vote on issue of trade, you have to own a certain amount of money. To vote on issues of agriculture (like taxes on food or reactions to a blight) you have to own a certain amount of land. To vote on laws about laws, like jury requirements, you have to be well-educated. To vote on military matters, you need to have served in the army. This makes the system rather bulky, since the same issue must be agreed upon by multiple voters. It also allows a lot of people to vote multiple times, while others don't vote at all.
The requirements are all graded, categorized and generally manhandled to keep the number of voters manageable and ensure the people who do vote are informed.
For example, in the case of a military vote the scaling would be:
Enlisted regulars: 1/4 of a vote
Sergeants and enlisted specialists (cavalry, archers): 1/3 of a vote
Specialists (engineers, magicians, medical): 1/2 vote
Low officers: 2/3 of a vote
High officers: full vote
Each of their votes on the subject would be collected separately, the sums reduced by the appropriate amount, and then tallied.