So I ended up getting a couple intelligence agents that had decent PsyOps, so I figured I'd try my hand at setting up some more favorable governments among the AI. And I mean "more favorable" in two different ways: governments that will be more friendly to me (using Way of the Ancients), and governments that don't have research penalties (an expansionist Technocracy will often have amazing Energy research, but otherwise the AI seems to usually be struggling with tech on normal difficulty). My results so far have been less than stellar, however.
After a lot of successful missions, it seems as though the Naxxilians and Dhayut each only have 3 options - Military Dictatorship, Feudalism, and Despotism, though a player can pick other government types for them when starting a new game. I did switch the Atuuk from Despotism to Monarchy on the first attempt, but no such luck with the other, aforementioned races; it's always either a Military Dictatorship - which I don't like - or a huge penalty to the AI's research. Are there racial restrictions for the AI when it comes to governments? And if there aren't outright restrictions, are different government types given different weights, leaving me a slight chance to eventually end up with a Monarchy, Republic, or Democracy for the Naxxilians/Dhayut/etc...?