Scheming, powerful, and evil to the core, Darth Sidious restored the Sith and destroyed the Jedi Order. Living a double life, Sidious was in fact Palpatine, a Naboo Senator and phantom menace. He slowly manipulated the political system of the Galactic Republic until he was named Supreme Chancellor -- and eventually Emperor -- ruling the galaxy through fear and tyranny.
At the height of its rule, the Galactic Republic was governed by a body of Senators representing the many worlds of the galaxy. Within the cavernous Senate rotunda, hundreds of politicians would fill the viewing platforms that lined the curved walls. When a Senator wished to speak, the platform would detach and float to the center of the auditorium for all to see.
One of the wealthiest corporate organizations in the galaxy, the Trade Federation controlled most of the interstellar shipping passing through the Rim territories. The Trade Federation was headed by Viceroy Nute Gunray, and even had its own representative in the Republic Senate to lobby for even greater power. On the orders of Darth Sidious, the Trade Federation sent its battle droids to invade Naboo to create a government crisis. During the Clone Wars, the Trade Federation secretly signed on as a member of Count Dooku's Separatist organization, though representatives in the Senate tried to deny this.
A well-meaning civil servant whose chancellorship was hampered by corruption in the Senate and bureaucratic snarls, Valorum secretly turned to the Jedi Knights for help breaking the Trade Federation's blockade of Naboo. But Valorum was betrayed by Naboo's Senator Palpatine, who maneuvered Queen Amidala into asking the Senate for a no-confidence vote in the Supreme Chancellor's leadership. A stunned Valorum was removed from office in favor of Palpatine.