2) What kind of government is in control?
As mentioned before, here is where a general idea of government and economics can come in handy. You just need the basics here, and don't need to get into extreme detail unless it's relevant to your story, and even then you want to keep it simple or you might bore your readers to death.
There are three main types of government that most all other governments are based on.
Authoritarian - rule of the few. These would be your monarchies and dictatorships, where one or a few individuals have all the power. These individuals were not chosen by the people, but came into power through either force or birthright.
Anarchism - rule by consent. In this type of government there is no defined state. Anarchists believe that government in any form is unneccessary and directly harmful as it infringes on an individuals freedoms. Instead they support a voluntary association which is loosely defined as a group of individuals who enter into an agreement to form a body to accomplish a purpose.
Democratic - rule of the many. This is the type of government is carried out by the people or by elected representatives of the people. Common in many countries today the United States is the best known democracy.