- "Now they will elect a new Chancellor, a strong Chancellor. One who will not let our tragedy continue."
- ―Sheev Palpatine, to Padmé Amidala
The Supreme Chancellor, also known as the High Chancellor, was the elected leader of the Galactic Senate, the governing body of the Galactic Republic. The chancellor was elected through a majority vote by and from the senators who represented the various worlds across the galaxy. As head of the Senate, the chancellor's office was located in the Senate Office Building of the Senate District on Coruscant, the capital of the Republic.
Prior to the chancellorship of Sheev Palpatine, the post was limited to two terms. However, fear of the Separatist Crisis enabled Palpatine to remain in office years after his second term ended. During the Clone Wars, the chancellor gained far greater authority and influence through emergency wartime powers, which effectively transformed the post into a dictatorship. The office was ultimately abolished when Palpatine—secretly known as the Sith Lord Darth Sidious—proclaimed himself emperor of the First Galactic Empire.
- "If I may say so, Your Majesty, the Chancellor has little real power."
- ―Sheev Palpatine, to Padmé Amidala
The powers of the Supreme Chancellor were limited and hampered by the bureaucratic procedures of the Galactic Senate during the final years of the Galactic Republic. Nevertheless, it was in the chancellor's prerogative to issue executive orders to government officials for a number of reasons, including security. Under the administration of Sheev Palpatine, the last chancellor of the Republic, the post gained greater authority through the emergency powers bestowed by the Senate in response to the secessionist movement of the Confederacy of Independent Systems. As head of state, Chancellor Palpatine also served as Commander-in-Chief of the newly-formed Republic military. At the height of the Clone Wars, control of the InterGalactic Banking Clan was transferred to the Office of the Chancellor, making the chancellery more powerful than ever before.
- "In order to ensure our security and continued stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the First Galactic Empire, for a safe and secure society!"
- ―Sheev Palpatine, in his final speech as Supreme Chancellor
The title of Supreme Chancellor was given to the elected leader of the Galactic Senate of the Republic. Prior to the Age of the Empire, Supreme Chancellor Chasen Piian resettled the endangered B'ankora species in the B'ankor Refuge sanctuary on Coruscant, the capital planet of the Galactic Republic. Piian was eventually succeeded by Kalpana, whose party would retain control of the office under the last two chancellors: Finis Valorum and Sheev Palpatine.
- "If this body is not capable of action, I suggest new leadership is needed. I move for a Vote of No Confidence in Chancellor Valorum's leadership."
- ―Padmé Amidala, to the Galactic Senate
Supreme Chancellor Valorum presided over a Senate that was perceived as highly corrupt and too bureaucratic to be an efficient government. Although he governed the Republic with good intentions, Valorum was seen as an ineffective civil servant whose reputation was tarnished by accusations of corruption. The Invasion of Naboo in 32 BBY compelled Padmé Amidala, Queen of Naboo, to beseech Valorum for his support against the Trade Federation and its occupation of her homeworld. However, under the advisement of Senator Palpatine, Naboo's galactic representative and one of the queen's closest advisors, Amidala called on the Senate to cast a Vote of No Confidence in the leadership of Chancellor Valorum.
With Valorum removed from office, Palpatine was nominated to succeed him along with Bail Antilles and Ainlee Teem of Alderaan and Malastare, respectively. Palpatine ultimately defeated his fellow nominees due to widespread support and sympathy for his homeworld. As a result, he was elected as the next and last Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic.
- "I feel our situation will create a strong sympathy vote for us. I will be chancellor."
- ―Sheev Palpatine, to Padmé Amidala
Over the next decade Supreme Chancellor Palpatine consolidated his power during two consecutive terms in office. By the end of his second term, the Separatist Crisis increasingly threatened to become a full-scale civil war, causing the Senate to amend the Galactic Constitution so that Palpatine could remain in office to prevent the secessionists from leaving the Republic. Palpatine, however, was secretly Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord of the Sith. Although he claimed to love the Republic, his true motive was to supplant it with a fascist regime. By the time of the Clone Wars, the Senate at the urging of Junior Representative Jar Jar Binks granted emergency powers to the office of Supreme Chancellor, which allowed Palpatine to form the Grand Army of the Republic in response to the creation of the Separatist Droid Army.
The conflict with the Separatists helped to greatly expand the chancellor's authority with additional wartime powers, resulting in the marginalization of the Senate as Palpatine became dictator in all but name. By 19 BBY, the chancellery effectively controlled the Senate and the courts, as well as the InterGalactic Banking Clan and the Republic military. Upon learning of his true identity, the Jedi Order attempted to apprehend the Sith Lord for his crimes, but ultimately failed due to betrayal by the fallen Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. After declaring all Jedi an enemy of the state, Palpatine convened the Senate for his final address as chancellor: the Galactic Republic would be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire, with himself as absolute ruler of the galaxy, thereby marking the end of a thousand years of democracy. The office of Supreme Chancellor was subsequently replaced by the position of Galactic Emperor.
Despite the abolition of the Galactic Republic and the chancellorship, the title was preserved under the Alliance to Restore the Republic, a resistance movement that opposed the Empire. Senator Mon Mothma of Chandrila served as chancellor of the Alliance and retained the title under the New Republic, the Alliance's successor. Although the Charter of the Chancellor retained the emergency powers granted to the late Palpatine by the former Galactic Senate, Chancellor Mothma disapproved of additional war powers and intended to abolish them after the Galactic Senate reconvened on Chandrila.
Style of officeEdit
- "As long as I live, no harm will ever come to you, Your Excellency."
- ―Anakin Skywalker, to Sheev Palpatine
List of chancellorsEdit
- Chasen Piian (before 32 BBY)
- Kalpana (before 32 BBY)
- Finis Valorum (removed in 32 BBY)
- Sheev Palpatine (32 BBY–19 BBY)
Behind the scenesEdit
The first mention of what would become known as Supreme Chancellor was in novelization of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. In the novel's prologue, it was stated that "the ambitious Senator Palpatine caused himself to be elected President of the Republic." Beginning with Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace in 1999, the title became canonically known as Supreme Chancellor.
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