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Up to date as of February 04, 2010

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Galactic Senate
General information
Headquarters

Coruscant

Locations

Senate Building

Historical information
Reorganization

19 BBY (as the Imperial Senate)

Dissolution

0 BBY

Restoration

6 ABY

Other information
Era(s)
Affiliation
"There is no civility, only politics."
Palpatine

The Galactic Senate, also referred to as the Republic Senate, Galactic Congress, Republic Congress, or Old Senate (during the time of the New Republic), was the legislative and executive branch of the Galactic Republic that was located on Coruscant. Its primary duties were to mediate any disputes between star systems, worlds and cultures, to regulate trade between systems, to protect and care for citizens in need and to provide mutual defense in face of threats to the Republic.

Contents

History

"The Republic is not what it once was. The Senate is full of greedy, squabbling delegates. There is no interest in the common good."
Senator Palpatine to Queen Amidala

The Galactic Senate was a place where all the Republic's elected and appointed senators and representatives from the farthest reaches of the galaxy would discuss major problems and come to decisions. The Galactic Constitution invested the Senate with the power to regulate trade, maintain maps of the galaxy's hyperspace routes, and to maintain the Republic's military. It was still a relatively weak body at the end of the Old Sith Wars. Following the Ruusan Reformation, a large amount of power was removed from the Supreme Chancellor and granted to the Senate, which although resulting in greater regional involvement in galactic politics, also resulted in increased gridlock and corruption. One of the privileges a Supreme Chancellor still possessed was his or her ability to call an Extraordinary Session.

The Chagrian senator during the Great Galactic War

The Senate's role changed somewhat over the centuries. As of the Old Sith Wars it played a slightly more passive role regarding internal affairs. While recognized as the central government of the Republic and deferred to in matters of galactic policy, the Senate's power over many members was more that of a mediator than a ruling body. Negotiation and coercion were staples of its activities.

The terrorist organization known as The Flail attempted to overthrow the Senate in 33 BBY, accusing it of corruption; but Chancellor Finis Valorum's forces disbanded The Flail.[1]

Before the start of the Clone Wars, the Senate suffered a shutdown, with corporations controlling it. The majority of the senators around the time of the Invasion of Naboo became corrupt, changing their affiliations based on their own interests in mind. Eventually, through a series of various organizational reforms in response to the Separatist threat, the charismatic Palpatine took control of the Senate. During the Clone Wars, Sate Pestage was in charge of the Senate's executive agenda.

During the time of the Empire, the Galactic Senate was known as the Imperial Senate. However, this Senate was largely powerless, with its members discouraged to disagreeing with the Emperor's wishes. Immediately before the Battle of Yavin, Palpatine officially dissolved the Imperial Senate. It was not until 6.5 ABY that the New Republic restored it, soon after liberating Coruscant.

Organization

"Answer: There are a lot of politicians on Coruscant, master. I could spend decades slaughtering them and still not make a dent."
HK-47
Senate Guard and Commando, protectors of the Senate

The Senate was led by a Supreme Chancellor, elected by a vote of the Senate from amongst its delegates. He had little real authority over the Senate other than prerogative to call for a special session and could be removed by a vote of no confidence. The Vice Chair, also elected and removed by the Senate, wielded far more power being empowered to open, close and moderate debate on each motion, which allowed him to control agenda within the Senate.

The Galactic Senate was made up of over 2,000 congressmen: governor-delegates (referred to as senators) and representatives, representing sectors, systems, individual planets, or even Corporation or Guilds. Some were elected directly, while others were appointed by a planet's ruler (or even were the planet's ruler). Diplomats, religious figures, local political leaders, and other prominent people could also address the Senate as part of a senatorial delegation. Senators, however, were the only members with voting power, with the Representatives organized into the Galactic Representative Commission, although they could be appointed by their absent Senators as their temporary subsitute, and still could have a minor voice in Senate business.

Before the invasion of Naboo, Republic-member worlds could join or become signatories to various federations or groups. Often, smaller worlds would give their voting power over to these Federations in exchange for lucrative trade deals. This allowed various corporations, guilds, federations, and businesses to gain extra power in the Senate.[2]

The Senate was divided into many committees and subcommittees, each to handle various issues of Galactic government and lawmaking. Some of them were:

In addition to the formal committees, there were informal political factions in the Senate as well. In the years leading up to the Battle of Naboo, there were two main ones: the Core faction and the Rim faction.

During the Clone Wars, the supermajority of the Senate supported Palpatine, allowing him to amend the Galactic Constitution and be granted more emergency powers.

Powers

"I am the Senate!"
Palpatine
Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, last leader of the Galactic Republic

The Senate was the legislative and executive power of the Republic (although at various times by the end of the Republic's existence, the Office of the Supreme Chancellor held supreme dictator Legislative, Executive, and Judicial authority). It also had limited judicial authority, presumably for high-profile plaintiffs or cases too controversial for (or tried in) the Supreme Court. Such cases included trying senators for treason (as wished by Vien'sai'Malloc); crimes against civilization (the interrupted trial of Ulic Qel-Droma); and presumably corruption and treason of the Supreme Chancellor (as Anakin Skywalker wished for Palpatine).

Senate-related documents

The following are documents passed by the Galactic Senate or relating to its functioning.

Architecture

The Senate Building with the Republic Executive Building in the foreground.
Main article: Senate Building
See also: Senate Hall

Thousands of years before the fall of the Republic, the Senate was housed in a hall building. At some point after the end of the Great Sith War, the Senate was relocated to the more advanced and spacious Senate Building.

The exterior portion of the Senate Building consisted of a large courtyard in front of the structure itself, a huge mushroom-shaped building.

The interior portion was a multiple-story room with thousands of chairs for senators from each world. In the center, the Supreme Chancellor would sit with his or her aides.

Behind the scenes

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The exterior of the Senate Building.

Although Episode I and Episode III refer to the Senate as "Congress," it is not actually one in the traditional sense of the word. A congress is usually an elected body that serves as the legislative branch (opposite an executive branch) in a presidential system. Because the Old Republic was a parliamentary system, the executive branch of the government was thusly derived from members of parliament in the legislative branch.

If anything, the direct threat to Senate sovereignty—Confederacy of Independent Systems (CIS)—is more of a "congress" than the Senate. The United States of America used the word "Congress" harkening back to the British colonies when delegates representing the east coast colonies first met to protest at their treatment by the government of Great Britain. They met as the "Continental Congress" which is somewhat similar to way that the CIS met regarding the way the corruption of the Senate, government, and Republic.

Moreover, unlike the traditional understanding of a parliament (or Congress, as it is referred), the Galactic Senate was a unicameral body (that is, it has one house), rather than the traditional bicameral body, which features both an upper house and a lower house. However, this would bring the Galactic Senate in line with the ancient Roman Senate, which was a unicameral body (even if the body was meant to be a merely advisory house, with little direct executive power).

Like many parliamentary systems, the executive branch (as aforementioned) would be elected by members within the Senate. The Supreme Chancellor serves as the prime minister, with the vice chair and speaker as deputies (though each have their own important functions within the structure of the Senate).

Furthermore, more evidence to suggest that the Galactic Senate is a parliamentary system (United Kingdom-style) as opposed to a congressional system (United States-style), as that there is no evidence of a "separation of powers" in the Galactic Senate—the executive, legislative, and judicial branches all seem to overlap, in a parliamentary system the executive is found within the legislative. Additionally, the Galactic Senate's system allows for a "vote of no confidence" to oust the current chancellor. No confidence votes are often found in parliamentary systems.

In background material composed by George Lucas in 1977 for licensees of the Expanded Universe, the "Republican Senate" represented a total of 24,372 systems and elected a Chancellor to a four year term. There was a term limit of one term. During a crisis, a Chancellor extended his term to 12 years and finally declared himself Emperor, first by rhetorically attacking the bureaucracy and then by aligning himself with it. The Jedi sided with the Senate after it attempted to impeach him. This story appears to be the germ of much of the events of the Prequel Trilogy.[3]

Appearances

  • Tales of the Jedi: The Golden Age of the Sith
  • Tales of the Jedi: The Fall of the Sith Empire
  • Tales of the Jedi: The Sith War (First appearance)
  • Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 19: Daze of Hate, Part 1 (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 22: Knights of Suffering, Part 1 (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 23: Knights of Suffering, Part 2 (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic, Threat of Peace Act 3: Uncertain Surrender (Mentioned only)
  • Timeline 1: Treaty of Coruscant (Mentioned only)
  • Timeline 2: The Mandalorian Blockade is Broken (Appears in hologram)
  • Darth Bane: Rule of Two (Mentioned only)
  • Jedi Apprentice: The Dark Rival (Mentioned only)
  • Deal with a Demon (Mentioned only)
  • Shadows of Coruscant
  • Cloak of Deception
  • Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter
  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace novel
  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace junior novel
  • Jango Fett: Open Seasons (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars Republic: Emissaries to Malastare (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars Republic: Twilight (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars Republic: The Stark Hyperspace War (Appears in flashback(s))
  • Star Wars Republic: Honor and Duty
  • Jedi Quest: Path to Truth (Mentioned only)
  • Jedi Quest: The Way of the Apprentice (Mentioned only)
  • Jedi Quest: The Trail of the Jedi (Mentioned only)
  • Outbound Flight
  • Jedi Quest: The Master of Disguise
  • Jedi Quest: The Shadow Trap (Mentioned only)
  • Jedi Quest: The Moment of Truth (Mentioned only)
  • Jedi Quest: The Changing of the Guard
  • Jedi Quest: The False Peace
  • The Approaching Storm (Mentioned only)
  • HoloNet News
  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones comic
  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones junior novel
  • Precipice (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars video game (Mentioned only)
  • "Death in the Catacombs" - Star Wars Insider 79 (Mentioned only)
  • League of Spies (Mentioned only)
  • Jedi: Mace Windu (Mentioned only)
  • Legacy of the Jedi (Mentioned only)
  • Honor Bound (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars Republic 61: Dead Ends
  • Star Wars Republic 62: No Man's Land (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars Republic 63: Striking from the Shadows (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars Republic 64: Bloodlines
  • Jedi: Yoda
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars novelization (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Lair of Grievous" (Mentioned only in Decoded episode only)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Blue Shadow Virus" (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Hostage Crisis"
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Senate Spy"
  • Star Wars The Clone Wars 11: Hero of the Confederacy, Part 2 (Mentioned only)
  • Secrets of the Jedi
  • Star Wars Republic: The Dreadnaughts of Rendili (Mentioned only)
  • Boba Fett: A New Threat (Mentioned only)
  • Labyrinth of Evil
  • Star Wars Republic: The Siege of Saleucami (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith comic
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith junior novel
  • Star Wars Republic: The Hidden Enemy (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars Republic: Into the Unknown (Mentioned only)
  • "Mist Encounter" - Star Wars Adventure Journal 7 (Mentioned only)
  • The Last of the Jedi: A Tangled Web (Mentioned only)
  • Coruscant Nights I: Jedi Twilight (Mentioned only)
  • Coruscant Nights II: Street of Shadows (Mentioned only)
  • The Farlander Papers (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars: Empire at War (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption (Mentioned only)
  • Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope novel (First mentioned)
  • Star Wars: Rebellion (Mentioned only)
  • The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader (Mentioned only)
  • A Credit for Your Thoughts (Mentioned only)
  • Heir to the Empire (Mentioned only) (as Old Senate)
  • Dark Force Rising (Mentioned only)

Sources

Notes and references

  1. Shadows of Coruscant
  2. Cloak of Deception
  3. The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film
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This article uses material from the "Galactic Senate" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Star Wars Fanon

Up to date as of February 04, 2010

The Star Wars wiki of fan invention.

The Galactic Senate represented the legislative branch of several forms of government. The Third Republic was one such example.


This article uses material from the "Galactic Senate" article on the Star Wars Fanon wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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