The Detapa Council is the civilian governing body of the Cardassian Union, performing both Executive and Legislative Functions within the Government. The Council was formed in the 19th century (Earth calendar), and was, technically, in control of the Cardassian Central Command and the Obsidian Order. In the past, the Council had virtually no ablility to control the military, despite having vast theoretical powers at its disposal. In recent years, as a result of democratisation of the Union and a diminution in the power of the Cardassian Guard the Detapa Council has taken back its constitutional role running the Union.
The Detapa Council is comprised of 366 members, two from each of the Union's Administrative Zones, meaning that each Councillor represents around 500 Million Cardassian Citizens on the 183 Colonised worlds as well as countless ships, bases, asteroids and orbital habitats. The Council is then in turn supported by the 183 Administrative Governments, one for each Zone arranged along the lines of the Detapa Council.
The Executive Branch of the Cardassian Government is headed by the Chair of the Detapa Council, who is elected by the members of the Council. Once elected to the post, the Chairman resigns his seat in the Council and takes up the new one of Chair, resulting in a new election for the Zone which he represents. The Chair will then remain in his post as Chair until either he becomes incapable of doing his job or the Council votes to remove him.. The Council Chair has a vast role in the day to day running, which in theory requires him to run every debate or vote in the chamber, however since the Chair also serves as the Head of State, when performing his duties in that role, or during more minor debates he has the ability to appoint another to run the Chamber, usually one of five deputies he will select in advance to taking up the post of Chair.
The Chair also holds a number of powers and duties which he performs and executes.
- Head of the Military - Theoretically can order the Military to do whatever he wants, however in the past the Military has often told the Chair what to do, due to its relative importance in Cardassian Society.
- Head of State - With all the ceremonial functions which come with that.
- Chair of the Detapa Council - Which involves not only working out scheduling for debates and votes, but chairing them too as well as casting the deciding vote in the event of a straight tie. The role of Chair is often deputised and this is provided for under the Constitution of the Union.
- Head of the Civil Service - The Chair is also the Head of the Civil Service and appoints the heads of each branch as provided for by Cardassian law, passed by the Detapa Council, this can give the Chair an enourmous ability to influence governance after he leaves, as Civil Service jobs only open up when someone retires, since all Cardassians serve the state, the only grounds for removal of a Civil Servant are incompetence or treason, both of which are difficult to prove, even with Cardassian Jurisprudence.
- Power of Pardon - In theory, all Judicial decisions are subject to approval by the Chair, who can request clemency, however the basic nature of Cardassian Jurisprudence means that this is rarely used at best, in the last 500 years, it has only been utilised six times to grant clemency to a convict.
- Financial Control - Whilst this has to be approved by the Council, the Chair's office is responsible for drawing up the budget for the Union
The Detapa Council is the legislative branch of the Cardassian Union. The Council is a unicameral instituion, which features representatives from every Cardassian world. Each Cardassian Member World elects two representatives to the Detapa Council, who are all elected for a three year term, with a maximum of three consecutive terms that they are able to sit for. They can return to the Council after a minimum of one term out of politics.
The Detapa Council is therefore composed of 366 members, two for each of the Unions 183 planets and jurisdictions which have a population greater than 500 million citizens. Any colonies who have less than this number are represented by their nearest council member.
The Council has the ability to remove any member of the Executive, Judiciary or Civil Service provided a 2/3rds majority of the Council approves, it also has the power to reject the Chair's budget and to select a new Chair or to remove a current one, it is also responsible for providing all Legislation and for writing up the Law of the Land and by association making modifications to the code of Cardassian Jurisprudence.