- "War is terrible. And an army isn't enough to fix problems. We need a solution for what happens after they do their job, and that's why the Senate is beginning again…"
- ―Olia Choko
The New Republic Senate, also known as the Galactic Senate, Galactic Congress, and early on as the Provisional Senate, was the unicameral legislative body of the New Republic. It was modeled on the Galactic Senate of the Old Republic, which became the Imperial Senate during the era of the Galactic Empire. In 0 BBY, Galactic Emperor Sheev Palpatine announced the Senate's dissolution and allowed regional governors to take direct control of their territories.
In the aftermath of the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance founded the New Republic and restored the Senate as its principal governing body. With the signing of the Galactic Concordance, the peace treaty that ended the Galactic Civil War, the Republic replaced the shattered Empire as the dominant government of the galaxy. At that point the Senate demilitarized the military and set out to bring peace and harmony to the galaxy. Mon Mothma, the first chancellor of the New Republic Senate, eliminated the emergency powers that had been given to Palpatine—the last Supreme Chancellor of the Old Republic—during the Clone Wars. She intended the Senate and the Republic to be forces for peace.
Three decades after the war, the emergence of the First Order threatened to destroy that peace. General Leia Organa founded the Resistance to serve as a check against the First Order, but despite her efforts to convince the Senate to take action, the Senate did not believe that the First Order was a threat, so the Republic remained militarily unengaged. The First Order ultimately turned its superweapon, Starkiller Base, towards the Republic and destroyed the Senate's capital of Hosnian Prime, eliminating the Senate along with it.
Origins and foundations
- "War is not a state of being. It is meant to be a temporary chaos between periods of peace. Some want it to be the course of things: a default fact of existence. But I will not let that be so."
- ―Mon Mothma
The Galactic Senate first served as the legislative body of the Galactic Republic, where it became hampered by the bureaucracies and special interests that entangled the Galactic Republic in its final few years. The Senate ceded much of its power to the executive authority of Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine during the Clone Wars, allowing him to oversee the war effort with special emergency powers. At the end of the war, the chancellor—secretly the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, who had manipulated the entire conflict between the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems to amass central authority for himself—transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire, and with it the Galactic Senate became the Imperial Senate.
The Imperial Senate had even less power than its predecessor, with its power largely replaced by regional governors who controlled their own territories within the galaxy. The Emperor disbanded the Senate shortly before the Battle of Yavin, intending that the completed Death Star superweapon would create enough fear that it and the threat of the Imperial Military would keep recalcitrant worlds in line. After the Death Star was destroyed, the Empire set out to create a second Death Star in order to continue with this plan of ruling through fear. The Senate remained disbanded, however, eliminating the last traces of the Republic from the Imperial regime.
The destruction of the second Death Star and the death of the Emperor during the Battle of Endor left the Empire in chaos. The Alliance to Restore the Republic, which was created to oppose the Empire and struck the critical blow against the regime during the Battle of Endor, formed the New Republic in the midst of this chaos. The New Republic restored the original Galactic Senate, which initially based itself in Hanna City on Chandrila. The world was chosen because it had long been seen as a planet whose inhabitants believed in justice and was widely seen as a step towards restoring justice to the galaxy.
Liberating the galaxy
- "Kashyyyk. Kashyyyk is… complicated. The Senate resisted us getting involved there, and then Leia went and got us involved anyway…"
"Do not be so quick to disavow. Yes, some within the Senate have naught good to say about that, but it did bump your approval rating—no small thing after Liberation Day. Kashyyyk was a win for us."
- ―Mon Mothma and Auxi Kray Korbin
Mon Mothma, the leader of the Rebel Alliance and a former senator from Chandrila, was elected as the Chancellor of the Galactic Senate. The Charter of Chancellor maintained the emergency powers that the old Senate gave to Palpatine at the onset of the Clone Wars, but Mothma intended to eliminate them, believing them to be a poison to democracy. She further believed that if the Republic was to convince the galaxy to join them, it could not be seen as doing so under threat. Mothma also hoped to demilitarize the Republic once the Galactic Civil War came to a close, and she proposed a bill that would cut the Republic's military force by ninety percent. The other ten percent would remain a peacekeeping force, while defense was left to local militias. This was only to take effect at the end of the war, however, as Mothma knew that the Empire would capitalize on any perception of weakness within the Republic.
By 5 ABY, the New Republic had won a string of military victories against the Empire and captured several worlds including Arkanis and Kuat. Princess Leia Organa attempted to lobby the Galactic Senate to send military forces to liberate the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk from Imperial domination. With the Senate preoccupied with defeating the Empire and protecting Republic worlds, Organa's husband Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca undertook a campaign to liberate Kashyyyk. Against the wishes of Chancellor Mothma and the Senate, Organa solicited the New Republic pilot Norra Wexley and her team's help in finding Han Solo, who had disappeared near Wild Space.
Following the capture of Kuat Drive Yards, the Senate tentatively accepted an offer from the Imperial leader Grand Admiral Rae Sloane to discuss a peaceful resolution to the Galactic Civil War. Chancellor Mothma also agreed to raise the matter of Kashyyyk's liberation with Sloane and gave orders that no New Republic forces launch any official incursion into Kashyyyk. Organa disagreed and regarded the Wookiees' well-being as a non-negotiable matter. However, these talks were a ruse for an Imperial assassination attempt on the New Republic leadership using the liberated prisoners from Ashmead's Lock as unwilling drones. After Solo and Chewbacca succeeded in sparking a mass Wookiee revolt on Kashyyyk, Organa along with Captain Wedge Antilles and Admiral Gial Ackbar defeated the Imperial fleet. Despite her role in liberating Kashyyyk, Organa's actions temporarily made her a pariah with the Senate.
Following the attack on Chandrila, the Galactic Senate began relocating its capital to the Mid Rim agrarian world of Nakadia, which had strict biosecurity laws. This transition coincided with Chancellor Mothma's political rivalry with the hawkish Orishen Senator Tolwar Wartol and the discovery of the Empire on Jakku in the Inner Rim. In an attempt to prolong the war, Wartol conspired with the Black Sun and Red Key crime syndicates to coerce five senators into opposing Mothma's bill to send military forces to Jakku. With the help of Han Solo, Sinjir Rath Velus, Temmin Wexley, Jom Barell, and Conder Kyl, Mothma convinced the senators to change their votes. As a result, the Senate dispatched troops to Jakku. New Republic forces won a major victory against the Empire. In retaliation, Wartol tried to assassinate Mon Mothma but ended up killing her advisor Auxi Kray Korbin instead. Soon afterward, Galactic Concordance was signed on Chandrila by the New Republic and the Empire, represented by Grand Vizier Mas Amedda, formalizing the Empire's surrender and dissolution.
Despite the ongoing fighting with the Empire, some of the Galactic Senate's first actions were to pass several laws which addressed the excesses and injustices of the Empire. While there was frequent bickering on the news holos about the merits of each proposal, some New Republic supporters like the former TIE fighter pilot Thane Kyrell thought this was preferable to the Old Empire, where people could not express their opinions without fear of Imperial reprisals. The Senate did not focus spending on the military but also diverted considerable amounts of government funding to the mass clean-ups of polluted worlds and reparations for alien species who had been enslaved by the Empire.
The pursuit of peace
- "In the month since the Battle of Jakku, the Empire has attempted no further large-scale offensives. Sources report all Imperial vessels within the Core and Inner Rim staying within the boundaries defined by treaty. A few prominent members of the Provisional Senate have speculated that the New Republic's war with the remnants of the Empire has finally come to an end and that a final surrender may be imminent. However, in her address today, the Chancellor warned that all planets should remain on high alert, and the New Republic Starfleet should be kept on a war footing for the foreseeable future."
- ―A Republic news-holo
The Galactic Concordance brought an end to the war and required that the Empire remain within predetermined borders inside the Core Worlds, Colonies, and the Inner Rim. Some prominent members of the Senate believed that the war had truly ended and that the Empire would issue a final surrender to Republic forces. Despite the optimism of an impending peace, the Chancellor nonetheless warned that the Republic worlds should remain on high alert and that the New Republic Defense Fleet would be kept war-ready for the foreseeable future. Ultimately, the remaining Imperial forces retreated into the Unknown Regions and were not heard from for years. In the early days of the New Republic Era, Mothma hoped that the Senate would vote on how to structure the new government.
The end of the war led the Senate to pass the Military Disarmament Act, achieving the goal set out by Chancellor Mothma when the Senate was reconstituted. Princess Leia Organa, one of the leading members of the Rebel Alliance during the war, argued strongly against military disarmament, believing that it was foolish for the Republic to trust that the Empire would no longer pose a threat. As a result of her warnings, Organa saw her reputation sullied when she was branded a warmonger and accused of being unable to let go of the Galactic Civil War.
Though the Republic was initially based on Chandrila, the Republic chose to rotate its capital to different member worlds through a process of election. Instead of choosing Coruscant, the former seat of power of the Galactic Republic and the Galactic Empire, the rotation of the capital helped convince star systems that were reluctant to join the Republic that it would not repeat the mistakes of its predecessors, and that this Republic would not be a Core-centric government. One of the worlds that served as the New Republic's capital was Hosnian Prime, a planet in the Hosnian system, and the Senate itself was located in Republic City. It was there that Chancellor Lanever Villecham focused on improving trade relations with historically neutral systems in the Trans-Hydian Borderlands.
- "If you choose to believe that what I've shown you is no more than an elaborate invention, go ahead. But before you ignore the evidence, consider this. The Amaxine warriors were powerful enough to strike at this Senate. They were arming themselves for full-scale military assault. In other words, the New Republic was on the verge of being attacked by its own citizens. There are those who want the New Republic to fail, and who are willing to bring it down by force if necessary. We discovered the Amaxine warriors because an independent world asked us to investigate another organization altogether. Are you willing to bet the survival of our government on the chance that they were the only paramilitary group out there? This group we stumbled across almost accidentally. I'm not. The galaxy's hard-won peace is at risk. We may only get this one warning, this one chance to take action. I implore you to study my findings carefully, and with an open mind. What we're discovered should transcend petty political bickering, or your personal opinion of me. Unless we want another war—and surely, after the bloodshed that twenty years ago, nobody can want such a thing—we must be on guard. We must come together. We have to act."
- ―Leia Organa
By 28 ABY, the Galactic Senate had become mired by deadlock and infighting. Since the retirement of Mon Mothma as Chancellor, consensus had broken down in the Senate. Two powerful factions had formed in the Senate: the Populists, who sought to preserve the status quo where individual worlds enjoyed substantial autonomy, and the Centrists, who advocated a stronger central government and military. The bickering between the two factions and the highly decentralized nature of decision-making made it hard for the New Republic to carry out key functions and mandates like enforcing financial regulations, patrolling the galactic shipping lanes, and preventing the resurgence of organized crime networks.
The Galactic Senate's indecisiveness and bickering enabled the Nikto crime lord Rinnrivin Di's cartel to gain a foothold in the Gaulus sector, which housed the planet Ryloth. Di's smuggling and gambling activities exacted a heavy toll on Ryloth's economy and was used to fund the expansion of the First Order Navy. Ryloth's Emissary Yendor raised his planet's plight to the Galactic Senate but was met mainly by indifference. However, the Populist Senator Leia Organa and her Centrist colleague Ransolm Casterfo agreed to investigate the matter on behalf of the Senate.
Over the course of their investigation, the two senators discovered that Di's cartel was linked to a paramilitary faction called the Amaxine warriors, who supplied Di with pilots and admired the Old Empire. Organa's investigation found that Di's cartel had risen to power under suspicious circumstances, while Casterfo discovered that the Amaxine warriors were massing troops and starfighters on Daxam IV and Sibensko for war. Organa and Casterfo's investigation coincided with a successful Centrist motion to create a new powerful position called First Senator, which would command the Republic's economy and military. At the urging of several Populist senators including Tai-Lin Garr and Varish Vicly, Leia agreed to stand as the Populist nominee for First Senator.
After obtaining the supreme governorship of Birren with the help of Organa, the Centrist Senator Lady Carise Sindian discovered that Organa was the daughter of the hated Darth Vader. In secret, Sindian was a clandestine agent of the First Order with ties to the Amaxine warriors' leader Arliz Hadrassian. With Sindian's approval, Hadrassian staged a distraction by bombing the Galactic Senate's conference building on Hosnian Prime. However, this only drew Organa and Casterfo's attention to the Amaxines. Due to Hadrassian's fanaticism, Sindian came to regard her as a liability to the First Order's plans.
Seeking to plant a wedge between Organa and Casterfo, Sindian informed him about Organa's true parentage. Feeling betrayed by his friend, Casterfo upstaged a Senate hearing into Organa's nomination for First Senator by revealing that she was the daughter of Darth Vader. As a result, Organa lost the support of many senators excluding Garr and Vicly, and was forced to withdraw her nomination for First Senator. Undaunted, Organa and her team C-3PO, Joph Seastriker, and Greer Sonnel traveled to Sibensko, where they uncovered evidence of the Amaxines' links to Di's cartel. Following a confrontation with Di and the Amaxine warriors, Organa managed to escape with the help of her husband, Han Solo. Shortly afterward, a damaged Amaxine B-wing starfighter crashed into the Amaxines' underwater weapons depot, triggering an explosion that destroyed their base and the underwater city.
Later, Organa applied for a hearing at the Galactic Senate and gained a quorum due to a favorable vote from Casterfo, who wanted to make amends for betraying Organa. During her hearing, Organa gave a speech documenting the Amaxines' linkages to Rinnrivin Di's cartel. She also supplied evidence including banking records and footage from Sibensko. When several senators accused her of warmongering and lying, Casterfo sprung to her defense and shared visual logs of the Amaxine's military might and training from his trip to Daxam IV. Casterfo's actions won him the respect of Organa but earned him the ire of Sindian, who hatched a plot to eliminate the dissident Centrist senator. An opportune moment came ten days later during Tai-Lin Garr's campaign for First Senator. Sidian hired Hadrassian to assassinate Garr. Based on Organa and Casterfo's information, Hadrassian was then linked to the Amaxines, the Napkin Bombing, and Di's cartel.
Sindian then planted fabricated evidence linking Casterfo to Hadrassian. As a result, Casterfo was arrested for allegedly aiding Hadrassian's Amaxine warriors. He was then deported back to his homeworld of Riosa to face imprisonment, trial, and sentencing. Following Garr's death, the Galactic Senate—with the backing of Sindian and the Centrists—passed a motion suspending all future elections due to the political unrest. Sindian also planned to submit a motion seceding the Centrist worlds from the New Republic so that they could join the First Order. At that point, Organa determined that Sindian was behind the revelations of her parentage and Casterfo's framing. She then persuaded the Elder Houses to strip Sindian of all her royal titles, reducing her to a commoner. While most senators believed that no more threats existed with the elimination of the Amaxines and Di's cartel, Organa disagreed and believed that other forces were conspiring to overthrow the Republic. Frustrated with the Senate's infighting and complacency, Organa established a paramilitary outfit called the Resistance to protect the New Republic.
Building to destruction
The procedural gridlock in the Senate gave way to a new Separatist crisis, dividing the New Republic between the Populists and the Centrists who sought to form a new government. Senator Leia Organa, having been forced to resign her office as a result of her scandalous parentage, was unable to prevent the secession of the star systems supporting centralized governance. With its history of rejecting any measure that was deemed draconian or Imperial, the Senate permitted the Centrists to leave the New Republic. The systems and sectors that opted for independence were then absorbed into the First Order, forming the Order's political core in addition its military and spiritual components that were hidden in the Unknown Regions.
Political tensions arose between the two galactic powers that resulted in the Cold War. The Senate Intelligence Committee reviewed reports of the First Order's activities and found them to be inconclusive and overstated, ultimately concluding that the First Order was a shattered remnant of the Old Empire that, despite their persistence, constituted a poorly equipped and poorly organized group of Imperial fundamentalists rather than a genuine threat to the New Republic. Organa attempted to convince the Senate of the threat, but they refused to take any action against the First Order. As a result, Organa formed the Resistance to serve as a check against the activities of the First Order.
The Senate did not officially support General Organa's military activities, but it did begrudgingly tolerate it. Nonetheless, the Senate, including the chancellor, continued to pursue peace and would not engage the First Order so long as they followed the dictates of the Galactic Concordance. However, the Resistance was supported and funded by sympathetic senators who shared Organa's views on the First Order. Other senators, such as Hamato Xiono from Hosnian Prime, regarded the Resistance as a group of extremists.
Downfall of the Senate
- "This fierce machine which you have built, upon which we stand, will bring an end to the Senate! To their cherished fleet! All remaining systems will bow to the First Order! And will remember this as the last day of the Republic!"
- ―Armitage Hux
The First Order intended to turn its sights onto the Republic and the Senate, which leaders like General Armitage Hux saw as an illegitimate government that was unable to control the chaos in the galaxy. During the growing conflict between the First Order and the Resistance, the First Order used its superweapon, Starkiller Base, to destroy the Hosnian system. Those senators present on Hosnian Prime, including Chancellor Lanever Villecham, were killed when the planet was destroyed by the Starkiller's firepower.
The destruction of the New Republic Senate precipitated the First Order-Resistance War. The Resistance was committed to the Republic's restoration, but despite their efforts the First Order succeeded in conquering large amounts of territory throughout the galaxy. Under the leadership of Senator Organa's estranged son, Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, the First Order was positioned to become a true Empire following the discovery of the Final Order, the Sith Eternal's armada of Xyston-class Star Destroyers, constructed on Exegol by the followers of the resurrected Darth Sidious.
Organization and powers
- "Senators are notoriously unreliable, too, and yet they form the bedrock of our democratic system."
- ―Mon Mothma
The Galactic Senate had member worlds from the across the galaxy. In the beginning, it was mostly worlds from inner systems, but a few Outer Rim worlds joined the Senate early in its existence. The representatives within the Senate were chosen by the will of the people, and early Senate debates about the proposals to correct the injustices of the Empire were greeted with positivity due to the ability to openly express opinions without fear of the Empire. The Senate oversaw the rehabilitation of worlds across the galaxy by directing resources towards cleaning up polluted worlds and providing reparations for species that had been enslaved by the Empire.
The Senate also contained committees such as the Committee for Imperial Reallocation, which was charged with redistributing the resources of the Empire, and the Senate Intelligence Committee, which at one point investigated the activities of the First Order. Not all representatives were fully loyal to the Senate, however, with some having sympathies and even allegiances to the First Order.
During the conflict between the First Order and the Resistance, members of the Senate included Chancellor Lanever Villecham of the Tarsunt system, Thadlé Berenko of Naboo, Zygli Bruss of Candovant, Thanlis Depallo of Commenor, Nahani Gillen of Uyter, Brasmon Kee of Abednedo, Gadde Neshurrion of Ubardia, Andrithal Robb-Voti of Taris, and Erudo Ro-Kiintor of Hevurion.
Behind the scenes
The canon Galactic Senate of the New Republic first appeared in the 2015 novel Aftermath by Chuck Wendig. The New Republic Senate previously appeared in various Star Wars Legends stories, including The New Jedi Order book series.
Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary
- Aftermath: Life Debt
- Before the Awakening
- Aftermath: Empire's End
- Star Wars: On the Front Lines
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary establishes that the events of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, in which the destruction of the Hosnian system is depicted, take place thirty years after the Battle of Endor.
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope
- Darth Vader (2015) 1
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas dates the Battle of Endor to 4 ABY and further dates Shara Bey and Kes Dameron's move to Yavin 4 in 5 ABY. The move is placed six months after the Battle of Endor by Before the Awakening. Since Aftermath: Life Debt is set just after Shadow Fall, which takes place around six months after the battle, the events of Life Debt must also occur in 5 ABY, around six months after the Battle of Endor.
- Lost Stars
- Star Wars: Battles that Changed the Galaxy
- Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy
- Star Wars Resistance – "No Escape: Part 1"
- The Star Wars Book
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary
- Star Wars Resistance – "The Recruit"
- Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens
- Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi
- Star Wars: Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
- The New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial