The Separatist Senate, also known as the Separatist Parliament, Legislative Senate, Confederate parliament, and the Separatist Congress, was the civilian legislative body that governed the Confederacy of Independent Systems, representing thousands of its member worlds during the Clone Wars, and consisting of the senators who represented Separatist-aligned worlds. When the charismatic Count Dooku founded the Confederacy in 24 BBY, the swaths of sectors and star systems seceding from the Galactic Republic formed their own congressional assembly to oversee the new Separatist state. A number of the appointed delegates, many having served as members of the Galactic Senate prior to their secession, continued to represent their constituents in the Confederacy. Operating by a written constitution known as the Bylaws of Independent Systems, the Parliament was headed by the Confederate Head of State, Dooku, as well as by Separatist Congress Leader Bec Lawise. During the duration of the Clone Wars, the congressional body was headquartered on the Confederate capital of Raxus Secundus, where it regularly convened for sessions held in the Separatist Senate Building.
Although the representative voices of the Parliament gained a role in state matters, various elements of the Separatist hierarchy often rendered them ineffective. The corporate interests on the Separatist Council also made governmental decisions, and Dooku himself—who was secretly the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Tyranus—manipulated situations to ensure that pan-galactic war continued for the purposes of the Sith. At times maneuvers on the part of other war-profiteering parties negated legislation that the Parliament had enacted; some came to see the assembly's members as Dooku's pawns. Furthermore, the senators of the Parliament as well as the citizens of the Confederacy were repeatedly shielded from front-line reports of brutal campaigns waged by commanders of the Separatist Droid Army such as General Grievous. Ultimately, the Confederacy was regarded more as a movement instead of a centralized government, in spite of the Parliament's involvement in public affairs.
The Confederacy of Independent Systems was first formed in 24 BBY, after the Raxus Address delivered by the charismatic ex-Jedi and Count of Serenno Dooku condemned the corruption of the Republic. Thousands of disgruntled star systems began seceding from the Republic en masse, withdrawing from the Galactic Senate on Coruscant and sending their representatives to a new assembly on Raxus Secundus, which would be the headquarters of the new government. The assembly was a civilian body of law makers set up by Dooku to govern the ever growing number of Separatist worlds and deal with civil matters. Its senators included both ex-members of the Republic Senate and those from systems previously unrepresented in galactic politics. Additionally, the conglomerates which had supported Dooku in his bid for power also secured representation in the body.
During the Clone Wars
Though many senators had previously belonged to the Rim Faction in the Republic Senate, as the Clone Wars erupted, the body fractured into a wide range of different views. The War Faction, led by Corporate Alliance Senator Voe Atell, looked to escalate the war effort against the Republic, arguing that only total victory would secure Confederate independence. The Peace Faction, initially led by Japrael sector Senator Mina Bonteri, looked to end the conflict through a negotiated peace, and attempted several times to open negotiations with the Republic. A peace initiative was put forward by Bonteri in 21 BBY, having been drafted in collaboration with Republic Senator Padmé Amidala; despite opposition from Atell's War Faction as well as Senator Punn Rimbaud, the bill passed with a vocal majority. However, Dooku conspired to ensure the proposal's failure, orchestrating both an attack on Coruscant that prompted the Republic Senate to reject the offer, as well as the murder of Bonteri. In 20 BBY, the Parliament again attempted preliminary negotiations with Republic congresspeople at a peace conference hosted on the neutral world of Mandalore; however, these talks similarly broke down.
In 19 BBY, the Separatist Parliament recognized Rush Clovis as the new leader of the InterGalactic Banking Clan, and Congress Leader Bec Lawise attended the transfer of power at the Banking Clan's headquarters on Scipio. Unbeknownst to Lawise and the Parliament, Clovis's rise had been engineered by Dooku, who then attempted to forcefully annex Scipio into the Confederacy in order to gain control of the banks. Lawise protested that such a move would never be approved by Parliament, prompting Dooku to force Padmé Amidala into killing the Speaker. Despite the Congress Leader's death, control of the banks ultimately reverted to the Republic.
- "It is my duty to act in your best interest and it is why I can no longer condone this unjust occupation. They wish to intimidate us, to scare us, but we shall not cower at their acts of oppression."
- ―Avi Singh, condemning the Imperial occupation of Raxus Secundus
Ultimately, the Separatist Senate was defeated along with the rest of the Confederacy in 19 BBY, following the death of Dooku, the execution of the Separatist Council, and the effective end of the Clone Wars.
Avi Singh, a human Senator who was residing on Raxus Secundus following the war, was imprisoned by the Galactic Empire after speaking out against the occupation of Raxus, but later rescued by Clone Force 99.
Organization and powers
- "I sense Dooku's dirty hand in all of this."
"He's just the leader of the Senate. He's not the leader of the entire universe."
- ―Padmé Amidala and Mina Bonteri, on the de jure supremacy of the Separatist Senate
The Senate was headed by the Speaker (also known as the Congress Leader), a position held by the Siniteen Bec Lawise. Speaker Lawise governed the Senate, while the Head of State, Dooku, presided over sessions of the body. As outlined by the Bylaws of Independent Systems, the Separatist Senate was free of the archaic rules and protocols that hamstrung the Republic Senate, which were viewed as inviting the corruption endemic to the old system. The bylaws notably included provisions for voice votes, which were invoked during the motion for peace negotiations with the Republic.
Like the Republic Senate, the Separatist Senate was responsible for coordinating the mutual defense and mediating disputes between its members. However, unlike the Republic Senate, it delegated most of its authority on taxation and trade regulation to its member systems, in accordance with the decentralized ideology of the Confederacy—as such, the Senate only exercised temporary taxation powers in order to finance the war against the Republic.
In practice, the Separatist Senate was often ignored by Dooku, who had been granted emergency wartime powers, as executive power was vested in him and in the officially-advisory body of the Separatist Council. Dooku's flagrant contempt for the democratic process was illustrated in the annexation of Scipio, where Lawise's principled stance for parliamentary authority resulted in his death.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Supply Lines" (First mentioned)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Heroes on Both Sides" (First appearance) (First identified as Separatist Parliament and Separatist Congress)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Pursuit of Peace" (Mentioned only)
- "Pursuit of Peace"—The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark (Mentioned only) (First identified as Confederate Senate)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Friend in Need"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A War on Two Fronts" (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Crisis at the Heart" (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch – "Common Ground" (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Heroes on Both Sides"
- Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia
- Rise of the Separatists
- Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "A Friend in Need"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Crisis at the Heart"
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch – "Common Ground"
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: Complete Locations