Each Assembly, whether a Full Assembly of Partial Assembly, is initiated by the Gwyfales
, with the sole exception of Assemblies that discuss the possible removal of the current Gwyfales. It is possible, though, to petition the Gwyfales so that a specific concern is addressed.
Based on his understanding of the issue, the Gwyfales invites the relevant Representatives of the Communes
to come to Thellur
in a letter that also explains the issue under consideration. This is done via a mandatory three-fold structure, stating first which issue needs a political solution, secondly what the proposed solution is and thirdly, how this solution would in all likelihood affect the commune of the invited Representative. The invitation also contains a list of all communes that received the invitation. Invitations need to be sent out at least three months in advance of the respective Assembly. In practice, different proposals are often batched by the Gwyfales.
The Representative who receives the invitation does two things. First, in accordance with customs that vary by commune, the proposal is discussed and possibly voted upon to give the Representative a mandate. This mandate need not reflect a binary decision. For example, a Representative can be instructed to vote along with a proposal, as long as a specific concern is addressed, or to propose a specific alternative before reaching a decision during the Assembly. However, the mandate can also be to vote against a proposal, no matter what, or to accept a proposal under all circumstances. Additionally, the mandate can contain a requirement for additional information. The second thing the Representative does is confirm whether all relevant communes have been invited. If a commune is missing, the respective Representative should be contacted to make an informed decision about whether or not to join the Assembly. All Representatives are welcome to all votes, so even non-invited communes can be represented during Partial Assemblies.
Once all Representatives are ready and have a clear mandate, they travel to Thellur, where they traditionally stay in Bothandal's Hall
. Here, they are informed about the constraints of the Assembly by the Gwyfales-- that is, what kind of majority will be required during voting, what the time constraints for the decision are (if any), what the order of discussions will be or other particulars about the meeting. The Representatives are free to discuss the matter with each other and the Gwyfales before the Assembly.
Each Assembly is held in the Thallidien
and is moderated by the Gwyfales, who speaks to the Representatives from a stage. It starts with the Gwyfales outlining the matter of discussion, sometimes aided by guest who join him on stage. Often, voting stones are used to get an initial idea of the opinions in the room. The Gwyfales then either invites specific Representatives to speak out or gives the word to Representatives who raise their communal stick upon request. When a Representative is talking, all others must listen without raising their sticks.
The Gwyfales listens carefully to all statements and regularly summarizes the positions and arguments. If amendments or changes to the proposal are suggested, the Gwyfales can decide to make them subject to an intermediate vote, thereby altering the proposal under consideration and steering it towards a position that the required majority can accept.
In the case of a majority vote, the Gwyfales enumerates which communes voted against a proposal and then gives everyone the opportunity to 'complete reason'. In this phase, the votes are cast once more and communes are allowed to change their minds. This phase exists so that communes can consider the consequences of adopting a policy or making a decision that flies against the wishes of specific others. It is possible for a Representative to withold the vote and if one-fifth or more does so, the Assembly is postponed by four months to allow all Representatives to rediscuss the matter in their respective communes.
Once a decision is made in the Assembly, it is final. All communes are expected to work towards implementing the decision, unless it is specified otherwise. It is possible to petition the Gwyfales for another Assembly about the same topic, but the Gwyfales usually sets a time limit for such reconsideration.
Each Representative has the right to call for removal of the Gwyfales. If this happens, either a Full or Partial Assembly is held, depending on the matter that is a stake. This Assembly is known as a Reconciliation and is aimed at restoring mutual trust. If any Representative still harbours mistrust after the Reconciliation, a Full Assembly is organized to decide whether or not to remove the current Gwyfales. During this Full Assembly, the Gwyfales is not the moderator, but the Representative who called for the Reconciliation is. The constraints of this particular Assembly are preset: deliberation should take at least a tenday and a three-fifths majority is required to remove a Gwyfales.
Some Assemblies are preset and require no initiation by the Gwyfales (although an invitation is sent out regardless). For example, there is Full Assembly to vote on a new Gwyfales every 50 years.