- "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
The Imperial Senate, also referred to as the Galactic Senate or the council was the de jure legislature of the First Galactic Empire. It was the successor to the Galactic Senate of the Republic, which was reformed into an autocratic regime when Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine declared himself Emperor.
The Imperial Senate was disbanded after the capture of Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan nineteen years after the formation of the Empire. With Leia being a senator who supported the growing Rebellion against Palpatine's absolute rule, the Emperor used the incident to cast doubt unto the loyalty of the assembly. As such, the Senate was dissolved, with its former prerogatives handed down to the regional governors and the military.
Oversight of the EmpireEdit
- "The Senate is supportive?"
"Now that it serves rather than advises."
- ―Wilhuff Tarkin and Emperor Palpatine
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. In the wake of the regime change, the Galactic Senate became the Imperial Senate, and the Senate Plaza the Imperial Plaza. Additionally, architectural and design changes would remove any trace of the former Republic, and a giant statue of the Emperor would be erected outside the Senate Rotunda. 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. Implied threats and a near-complete lack of trust would permeate among worlds, while the actual enactment of legislation would become an uncommon occurrence. 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. 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 sheer terror.
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. 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. The senate were also lied about the destruction of Jedha City by the Empire, claiming that it was a mining accident.
- "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
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. The last straw came nineteen years after the birth of the Empire, 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. 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.
- "Need I remind the honorable members that Palpatine maintained the illusion of the Imperial Senate for nearly twenty years after the Old Republic's fall? A tyrant can make anything seem to be 'the will of the people.'"
- ―Senator Leia Organa of the New Republic Senate
After the Empire was defeated at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance reorganized into the New Republic and restored the Imperial Senate as the Galactic Senate based on the Old Republic Senate, on the planet Chandrila. Led by the ideals of unity, accountability, and legality, the Senate strove to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, and attempted to curb the powers of the Chancellor to avoid creating another Emperor. Nonetheless, following the retirement of Mon Mothma, the Senate would split into two factions, the Centrists and the Populists, a political divide that would threaten to undermine the New Republic's egalitarian philosophy, all while an Imperial successor regime grew on the fringes of the galaxy.
- "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
In basic 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. However, the Senate had to applaud the Emperor's every decree. Although Palpatine rarely appeared at proceedings, very few senators dared to demand answers in the Senate chamber, lest they be reprimanded, or even silenced. While senators enjoyed diplomatic immunity, they did not have the right to contest an execution order given by a military commander, especially in matters relating to treason.
- Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide
- Star Wars in 100 Scenes
- "Classic Moment: Lando's Second Surprise"—Star Wars Insider 152
- Star Wars Rebels: Sabine My Rebel Sketchbook (Appears on wanted poster)
- Star Wars: Card Trader
- Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy
- Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- ↑ Ezra's Gamble
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
- ↑ Princess Leia, Part I
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Star Wars Rebels: The Visual Guide
- ↑ Lords of the Sith
- ↑ Star Wars Rebels – "Rise of the Old Masters"
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "Senate Perspective"—Star Wars Rebels Magazine 9
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Aftermath
- ↑ Lost Stars
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Tarkin
- ↑ Ultimate Star Wars
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Bloodline
- ↑ Darth Vader 1: Vader
- ↑ Star Wars Rebels – "Droids in Distress"
- ↑ Episode IV on Star Wars.com
- ↑ Star Wars Annual 1
- ↑ A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy