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The government of the Colonials is nominally a representative democracy.
Quorum of Twelve
- For more information on the ruling council of the Colonials, see: Quorum of Twelve (TOS).
The main legislative body is the Quorum of Twelve, with each of the twelve members representing a colony. Initially lead by a president, the position is never filled after the destruction of the Colonies (TOS: "Saga of a Star World"). The original Quorum leaders, prior to the Battle of Cimtar, were apparently interspersed amidst the five battlestars of the ill-fated peace conference, having last met on battlestar Atlantia.
It is not clear how many of the original Quorum survives the destruction of the Colonial Fleet, but it is clear that a handful of Sires had stayed on the last known surviving battlestar, Galactica, or had lived through the bombardment of the Twelve Colonies to join the civilian ships and later enter into service as a Quorum member.
In the past, each Quorum member (who apparently are either are Sires or Siresses) received a special medallion associated with their position. Most of the Seals have been lost to either time or due to the final Cylon attack, leaving Adama and the traitorous Lord Baltar with the only Seals. Adama knows from study that the medallions have special abilities aside from its symbolism of authority, and Baltar apparently remembers this information as well (TOS: "Lost Planet of the Gods, Part II").
While technically a member of the Council, Commander Adama effectively becomes the supreme commander of the Fleet, making most of the important decisions regarding the caravan of ships, including their gathering and establishing their ultimate destination, Earth.
Adama's status does not escape the notice of the Quorum, who occasionally attempt to wrest control away from the commander. Their actions often complicate situations, and leaves Adama retaining full authority (TOS: "Greetings from Earth", "Baltar's Escape").