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The Elysian Senate is the ultimate governing body of the Elysian Celestial Empire, and wields ultimate sovereignty – especially since it is thought that the correct course of action is revealed to the senate by God through debate. If the action later turns out to be wrong then it clearly either shows the displeasure of God, or that the debate was of insufficient quality. In recent days, however, the Senate has seen a major reduction on power with their absorption into the Yamataian Empire, relegated to only making non-major decisions for the remaining Elysian worlds, and they are required to follow Yamataian law over their own if a conflict arises. They still only report to the Empress herself, however, being given leeway to continue running their own nation.
The senate is composed of 501 Senators, so numbered in order for there the to always be a majority for one course of action on the vote. Within the senate there are 83 Senators (corresponding to 1/6th of the Senate) which forms the The War Council– composed entirely of trained tacticians as well as proved soldiers, and it is this body that decides upon the military policy of Elysia. In addition to this there are 166 Ecclesiastical Senators, incorporating religiously trained individuals as well as Exarchs. The senate is overseen by God’s Justicar (currently a Patrician man named Araqiel), a rotating position of Exarchs – their position is there to uphold the peace and to ensure that proper procedure is being upheld.
At this time, a number of the seats are empty, both from losses on the military side of things, and from unforeseen losses among the Senators in general.
The Senate is elected by Elysian on a representative basis – the empire is divided into 501 geographical units, each of which contains an almost equal number of Elysians, with the borders changing over time to reflect the newest data on population numbers, are declared incompetent or die. To be eligible to vote a person must be over 18 years old, and currently residing in one of the Elysian protectorates. You are not considered eligible to vote if you are undergoing punishment for a crime, are declared to be mentally unsound (this is increasingly not of mental illness but of dangerous ideology) or dead. Elections are staggered, with 1/3rd of the Senate being re-elected every other year, giving each individual senator a period of 6 years between elections. If a senator stands down or dies there is a bye-election to replace him.
While it used to be necessary to be a Patrician in order to stand for election to the Senate, the requirements now are only that you be over 30 years old and be recognized as ‘capable’ – that is to say that you have skills which allow you to rise above other Elysians in some sense. In order to be eligible to stand for election, a potential claimant must stand before the senate and justify their abilities. If they convince the senate of their worth they are assigned a constituency. The senate ensures that no one profession gets a majority in the senate, and that the military composes of at least 1/6th of the numbers, and the religious proponent 1/3rd.
The senate is held in an air of calm serenity – there is no talking allowed in between speakers, or while a speaker is talking. Breaking these rules is eligible to have you ejected from the senate, and they strictly upheld.
To propose a motion the senator clears an area before hand with God’s Justicar, who ensures that there will be sufficient time to debate, and that the rest of the senate is informed about it beforehand. At this point the senator comes to the center of the Senate, and gives a speech regarding the situation at hand and proposing the measure. In response members of the Senate have the opportunity to challenge information the senator has used, or ask questions (by raising the hand and being chosen by God’s Justicar), or makes a counter-speech by taking the floor. Periodically the God’s Justicar will take a vote regarding whether the motion has been debated sufficiently, and if there is a majority will then take the vote for and against – to vote it is simply necessary to raise the hand. If the motion passes it is up to the Senator to implement it within his constituency.
The judicial system is also intertwined with the senate – each senator is the judge of his constituency – if a criminal is caught they are brought before the senator. If his judgment is considered faulty by petition of at least 2000 Elysians the case is brought before a jury of seven of the neighboring constituencies. If the process continues past there, or the jury deems the case particularly grave, it will go before the senate.