A Senator is a member of the Imperial Senate, an institution involved in the leadership of the Empire. They are above the law and subject only to a decree from the Emperor. There are 1,000 Senators by Imperial Decree which dates back to the first Emperor Henson Duval.
Senators are similar to those of the Roman Empire on Earth (27 BCE – 1453 CE). They discuss and vote on important issues of the Empire and enforce the Emperor's laws. Senators can determine the tax rates and healthcare of their supporting patrons and star systems. Senators themselves are above the law. They can order executions, and even kill people themselves. They can be held to account by the Emperor. The late Emperor Hengist Duval was not involved in politics for a long time and relied on Senator Blaine. This laissez-faire attitude made the senators increasingly powerful and ambitious. Some senators are warlike while others oppose slavery.
A Senator's voting power in the Imperial Senate is determined by the total number of citizens that they represent. A Senator's power base can be many star systems or a specific interest group, and typically many hundred Patrons. A Senator represents a group of Patrons, who in turn represent blocks of Clients. Each of those Clients represent a group of Citizens. Senators can choose to represent their Patrons as they see fit. Powerful Patrons have most influence on their senator. Patrons can move their block to a different senator if they think the senator doesn't represent the views of their clients. Senators can lose Patrons quickly if their actions are unpopular, but bear in mind a Senator sets tax rates and healthcare for all those that support them, so can effectively bribe Patrons to ally themselves with them.
Senators can also hold other roles, like Admiral of the Fleet, Chancellor, Leader of the House (runs the Senate hearings when the Emperor and Chancellor are not present). Senators can have private interests, and generally represent one or more Corporations – often with large personal shareholdings in them. They are fully entitled to be biased towards their own interests, and generally do, as long as most of their Patrons hold much the same interests. Senators are above the law, subject only to a decree from the Emperor, and through history it has even been known for Senators to go to battle against each other.
Senators are appointed by the Emperor by issuing a decree. There are no elections and senators can serve until death or until they choose to retire, unless their title is revoked. Usually their chosen successor takes their Senatorial seat. Most Senators will have such a chosen successor already working closely in their entourage, and familiar and friendly with their most powerful Patrons so continuity is assured; as a result generally their petitions are unopposed.
Petitions can be posted by people to become Senators, Patrons, Clients, and Citizens. A very popular Patron can petition to become a Senator if he or she thinks they could represent more Citizens than one of the least popular Senators. That less popular Senator the petitioner chooses to target has the opportunity to rally support against the challenger for seven days, but as does the popular Patron, and at the end of that period a decision is made based on their support, and that Patron cannot petition again for 1 Earth year if they are unsuccessful. Similarly a deposed Senator cannot petition to become a Senator again for a year. Posting a petition has a cost (1 billion credits, paid to the Emperor) to prevent time wasters, which is returned if the petition succeeds.
Sometimes multiple petitions are made for the same Senatorial opening, which can happen when a Senator and their entourage dies in the same event, so this is the nearest the Empire gets to an election, with the most popular succeeding in their petition.
A controversial issue can result in a sudden mass realignment of Patrons, but this can happen at any time; the system is pretty dynamic. Similarly there are not just senatorial petitions, but there are petitions for Patrons, Clients, and Citizens. A citizen petition is where a slave or child of a Citizen, or even a foreigner, petitions to become an Imperial Citizen. For children this is a fairly informal process, which is really a coming-of-age party with a brief ceremony at the start, which happens when they reach 21 years old.
Only a few nobility get involved in politics – and then it is mostly by influencing and supporting friendly Senators from behind the scenes, but there is nothing stopping them also becoming Senators.
There are Senators that came up from the military, or by corporate success – but by the very nature of Patronage, and the cost of the petitions, it can be very exclusive, with family inheritance being important too.
List of known SenatorsEdit
- Anders Blaine (also Chancellor)
- Caspian Leopold
- Denton Patreus
- Gianna Tachibana
- Pal Vespasian
- Zemina Torval
- Arissa Lavigny-Duval (ascended to Emperor)
- Kahina Tijani Loren (title revoked, deceased)
- Algreb Loren (deceased)
- Nestor Cartesius (deceased)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Governments and politics in Elite Dangerous
- ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senate_of_the_Roman_Republic
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Elite Dangerous Newsletter #22
- ↑ http://galnetarchive.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-emperor-is-sick-man.html
- ↑ http://www.elitedangerous.com/galaxy/gs-empire/