Government Forms, Political Parties, and Political Reforms in Victoria: Revolutions

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For players of Victoria, the changes to the political system in Revolutions come as quite a shock. In Victoria, politics was largely a no-brainer: democracy is great, constitutional monarchies are flexible, and all other forms are just speed bumps on the road to liberal democracy. This is no longer the case. Now democracies can elect fascists to power and peacefully end democracy without a single revolt. Constitutional monarchies can appoint Stalinist communists into power and voluntarily become proletarian dictatorships. Monarchies can appoint militant reactionaries into power and convince 75% of the population to become and stay reactionary. There are even cultural technologies that can make a few points of plurality disappear periodically if you have extremists in power. Even stranger, players who want to get rid of their dictatorships find that granting universal suffrage while anarcho-liberals are in power merely results in a thirty day democracy that ends on the first of the month when the anarcho-liberals change the constitution back to dictatorship. It is enough to make a political science panel composed of Clausewitz, Marx, and Otto von Bismarck collectively shrug and say “How the hell should we know what to do?”

First, take a deep breath and count to ten, because there is a method in the madness; and once you know the method in the madness, you can put the political system in Revolutions to work for you, rather than being a victim of political instability (autocractic governments) or political incompetence (democracies with stupid POPs).

Government Types and Effects

The basic forms of governments are still the same in Revolutions: democracy, constitutional monarchy, monarchy, presidential dictatorship, and proletarian dictatorship. The effects these governments have, however, is now somewhat different than in Victoria.

Monarchies, presidential dictatorships, and proletarian dictatorships function much the same as before and thus may be grouped as the “autocratic governments.” Autocratic governments have increased militancy among their POPs based on plurality. A plurality of zero will give zero increase to militancy. As plurality increases, the militancy of your people increases, up to a maximum of +0.50. Needless to say, this can be very painful; however, this is nothing new, and experienced players of Victoria will deal with this as their playing style dictates. It is worth noting, however, that there are a number of late game cultural technologies and inventions that lower plurality. See The Impact of Cultural and Economic Technologies on Politics in Victoria: Revolutions for more details. This means that plurality is not the one-way climb after Ideological Thought in Revolutions that it was in Victoria. Also, as before, all of these governments can become democracies; however, the correct political reforms must be enacted and the correct political parties must be in power, or your government will not remain a democracy.

Democracies function somewhat differently in Revolutions than they did in Victoria. Unlike autocratic governments, plurality decreases militancy in a democracy. At zero plurality, there is zero decrease to militancy. As plurality increases, militancy decreases, up to a maximum of -0.20; however, plurality also has an effect on militancy and elections. Whenever an election is held, the game checks for which POPs voted for/supported the winning party and which POPs voted for/supported the losing parties. All POPs voting for/supporting losing parties get a one time increase to their militancy. The militancy increase is 1.00 at zero plurality, getting smaller until it becomes zero at 100% plurality. What this means is that democracy will not work very well if plurality is too low; life will be much easier with an autocratic government than democracy. Note that democracies can peacefully become either presidential dictatorships or proletarian dictatorships based on what political party is in power and what political reforms you have in place.

Constitutional monarchies are not that different from Victoria. Plurality does not affect militancy in any way for these governments (note that plurality still affects your POPs desire for political and social reform). Thus, a constitutional monarchy with zero plurality and one with 100% plurality are no different from one another in that there is no bonus or penalty to militancy. This gives constitutional monarchies a more flexible character and puts them in the middle between democracies and the autocratic governments. Constitutional monarchies can peacefully become presidential dictatorships and proletarian dictatorships based on the party in power and political reforms; they may also indirectly become democracies, but they must pass through a dictatorship first and then reform to democracy.

Constitutional Monarchies and any type of autocratic government can appoint a new political party to power provided they are either a two party system or a multi-party system. One party governments cannot appoint a different ruling party until they change to either of the two systems in question. There is a militacy cost for appointing a new party, however. If your executive designation is Laws by Decree, which is common among the autocratic government forms, the cost is an immediate 2.00 increase in militancy, contrary to what the Revolutions manual says. If you have an executive desgination of HMs Government, common to constitutional monarchies, then the increase is 1.00. It is possible, via historical events or user-created events, to end up with a constitutional monarchy or autocratic government with a parliamentary executive. If you are in this fortunate category, relish it, for it costs you no militancy to switch ruling parties. (To my knowledge, Japan is the only country in vanilla Revolutions, with the current patch, that this can happen to, and it is only one possiblity of several among the Meiji Restoration events.)

Political Parties and Ideologies

Revolutions made some changes to political parties and ideologies that are a vast improvement over Victoria; however, they are also a bit more complicated, as ideology now shares an intimate tie to government type. But before ideology and its relation to governments can be examined, it is prudent to review the ideologies and their typical base of political support.

Conservative: Farmers, clergy, and aristocrats are naturally conservative. Soldiers and officers are conservative until fascism appears. Laborers are conservative until socialism appears. A party in power with this ideology will fire the conservative string of Ideological Thought inventions, if they have not been fired already, which will lower plurality and convert POPs to conservative ideology.

Reactionary: This is the extremist version of conservative. Conservatives with high militancy will often become reactionary. A reactionary party in power will fire the conservative string of Ideological Thought inventions if they have not fired already. Also, in the late game, there are events based off the Mass Politics technology that will lower plurality a few points. Reactionaries can peacefully coup the government and rewrite the constitution into a presidential dictatorship; however, in spite of this, the natural form of government for reactionary political parties is Monarchy.

Liberal: Clerks and capitalists are naturally liberal. Craftsmen tend to be liberal until socialism appears. Liberal political parties in power will fire the liberal string of inventions for Ideological Thought if they have not fired already, increasing plurality and converting POPs to liberal ideology.

Anarcho-liberal: This is the extremist version of liberal. Liberals with high militancy will usually become anarcho-liberal. An anarcho-liberal party in power will fire the liberal string of Ideological Thought inventions if they have not fired already. In the late game, there are events based off of Mass Politics which will lower plurality a few points. An anarcho-liberal party in power can peacefully coup the government and rewrite the constitution into a presidential dictatorship.

Socialist: Craftsmen and laborers are naturally socialist. Almost all other POPs can become socialist if they are unable to obtain subsistence goods. In fact, socialism can quickly become the dominant ideology among your POPs if their standard of living is too low. A socialist party in power will fire the socialist string of Ideological Thought inventions, increasing plurality and converting POPs to socialist ideology.

Communist: This is the extremist form of socialist. Socialists with high militancy will become communist. A communist party in power will fire the socialist string of Ideological Thought inventions if they have not fired already. A Communist party in power can peacefully coup the government and rewrite the constitution into a Proletarian Dictatorship. The Proletairian Dictatorship is also the natural form of government for a Communist political party.

Fascist: Fascism is the natural ideology for soldiers and officers, but only after 1905. It is an extremist ideology in its own right and has no milder analog, as do Reactionary and Communist. There are no ties between Fascism and Ideological Thought, but there are a number of late game cultural inventions that will convert portions of your population into Fascists. It is also possible for highly militant POPs of any type to become fascist, although I am not certain what factors are precisely involved. A Fascist party in power can peacefully coup the government and rewrite the constitution into a presidential dictatorship.

It is worth pointing out that despite what I have just listed about the natural tendency of certain POPs to be certain ideologies, the actual ideology of a POP is highly dependent on a host of other factors, including militancy, consciousness, plurality, recent election events, random events, winning or losing wars, various cultural inventions, current standard of living, taxes, tariffs, current ruling party, and whether the POP was recently promoted from another POP type. Thus, it is by no means unusual to see socialist soldiers, communist clergy, or fascist farmers. While in Victoria, such occurrences were more amusing than politically relevant, in Revolutions it can much more important. For example, if you have universal suffrage, and your impoverished soldiers have embraced communism, along with farmers and laborers, you might end up with communists winning the election. And if the communists win, they may just decide to get rid of the ineffective democracy that has resulted in such a poor standard of living among your POPs.

Also, it is worth mentioning that in the current patch of Revolutions, all countries have a complete list of parties that covers all ideologies. Thus, even alternate reality countries like Mughalistan have the entire ideological spectrum covered. That means your people can elect any ideology into power they want. It also means that as a constitutional monarch or autocratic ruler, you can appoint whatever government you please, so long as you are willing to accept the consequences.

Changing Your Government Type Peacefully

As I have already mentioned, extreme ideologies have a tendancy to peacefully change your government type by rewriting your constitution into some sort of dictatorship. This process is not random and operates according to some fairly simple laws. The problem is that it is possible to enact certain reforms, have your government change, and then the next month the ruling extremist party will change your government back, and all of this because the extremist party will let you grant the very reforms they do not like. This is complicated by the rules of government change that already existed in Victoria, causing some players to be very frustrated. In order to make sense of all this, I will list all of the forms of government, and what conditions are needed to change into the other forms, regardless of whether or not extremist political parties are involved.

Monarchy: There are really two different versions of monarchies. There are monarchies with one-party systems and monarchies with two-party or multi-party systems. Some monarchies start out as one-party systems with None Allowed for political party reforms. These monarchies cannot set any ruling party until they change into a two-party system. Enacting either Free Parties or Right to Ban will change your constitution into a monarchy with a two-party system. Once you are a monarchy with a two-party system or multi-party system, there is no way to become a one-party system, even if you enact None Allowed again. This is not a problem, since there is no reason to be a one party system when you can be perfectly repressive with a multi-party system, with the added bonus that you can set the ruling party. Monarchies can only become Democracies or Constitutional Monarchies. To become a Constitutional Monarchy, you need any voting rights except for None, you must have Public Meetings set to Yes, and you must have Right to Ban or Free Parties. To become a Democracy, you must have Universal Suffrage, Public Meetings set to Yes, and Free Parties. This form of government is unaffected by your ruling party. You can appoint any ruling party and your government type will not change. Thus, so long as Russia is a Monarchy, the Czar can appoint Lenin and his Bolsheviks without fear of a coup.

Presidential Dictatorship: As with Monarchies, there are two different versions of Presidential Dictatorships: those with multi-party or two-party systems and one-party systems. Presidential Dictatorships that come about through revolution or peaceful coups will generally start out as one-party systems. To become a two-party dictatorship, institute either Right to Ban or Free Parties. There is no way to become a one-party dictatorship if you are not one already, as you cannot institute None Allowed. Presidential Dictatorships can only become Democracies. To become a Democracy, institute Universal Suffrage, Public Meetings to Yes, and Free Parties. Your ruling party does not matter, just as it is with monarchy. Presidential Dictatorships cannot become Constitutional Monarchies.

Proletarian Dictatorship: Despite its name, this form of government functions exactly like a Presidential Dictatorship as far as your people are concerned. (It has a different effect on foreign relations, however.) Everything that applies to Presidential Dictatorships applies to Proletarian Dictatorships.

Constitutional Monarchy: Constitutional monarchies can only change their form of government into either Presidential Dictatorships or Proletarian Dictatorships. Constitutional Monarchies cannot become Democracies. In order to become a Presidential Dictatorship, you must have a Reactionary, Fascist, or Anarcho-Liberal political party in power and you must have Universal Suffrage. To become a Proletarian Dictatorship, you must have a Communist political party in power and have Universal Suffrage. Note that no other political reforms matter, so changing Press Rights, Public Meetings, Trade Unions, or Political Parties cannot prevent your transition to dictatorship.

Democracy: Democracies can only become either type of dictatorship. In order to become a Presidential Dictatorship, you must have a Reactionary, Fascist, or Anarcho-Liberal political party in power and you must have universal suffrage. To become a Proletarian Dictatorship, you must have a Communist political party in power and have Universal Suffrage. Note that no other political reforms matter, so changing Press Rights, Public Meetings, Trade Unions, or Political Parties cannot prevent your transition to dictatorship.

In addition to these rules, there are some miscellaneous rules about how the government changes happen. All peaceful government changes are effected through the event system. The triggers for these are a part of the game code itself, and cannot be modified. The event effects, however, can be viewed and modified in the forcedreforms.txt file. These events check for their conditions on the first of every month. If the conditions are met, the event fires and your government changes. There is no randomness. It also means that, if it is not the 1st of the month, it does not matter whether or not your reforms and political parties would require a government change. This can be exploited in certain ways. (i.e. Having three days until the election is held in a constitutional monarchy, and setting the ruling party to communist in order to build a factory. Three days later the election is held and the communists get voted out of office without changing your government or you having to set the party again.)

With all of this in mind, a few "rules of thumb" can be observed in order to give some order to the chaos of government changes.

Rule #1: Extremist political parties only care about Universal Suffrage on the first of the month. No other conditions will cause them to change your government into a dictatorship.

Rule #2: To become a Democracy from a Constitutional Monarchy, you must first let extremists turn your government into a dictatorship.

Rule #3: You cannot become a Monarchy or Constitutional Monarchy from any non-monarchy form of government. Thus, once you transition to Democracy or any type of dictatorship, you may never again become a Constitutional Monarchy or a Monarchy unless you have historical events or you fall to a revolution.

Rule #4: To become a Democracy after extremists rewrite your constitution, you must either enact a two-party system and set a new ruling party before setting Universal Suffrage or you can set Universal Suffrage and Free Parties, transition to Democracy, then set voting rights to Wealth before the next month. Which you choose will depend on the militancy situation in your country and how expensive political reforms are for you. If your people re-elect the extremists, just keep Wealth as your voting rights.

Rule #5: Constitutional Monarchies can set any ruling party they please so long as they do not have Universal Suffrage. Thus, you can have risk-free extremism if you can handle the militancy hit from setting your ruling party. Elections can even be used to give you a free transition back to a normal party. This allows Constitutional Monarchies to act like the autocratic governments without the problems associated with plurality and militancy.

Political Parties and Political Reforms

In addition to changing your government, extremist political parties can also change the voting rights you are normally allowed in your form of government. Reactionary parties allow any voting rights to be set if they are in power, regardless of your government form. You can revoke elections completely in a constitutional monarchy or set rights to Landed in a Democracy, which is normally not possible. Communist parties allow Suffrage, Wealth, or None voting rights. Anarcho-Liberal and Fascist parties do not allow any voting rights that are different from your form of government. Even if your political party changes later, you can retain the voting rights you set while the extremists were in power.

Extremist Political Parties and Natural Forms of Government

Communist and Reactionary parties deserve special mention in regards to certain forms of governments. As noted previously, autocratic governments give an increase to militancy based directly on plurality, meaning that the higher your plurality, the harder it is for an autocratic government to stay in control, regardless of political or social reforms. There are two very important exceptions to this rule.

Regime of Reaction: You can bypass the plurality penalty for a Monarchy if you fulfill two conditions. First, you must have a Reactionary political party in power. Second, your POPs must have Reactionary as their ideology. When this happens, the POPs with Reactionary ideology will ignore the plurality increase to militancy based on form of government. Furthermore, they will remain Reactionary as long as your ruling party is Reactionary and their consciousness and militancy remains low. You may even promote them to other kinds of POPs and they will remain Reactionary. POPs that are not Reactionary will still get the militancy increase based on plurality; however, you are still in very good shape if 75% of your country is Reactionary. This makes it possible to ward off the political tides of liberalism and socialism, provided you keep your POPs politically unaware and economically prosperous.

Proletarian Utopia: A Proletarian Dictatorship can byass the plurality penalty if it fulfills two conditions. First, you must have a Communist Political party in power. Second, your POPs must be Communist. Once these conditions are met, your Communist POPs will ignore the plurality increase to militancy based on form of government. They will also remain Communist so long as you keep the Communists in power and keep your POPs' consciousness and militancy low. Just as a Regime of Reaction can ward off the tides of liberalism and socialism, so to can the Proletarian Utopia provide a solid alternative to laissez-faire capitalism.

There do not seem to be analogs to these natural forms of government for Anarcho-Liberal or Fascist parties. Thus, Presidential Dictatorships are more or less doomed to suffer endlessly from plurality. This is a bit surprising; however, certain things were not tested when conducting the tests with Regime of Reaction and Proletarian Utopia. Among the things not tested were normally impossible forms of government (i.e. Presidential Dicatorships with parliamentary executives) that could only come about with events or outright cheating. As such, it is possible that there is some combination of government forms and extremist political parties that will produce other exceptions to the rule of plurality; however, through the normal course of gameplay, these are the only two possibilities.

Exploits with Governments and Political Parties

These are listed roughly in order of most abusive to least abusive.

Despotic Democracy: Allow your government to become a dictatorship in whatever way you choose. Appoint either a Reactionary or Communist party into power, based on which you prefer. Grant reforms to make yourself a Democracy. As soon as the government change happens, change your voting rights to None. You now have a Democracy that will not revert to dictatorship because you do not have Universal Suffrage; however, you will remain a Democracy, complete with the militancy reduction that comes with plurality, despite the fact that no one can vote. The disadvantage of the Despotic Democracy is that you cannot set the ruling party, so you are stuck with whatever party you have in power until you grant some voting rights. On the plus side, you can grant Universal Suffrage, turn back into a dictatorship, appoint a new Communist or Reactionary party, and repeat the process. It is not possible to do this with Fascist or Anarcho-Liberal parties, as they do not allow voting rights to be different from your government type.

Unconstitutional Monarchy: Once you are a Constitutional Monarchy, you do not need to keep having those pesky elections. Set your ruling party to either Reactionary or Communist. You may then revoke voting rights. Then, you may set your ruling party to whatever you damn well please. You will still get the militancy increase from setting the ruling party and your people may desire voting rights once your plurality gets high enough, but you do not suffer from the militancy increase based on plurality that the autocratic governments suffer from. Thus, your constitutional monarchy can effectively behave in the game as if it is an autocratic government without the militancy consequences of being an autocratic government.

The Nine Month Plan: Or the ten day plan, or two month plan, or whatever you wish to call it. This is a less exploitive variant of the Unconstitutional Monarchy. Hold an election, change your voting rights to something other than Universal Suffrage, and set the ruling party to whatever extremist party you need at the time. While the election takes place, do everything you need to do under the policies of the extremist party. When election day arrives, you get a free transition to a different party, rather than having to suffer a second militancy hit for kicking the extremists out of office.