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The inverse of Hereditary Republic
, this is when a monarch does not automatically inherit the throne, but is instead chosen by a group of people, usually a select few. This has been done in Real Life
, most notably by the Holy Roman Empire
and with The Pope
Offered the Crown
as the standard practice.
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Anime and Manga
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and the rest of the Cosmic Era timeline includes the tiny but powerful pacific nation called the "Orb Union" ruled by a elected legislature ŕ la most constitutional monarchies but also by, not one, but five noble families, the most prominent is current ruling family, the Athhas while most of the rest are featured in the side stories like Astray, all five must agree on decisions that affect the rest of the country and voting for a "Chief Representative", the official head of state amongst their Lords (though Cagalli Yula Athha, Princess of Orb directly inherited her Father's, Lord Uzumi's position).
- Star Wars: Naboo's democratic monarchy, in which the ruler is elected and even has term limits. It seems more like a republic, just one that grants their presidents the trappings of royalty. One might speculate that perhaps it was once a regular monarchy which the government slowly watered down into a non-hereditary, limited-time position.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Pirate King is elected by the nine pirate lords; there have been very few kings because the lords tend to just vote for themselves. Jack surprises everyone by voting for Elizabeth.
- "In a democracy, it's your vote that counts. In feudalism, it's your count that votes" (probably lends itself to the arrangement specified in this trope).
- In the Belgariad series, Sendaria choose its first king like this, and everyone could vote. Not even the monarch takes the monarchy all that seriously seriously. Also, the Empire of Tolnedra elects a new Emperor if the old one dies without an heir.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, royalty is normally hereditary, but a hundred years before the series takes place, the Blackfyre Rebellion occurred because the king legitimized his bastard sons on his deathbed and in so doing created a massive Succession Crisis (there were rumours that the trueborn brother, who was also the eldest, was actually the king's brother's son, and the eldest bastard, Daemon Blackfyre, believing them, rose up against him). Several years and a few thousand bodies later, the only Targaryen heirs left were either children or mentally unstable. A Great Council was formed from many of the ruling lords to choose the next king. They passed through many candidates in the Targaryen family tree before settling on Aegon V, a fourth son of a fourth son, hereafter known as Aegon "The Unlikely". After choosing the next king, the Great Council dissolved and the crown passed on through the family, though in the prelude to the War of the Five Kings, the possibility of another Great Council being formed is brought up due to the disputed heritage and validity of nearly all the contenders' claims to the throne.
- The Ironborn ostensibly follow the same agnatic-cognatic primogeniture as five of the other six kingdoms, but in practice, there is enough resistance when a woman is next in line to inherit that they revive their centuries-dead tradition of a kingsmoot instead. The crown winds up going to the man who would have been heir in an agnatic (male-only) primogeniture system. No word yet on if they'll codify this or stick with an elective monarchy.
- The Wildlings occasionally elect a "king beyond the wall", which is simply a title given to whichever one of them manages to unite sufficiently many wildlings to follow his leadership. Mance Rayder is king beyond the wall during the events of the book, and holds it entirely on merit.
- An interesting case in Mikhail Akhmanov's Envoy from the Heavens with The Empire on planet Osier, which has been stuck in Medieval Stasis for at least a thousand years, which is the reason why the protagonist is sent there in the first place — to figure out why all their efforts to secretly advance the culture have failed. The sovereign of the Empire dies, his son does not necessarily ascend to the throne. Any (male) member of the royal family may become the next ruler, provided they are popular and influential enough within the family. In essence, the emperor is chosen by vote, but only from members of the royal house.
- This shows that despite the name, the Empire is far from being evil. In fact, it ruled the inhabited continent for so long (with only a few small kingdoms bordering it), that the emperors see no need to be cruel to enforce their will.
- In the Tales of Kolmar the Kantri are ruled by a king or queen chosen by all of them, and in that position for life or until the others decide to give the rank to someone else. It's more a position of public service than privilege. The rank is interchangeably king/queen or "lord".
- In Fiona Patton's Tales of the Branion Realm, Gwyneth, an expy of Wales, is independent for part of the series, and the Princes of Gwyneth are elected. This ends when a grandson of the current Prince becomes monarch of nearby Branion-other books make it clear that Gwyneth was subsumed and its Prince is now the heir to the Branion throne. Since the series was written in chronological reverse, this foredooms one character's intent to keep Gwyneth independent.
- The Weald in The Hallowed Hunt, the third book in the Chalion series by Lois McMaster Bujold. A Fantasy Counterpart Culture of the Holy Roman Empire (see Real Life section below) the new Hallow King is officially elected by the heads of five great houses and three influential church members (who have replaced three houses whose lines have died out or fallen out of power). The last few generations have seen the current ruling house have their eldest sons confirmed as heirs while the old kings are still alive, eventually turning it into a normal hereditary monarchy.
- In Belisarius Series all Axumite Emperors are ceremonially approved by the soldiers. While birth does factor it is not final.
- The dwarf clan chiefs in the Inheritance Cycle vote for their new king or queen upon the creation of a vacancy in the position. In Brisingr, after the death of La Résistance-friendly King Hrothgar, a few isolationist clans unsuccessfully oppose the royal candidacy of Orik, his nephew and heir.
- The Wheel of Time: It's mentioned in The Eye of the World that the kings of Malkier were chosen by the Great Lords, and indeed one candidate losing by just two votes helped lead to its downfall, since he then tried to take over by force.
- As well, when the succession of the throne is unclear, the crown goes to whichever of the most powerful noble houses can get the backing of the other houses. This has led to at least a few succession crises when the houses were in a deadlock.
- The Elenium has this in pretty much the same way as the Papacy for the Archprelacy of the Elene Church. The sequel series has a report within the foreign Tamuli Empire (which uses hereditary inheritance) which calls the Elene Church's tradition of electing their leader weird, but acknowledges that there isn't any non-offensive way to make it hereditary considering Elene priests are supposed to be celibate.
- The Empire from Warhammer elects their emperors in essentially the same way as the Holy Roman Empire, with the provincial nobles and the high priests selecting one of their number. A system put in place after the first emperor died and was deified without designating an heir.
- The High Elves have a similar system for the position of Phoenix King, although their Everqueen is a hereditary monarch. Caledor II, son of Caledor the Conqueror, left the elves with such a distaste for nepotistic Phoenix Kings that they have never appointed the son of the previous king since then.
- In Traveller one of the two main official powers the Imperial Moot (all the nobles in the Imperium who have the time to show up) has is to veto or confirm the Emperor's choice of succession and to dissolve the Imperium. The second power was given as a "mutual assured destruction" should one noble house become to overbearing. But the first makes the Third Imperium a sort of hereditary/elective monarchy. In practice the moot has a lot of other powers because they have the interests of eleven thousand planets to juggle and The Emperor's exalted status does not give him more then twenty four hours a day to go through all that paperwork.
- In practice the power of veto over succession is seldom exercised and The Imperium is closer to a hereditary monarchy. All this convoluted political tangle is realistic and shows just how complicated such things can be. One of the few instances in which the Moot does not simply confirm the chosen heir is when the Right of Assassination is invoked, in which case the Moot has to decide whether the assassin's claim is legit. Of course the first time someone claimed the throne that way the Moot had planned it after realizing how insane Cleon III was.
- In BattleTech the Rasalhague Principality/Free Republic/Dominion had their ruling Princes elected by parliament for up to two ten-year terms, from among members of the royal family and usually the previous Prince's son. When the Free Republic was conquered by the Clans the Elected Prince's son Ragnar Magnusson was taken as a bondsman by first Clan Wolf and then Clan Ghost Bear, where he earned freedom and rose to the rank of Star Colonel. Surprisingly the remnants of the Republic elected him Prince, enabling him to negotiate the merger of Clan Ghost Bear and the Free Rasalhague Republic into the Rasalhague Dominion.
- The Clans themselves also use elections to determine who will be their Khan. The Clan Council (made up of several hundred bloodnamed warriors) chooses a Khan from amongst themselves. If a runner up or rival faction does not like the result a Trial Of Refusal usually settles things. A Khan can also be removed at any time with a simple majority vote, again likely to be contested by trial.
- In Fading Suns Emperor Vladimir Alecto created a number of "Elector Staffs" that would enable those who held them to elect his successor and distributed them to the Houses Major, the Church, and the Merchant Guilds. Unfortunately he was assassinated at his coronation and the Houses went to war with each other, for centuries there wasn't an Emperor but instead a "regent" with a limited term. Until eventually Prince Alexius Hawkwood convinced the Church and Guilds to elect him. The RPG takes place shortly after his coronation, the 4X game Emperor of the Fading Suns takes place during the Emperor Wars and has the objective of being elected Emperor.
- In the world of Shakespeare's Hamlet, the Danish monarchy is elective, as it also was in reality until the late 1600s (though in practice, the eldest son was pretty much always elected). This is the reason why Claudius is king instead of Hamlet himself. Hamlet describes his uncle as having "popp'd in between the election and my hopes", and later says that he foresees that "the election lights on Fortinbras" as he himself is dying and Fortinbras has invaded with a large army.
- Twilight Princess has the Twili, but it's never elaborated any further.
- Ferelden in Dragon Age: Origins. The king is elected by the Landsmeet, a congress of the land's most powerful nobles.
- That's only in extreme cases, when the line of succession isn't clear. The Theirin dynasty has a long history of rule, broken only temporarily during the Orlesian occupation, and restored when Maric Theirin, the grandson of the Theirin king who was too weak to hold off the Orlesians, manages (with some help) to drive off the occupying forces and regains the crown.
- Actually, it was a regular occurrence and the Succession Crisis actually emerged because Loghain did not immediately seek legitimacy from the nobility. One of the biggest gripes the Fereldans had against Orlais was that the Landsmeet was not convened, ever, and the Orlesian king was an appointed toady of the Emperor. The King is expected to convene the Landsmeet regularly, Succession Crisis or not. While the nobles probably can't actually remove the king with any method short of war, not consulting with them would likely mean they would choose another successor from another family once he had died. The Theirins had a long history of rule because the founder of their line was the Founder of the Kingdom and, with a few exceptions, they were generally good rulers.
- It goes further down than that. The Banns (the lowest form of titled nobility, sort of like Barons) are elected from the local gentry by the Freeholds (free men and women) to protect them in exchange of allegiance.
- According to Zevran, Antivan kings are also elected — with the added complication of getting to the election without being assassinated by the Crows. If no-one has the nerve, the Crows go after the people they think should run. "Never let it be said that the Crows are not patriots."
- The Dwarven Kingdom of Orzammar. The King appoints a heir and the Assembly usually approves it, but they can reject the former King's first choice in the past and select their own.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Skyrim has a High King who is elected by the nine Jarls in the province. Before the game begins, Ulfric Stormcloak killed King Torygg and started a rebellion against the Empire with the intent of having himself proclaimed High King. The Empire prefers the acting ruler, Torygg's widow Elisif. The Dovahkiin's choice of side in the Civil War storyline decides the issue.
- The Kingdom of Rhodoks in Mount & Blade games. As one of your followers notes, even though Rhodok citizens consider themselves superior to the other lands of Calradia due to having a more civilised means of government, in practise they still have a ruling elite of lords and a downtrodden peasant class, same as all the other kingdoms.
- On the Capricorn server of Imperium Nova the empire became a constitutional monarchy with the emperor elected by the imperial houses every five (in-game) years. Though a military coup by House Canaigh briefly removed the elective element from the monarchy.
- In Jagged Alliance 2, according to the background information, the country of Arulco ran on a version of this, with new rulers elected every ten years. Most of the country's history involved only two families being considered worthy of ruling: the Chivaldoris and the Cordonas, the former of which ruled the country for most of its history and the latter of which ruled during World War II. It all eventually crashed down when the current king, Enrico Chivaldori, was elected, and his wife, Deidrianna, launched a coup that turned into a brutal, nine-year-long dictatorship.
- This is one of the succession options available to feudal rulers of kingdoms and empires in Crusader Kings 2. Under elective succession, all of the dukes of the realm, plus the sovereign, get to vote on the heir to the crown. Used properly, it's extremely powerful, as it allows the player to select the most suitable heir, rather than the doddering idiot who just happened to be born first. Used improperly, it can result in your hard-earned imperial crown being wrested from your dynasty entirely. Appropriately, it's the default succession style of the Holy Roman Empire— see below.
- A later patch added the 'Tanistry' succession law to the game which can be chosen by Irish-culture AIs or the player's realm. On the plus side candidacy is restricted to members of the ruling dynasty, so no losing titles to popular underlings. On the negative side every landed noble in the realm gets a vote not just the dukes, so getting the winner you actually want becomes near-impossible.
- King David Johann of Callan in Dominic Deegan, though the first elected king due to being the first human archmage ( and the hereditary king and queen having been assassinated by him).