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Imperial Senate

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"For the first time in one thousand generations our sector governors will not be working solely to enrich Coruscant and the Core Worlds, but to advance the quality of life in the star systems that make up each sector—keeping the spaceways safe, maintaining open and accessible communications, assuring that tax revenues are properly levied and allocated to improving the infrastructure. The Senate will likewise be made up of beings devoted not to their own enrichment, but to the enrichment of the worlds they represent."
Wilhuff Tarkin, describing the Emperor's New Order[src]

The Imperial Senate was the de jure legislative council of the First Galactic Empire. It was the successor to the Senate of the Republic, which was reformed when the then-Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine declared himself sole ruler. That assembly was disbanded for good after the capture of Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, a senator who supported the Rebellion against Palpatine's absolute rule. The Senate's former prerogatives were handed down to the regional governors and the military.

HistoryEdit

Oversight of the EmpireEdit

MP-Leia

Leia Organa of the Imperial Senate used her diplomatic immunity to help the Rebellion.

"The Senate is supportive?"
"Now that it serves rather than advises."
―Wilhuff Tarkin and Emperor Palpatine[src]

After the end of the Clone Wars—which he had carefully masterminded—the Sith Lord known as Darth Sidious abandoned his public persona of Palpatine, the Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic and chairman of its senate. He ordered a special session of Congress and proclaimed himself Galactic Emperor, turning the old Republic into a New Order in his image. The representatives overwhelmingly supported the announcement, except for a few delegates, including Padmé Amidala and Bail Organa.[2] In the wake of the regime change, the Galactic Senate became the Imperial Senate.[1] Making good on his vows to end corruption in the Senate, many citizenry believed that the Emperor was indeed restoring stability to the galaxy. Concurrently, many of Palpatine's political opponents suddenly began to vanish.[11] By its fourteenth year of existence, the new Senate started growing even weaker as the Emperor's planetary governors assumed more responsibility over their territories.[7] However, the Emperor preserved the Senate in order to make the Empire's member worlds believe that they still had a part to play in the government. Secretly, the Emperor planned to disband the Senate since the formation of the Empire in the proclamation of the New Order, but needed its body to preserve order until the Death Star was completed, from which he could rule absolute through shear terror.[12]

Some representatives, however, did not realize the extent of the Senate's powerlessness. Nadea Tural, senator of Thrad, was still under the impression that she made a difference by voting on important issues. Like many other senators, she assumed that, once the Senate's job was done, the result of a vote was passed into law. Little did Tural know that the Emperor did not actually implement the voted changes, leaving the senators to bask in their fruitless pride.[10] After the fall of the planet Lasan, the Senate banned the use of the T-7 ion disruptor rifle. However, the military ignored the Senate's decree and planned for the disruptors to be produced on Lothal.[13]

DissolutionEdit

"The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I've just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away."
―Grand Moff Tarkin[src]

The Imperial Senate remained in place for most of Palpatine's rule, constituting one of the last remnants of the old Republic. However, the Rebellion against the Empire kept gaining a growing support in that council. Certain senators, including Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan, did not hesitate to use their diplomatic immunity to help the Rebels.[1] The last straw came nineteen years after the birth of the Empire,[14] when Senator Leia Organa attempted to smuggle the stolen plans for the Death Star, a moon-sized battle station that could destroy an entire planet. Organa's blockade runner was subsequently captured by Sith Lord Darth Vader, the Emperor's apprentice and right-hand man. Fearful of generating more sympathy for the Rebellion in the Senate, Vader ordered to send a false distress signal and then inform the senators that all aboard Organa's vessel had been killed. Shortly thereafter, the Emperor disbanded the Imperial Senate, passing direct control down to regional governors and the military.[1] Nadea Tural and a dozen other Rebel sympathizers in the Senate were arrested for their views and imprisoned in the Arrth-Eno Prison Complex on Coruscant. The Alliance made an attempt to both rescue those senators and assassinate the Emperor. Their plans, however, were thwarted, and all captive senators died.[15]

After the Empire was defeated at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance reorganized into the New Republic and restored the Galactic Senate, precursor to the Imperial Senate, on the planet Chandrila.[16]

PowersEdit

"You're nothing more than one of the Emperor's puppets and all the Empire is bringing is pain and suffering."
―Hera Syndulla, to Imperial Senator Tural[src]

In theory, the Imperial Senate held legislative powers. Although the senators regularly voted issues in the name of the people they represented, only the Emperor had the power to actually pass those votes into law—which he usually did not.[10] However, the Senate had to applaud the Emperor's every decree. Although Palpatine rarely appeared at proceedings,[17] very few senators dared to demand answers in the Senate chamber, lest they be reprimanded, or even silenced.[18]

AppearancesEdit

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Notes and referencesEdit

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