- "Now they will elect a new chancellor, a strong chancellor, one who will not let our tragedy continue."
- ―Sheev Palpatine, to Padmé Amidala
During the final years of the Republic Era, the Galactic Senate held an election that saw Finis Valorum replaced by Sheev Palpatine as Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic in 32 BBY. It resulted from Queen Padmé Amidala's call for a Vote of No Confidence in Chancellor Valorum, convinced that the Republic needed stronger leadership in order to end the Trade Federation's occupation of the planet Naboo. Sympathizing with the plight of Amidala's homeworld, the Senate voted for the galactic representative of the Naboo people, Senator Palpatine who defeated Senator Bail Antilles of Alderaan and Senator Ainlee Teem of Malastare.
The new Supreme Chancellor promised to bring peace and prosperity to the Republic. In secret, however, Sheev Palpatine was Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord of the Sith who conspired to rule the galaxy by supplanting democracy with a dictatorship. He orchestrated the Separatist Crisis and the Clone Wars, both of which allowed Palpatine to remain as head of the Office of the Chancellor despite its constitutional term limits.
In 19 BBY, the Clone Wars concluded with Chancellor Palpatine proclaiming himself Galactic Emperor, establishing the New Order of the First Galactic Empire. With his rise to power complete, Sidious discarded the public persona of Palpatine by embracing his Sith identity in thought and action throughout his reign as Emperor.
- "Our best choice would be to push for the election of a stronger supreme chancellor, one who could control the bureaucrats and give us justice. You could call for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum."
- ―Sheev Palpatine, to Padmé Amidala
The last millennium in the Republic Era was a time of unprecedented peace in the galaxy; after centuries of conflict with enemies such as the Sith, the Mandalorians, and the Zygerrian Slave Empire, the modern Galactic Republic secured its place as the dominant galactic power with the aid of the Jedi Order. After reaching the apex of its influence and prosperity in the High Republic Era, the Republic began to decline under the pressure of rampant corruption and administrative stagnation. Senator Sheev Palpatine, the representative of the Mid Rim Territories planet Naboo, observed that the Galactic Senate was steeped in political squabbling and the self-interest of its delegates. During the Invasion of Naboo in 32 BBY, Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum was unsuccessful in his efforts to resolve the dispute between the Trade Federation and the Royal House of Naboo. His situation was compounded by unsubstantiated accusations of corruption, and Valorum's peers considered him a weak-willed figurehead for the bureaucrats who effectively ruled the Republic by controlling the Office of the Chancellor.
As the elected Monarch of Naboo, Queen Padmé Amidala journeyed to the city-world of Coruscant, the galactic capital in the Core Worlds, to beseech the Senate to intercede on behalf of the Naboo people whose homeworld was occupied by the Trade Federation Droid Army. While Chancellor Valorum instructed the Senate to hold a special session where Amidala could make her case, Senator Palpatine informed the queen that the Senate was unlikely to intervene under Valorum's leadership. Listing their options, he told Amidala that she could either petition the Senate to remove Valorum from office through a Vote of No Confidence, allowing the government to elect a stronger head of state, or submit her pleas to the Supreme Court. However, the Republic courts were known to be even slower than the Senate in its decision-making process, and Amidala held Valorum in high esteem, noting that the chancellor had been one of Naboo's strongest advocates.
Accompanying Palpatine to the Senate Building in the Senate District of Galactic City, Amidala failed in her initial efforts to persuade the Senate to take immediate action against the Trade Federation whose representative, Senator Lott Dod, requested that the Senate dispatch a commission to Naboo to confirm the queen's accusations. However, Amidala was unwilling to wait while the Senate discussed Naboo's situation in a committee. Now convinced that the Republic required a change in administration, she heeded Palpatine's advice by denouncing Valorum before the Senate. The Senate obliged her request, removing Valorum from office and consequently initiating a special election for a new Supreme Chancellor.
Sheev Palpatine of Naboo
- "Your Highness. Senator Palpatine has been nominated to succeed Valorum as supreme chancellor."
"A surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one. Your Majesty, if I am elected, I promise to put an end to corruption."
- ―Quarsh Panaka and Sheev Palpatine, to Padmé Amidala
Hailing from the affluent Naboo, a world located in the Mid Rim, Sheev Palpatine was a human nobleman born into one of the oldest, most prestigious, and influential families of his homeworld. A secret Force-sensitive, Palpatine was trained in the ways of the dark side of the Force as the Sith apprentice of Darth Plagueis, the Dark Lord of the Sith, taking the name of Darth Sidious. Ultimately, Sidious killed his Sith Master and trained his own apprentice, Darth Maul, maintaining the Sith Order's ranks to only two Sith Lords as required under the Rule of Two.
Sidious disguised his identity as a Sith Lord by cultivating the public persona of Palpatine, a politician representing the Naboo delegation in the Senate. The Sith worked for generations to restore their order to dominance, culminating in the rise of Sidious who aimed to fulfill the Great Plan that originated with his ancient predecessor, Darth Bane. To that end, Sidious orchestrated the blockade of his own homeworld by the Trade Federation during a dispute over the taxation of trade routes in hyperspace. Queen Amidala turned to her advisor, Senator Palpatine, unaware of his involvement in the invasion. When Chancellor Valorum dispatched two Jedi diplomats—Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi—to resolve the blockade, Sidious ordered Viceroy Nute Gunray to accelerate their plans by deploying the Trade Federation's droid army to Naboo. As a result, the capital city of Theed fell to the Federation's battle droids along with the rest of the planet, and Amidala fled to Coruscant seeking Palpatine's counsel.
- Padmé Amidala: "Who else has been nominated?"
- Quarsh Panaka: "Bail Antilles of Alderaan and Ainlee Teem of Malastare."
- Sheev Palpatine: "I feel confident our situation will create a strong sympathy vote for us. I will be chancellor."
- ―Padmé Amidala, Quarsh Panaka, and Sheev Palpatine[src]
One of the two nominees opposing Senator Palpatine's bid for the chancellorship was Senator Bail Antilles of the Alderaanian delegation; the other candidate was Senator Ainlee Teem who represented the Malastare delegation. Palpatine was confident in his ability to rally the Senate's support by relying on their sympathy for his homeworld, giving him an advantage over his political rivals.
Alderaan was an ancient, prestigious and peaceful planet in the Core Worlds, and Senator Antilles was considered a venerable politician during his tenure as the galactic representative of the Alderaanians. Antilles was connected to the royal House of Organa through his relation to Breha Organa, who would accede to the throne as Queen of Alderaan by 28 BBY.
Malastare was a Mid Rim planet, like Naboo, and the homeworld of the Dugs as well as immigrant species like Gran and humans. Senator Teem was a Gran politician who represented the Congress of Malastare at the time of the Invasion of Naboo.
Election and aftermath
- "Congratulations on your election, Chancellor."
"Your boldness has saved our people, Your Majesty. It's you who should be congratulated. Together we shall bring peace and prosperity to the Republic."
- ―Padmé Amidala and Sheev Palpatine
Amidala returned to Senator Palpatine's apartment at 500 Republica where she awaited the outcome of Chancellor Valorum's fall from power. Accompanied by the queen's bodyguard, Captain Quarsh Panaka, Palpatine personally informed Amidala about his nomination to the now vacant post of Supreme Chancellor as well as his surprise to be considered by the Senate. Palpatine promised Amidala that, if elected, he would seek to end the corruption within the Republic. Amidala inquired about the other nominees, and learned from Panaka that the senators of Alderaan and Malastare were also running to secure the Republic's highest office.
Confident that Naboo's plight would generate sympathy for its people, Palpatine assured Amidala that he would defeat his opponents to become the next chancellor. Despite Palpatine's certainty, Amidala felt that it would take too long to rein in the bureaucrats who controlled Valorum, allowing the Trade Federation to remain in control of Naboo for the time being. Deciding to return to Naboo, she was intent on retaking her home planet despite Palpatine imploring her to remain on Coruscant. The Senate's inaction on the Naboo crisis convinced the queen that the Republic no longer adhered to its principles, as Palpatine claimed. Before leaving the capital, Amidala beseeched Palpatine to dedicate his chancellery to restoring compassion to the Senate.
Additionally, Jinn and Kenobi also returned to Naboo as Amidala's escort at the behest of the Jedi High Council. The Jedi elders believed that the election for a new Supreme Chancellor would put greater pressure on the Trade Federation, drawing out their alleged Sith benefactors. The High Council sought to conclusively determine the status of the Sith and whether their ancient nemesis had in fact returned after a thousand years since their last conflict.
In the aftermath of the Battle of Naboo, the newly-elected Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine returned to his homeworld, accompanied by members of the Jedi High Council and the Senate Guard. Amidala, whose strategy led to an alliance between Naboo's human and Gungan inhabitants, congratulated her advisor on his successful election as chancellor. Palpatine praised the queen, in turn, crediting her boldness for the deliverance of their people. He assured Amidala that they would work together bringing peace and prosperity to the Galactic Republic. Palpatine also commended Kenobi on his victory against Darth Maul, as well as Anakin Skywalker whose career he intended to observe with great interest. The new chancellor attended the funeral of Qui-Gon Jinn, where Grand Master Yoda and Jedi Master Mace Windu pondered the identities of the mysterious Sith Lords, and the subsequent parade in which the liberation of Naboo was celebrated by humans and Gungans alike. Chancellor Palpatine watched as Queen Amidala presented Boss Rugor Nass, head of the Gungan High Council, with the Globe of Peace.
- "In order to ensure the security and continuing stability, the Republic will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire! For a safe and secure society!"
- ―Darth Sidious
Sidious, having successfully orchestrated the Invasion of Naboo to position himself into being voted as the new Supreme Chancellor, spent the next decade fomenting another political crisis—a secessionist movement of disillusioned star systems that formed the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Palpatine publicly opposed the Separatist Crisis and vowed to preserve the Republic that had stood united for a thousand years, while at the same time, Sidious guided the movement with the aid of his new apprentice, the former Jedi Count Dooku.
By the time of the groundquakes at Bromlarch, Malastare had backslid in the Senate as a result of their senator not being elected. Antilles was replaced in the Senate by Bail Organa, who was married to Queen Breha, and Amidala assumed Palpatine's former role as a senator following the end of her reign on Naboo.
With Palpatine as head of the Republic and Dooku leading the Separatists, Sidious effortlessly maneuvered both sides into open conflict. The threat of the first pan-galactic war in a millennium, combined with the discovery of the Separatist Droid Army on Geonosis, compelled the Senate to support Junior Representative Jar Jar Binks' motion granting emergency powers to Chancellor Palpatine. With his new authority, Palpatine unilaterally created the Republic Military, using the clone troopers grown on Kamino as the backbone of the newly-formed Grand Army of the Republic.
Hundreds of senators were under Sidious' influence when the Clone Wars commenced with the First Battle of Geonosis in 22 BBY. The war lasted for three years, culminating in the decisive Battle of Utapau where Jedi General Kenobi destroyed General Grievous. By then, however, Palpatine controlled both the Senate and the courts, and the Jedi became increasingly wary of his intentions, suspecting that he would not relinquish his hold on power after the war's end.
Following the deaths of Dooku and Grievous, Sidious revealed his Sith identity to Skywalker, the Jedi Order's prophesied Chosen One, who in turn reported directly to the High Council. The Jedi confronted the chancellor with the intention of removing him from office, but Skywalker, having joined the dark side of the Force, prevented Sidious from being destroyed. Sidious then activated the clone troopers' behavioral modification biochips through Order 66, forcing the Jedi's own soldiers to execute them as enemies of the state while his new apprentice, Darth Vader, assassinated the Separatist Council on Mustafar in 19 BBY.
With war over and the Great Jedi Purge underway, Sidious issued a proclamation declaring himself Galactic Emperor. As a result, the Galactic Republic ceased to exist, supplanted by the New Order of the First Galactic Empire. The Emperor's reign over the galaxy would last for a generation, ending with his demise in 4 ABY and the conclusion of the Imperial Era in 5 ABY.
- Queen's Peril (Indirect mention only)
- Queen's Peril audiobook (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (First mentioned)
- Queen's Shadow (Indirect mention only)
- Queen's Shadow audiobook (Indirect mention only)
- (Indirect mention only)
- (Indirect mention only)
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary (Indirect mention only)
- The Star Wars Book
Notes and references
- 'Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: Galactic Atlas
- Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: A Junior Novel
- Ultimate Star Wars
- Nexus of Power
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Expanded Edition
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lawless"
- Darth Vader 20
- Star Wars Helmet Collection 14 (Weapons & Uniforms: The Sith)
- Queen's Shadow
- Breha was Queen of Alderaan in the novel Queen's Shadow, whose events take place four years after Padmé Amidala went to Tatooine, as depicted in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace. Since Star Wars: Galactic Atlas places The Phantom Menace in 32 BBY, it can be deduced that Breha was queen by 28 BBY.
- Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- The Star Wars Book
- Aftermath: Empire's End