The average Solar national often perceives the Central Earth Government and Administration as a monolithic political power, unified both in its control of the Earth system and in its exterior goals. Only the few individuals who elect to make a deep study of Earth politics are aware of the fragmented nature of CEGA's existence.
Created primarily as a false front meant to impress the Orbital colonies and encourage their membership, CEGA was forced into full legitimacy when an elated solar community welcomed the new government into the United Solar Nations. In order to prevent the various independent states from gaining significant voting power in the USN, CEGA's member nations agreed to maintain their support of its fagade as a unified world government. The USN granted CEGA a planetary-level seat, making it equal to all of the combined independent states with regard to interplanetary affairs.
A Political Compromise
During the Unification Wars, cooperation between the USE and Alliance grew enormously, to the point of joint coordination of military operations. All factions realized, however, that in order to be effective within the politics of the Solar System, they would have to cooperate more closely. The problem was that the continental alliances remained split by hatred and mistrust, especially in North America. These factors had hindered joint operations during the Unification Wars and some way had to be found to work around them.
The solution was the creation of a completely new political organization, the Central Earth Government and Administration, a monumental name to hide the very limited powers it was to possess. CEGA's main function was to coordinate all military and diplomatic initiatives needed to bring the rest of Earth and the Solar System under European and North American rule. Beyond this, CEGA was to be subordinate to the continental alliances and powerless to interfere in their internal affairs. Finally, to give CEGA a fagade of political legitimacy, rigged popular elections and wide discretionary powers were written into CEGA's constitution. This constitution was never meant to be a problem, because the alliances thought that they would always control the CEGA Council.
The Military is Politics
CEGA holds elections every five years to choose the forty members of its ruling council. The elections use a modified version of the Texan voting system, a system that gives a central role to serving and retired military personnel. Council seats are apportioned on the basis of the number of troops a member nation commits to Joint Military Service; in elections, serving and veteran Joint Service troops have their votes counted first. Thus, a Councilor is elected as long as an absolute majority of military votes is received; only if no candidate achieves such a majority are civilian votes counted.
Since all the original members of CEGA except the Maritime League were dictatorships of one variety or another and carefully vetted and indoctrinated their troops, this system was thought to guarantee that elections would always produce the correct result. Since the intention was that all nations in the Solar System would eventually join CEGA, the original member nations limited votes to assign Joint Military Service troop quotas to Councilors from their nations, ensuring that they would always be able to control how many Council seats any member had.
However, almost as soon as this system was developed, cracks began to appear. The first was the exception granted to the Orbital and Lunar colonies in 2185. As part of their voluntary membership, the Orbitals were granted the right to set their own voting requirements for CEGA; despite decades of pressure from the Imperialists in Joint Service, Orbital voting remains fully democratic. This has introduced uncontrolled and popularly elected Councilors into CEGA, ones whose numbers were dictated by the Space Navy's dependence on Orbital engineers and technicians. This unexpected infusion of democracy suddenly made CEGA more publicly accountable for its actions than the dictatorial Alliance nations had ever envisaged.
After the problem with the Orbitals, no new CEGA members were allowed to set their own voting systems, but even so, the new states introduced issues and beliefs outside those the continental alliances had foreseen. Still, this would not have been a problem if the USE and Combine had presented a united front. Instead they allowed their internal differences, especially among the Combine states, to be manipulated by the independent members. As a result, the CEGA Council became a true political forum outside any one faction's total control.
Ultimately, the internal divisions of the original members had an even more negative impact. The bitter factionalism common in many of Earth's governments quickly spilled over into the Council, as domestic political factions realized they could use it to push their political agendas back home. Soon, many Councilors were more interested in interfering in national politics than overseeing the progress of solar expansion, which was exactly what the system had been designed to avoid. This bickering also allowed the entry of the Venusian influence into CEGA politics, furthering complicating an already Byzantine situation.
Beneath the Council, the original members had appointed some of their best and brightest officers and bureaucrats to CEGA and the Joint Service. Following the orders given to them by their home nations, these people pushed ahead with CEGA's grand design to conquer the solar system, doing so well that they managed to obscure the political problems on the Council. However, a lack of oversight gradually became a critical flaw, as military officers and senior bureaucrats started to manipulate CEGAfor their own personal or political gain. Some officers even used their close connections to their troops to get elected to the Council themselves. These moves were initially welcomed by the continental alliances because the Joint Service Councilors seemed to be intent only on Solar conquest, not petty politicking.
The result was that by the twenty-third century, the Joint Service and CEGA bureaucracy had become a law unto themselves. They were dominated by a faction of ambitious people intent on increasing their power and influence through the immediate use of military power and by undermining the independence of member nations.
The CEGA Bureaucracy
Though CEGA was meant to be a government in name only, a complicated and often confusing bureaucratic structure was created to oversee international cooperation across a whole range of endeavors. After 2184, the CEGA bureaucracy grew into a shadow government, mirroring every service or ministry found in the member nations. This massive growth was explained away by ambitious bureaucrats with the need for improved cooperation and more centralized oversight. As a result, the CEGA bureaucracy has developed immense influence, controlling such important functions as inter-alliance policing, educational and health standards, trade regulation, the distribution of subsidies for development and eco-restoration, and the oversight of all occupied territories. Beyond the bureaucracy's legitimate powers, its ability to manipulate CEGA policy had also garnered it immense influence. Given the substantial financial and political benefits of serving as a CEGA official, many national bureaucrats were keen to ingratiate themselves with CEGA personnel in the hope of improving their chances of being selected, further increasing CEGA's influence.
Finally, the failure in political oversight led to massive corruption, with vast sums being embezzled or earned through ties to organized crime. This again increased the already vast reach of the CEGA bureaucracy. Despite the widespread corruption, many officials held true to the belief of Earth's destiny to rule the solar system. To these politicized officials, bureaucratic empire building had a more important purpose than simply enriching themselves. Slowly, the politicized officials became centered in the judicial and diplomatic ministries while corrupt officials took control of the lucrative financial and trade departments. The occupied territories' secretariats remained split, neither group willing to concede control of such important and powerful posts. As all officials desired expansion of CEGA control, whether for either personal gain or ideological reasons, the majority became active supporters of the Imperialist faction.
When they created the Administration the continental alliances expected the CEGA Council to be a dignified body of retired bureaucrats, military officers and politicians, all serving out their golden years and doing as they were told. Instead, the forty Councilors are locked in a bitter and deadly conflict that will determine who controls the fate of CEGA.
Each Councilor represents a non-geographical district; the number of districts per member nation is based on its Council-assigned Joint Service commitments. Election comes with a very significant salary, a large staff, and offices and a residence in each of the two CEGA capitals, New Berlin and Gaia City. Councilors receive constant CEGA press coverage and many lucrative offers from companies and individuals seeking influence or assistance. The biggest lure though, is power; apart from leading a member nation, no other people on Earth wield as much control or influence.
The main source of this power is the Council committee system. There are no set committees; each is created by a Council vote and exists until the Council votes to disband it. Originally, this mechanism was designed to prevent the development of powerful committees able to operate outside the purview of the Council proper. Instead, the flexibility of the system allowed the Council to create committees to look into anything they pleased, which became the main weapon of Councilors wishing to interfere in national politics. The trading of seats and votes on the committees became central to power within the Council.
There are presently three main factions vying for control of the Council: the Imperialists, the Loyalists and the Unificationists. The largest faction are the continental alliance Loyalists, who have nearly twenty seats on the Council, but their numbers are counterbalanced by the increasing conflicts between the nations they serve. It was such infighting that lost the Loyalists control of the Council in the first place.
The main beneficiaries of Loyalist infighting have always been the Imperialists, a faction closely aligned to the senior officers of the Joint Service and CEGA bureaucracy and whose professed goal is the reacquisition of the solar system. The Loyalists generally agree with this aim; the difference is that the Imperialists seek power for themselves, not for the nations of Europe and North America. Many powerful members of the Imperialist faction have been cashiered in the recent purges and they are now forced to move more subtly than they have in the past. This is especially true of their use of powerful bureaucratic ties to circumvent proper channels and manipulate the Council into sanctioning imperialist actions after the fact.
The smallest of the factions is the Unificationists. Led by lgnatius Chang, the faction is centered on Councilors from the Orbitals and a few League, West Indian, Polish and Scandinavian moderates. While their proclaimed goal is promoting the peaceful reunification of Earth and the solar system, the Unificationists spend most of their time frustrating the Imperialists and fighting Venusian interference. The Unificationists hold the balance of power, and they have used it to prevent any faction gaining absolute control of any of the major committees, especially the all-important Solar Relations, Joint Service Oversight and Finance committees.
The result has been a dramatic increase in efficiency and decrease in corruption, but the military and bureaucratic members of the Imperialist faction are fuming at having to answer to politicians for their actions. So far, their displeasure has led to a number of violent incidents at Council meetings, but rumor blames more aggressive members of the Imperialist faction for the bomb attack that recently injured Councilor Chang. How far this conflict will go is unforeseeable, though a serious threat from the Jovian Confederation would probably bring the Loyalists and the Imperialists together temporarily. It may only be a matter of time before the factions agree that a unified war with Jupiter is better than the division and collapse of the Administration.