Colony Common Name: Brarel II
Colony Local Name: Sajha
Government Type: Anarcho-Syndicalist Commune
Population: 75 million
Principal Exports: Crystalline Materials
Despite its relative proximity to the Intaki home system, the only temperate planet in the Brarel System was actually one of the last in the Viriette System to be settled. The planet’s history of volcanic activity left its surface covered with a deep layer of ashy soil unsuitable for agriculture and very little in the way of potable water.
The discovery of large deposits of laser-quality crystals 60 years ago prompted terraforming colonists to make the planet more habitable and, today, the colony hosts a sizable population, most of whom reside in the cities of Sikkim and Goa. Sikkim serves as the capital, although the nature of politics in the colony make that designation somewhat confusing to outsiders.
Initially faced with a very limited amount of sustaining resources, the early colonists on Brarel II (called Sajha by the natives) decided to form themselves into a collective. In addition to sharing supplies, shelter and resources, the colonists ultimately chose to share their authoritative mandate.
There is no single executive officer in any part of Sajhan society. Instead, a congress is chosen by lottery each quarter. Those chosen by the lottery report to Sikkim for an orientation session and then return to their home to serve their term, passing laws and executing government business.
While the congress sets the colony’s policy agenda, all votes approved by the congress have to then be ratified by a general public election held each month. Ratification requires a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs but by a two-thirds majority in the case of external affairs.
Local and regional governments follow the planetary model as well. In an effort to streamline the voting process, all elections are held on the first and second day of each month. Women vote on the first and men vote on the second in even-numbered months, with the reverse in odd numbered months.
Sajha’s representatives to the Intaki Assembly are selected annually at the first election day of the summer quarter. Like the congress, Sajhan assemblymen are chosen by lottery. Their one-year term is the shortest of any Intaki colony and because there is little hope of re-election in the random process, Sajhans rarely have any senior positions within the Assembly.
Voting days are considered national holidays and most businesses are closed in order to allow citizens the ability to participate. The franchise has always been universal to all natural-born citizens regardless of gender. Naturalized citizens are eligible to vote (and entered into the quarterly lottery) after one year. The legal voting age has been lowered twice and now stands at 14.
Visitors observing the Sajhan electoral process have described it as “organized chaos” and “the most frightening democratic endeavor undertaken by mankind.” Sajhans pride themselves on the system, however, and voter turnout is consistently above 97 percent. Local media devote large portions of their broadcasts and publications to informing the public on upcoming elections.
The unusual nature of the colony’s government has caused it some difficulty in negotiating large trade arrangements, but it is generally agreed that once a pact is reached all the fine points have been discussed at length.
In addition to being a supplier of laser crystals, the colony is also known for its obsidian products. Local artisans have developed techniques for crafting the material into nearly every shape imaginable. In addition to statuary, Sajhan artists also create useful day-to-day items like dishes and cups from the black volcanic rock.
The colony is also home to Idama Pakami Durahma. The Idama, in her immediately previous life, was one of the founding settlers and her advice is often sought in times of crisis. Although she claims no official authority, she is the unofficial “godmother” of the colony.