The President of the United Federation of Planets is the democratically elected head of state and head of government of the United Federation of Planets. As leader of the Federation, the president is widely considered the most powerful person in the known Alpha and Beta Quadrants.
The president ascends to the position through a popular election, serving an unlimited number of four-year terms. The president's office is on Floor Fifteen of the Federation's seat of government, Palais de la Concorde, in Paris, Earth. Fifteen also features a private office for the president, an office room for the president's secretary, the Presidential Transporter Room, a large hallway, and two large meeting rooms named after former presidents: the Ra-ghoratreii Room and the Wescott Room.
The fourteenth and thirteenth floors house the president's staff, with the Chief of Staff's office and the offices of the cabinet members located on the outer rim of Floor Fourteen, while the presidential support staff, including the various deputy chiefs of staff, speechwriters, and other presidential employees, are housed on Floor Thirteen and the innermost rim of Fourteen's offices. It is customary for each president to redecorate the Presidential Office and the top three floors of the Palais as that president sees fit.
The official residence of the President of the United Federation of Planets is Château Thelian, located in the Loire Valley (aka the Vallée de la Loire) in France and built to the specifications of other such famous châteaux in the valley. Château Thelian is as large as the Château de Saint Brisson, which itself served as the residence of former presidential Chief of Staff Koll Azernal. Built during the term of Thelianaresth "Thelian" th'Vorothishria in the early 24th Century to serve as his residence, Château Thelian features a sitting room with the portraits of each president since Thelian. Château Thelian also features a private transporter room, typically used for quick transit between the château and the Palais, and of course the presidential bedchambers.
The duties of the President of the United Federation of Planets are numerous. As the Federation lacks a strict separation of powers found in many governments, the president not only serves as head of the executive branch, but also serves as the head of the legislature. As such, the Articles of the Federation hold that the president is required to preside over all full sessions of the Council of the United Federation of Planets "barring special circumstances." The president "has the option, but is not required, to preside over meetings of the various sub-councils;" if the president chooses not to preside over a sub-council, then the chair of said council serves as the presiding officer. The president is also required to nominate Federation Councillors to the various sub-councils, with the full Council then being responsible for ratifying such nominations. While presiding over a Council or sub-council session, the president reserves the right to determine who may or may not speak to the council from the speaker's floor, and may also determine when voting on a bill or resolution is to take place, even though the president may not vote.
The president is generally expected to solicit the participation of councillors from the appropriate sub-councils when dealing with issues pretaining to that sub-council's jurisdiction, and a full sub-council sometimes is capable of exercising authority nearly equal to that of the president's over an issue. For instance, the Federation Security Council has the right to order Starfleet Operations to issue orders to subordinate Starfleet agencies such as the Starfleet Corps of Engineers, a right shared only by the admiralty and the president, though an order from the president does over-ride an order from a sub-council in executive issues.
The president has the right to executive review of legislation passed by the Federation Council, and may veto a bill. From there, the bill may be sent back to the Council, which may override the veto if a sufficiently large number of councillors vote as such. The president may also introduce bills and resolutions to the Council.
The president also serves as the commander of the Federation Starfleet and the rest of the Federation's armed forces (though the specific title of "Commander-in-Chief" is held by the highest-ranking Starfleet officer), granting the president nearly absolute authority over the actions of Starfleet. The president may not declare war, however; that particular right is reserved to the Council. The president also has the right to declare martial law on a Federation Member State, a political subdivision of a Member State, or in a political subdivision of the Federation itself. In 2372, for instance, former president Jaresh-Inyo of Grazer declared martial law on Earth (the primary planetary political subdivision of United Earth, a founding Member, and capital planet of the UFP itself) in response to concerns about Changeling infilration when that planet's power distribution system was sabotaged.
The president may preside over special sessions of the Federation Judiciary Council which serve as court martials of Starfleet officers; Former President Hiram Roth, for instance, presided over the council session that served as the court martial of Starfleet officers James T. Kirk, Leonard McCoy, Montgomery Scott, Pavel Checkov, Hikaru Sulu, and Nyota Uhura in 2286, following the destruction of the USS Enterprise in orbit of the Genesis Planet.
The president is responsible for the appointment of Federation Ambassadors to foreign nations, a responsibility apparently weilded unilaterally, without requiring the authorization of the Federation Council. The president also sets the course for Federation foreign policy, though the Council can over-ride the president's foreign policy directives if such as resolution has a sufficiently large majority of councillors behind it.
Notable presidents who have taken strong steps in defining the role of the presidency include Haroun al-Rashid, Avaranthi sh'Rothress, Kenneth Wescott, Ra-ghoratreii, Thelianaresth th'Vorothishria, and Min Zife.
The Federation presidency has traditionally been an office considerably less autonomous than the presidencies of traditional planetary governments. In the wake of the Zife Administration and the Dominion War, however, the presidency has become a considerably more autonomous office with much less overview from the Federation Council. The president, however, nonetheless serves as the political and inspirational leader of the United Federation of Planets, and is still looked up to for guidance and leadership by the people of the Federation.
- Star Trek: Articles of the Federation by Keith R.A. DeCandido; Star Trek: A Time to Heal by David Mack; Star Trek: A Time to Kill by David Mack; Titan: Taking Wing by Michael A. Martin and Andy Mangels.