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"The Rebellion will continue to gain support in the Imperial Senate…"
"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."
Chief of the Imperial Army Cassio Tagge and Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin[2]

The Dissolution of the Imperial Senate was the suspension of the legislative body of the Galactic Empire, enacted by the decree of Galactic Emperor Sheev Palpatine nineteen years after the Empire's founding.


"In order to ensure our security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the First Galactic Empire, for a safe and secure society!"
―Darth Sidious, in his public guise as Emperor Palpatine — (audio) Listen (file info)[4]

At the end of the Clone Wars, Palpatine transformed the Republic Senate into a purely ceremonial assembly.

As the Clone Wars came to an end, Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine of the Galactic Republic ordered a special session of Congress and proclaimed himself Galactic Emperor, turning the old Republic into a New Order in his image. The motion was eagerly supported by an overwhelming majority of the Galactic Senate, aided by Palpatine's important popularity following his role in the Clone Wars. In the wake of the regime change, the Galactic Senate became the Imperial Senate which over time started growing weaker as the planetary governors assumed more responsibility over their territories. In addition, the minority of Senators who had opposed Palpatine's declaration of the New Order, such as Alderaan Senator Bail Organa and Chandrila Senator Mon Mothma, grew more and more vocal, becoming a major concern for the Emperor.[5]

Until the dissolution of the Senate, the many atrocities of the Imperial authorities were illegal, but due to the lack of power of the Senate, it was difficult to impose sanctions against these crimes, making the Imperial officials almost above the law.[6]

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 planet-killing Death Star battle station was completed.[4][7] Weapons developer Orson Callan Krennic predicted the Senate would be of little concern after the dish was installed on the Death Star.[1]


"The Emperor has disbanded the Senate. You are no longer a senator. What defense will you use now, I wonder?"
―Darth Vader, to Leia Organa[8]

Tarkin announces the disbanding of the Senate to gathered Imperial leaders.

After the Imperial senator Leia Organa, Princess of Alderaan, was found out to work with the enemy Rebel Alliance and arrested above Tatooine, the Emperor finally issued the dissolution order. While being detained aboard the Star Destroyer Devastator, Organa invoked her status as an Imperial senator in hopes she would be released. However, the Emperor's enforcer Darth Vader informed her that the Senate was being disbanded as they spoke.[8] Aboard the Death Star, gathered leaders of the Empire, including several Joint Chiefs, were informed of the situation by Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin.[2]


"Senat—Princess, rather. There is no more Senate, is there? Only the Alliance. Mon Mothma is especially at sea. She no longer has an official title, only a role."
―Alliance General Jan Dodonna, to Princess Leia Organa[9]

A number of rebel senators were arrested and sentenced to death.

With the last remnant of the Galactic Republic out of the way, the Imperial governors now had full control over their territories.[2] Along with the Senate, many local governing institutions were dissolved as well, leaving many qualified people unemployed.[10] Meanwhile, the Imperial Security Bureau began the process of arresting many members of the Senate, including some who had served in the past, and taking them to the Arrth-Eno Prison Complex on Coruscant. The former delegates were to remain imprisoned there until the Bureau could assess the level of participation each had had with the Rebels. The Imperial authorities, however, wanted to reach out to possible sympathizers, hoping to convince them to join the "right" side.[11] The Rebel agent Eneb Ray and other allied spies did attempt to rescue a group of senators scheduled to be executed, but fell into a trap set by the Empire. Ultimately, the Arrth-Eno Mission resulted in the death of all the senators and the Rebel spies, except for Ray.[12]

Some of the most prominent Rebel senators managed to stay away from the Empire's grasp. Leia Organa was rescued from the Death Star's detention, and the battle station ended up being destroyed by the Rebels.[2] Mon Mothma of Chandrila, a long-time insurgent and one of the Rebel Alliance's secret founders, also managed to escape the purge that followed the Senate's dissolution.[13] Although the assembly had long been an empty husk, Mothma felt particularly disoriented because she no longer had an official title.[9] Similarly, Leia Organa had always hoped the Senate would be there at the end to help rebuild the galaxy once the Emperor was gone.[8]

The authorized holonews outlets obediently repeated the official narrative: Rebel traitors had infiltrated the Senate, which led to a terrorist strike on a major Imperial military installation on Scarif. Therefore, to bring a swift end to that threat and expose the insurgents among the Imperial bureaucracy, Palpatine needed to supersede and suspend the Senate for the duration of the emergency.[14]



Notes and references[]

Galactic Civil War
(4 BBY5 ABY)
Galactic timeline

Previous: Early rebellion against the Galactic Empire

Concurrent: Campaigns of Saw Gerrera's Partisans · Great Jedi Purge · Jedha insurgency · Mandalorian Civil War · Ryloth Insurgency · Virgillian civil war · Border skirmishes with the New Separatist Union

Next: Hunt for Fyzen Gor

Battles of the Galactic Civil War
4 BBY Mustafar (I) · Arkanis (I) · Quila · Imperial shield generators
Siege of Lothal (Lothal (I) · Phoenix Squadron (I)) · Seelos · Absanz · Ibaar · Thrad · Garel (I) · Interdictor
3 BBY Phoenix Squadron (II) · Calderos Station · Onoam · Christophsis · Paucris Major · Imvur · Garel (II) · Lothal Depot · Concord Dawn (I) · Concord Dawn (II) · Lira San · Ryloth (I) · Geonosis (I) · Horizon Base · Phoenix Squadron (III)
2 BBY Naraka · Lothal campaign (Yarma · Ryloth (II) · Mykapo · Imperial Armory Complex · Chopper Base · Chimaera · Archeon Nebula · Atollon) · Teralov · Montross · Agamar · Concord Dawn (III) · Geonosis (II) · Krownest · Killun Station
1 BBY Jalindi · Faos Station · Lothal campaign (Lothal (II))
0 BBY Lothal campaign (Lothal (III)) · Crucival · Ring of Kafrene · Wobani · Operation Fracture (Jedha (I) · Eadu) · Scarif · Tatooine (I) · Operation Mad Rush (Vir Aphshire) · The Disaster · Fostar Haven · Death Star · Yavin
0 ABY Taanab · Yavin 4 (II) · Alderaan survivors · Cyrkon · Andelm IV · Llanic · Rodia · Denon · Giju · Tertiary Usaita system · Devaron · Hradreek · Kuat (I) · Imdaar · Cymoon 1 · Tatooine (II) · Monsua Nebula · Nar Shaddaa · Vrogas Vas · Grumwall · Jedha (III) · Mon Cala (I) ·
1 ABY Mako-Ta
(Mid Rim Retreat)
Accresker Jail · Haidoral Prime · Kontahr sector · Coyerti (Imperial scout post · Imperial fort · Distillery · Imperial garrison) · Bestine IV · Metatessu sector · Enrivi system · Chonsetta system · Redhurne system · Rebel flotilla · Hoth (I) · Cloud City (I) · Cloud City (II) · Malastare (I) · Rendezvous Point Delta-Three · Sixth Division · Cloud City (III) · Tempes · Elessia · Operation Starlight (Imperial Museum · Felucia · Ab Dalis · Panisia) · Jekara · Operation Ringbreaker (Mardona III · Najan-Rovi · Obumubo · Nakadia (I) · Naator · Xagobah (I) · Kuliquo belt · Inyusu Tor) · Mek'tradi · Trenchenovu
4 ABY Rebel convoy · Hudalla · Operation Yellow Moon · Platform M36 · Invincible Faith · Mordal · Endor (I) · Hosnian system · Sullust · Durkteel · Coruscant (II) · Endor (III) · Cawa City · Operation: Cinder (Fondor (I) · Naboo (I) · Nacronis · Abednedo (I)) · Tayron · Iron Blockade (Cloud City (IV) · Anoat (I) · The Crypt · Mataou · Hoth (II) · Anoat (II)) · Malastare (II) · Jendorn · Jiruus · Oridol Cluster · Harrikos system · Abednedo (II) · Haldeen sector · Hunt for Shadow Wing (Pandem Nai) · Akiva (II) · Naalol · Geonosis (III) · Uyter · Sevarcos · Akiva (III) · Vetine · Var-Shaa · Bormea · Yavin Prime · Victorum · Hosnian Prime · Desevro · Esseles · Zavian Abyss · Remitik · Mon Cala (II) · Gorse · Onderon · Nadiri (I) · Ringali Nebula · Nadiri (II) · Galitan
5 ABY Jarbanov · Edict · Parozha VII · Cerberon system (Verzan · Troithe (I) · Catadra · Cerberon · Troithe (II)) · Takodana · Hyborean Moon · Vorlag · Wild Space · Nag Ubdur (Govneh Ridge · Binjai-Tin) · Arkanis (II) · Kuat (II) · Kashyyyk · Chandrila (I) · Chinook Station · Sullust (II) · Naboo (II) · Fondor (II) · Nythlide Array · Xagobah (II) · Operation: Cinder (Dybbron III · Kortatka · Chadawa) · Hunt for Shadow Wing (Deliverance · Ciaox Verith · Red Yars · Yadeez (I) · Yadeez (II) · Ghonoath · G'Tep'Noi · Chadawa · Netalych) · Coruscant (III) · Jakku
Other Akiva (I) · Allst Prime · Bamayar · Beroq 4 · Blacktar Cyst · Bogano · Candor · Castilon · Chargona · Crait · Criigo · Coruscant (I) · Derra · Distilon · Elessia · Garel (III) · Garel (IV) · Garel (V) · Ghost Moon · Gorma · Harbinger · Hivebase-1 · Horox III · Hubin · Iakar (II) · K43 · Kuat (III) · Lanz Carpo · Lucrehulk Prime · Mennar-Daye · Mustafar (II) · Nakadia (II) · Nebulon-B frigate · Nevarro · Novka · Ocean planet · Ord Biniir · Panisia · Perimako Major · Phorsa Gedd · Pirate station · Primtara · Prison transport vessel · Rebel Alliance · Rebel base · Rebel fleet · Rekkana · Sergia · Shu-Torun · Skorii-Lei (I) · Skorii-Lei (II) · Star Destroyer · Sunspot Prison · Taris · Operations on Tatooine (Atom Edge · Imperial Listening Station · Tatooine (III)) · Tibrin · Turkana · Tureen VII · Xorrn
Related topics and articles
Galactic Empire · Hutt Clan · Jedi · Rebel Alliance · Sith · New Republic · Death Star · Death Star II · Declaration of the Rebel Alliance · Jedha (II) · Imperial Senate · Yavin 4 (I) · Endor (II) · Liberation Day · Contingency · Chandrila (II) · Galactic Concordance · Imperial Instruments of Surrender