Merochasan Politics

Politics in Merochas consist of a balance of power between various factions of Casas.  All significant political decisions are made by the Consejo Mercantio (Mercantile Council), which is composed of the heads of the 17 Casas Crantas, or their designated representatives.  The Casas Menoras also play a role in Merochasan politics, but only in situations where the issue has united them unequivacally - an unusual event, given their naturally fractious behavior.
Three formal political bodies exist in Merochas.  The first is the Consejo Mercantio, which has jurisdiction over all matters of trade and foreign policy, including military affairs and all tariffs.   The second is the Junta te Casas (Assembly of Houses), which is technically the chief legislative body in the country, but in actuality has little real power.  The Junta does have nominal power over taxation, but because the Casas Menoras are adamantly opposed to any significant amount of internal taxation, the Junta rarely legislates any tax laws, preferring to let the civic government operate on the proceeds of the tariffs imposed by the Consejo Mercantio.  The Junta has one other significant power, and that is the right to rule on issues of land ownership.  It is this power, more than any other, which has prevented the Casas Crantas from completely owning the entire country.  The Casas Menoras, which outnumber the Casas Crantas in the Junta, have become very jealous of this power, even to the point of preserving its principle in the face of obvious economic disadvantage.
The third political body is the govierno civico, the civic government which has the responsibility of carrying out and enforcing the policies and laws enacted by the other two entities.  Despite its name, the civic government has authority over the entire country, not just the city of Merochas.  The head of the govierno civico is the Almirante (Admiral), whose title is a relic of the days when the primary function of the civic government was simply to protect the city of Merochas.  These days, the Almirante is still likely to have a maritime or military background, but his actual military duties consist of a couple of parades and providing taxes and recruits to the Capitane-Cenerale and the Comantante-Cenerale.  The Almirante is selected by the Consejo Mercantio for a period of five years.  An Almirante who wishes to retain his position must be capable of balancing the real needs of the city and country against the trade and political interests of the Casas Crantas.  This is a delicate task, and few Almirantes in the history of Merochas have served over two terms in office.  Most have counted themselves fortunate to retire after a term or two with their lives and wealth intact.  Wealth is the primary motivation for becoming an Almirante, because the Tepartmento tel Atuanas (customs office) reports to the Almirante, and therefore the atuaneros (customs officers) must forward a small portion of all the bribes and proceeds from the confiscation of "smuggled" cargoes to the Almirante.  These many small portions add up to a very great amount over the course of even one term in office.
The Almirante controls the Cuartia Civil (City Watch, which is located in all major towns in Merochas as well as the city) and the Tepartmento te Malecones (Department of Dikes or Quays - the public works deparment), as well as the Tepartmento tel Atuanas, as noted.  The Almirante also has nominal control over the Armata (Navy) and Ejercito (Army), but in actuality the military takes its orders directly from the Consejo Mercantio.   This practice prevents the Almirante from becoming a governor in fact as well as in name.  In addition, the most likely successor to the present Almirante is one of the two military chiefs - the Capitane-Cenerale tel Armata or the Comantante-Cenerale tel Ejercito.
Holders of high civic office are most frequently drawn from the ranks of the Casas Menoras.  This allows the Consejo Mercantio to reward members of the Casas Menoras who have supported the Consejo, and avoids placing any member of the Casas Crantas in too central a position in government.  There is an unspoken custom in Merochas that members of the Casas Crantas rule from behind the scenes, not out in front.  Occasionally a minor member of one of the great Casas will serve in some fairly harmless civic capacity, but that is as far as it goes in Merochas.
The major political issues are either economic issues, or derive from economic issues.  Merochas is a trading nation, and its politics are based on trade issues.  The major political factions within the Casas Crantas are known as Acuertos ("agreements").  Their membership can be fluid at times, but the major Acuertos have retained their current form for several decades.  Merochasan policy has remained fairly stable during this period, and therefore the Casas have had little motivation to change the current political structure.  Even dramatic historical rivalries between key Casas have been muted somewhat in recent years, as increasing trade has brought increased wealth to the Casas Urbanas.
Important Acuertos:
Acuerto tel Casas Campas Tyvalt #
Sevastion *
Acuerto Turesa Vincentio
Acuerto tel Jarro Laertes
Acuerto tel Ria Solinus
Sevastion *
Tyvalt #