Par'tha Expanse Great Council
The Great Council, along with its many sub-councils, is the primary legislative body in the Par'tha Expanse. It is made up of the noble families of the Expanse Sector, each associated with one of the houses. The houses influence affairs by forming coalitions within the Great Council, hopefully gaining enough votes to get their way. For two decades, Larokon has held together a strong coalition which allows it to impose its will on the rest of the sector. There are signs that this coalition is weakening, however.
The Great Council, lead by a prime minister, not only passes the laws of the sector, but also sits in judgement over certain court cases, and confers offices and grants pardons. However, with over 2000 members, it is far too large to effectively attend to all of its duties. In reality, it mostly exists to elect officials and review the acts of the many smaller councils and committees under it.
The real power lies with the Senate, the largest and most important of the Great Council's lesser councils. The Senate, which is made up of 80 senior Great Council members (appointed by their retiring predecessors), in addition to various appointed military leaders and ambassadors, deliberates on such matters as tariffs, negotiations, armaments, laws, and taxes.
In handling crucial issues of foreign policy, finance, and internal security, the prime minister may bypass the Senate by taking proposals to the Council of Ten, an inner circle of senior Great Council members (which actually has 35 members).
The Great Council has become very exclusive over time, and does not admit new families when old ones die out, as it did in the Dynastic Era. Representatives of the Freeworlds and petty knights are admitted into the Great Council only very rarely, and are never fully accepted or trusted with positions of authority.