- "As for political philosophy, all we Centrists want is to take a fair look at what aspects of the Empire actually worked. Centralizing power, creating maximum efficiency, binding the worlds of the galaxy closer together. Can you honestly say it did no good whatsoever?"
"Whatever good came of the Empire came at too high a price."
"I agree completely. But what if we could achieve some of those same benefits without repeating Palpatine's mistakes?"
- ―Ransolm Casterfo and Leia Organa
The Centrists were one of the two major, yet unofficial, political factions that formed in the Galactic Senate of the New Republic over the two decades following the founding of the government. Unlike the Populists, they were in favor of a stronger galactic executive and a more powerful military, with Centrist worlds priding themselves on their values of law and order. Due to this, many Centrist senators secretly supported and praised Palpatine's Empire. At some point, the tension between the two factions became so intense that the Centrists called for the election of a "First Senator" in the hopes that the elected individual's charisma and executive authority would bring order to the divided Senate.
Centrists tended to support a stronger galactic executive and a more powerful New Republic military. The more extreme wing of the Centrist faction constantly asserted that the New Republic was not doing enough to support individual planetary defenses and was diverting too much funding to the New Republic military. Some Centrist senators like Erudo Ro-Kiintor sought to earmark government funds towards Centrist worlds.
Overall, the Centrists expressed more authoritarian values, due to their strong beliefs in centralization of executive authority. The Centrists publicly professed that they supported stronger law enforcement, structural hierarchy, and greater centrality of executive authority. Although not a large wing, some of the members privately expressed pro-Imperial sentiments and nostalgia for the "Old Empire", although not all of them necessarily supported its revival. Many of those people simply admired its more authoritarian structure. Some Centrist senators like Ormes Apolin of Kuat and Fatil of Orinda admired old Imperial uniforms and armor. Some Centrists believed that planets should be responsible for their own problems and natural disasters and disliked the perceived rampant complaining in the New Republic. Others regarded the New Republic's academies as inferior to those on Centrist worlds, which had begun to rebuild the old Imperial programs. Some questioned the official New Republic historical accounts of the Battle of Yavin and the Galactic Civil War. At least thirty Centrist senators were known to be avid collectors of old Imperial artifacts and equipment.
While the Centrists supported free trade, they were not as economically liberal as their counterparts, as they were more open to central planning, protectionism, interplanetary taxation, and increasing spending to create more centralized programs. Additionally, on the remote Centrist world of Daxam IV in the Outer Rim Territories trade was far more regulated. Some other known Centrist worlds included Arkanis, Coruscant, Riosa, Hevurion, Kuat, and Orinda.
The Centrists emerged as a political faction in the New Republic's Galactic Senate six years before the destruction of the Hosnian system. They valued law and order and saw the Galactic Senate as weak and indecisive. Many Centrist senators liked to dress in rich, extravagant clothing which contrasted with the simpler, more practical attire worn by their Populist opponents in an effort to show off the wealth of their homeworlds. Centrists loathed the Populists to the extent that it was considered rare for a Centrist like Ransolm Casterfo to work together with a Populist like Senator Leia Organa.
Following Organa and Casterfo's mission to Bastatha, the Centrists accused Organa of withholding information from the Senate. During the same session, Lady Carise Sindian announced a motion calling for the creation of the position of First Senator due to the weakness of the position of Chancellor. The First Senator would hold greater power over the New Republic's military and economic resources than the Chancellor. While the Senate was not swayed by Lady Carise's arguments, Casterfo managed to win over many independent senators by pointing to the deadlock in the New Republic. As a result, Casterfo's motion was adopted by a slim majority, forcing the Populists to reconsider their strategy.
When Organa accepted the Populist nomination for First Senator, Lady Carise manipulated Casterfo into exposing her true parentage as the daughter of the universally reviled Darth Vader. This had the effect of weakening the Populists and destroying Organa's political career. Several Centrists like Lady Carise and Ro-Kiintor claimed that Organa's calls for the New Republic to deal with threats like the Amaxine warriors and Rinnrivin Di's cartel was warmongering. In secret, Lady Carise worked as an agent for the First Order, which was secretly funding the Amaxines and Rinnrivin in order to channel smuggling revenue into rebuilding the old Imperial Navy.
After Casterfo defended Organa's report, Lady Carise hired the former TIE fighter pilot Arliz Hadrassian to assassinate Senator Tai-Lin Garr, the new Populist First Senator nominee. She then fabricated evidence framing Casterfo for the deed. Following his arrest, the Centrists officially disowned Casterfo. They also agreed to suspend the upcoming elections for the First Senator in the name of maintaining peace and stability. In secret, Lady Carise planned to present a motion calling for Centrist worlds to secede from the New Republic and join the First Order.
Behind the scenesEdit
In real-world political terms, "centrist" generally means someone who is politically moderate. However, in context of the Star Wars Universe, the term is of a different meaning, and they are called such not because they lie in "the political center", but because they advocate for the expansion of State power and the centralization of executive authority.
In many ways, the contrasting ideologies between the centrists and the populists can be compared to those between the Federalists and the Antifederalists of early United States, as the former supported a strong central government, regulation of trade, and traditionalism, whereas the latter supported more state autonomy, laissez-faire capitalism, and liberal values.