The Senate is the lower house of Prosperan government, which has a representative from every world which is considered a member of the Republic. The Senate currently has approximately 300 members who meet and live on Prospera to manage and discuss policy for the Republic as a whole, rather than for specific worlds.
The Senate is broken up by subsector, with each member being given a number of votes based on which Phase that subsector is from. A P Subsector senator has 10 votes, a Phase 1 senator has 5 votes, a Phase 2 senator has 3 votes, a Phase 3 senator has 2 votes, and a Phase 4 senator has 1 vote each. This totals out to about 250 votes from Prospera, 500 votes from Phase 1 senators, 300 votes from Phase 2 senators, 200 votes from Phase 3 senators, and 80 votes from Phase 4 senators. Policies are voted in a basic majority rule manner.
The President of the Senate is elected for a twenty year term from P Subsector and Phase 1 constituents.
There are a number of different political parties, groups of people with common goals who agree to work together to attempt to control a majority of the votes in the senate. These parties have changed over generations, but generally fall into a number of different ideologies. The number of parties has increased or decreased, sometimes with as few as two or as many as twenty. There are no laws restricting the formation of parties, and any party- even one based in revolutionary or rebellious principles- is allowed to hold offices. Rather than each senator being allowed to decide how many of his votes go towards each party, the planet they hail from votes in a referendum, and the votes of the senator are distributed proportionately. These votes automatically go towards the Party's leading individual, and the party with the most votes becomes the President every twenty years. Votes in this matter are conducted every five years, so that a general trend can be understood. Usually the expected President is known well before the twenty-year vote actually takes place.
Currently, there are eight active political unions in the Senate. Prospectors do not adhere to any political party, and operate above the system. Before the First Rebellion, the Prospectors had a much more direct role in the policy-making of the Senate, but as a part of the peace accords of that war, they now distance themselves from the proceedings. Prospectors retain veto powers, however.
The ruling party is a conservative party called the Loyalists, who control 56% of the Senate; 745 votes. Because of this, any policies presented and unanimously voted on will always pass. The Loyalists have had more or less majority power since the end of the Third Rebellion, though during some periods they have had to enlist the help of a reactionary or center party in a coalition.
The primary opposition party is a socialist party called the Collectivists, who control 26% of the senate; 346 votes.
Then, there are a number of other opposition parties with various different ideologies.
Republicans, a liberal party, control 10% of the senate; 133 votes.
Scarves, a party primarily made up of libertarians, who control a mere 4% of the senate; 53 votes.
Federalists, a reactionary party concerned with the re-formation of the Federation as opposed to the Republic, with a mere 2% of the senate; 27 votes.
and a number of independent or 'other' parties making up the final 2%, making up the final 26 votes.