Laudean Pre-Revolution Monarchy
The highest position within the federal government was titled "Emperor" or "Emperess." This position was open to anyone of noble blood, but there was only one instance in Laudean history in which a non-King was elected into the position.
The Emperor was elected by the House of Electors, who were "advised" by a vote of the House of States, who, in turn, held the final vote in the case of a tie. What was odd, however, was that an Emperor himself was not actually the one being elected: instead, it was his house, or royal family. A prospective Emperor was judged by his family's history, and the future heirs to the throne of Emperor were equally considered in the process of election. This created a dynastic system, whereby nine major families held successive power for most of the ~1500 years of the Union (save for a few notable exceptions).
It was not uncommon for one kingdom/royal family to hold the position of Emperor for over a over a century. The change of the Emperorship to a new kingdom was a considerable upheaval, usually caused by the extinction of the line of succession for a given dynastic family or by the deposition of an Emperor.
Home Kingdom Responsibilities
A King elected to the position of Emperor usually (depending on the Kingdom) continued to hold the official Kingship within his own kingdom. It is tradition in most of the kingdoms for a regent or "Lord Protector" to hold the role in his place. In some instances, this will be heir apparent to that Kingdom's throne, while in other instances (as when the heir apparent is too young), it may be another member of the royal household (such as one of the King's siblings). If the Emperor died or abdicated the throne, it was customary for the heir to the throne to ascend to both the throne of the King in his home kingdom, as well as the throne of the Emperor, in the federal government. An Emperor who was deposed may, or may not, be allowed to keep his throne in his homeland. Deposition was humiliating, and tended to follow the discovery of severe lapses in judgement or leadership ability. As such, in the few instances where an Emperor was deposed, the next of kin always took the throne of their home kingdom -- though would not be allowed to automatically ascend to the Emperor throne unless elected specifically by the House of Electors.
If a successor to the throne was elected while the current Emperor was still alive, he bore the title "King of the Laudeans." Most of the Kingdoms in the recent past practiced the law of Absolute Primogentior. In this setup, the eldest child enjoys succession to the throne, regardless of gender.
Beginning and End of Reign
At the beginning of any Emperor's reign, he swore an oath to the Union promising to act in the best interests of the people. In turn, the members of the Legislature responded with an oath to obey the rule of the Emperor and protect his personage and power as best they could.
A reign ended with death, abdication, or deposition. The latter could be declared by the legislature.
The powers of the Emperor were exercised in a broad range of areas, but restricted everywhere:
- Executive: he enforced the laws and rulings of the empire, although most of this duty was delegated to the Dukes; he appointed imperial officers;
- Legislative: he could propose, approve and promulgate laws; in particular, he had the right to withhold approval; he could not levy taxes without approval;
- Judiciary: he had the right of pardon, as well as the right to confer exemptions and privileges (i.e., exceptions to the application of imperial laws);
- Religious: he was the supreme leader of the fielding league, although in practice the Feldleser (highest non-noble official of the fielding league) remained the chief cleric.