The political situation in the game Zero Sum Future.
The Federation, since the signing of the Deliverance Accords, has always acted as an organization with two branches: The Military arm based on Mars, and the Civic branch based on Earth. Both branches of the Federation have become highly dependent on each other.
Further, the Federation also includes the Carrier Fleet. Other than the relatively young Olympus, all of the interstellar carriers of the Federation are considered independent entities. They are related only by their association with Mars.
Finally, the colonies that lie outside the Solar system. While all colonies are technically part of the Federation, with the full protections and rights of the Deliverance Accords, the enforcement of Federation law on these colonies depends on the frequency by which Federation can threaten censure by way of the Olympus. As a practical matter, the more far-flung colonies that require multiple jumps to get through may develop their own laws and customs. In general, the Federation will turn a blind eye to deviations it doesn't view as reasonable to correct.
The civic branch of the Federation is responsible for the issuing and the management of currency, regulating the colony bonds, and legislating the civic law of the Federation proper. If any other branch of the Federation is in need of money, it has to go through the civic branch of the Federation.
The primary legislative body is the Assembly. The Assembly consists of an increasing number of representatives that are elected from the various districts of the Federation, including Colonies. Because a political office on Earth is a highly desirable occupation, competition is fierce for these spots. Each district, by the Deliverance Accords, is allowed to elect their representatives in their own way without Federation influence. Colonial Administrators with prosperous colonies will frequently campaign to be elected as a Delegate.
The Assembly is further divided into Boards to facilitate the timely processing of requests. Since the Assembly proper is very large, with many heads clamoring for different pet causes, it is trivial for the full Assembly to debate and filibuster themselves into a standstill. Therefore, the full Assembly only meets once per year – a symbolic event that is highly televised and broadcast throughout the Federation. During day to day operations, the Assembly Boards handle their specific domains, and Delegates with specific agendas will attend the meetings of the Boards that concern them. Each board of Delegates is assumed to be acting the with the consent of the full Assembly unless the Assembly overrides it with a majority vote, though this has yet to occur.
Currently, there are 6 active Boards: Colonial Relations, Legislative Board, MCC Liaison, Budget and Funding, Solar Board, Internal Affairs. Each Board hold a meeting on a weekly basis on a unique day, this allows for an individual Delegate to attend and keep informed of the goings on with the other boards if they so chose. In reality, underlings will attend most weekly Board meetings, with Delegates only taking part in the Board that holds their concern at the time.
Arguably the most influential of the 6 Boards, meeting on Mondays. This board is responsible for the granting of new Districts located outside the Solar system, determining which colonies are to be promoted by the Federation for future immigration, censure on Colonies, and issuing Federal Inquiries. This board is mostly attended by Colonial Delegates seeking to increase the number of districts present in a particular colony system. This board may also exercise the right of refusal of immigration as outlined in the Deliverance Accords.
This Board serves to write and enact civil and criminal law that applies to all of the Federation, and are entrusted with the interpretation of the Deliverance Accords. Usually seen as a relatively inactive board, as they have little reason to attempt to legislate far flung colonies that may simply petition the Colony Relations Board for clemency, and their domain overlapping with the Solar board with some degree, the Board meeting on Tuesdays is seen as a bit of waste of time for most Delegates eager for political advancement.
This Board serves as a means for the civilian government of the Federation to communicate with the military government on Mars. Here, representatives of Mars make requests for funding, relay requests from Carriers, and receive requests for Federal Inquiries to far-flung colonies. By the Deliverance Accords, Carriers are required to do business with the Federation through the MCC Liaison – if a Carrier Captain wishes to take on a private project, this is last step of approval before the Colony Bond is issued. In practice, however, this requirement is frequently sidestepped by eager private interests before the request is brought before the MCC Liason – more frequetly, requests made by Carriers at the MCC Liaison receive near unanimous appeal, earning this Board the nickname “Doormat Delegates”.
This Board, in theory, handles the management and creation of Federation currency, as well as directing Federal spending. In practice, the Board that meets on Thursday serves to rubber-stamp and second guess budgetary requests from other Assembly boards. While the work here isn't the most glamorous, the Beancounting Board (as it is derogatorily known) is the last line of defense against economic calamity resulting from poor funding decisions. This board also works with the Colony Investment and Development Company to issue and regulate the Colony bonds issued for extra solar colonies.
This Board serves as the “Assembly of the Solar System”. Easily the second busiest Board, the Solar Board is expected to pass legislation, request funding, approve projects, and do basically everything related to Federation activity in the Solar system. If the MCC Liaison notes that further fueling stations should be present near the Helios complex, the Solar Board is entrusted with overseeing and the commissioning of this project. Somewhat to the ire of the Legislative Board, this board also nominates judges to serve on the courts of the Solar system. This Board meets on Fridays.
This Board, which meets on Saturdays, is the self-regulating arm of the Assembly. This board serves to inquire into potential misconduct of the members of the Assembly – a mere majority opinion is required for a case to be reviewed, but any censure or punishment needs two thirds of the Board's assent. Internal Affairs is also empowered by the Deliverance Accords to record and keep track of the money accounts of each of the Carriers and their crews – missing funds or potential embezzlement is quickly brought to the attention of the MCC Liaisons in classified meetings, which are then relayed to the Olympus if the situation warrants it.
The Civic Branch of the Federation has one final component of note: The Colony Investment and Development Company. While technically part of the Federation government, the Company is a partnership between the Federation and wealthy interests that desire to establish a private colony. This entity issues and classifies the Colony Bond for new and older systems. The derogatory name for the CID company is the Plutocracy.
The collection of Delegates in the Assembly naturally increase over time as colonies are established. Further, already established colonies may, over time, grow in size and receive new districts from which representatives may be drawn. A colonial Delegate petitions the Colonial Relations Board, and if the hearing receives a majority approval, a Federal Inquiry team is dispatched to the system in question. With their report and affirmation, the system is granted a new district and a greater say in the goings on of the Federation.
As one might expect, this system encourages established Federation Delegates to frequently refuse petitions for new districts: Their power is diluted with each additional seat in the assembly. For colonies that are petitioning for a new district, they would be well served to gain the support of Carriers in this endeavor. The power that Carriers wield is monumental enough that the Assembly will almost never ignore the recommendation of a Carrier Captain or political officer.