Government of the Gallente Federation, part 2
Continued from part 1.
The Senate comprises the legislative arm of the Federation government. It currently holds 903 members, up from 881 a decade ago, with elections held every five years. Each Senator represents their district via a single sub-district where they are elected according to popular vote. A sub-district may take up a single solar system at its largest, or an individual planet at its smallest. The amount of sub-districts in a district depends on the size of the district’s population. This means that not all districts have the same number of Senators representing them.
A single Senator is internally elected to the position of Head of Senate, currently Aulmont Meis. The Head Senator acts as an arbitrator and facilitator of the legislature’s proceedings, though some heads have functioned in a more executive role than traditions would typically allow.
The Senate itself is located in the Federation legislative and de facto capital of Villore, with auxiliary offices in Old Man Star. The flag of the Senate (which is also the flag of the whole Federation) is an eagle surrounded by twelve stars on a blue background. The stars originally acknowledged the twelve largest founding nations of the union, but has since moved on to represent principles taken from various Federation cultures. The blue is designed to stand for peace and cooperation.
The responsibilities of the Federation Senate are the following;
- Legislation of new laws in the interests of both safeguarding and forwarding the principles of the Federation’s founding treaties amongst its participants
- Control of the Federal Budget in ensuring that all fiscal expenditure represents the will of the Federation and her participants
- Oversight of the activities of other Federation institutions in the continuing efforts to enforce high moral standards and eradicate corruption in all its forms
The first responsibility of the Senate is the legislating of new laws in the interests of protecting or projecting the ideals laid out in the Federation Charter and Constitution. Any attempt to directly legislate for its constituent territories is seen as outright oppression of both the citizens and member states. As such, the Senate legislates within matters of interstellar affairs, which the Charter dictates as the central government’s primary area of remit.
The second responsibility of the Senate is the supervision of taxation and fiscal spending via control of the Federal Budget. The legislature is entrusted with ensuring that the Federation’s fiscal spending is in the best interests of the people. Control of the Federal Budget is exerted through monthly meetings and the passing of respective legislation.
A third responsibility of the Senate is to ensure that the other branches of the Federation government are behaving as per the high moral standards of the union. The Federation’s belief in multilateral dialogue means that one individual wrestling control of the entire government must be kept in check by a wider assembly of other individuals.
Any Senator can propose a bill. Proposals go through several stages of reading as well as being forward to standing committees for review.. These committees and subcommittees thereof are composed of Senators with professional experience in a specific interstellar policy area, ranging from human security or economic development, to scientific affairs and social practices. Committees have significant sway over budgetary matters.
Depending on the nature of the proposed law, the Senate will decide whether to vote internally or pass it to public referendum. The President, Head Senator, or Supreme Court can force any bill destined for Senate vote to become a public one instead. A simple majority is required for votes on most proposals, both amongst the Senate or public. Two-thirds majority is required for amendments or decisions (the latter of which is never voted on publically). Once a bill has become a full government act, it is signed into law by the President.
For the oversight of other areas of the government, the Senate maintains several standing committees that oversee and scrutinize the activities of the President and Federal Administration, as well as the military and intelligence communities. These committees monitor the budget for various government departments, and prepare legislation for appropriations to these areas. Committees are also maintained for oversight of the judiciary, particularly for advising the approval process of Supreme Court nominees.
The Senate also operates special select committees, which come into being in order to investigate particular occurrences and issues concerning either the Federal government or the Federation as a whole. Breaches of moral standard or government failings are two examples of select committee activities. Unlike standing committees, which are permanent, select committees expire once they have completed their primary duties.
Finally, the Senate has the power to pass votes of no confidence on either the President and other Federal officials, or Supreme Court justices, requiring a two-thirds majority. The Senate is obliged to hold a vote of no confidence automatically if over half of all Senators receive a petition signed by a simple majority of all constituents in the sub-districts they represent.
Historically, Senators are considered the key interstellar political players in the Federation. Senators are widely considered one of the most (if not the most) educated and knowledgeable individuals in New Eden. Many will have at least two higher qualifications, with one in an astroscience of any discipline. Polymaths are highly-valued, and can expect an easy election into office.
Prospective Senators must demonstrate both their humanity and their education in equal parts if they are to be successful. They will near-universally have to represent hundreds or even thousands of smaller cultures and interests spread across multiple solar systems. Senators must be able to appeal to all of these groups without alienating any one of them, and rally them all together despite any differences and oppositions that exist between the groups.
Most of a Senator’s constituents will have little interest in Federal politics. Thus, how the Senator is able to exploit Federation representation for the benefit of their constituency is generally considered far more important than the Senator’s contribution to a wider interstellar ideology.
The Supreme Court comprises the judicial arm of the Federation government. The Supreme Court is composed of 13 justices including one seniormost chief justice (currently Broyal Alserette), all appointed for life by the President and approved by the Senate.
The Supreme Court itself is located in the Federation judicial capital of Parts, with auxiliary offices in Villore. The flag of the Supreme Court is an eagle carrying two swords crossed over one another on a red background and diagonal cross. The swords and diagonal cross is designed to represent the idea that the Federation will defend its principles, but never in anger. The red coloring is intended to stand for justice.
The responsibilities of the Federation Supreme Court are the following;
- Interpretation of Federal Law for the efforts of upholding the values present in the Federation’s founding treaties
- Arbitration of disagreements between Federation participants in pursuit of an open, honest, and wholesome union
- Protection of the law and all articles of the Federation's founding treaties from corrupting elements
For all of the above, the Supreme Court concerns itself with the higher truths of authority. It ensures that all elements of the Federation are just, and is known to adapt as the definitions of truth and justice change throughout the ages. The Federal Police (FedPol) fall under the judicial branch, and are trusted with protecting Federal Law in space. They are autonomous insofar that they do not answer to the Supreme Court, although their actions are kept in check by the Senate.
The role of Supreme Court is comparable to other judiciaries with interpretative duties in New Eden, like the Amarr’s Theology Council. However, it differs from this example in the sense the Supreme Court very rarely deals with individual crimes, as Federal Law mostly concerns itself with the conduct of member states, megacorporations, and other interstellar bodies. The average citizen will never have any interaction with the Supreme Court, unless they come to the body after exhausting all lesser avenues of appeal.
For interacting with the other two branches of government, the Supreme Court has the power to overrule any action at a whim, be it Senate legislation or Presidential order, on the assumption these actions are not in the spirit of the laws and principles already established. Because justices are bound to neither popular support or political factions, they can act on their own moral codes that are (in theory) derived from the principles of the Federation’s core documents. In practice, hundreds of lawyers employed by the Supreme Court monitor every aspect of how the Federation may be affected by a particular course of action, and attempt to offer their objective and holistic assessments to the justices. As a result, the Supreme Court only undermines the authority of the other two branches when it is deemed absolutely necessary.
The most common day-to-day activity of the Supreme Court is serving as an arbitrator of disputes between member states, ranging from territorial disagreements to the infringement of another’s autonomy. Member states can also protest unwanted Federation government intervention to the Supreme Court, as well as corporations. As the Federation also has rights that have been handed over to it by signatory states, clashes between multiple parties can be common.
The Supreme Court can deal with individual citizens, generally from two groups. The first group are citizens who have come to the Supreme Court as the highest court of appeal, having exhausted all previous levels of justice. These are frequently individuals who feel their treatment by their original home governments is in violation of the Federal Constitution. The Supreme Court would carefully consider the rights of the individual according to the Constitution versus the rights of the member state according to the Charter, as well as any local cultural variables that come into play. Depending on the character of the justices involved, decisions can fall either way. The second group are tycoons and entrepreneurs (or otherwise rich citizens, such as celebrities) with interests spread across multiple planets, who have somehow managed to violate Federal Law, something that is a near-impossible feat for the average citizen.
As individual citizens, member state signatories, corporations, and the Federation itself all have rights and responsibilities granted unto them, excessively convoluted legal and political conflict is rife, especially when any one of these elements are in disagreement with one another. Though this does lead to criticisms of the Federation as inefficient and divisive, others support the above realities as key in ensuring that the freedom of the individual or group never means the freedom to oppress other individuals or groups.
When it comes to the rare event of prosecuting individual citizens, the Supreme Court is not known for being fair when the subject in question is well-off. The odd citizen who does break Federal Law and is not wealthy will find themselves with a much harsher sentence than their rich counterparts. However, even if the rich can expect some leniency in sentences imposed by the Supreme Court they do not get preferential treatment in the investigation of a crime. A citizen is just as likely to be caught for a Federal crime whether at the top or bottom of the social ladder, given the fact it is a rare feat to begin with. Moreover, many consider that the social rejection by their peers is a much more efficient method of punishing the rich over wasting Federation money locking them up in a high-class prison.
Because Supreme Court justices are appointed for life to their position (with most starting judges already a century old), they generally do not concern themselves with the temporal nature of everyday Gallente politics or the differing ideologies that are constantly in flux. Instead, they focus purely on the greater ideals as outlined in the Federation’s Constitution and Charter. This is a source of both support and criticism. Supporters of the Supreme Court state that the judiciary will never be bound to any interest other than the core of the Federation itself, which means the union will never stray from its ideals.
Critics deride the judges of the Supreme Court as being disconnected from reality and too caught up in ideology. They are seen as unable to appreciate the cultural and social diversity of the Federation, as the universalistic nature of the Constitution and Charter does not always take into account the very complex and nuanced variations that crop up amongst the Gallente societies. However, in most cases regarding the above, it is not simply a matter of one approach or the other.
The Federal Administration is the bureaucratic arm of the entire Federation government, although it technically falls under the executive branch. It is made up of millions of officers and employees, who are tasked with the day-to-day running of the union at the Federal and district level. The head offices of the bureaucracy are located in Algogille, with administrative operations across the Federation.
The responsibilities of the Federal Administration are the following;
- Implementation of Federal Law across all Charter signatories
- Collection of Federal taxes and tariffs from relevant participants
- Supervision of the democratic process at the Federal and district level
The size and political fragmentation of the union means the Federal Administration maintains a space presence that is notably more active than its counterpart bureaucracies in other empires. This means that those living and working in space frequently interact with the Administration. At the planetary level, the Administration is aware of its unwelcome presence, and thus trusts the member states’ own bureaucracies to carry out its duties in its stead.
The Federal Administration interacts primarily with member state and district governments for the implementation of the law. How the dialogue proceeds depends on the type of Federal law in question. The Administration mostly concerns itself either with the enforcement of a central decision or the monitoring of how well a member state is implementing a directive. In the latter case, the Administration can assist member states in drafting local legislation that complies with a Federal directive. The Administration takes an active role within member states that have opted for participation in an initiative. The bureaucracy may assist in the implementation of law on behalf of a district government, though never a member state, unless remit is explicitly granted by the local authority. In all cases, the Administration will employ various departments built around specific policy areas depending on the nature of the law being implemented.
The vast bulk of revenue collected by the Administration is from tariffs on space trade (which is proportionately much larger in the union than elsewhere), customs, and interstellar corporation tax. As space travel for ordinary citizens is much more accessible in the Federation than elsewhere, the Administration collects taxes from independent space captains and travel companies. All collected revenue goes directly to the Federal Budget. This means that the Federation government’s finances relies heavily on the economic health and vibrancy of its spacelanes. The historically largest expenditures of the Federal Budget in no particular order include the armed forces, planetary aid and development (particularly in education and healthcare), administration and bureaucracy, industrial and economic cooperation, and space infrastructure (such as FTL communication relays and stargates). Funding in these areas varies according to the current makeup of the Senate and the immediate needs of the Federation.
While the Federal Administration is responsible for collecting general taxation from the citizens, their weak presence on planets combined with corruption in very remote areas makes this an unreliable source of income. Only in well-integrated areas of the union (such as on space stations) can citizens expect to pay Federal tax. This is a contentious and controversial issue with many different opinions on the matter. One opinion is that every single citizen of the union must pay tax as a matter of principle. Another opinion is that the Federation earns enough through other means, and that attempting to impose central authority by sending out tax collectors in droves may antagonize the member states and their respective citizens.
Finally, the Federal Administration supervises all elections at the Federation and district level. These elections are publically funded, meaning the Administration has an active role in dealing with the thousands of political candidates who are campaigning for office. These exact procedures are detailed here.
As bureaucratic power in the Federation ultimately rests with the member states, the Federal Administration does not have consistent levels of influence. While the Administration can be said to be ubiquitous along well-travelled spacelanes, its ability to operate at lower levels is kept in check by how willing a member state is in cooperating with the central government. As a result, administrative coverage and bureaucratic implementation is one of the weakest of the four empires, just ahead of the Minmatar Republic. Combined with the union's problematic integration issues, the existence of the Federal government is seen as irrelevant by many Gallente citizens, despite the Administration’s best efforts.
The Federation is split into 62 districts. A district takes up a constellation, although particularly populous constellations are split into two districts. The purpose of a district is to offer some sense of political coherency by organizing the various member states of a constellation under a single body that the Federation can choose to interact with as an intermediary. Whether the member states permit a district to speak for them to the Federation varies.
Districts are also necessary for acting as a local authority in areas of Federation space which are not claimed by any member state or corporation. These are known as unorganized systems or territories. Any sense of a legal authority in these systems may not exist when district governments have little to no power.
Each Federation district is granted its own parliament. The official function of a district parliament is to consolidate representation of its various member states and respective citizens in order to advise and support the Senate on local issues. The political diversity of each member state necessitated the creation of districts, which offer a way of standardizing representation before the Federation without infringing on local political cultures.
District parliaments are bicameral. The lower chamber (known as the house) is composed of representatives elected by popular vote. One house member represents a single ward, which are the constituencies of a district. A ward is typically drawn according to the boundaries and population of a member state. The upper chamber (known as the council) is made up of councillors appointed by the district’s member states, with one councillor to a single member state regardless of size.
District parliaments are funded by the member states. If member states pull out of funding a district parliament, the Federal Administration will do so instead. It is generally considered that the Federal Administration’s funding for a district parliament is not adequate, meaning the parliament will only exist as a formality with little to no influence.
Senators of a district are required to hold weekly sessions with both chambers of the local parliament. From the lower chamber, the Senators will hear the issues and grievances of the district electorate, as well as report back whatever developments are taking place at the Federal level. The same dialogue will take place with the upper chamber, where the Senators will interact with the member state appointees. By tradition, the Senators of that district are expected to cooperate in taking the advice of the parliament to the Federation itself, but are ultimately under no obligation. Senators may choose to interact with constituents or member state governments directly, bypassing the district parliament altogether.
Depending on the individual prestige of a Senator, they may be able to influence the proceedings of a district parliament. Alternatively, Senators may be at the whims of either one of the chambers (or both). If a district’s citizens and/or member states do not support the Federation, they may manipulate their Senators to keep the central government at bay. If an opposing group of citizens and/or member states within that same district are supporters of the Federation, however, they may also use exploit Senator dialogue to this end.
District parliaments have the power to legislate laws for their jurisdiction. District parliaments do not have the power to propose legislation independently. Only the member states of a district can propose legislation to the parliament, either moved to by their respective government or citizenry. Both chambers of the parliament will then go through processes similar to the Federal Senate in order to reach a codecision. The bill will be exchanged between the chambers until a consensus is reached. If no codecision is made, the bill fails.
No chamber is superior to the other in this process. The intent of this rule is that member state sovereignty is not undermined by constellation-wide populism (as represented by the appointed upper chamber), yet the will of all people regardless of their background is not undermined by government oligarchy (as represented by the elected lower chamber). In reality, a district parliament may swing either way. If the people of a district are relatively united, then parliament authority can undermine that of the member states. If the member states are in league with one another, then individual representation is secondary. In the latter instance, a district will tend to legislate on intra-constellation economic affairs or other agreements pertaining to member state relations. Parliaments are weak or otherwise non-influential if there is no political cohesion within a constellation, especially if member states are in opposition to one another or are more interested in retaining authority for themselves. Power shifts frequently, and nothing is static in this regard.
In other cases, the law-making process can be dominated by a particularly powerful member state or bloc of. For example, the district parliament of the Luminaire home constellation has been historically at the whims of the Kingdom of Central Garoun (home to the famed city of Caille) as well as the Hueromont city-state. Likewise, the Intaki Assembly has majority influence in both chambers of their respective district parliament due to their large population, giving it de facto control over the wider constellation. The Jin-Mei’s district parliament, meanwhile, exists as nothing but a formality; the Sang Do overlords have continued to hold nearly all the power in their nation.
Each Federation district has its own court. Its primary purpose is to serve the role similar to that of the Supreme Court at a lower level, as the Federation is simply too big for one institution to manage single-handedly. For the interpretative role, the district courts ensure that any legislation or action passed by either the member states or district parliament are not in violation of any pre-established laws and protocols. However, unlike the Supreme Court, a district court is not meant to ensure that all legislation is derived from the Federal Charter, Constitution, or whatever local treaties are present. Rather, it ensures that local legislation is not in violation of, acting as an arbitrating go-to for the district's member states. This is because the district courts stand independently, and are not considered to be mechanistically tied to the district parliamentary or member state governments in the same way the Supreme Court is tied to the Federal Senate and President.
District courts also takes care of disputes or appeals from the member states and citizens on behalf of the Supreme Court. Because of the asymmetric nature of districts and the frequent non-cooperation of member states within them, some courts are impotent and inconsequential. Member states and their citizens will have to trust all parties in the assumption that no one is in violation of Federation law. The Supreme Court is available for instances of illegalities in this instances, but only once the relevant proceedings have gone through the local district court first.
The legislative powers of the Federation government are known as authorities. Signatories of the Federal Charter retain all powers not explicitly delegated to the Federation itself. The Federation has sole authorities in some areas, where the member states are unable to act independently. In other areas, the member states are free to act, with Federation serving an assisting role should it be granted the remit to do so. The majority of authorities are joint, meaning that the member states may legislate only in areas where the Federation has not done so already.
The exception to the above is with signatories that have been granted the power of opt-out, who are permitted to legislate within those areas that are typically reserved for the Federation government.
The Federation has sole authority to legislate within:
- Human security and defense
- Interstellar customs
- Extraterritorial diplomatic policy
- Construction and maintenance of military stargates
- FTL communications
- Establishment of competition rules necessary for the functioning of the Federal interstellar market
- Monetary policy for member states with Federal currency
- Interstellar travel and starship licensing
- Extraterritorial colonial administration
- Territorial cohesion
- Conservation of natural planetary environments under the Aclan Agreement and other treaties
- Conservation of mineral resources under Federal astromining policies
Member states are free to legislate in the following areas where the Federation has not done so prior:
- The Federal interstellar market
- Construction and maintenance of civilian stargates
- Trade and commercial policy
- Corporate regulation
- Consumer protection
- Interplanetary infrastructure and transport
- Planetary ownership
- Economic cohesion
- GalNet regulation
- Energy production
- Freedom, security, and justice
- Social policy for aspects defined by the Federal Constitution
- Health and safety policy for aspects defined by the Federal Constitution
Federation exercise in authority does not prevent member states from exercising theirs in:
- Space colonization and development
- Planetary colonization and development
- Research and technological development
- General development cooperation
- Financial aid
If remit is granted, the Federation can support, coordinate, or supplement member states action in:
- Law enforcement, anti-piracy, and counter-terrorism/-insurgency
- Protection and improvement of human health
- Civil protection and disaster prevention
- Social and political cohesion
- Education and vocational training
- Administrative assistance
The occasional ambiguity of the above when applying it to specific cases means that member states frequently battle with the Federation (and vice versa) as to what areas of legislative authority are reserved for them. While the Supreme Court keeps an eye on these situations, it is careful to only intervene as a last resort. This results in very long legal clashes and media frenzies, though a compromise is almost always reached once fatigue sets in.
The laws of the Federation government (Federal Law) take supremacy over those made by member states. It is divided into primary and secondary legislation. Primary Federal Law is composed of the articles of the Charter and the Constitution, and forms the basis for all Federation government action. It is altered by the use of amendments. Secondary Federal Law includes regulations, directives, resolutions and decisions. They are derived from the principles and objectives set out in the Charter and Constitution.
An amendment is legislation passed that alters any articles present in the Federation Charter or Constitution. Amendments can be proposed by the President or Senate, and must have the approval of two-thirds of all district parliaments. Once this has happened, all amendments are required to be voted on publically via Federation-wide referendum.
Amendments are proposed when elements of the Federation’s core structure and/or ideologue are perceived to have become outdated. The last Federal amendment to be passed was increasing the Federation President’s term limit from one to two.
A regulation is immediately enforceable and self-executing as law in all member states simultaneously, and does not require any implementing measures. They are passed only by the Senate. The vast majority of regulations concern the political and economic conduct of Federation member states, such as within the areas of interstellar trade and travel, as well as communication. Very few regulations dictate the conduct of individuals, as this is not considered as something within Federation remit. Regulations concerning individual citizens mostly cover crimes against Federal officers, or space crimes such as piracy or interstellar trafficking.
Regulations are typically implemented when a new technology or trend (or any sort of development in particular), if left unchecked, would threaten to violate the articles outlined in the Constitution and Charter.
A directive requires member states to achieve a particular result without the Federation dictating the means of achieving that result. They are passed only by the Senate. Directives leave member states a significant amount of freedom as to how they will adopt the exact law. Typically, a member state will pass its own local law that fits the criteria of the Federal directive.
Directives are the most common type of laws legislated by the Federation, as they are seen as not infringing on the rights of its members while still pursuing a common good through cooperation. The majority of directives concern matters such as the implementing of a new technology across the Federation, or adjusting industrial policy in the face of changes in New Eden’s interstellar economy.
Other directives may concern living or working standards. Regulations are not used in such instances, as the Federation is often aware of the complex nuances at the local level which prevent blanket laws from being effective. Typically, directives are used in the pursuit of a new ideal, whereas regulations are implemented to prevent already established ideals from being broken.
Resolutions are legislative acts that are non-binding, and can only be passed by the Senate. They are designed to function as a symbolic gesture, taking a libertarian approach in encouraging the individual member states to carry forward the principles of the resolution themselves on a voluntary basis, without central involvement. Resolutions are traditionally passed regarding issues that may require decisive action, but where direct intervention by the Federation government would do more harm than good. Member states who do not abide by a resolution may be punished by other member states, but only through legal means (mostly economic sanction). Citizens who feel their member state governments should be following a resolution are by tradition expected to utilize the local democratic process in carrying this forward.
Resolutions can be very common, passed as frequently as directives. Their popularity is derived from a resolution's libertarian nature, which gives member states a significant amount of freedom within the system in being able to decide whether or not participation will benefit them. Incentives, be it respect or capital, may encourage participation in a resolution.
Resolutions may be decided on by public vote. Since the outbreak of the Empyrean War, the number of resolutions passed has dropped somewhat, especially in areas affected by the conflict.
Decisions only apply to particular issues, and can be passed by any three of the Federation’s government branches. Decisions are never subject to public vote.
Bills passed by the Senate as decisions are known as instructions, and fall within two areas. The first type of instruction may concern itself with a specific issue or flashpoint that emerges within the Federation and cannot be resolved by member state authorities, such as a planetary disaster or political conflict. The second type of instruction concerns areas directly pertaining to the Federation as a central entity. This includes matters such as foreign, defense, and budgetary matters. The majority of decisions fall under this latter category.
Many decisions are passed by the Supreme Court, where they are known as rulings. Supreme Court rulings are typically made when a member state or individual is found violating Constitution or Charter Law. The Supreme Court has the power to penalize or sanction member states who are in Federal violation. After making a decision, their ruling becomes applicable for the indefinite future as Federal Law.
If a decision is passed by the President, it is known as an order or executive order, typically suffixed with a five-digit number. Typically, executive orders are either concerned with very small issues that are of no real concern to the wider Federation, such as prisoner bureaucracy, or come in response to a major flashpoint that requires immediate action by the central government or military. The latter is extremely risky to the popularity of a President, as the wrong decision could be perceived as a single individual trying to wrestle his or her tyrannical influence over the Federation, or otherwise undermining citizen or member freedoms.
The last decision made by a President was Executive Order 81402, or better known as the Hueromont Act, which was a failed attempt by Souro Foiritan to nationalize the arms industry in the wake of Caldari military victories. This gross miscalculation on his part effectively ended his Presidency.
Initiatives are not technically laws, but nonetheless fall within the Federation’s legislative remit. The Senate or President can propose an initiative to Federation member states, who have the option of accepting or refusing participation. Members who choose to participate in an initiative must abide by the protocols dictated by the Federation, on the agreement that it will benefit their territories once the initiative is implemented.
Initiatives primarily concern education, healthcare, the development of infrastructure, and other social or economic matters. Often times, initiatives are criticized as the Federation exploiting gullibility of its member states at the expense of the latter’s freedoms, only for the former to leverage influence over local autonomy.
An example was with the Protein Delicacies fiasco, which was a Federation initiative to supply the artificial food product across all Gallente schools, unaware that the food actually stunted mental growth. Though many attribute the act to the Caldari, others felt that the incident demonstrated how the Federation should not involve itself in relatively mundane affairs such as school catering.
By law, a petition that is presented before the Federation government with a backing of a certain number of citizens is required to become a formal topic within the Senate. Petitions can be written to either the President or a Senator. A petition that originates from two or more districts requires at least one billion supporters for the document to become a formal issue. A petition from a single district requires 51% of the local constituents for the document to become a formal issue.
Petitions typically concern a specific social or technological development that the Federation government may not be aware of. As the Federation's primary remit is to pass wide-sweeping laws rather than concern itself with minute details, petitions are taken very seriously, as they demonstrate that the government's hands-off methods is not being as effective as it should be. Thus, a petition will almost always become law in one of the four previous forms, although how much they address absolutely all grievances may vary.
All of the above is considered empty and meaningless without democratic participation by the citizenry. Voting by universal suffrage is the official exercise of a citizen's political power, whether this is via a general election or a legal referendum. Third parties constitute the civil society, a key role in a democracy that bridges the gap between the government and the people. These civil society groups may include activist blocs, charities, and many other non-governmental organizations. Technology also plays a key role, either being informed of the effects of government actions by independent news providers or discussing politics with fellow citizens over GalNet and FTL. There are many vehicles and mediums of democracy in the Federation, and may very well be limitless as new forms of political participation are discovered every day.
The participation of citizens regardless of background or standing is to ensure that the Federation's governments are prevented from unnecessarily interfering with the lives of individuals. The reality of the matter is that too much or too little popular participation can turn a democracy into either a tyranny of the majority or an oligarchy of the minority. Though a rare occurrence (and extremely short-lived at the Federal level at least, however damaging), the justice system and civil society remains ever watchful for such instances, but the vast size of the union combined with its state of constantly being in flux means that the battle to destroy government oppression in all its forms is a constant one.