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Elective Monarchy

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"It is the Assembly who makes a king, and the king who nominates a successor. None of it is carried in the blood."
Lord Pyral Harrowmont, Dragon Age: Origins

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. Lest you think this is a democracy, the electorate in these cases is usually a select few, typically the highest ranks of the nobility. This has been done in Real Life, most notably by the Holy Roman Empire and with The Pope.

Even in monarchies that are normally hereditary, this can come up if the entire royal family dies out, as a method to decide who gets to form the new royal family.

Succession Crisis is very common as people go wheeling and dealing to try to secure the throne or favors for their help in securing it.

Of course, human nature being what it is, disappointed candidates upset with the results or the agenda of the monarch proceed to lead a rebellion against the winner, not that primogeniture necessarily prevents civil wars either. Similarly, the process of joining the electors or even the candidates is a good source of drama in the Decadent Court. Furthermore, it's not uncommon for the electors to put their own interests over those of the kingdom by electing a Puppet King, or at least a candidate too weak to really boss them around.

Offered the Crown as the standard practice. This sometimes may result in someone being Adopted into Royalty, especially if a commoner or an outsider ends up winning the election.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Castle Town Dandelion: Part of the premise involve the King putting his successor to universal suffrage, selecting among his nine children.
  • 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 à la most constitutional monarchies but also by, not one, but five noble families. The most prominent is the 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 when 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).
  • Naruto: The position of Kage is this. They are chosen by a council consisting of senior statesmen and the feudal lord of their respective countries, but they serve for life, unless they voluntarily abdicate; the position runs on some level of Asskicking Leads to Leadership and allows an aging Kage to step down when a younger powerful Shinobi comes along who can take up the mantle, and allows the now retired Kage to step back into the role should anything untoward happen to their successor, like the 3rd Hokage had to.
  • In Sailor Moon Neo Queen Serenity, the Usagi from the future, was elected as queen of the world. Chibi-usa seems poised to eventually inherit the throne, but the succession is never explicitely addressed.
  • Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun: The Thirteen Crowns and the Three Greats are the current leaders of the Demon World, but none of them are the King. The next Demon King is to be selected by these two groups. It is believed one of their members in either group is likely to become the next Demon King. However, by chapter 200, the Greats have come to the conclusion neither any member of the Thirteen nor each other should be the Demon King. Selecting any of them would create in-fighting and destabalize the Demon World further. Instead, they have chosen to nominate one of their own grandsons for title of Demon King and have asked the Thirteen Crowns to help evaluate and mold these candidates into a proper King all could follow. They will even allow the Thirteen to nominate candidates of their own.
  • Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs has the Alzer Republic. Their Chairman is selected this way from the heads of the Seven Great Noble households that each lead their own floating island kingdoms. Although technically this, the chairmanship always belonged to the Lespinasse Household, because only they could give birth to women eligible to become a Sacred Tree Priestess. Ten years prior to the story, the Lespinasse were wiped out by the Rault Household as part of the second game protagonist's Ruling Family Massacre, with said Raults serving as chairmen ever since, and the Lespinasse territory being divvied up between the remaining families.

    Comic Books 
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: After Spartax rebelled against Emperor J'Son they elected his illegitimate son Star-Lord the new Emperor, and impeached him after Hala the Accuser and Yotat the Destroyer attacked on his watch.
  • Ka-Zar: Kevin Plunder, the second Ka-Zar, is often called the "King of the Savage Land" and while not all the Savage Land's inhabitants acknowledge it, when the poop hits the fan he's usually the leader they all rally around.

    Fan Works 
  • Codex Equus: One half of Caearnar, a lush and verdant island occupied by the Caearnarian Deer Herds and watched over by the Caearnarian Deer Pantheon, has this system in place. The half of Caearnar watched over by Phoenix King Naur has this system in place. Any Deer stag can choose to become King, but in order to do so, they must prove their worthiness by throwing themselves into Naur's holy flames. Anyone who is virtuous and willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good will emerge completely unharmed, their burns healed and imbued with Naur's divine power. Anyone who desires the throne for unscrupulous or wicked ends will simply be burned to ash. However, the half of Caearnar watched over by Naur's younger sister, Everqueen Naneth, inverts this by being a hereditary, matriarchal monarchy. The position of Queen is passed down from mother to daughter, and the coronation of the next Queen involves a complex magic ritual that gives said Queen the psychic memories of her predecessors, filling her with guidance and ancient knowledge.
  • The Conquest: In the Targaryen Empire, the Council of Heralds — the main administrative body, composed of representatives from each autonomous region within the empire as well as other key figures, like military commanders — are the only ones allowed to name the heir to the throne. While their choices are limited to the Targaryen dynasty, any blood member of the family can be appointed heir, not necessarily the current High King's eldest son.
  • A Divine (Romantic) Comedy: While styling itself as a republic and mostly functioning as a parliamentary one, the post-Belos Boiling Isles government also has shades of this trope, with Raine having been elected leader and granted the title of "Sovereign".
  • A Good Compromise: The Lord Protector of Yarmta (the Teplan head of state) is briefly mentioned to be an "elected autocrat".
  • Mortified: In order to become eligible for the position of Ghost King (or Queen), one must have committed at least one great deed in service of the Infinite Realms and have defeated and/or gained the approval of all of the incumbent Ancients, in addition to being given "the right to rule" by Ereshkigal. Whenever a new monarch is needed, the incumbent Ancients vote for candidates based on the shortlist of those who fit most if not all of that criteria with Ereshkigal's input. By the time of the story, Danny is the only eligible candidate. He's defeated and/or impressed all of the Ancientsnote  and has committed several great deeds, including saving the Core of the Ghost Zone twice, once as Neti (which chronologically happened first), and once from the GIW as himself. After the second time, Ereshkigal refuses to let anyone else but him become the next Ghost King.
  • Personality Conflicts: Triforia, in a way. The planet's ruler can choose a successor, but their choice has to be confirmed by a majority of their five advisors, each of whom rules one of Triforia's five provinces.
  • A Thing of Vikings: The Hooligans are a monarchy where each clan heir is elected by their clan, but candidates are restricted to descendants of previous clan leaders, and how much of the vote they need to win depends on how direct their descent is (for example, a child of the clan leader's spouse only needs a majority, while a child of their concubine needs 60%). This is why, before it became clear that Hiccup would become chief, Spitelout started maneuvering to promote Snotlout becoming chief someday, since Snotlout is a grandson of Chief Hamish, father of Stoick, the current chief.

    Films — Animation 
  • Brave: King Fergus was originally just the head of Clan Dunbroch, one of four Highland clans that had fought for centuries, only to be the one to unite them all to fight back against Northern invaders. When they won the war, the other three clans chose to make Fergus their king and his family the royal family.
  • Kronk's New Groove: Yzma briefly tries to be elected Emperor.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie: In this adaptation, we learn that Princess Peach wasn't born into the position of being ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom. The Toads found her as a baby, raised her, and when she came of age, they collectively declared her their leader. The fact the Toads gave her everything, simply out of kindness, made her incredibly protective of them in turn.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • In Naboo's democratic monarchy, the ruler is named king or queen (more often the latter from what we've seen) but is elected and even has term limits. In practice it functions like a republic, just one that grants its presidents the trappings of royalty as a holdover from generations ago when it had an actual hereditary monarchy (the last hereditary monarch and his entire family having been slain by the Gungan over the Naboo attempt at subjugating them). According to Darth Plagueis, the term limit was introduced after the reign of the notoriously corrupt King Ars Veruna (Queen Amidala's immediate predecessor). Star Wars Legends also has it that the elected leaders of cities on Naboo are "princes" and "princesses" rather than mayors. Before being elected queen, Padme Amidala was Princess of Theed, Naboo's capital.
    • The Galactic Empire is officially this, with the Galactic Senate being by law the authority that elects and, if needed, deposes the Emperor. In practice, however, Palpatine managed to effectively deprive the Senate of any actual power until Leia, Senator of Alderaan, being caught acting for the Rebellion gave him the excuse to do away with it, "suspending" the Senate "for the duration of the galactic emergency" (everyone knows it's really dissolved permanently, as Tarkin says).
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: 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, giving her two votes to everyone else's one.
  • Ophelia: As in both the play and reality when it's set, Danish kings are chosen by the nobles. Thus, rather than Hamlet succeeding his father, the nobles choose his uncle Claudius, something Hamlet's very unhappy with.

  • "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).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones universe:
    • Game of Thrones:
      • Just as in the books, the Ironborn and the wildlings elect their kings. The Ironborn are the only one of the Seven Kingdoms that, back when they were independent, chose their own rulers through a form of limited democracy. The wildlings also elect their king, however he only holds power so long as the wildlings choose to follow him, and there are always holdouts like Craster. There is no sign yet of whether Pentos elects a prince too. In regards to the Ironborn, all of the lords and ship captains gather together at an assembly known as a "kingsmoot", where anyone can present themself as a candidate, not just the previous king's family. Candidates give stump speeches, and whoever wins over the crowd to get the most votes becomes the new king. They revive this after declaring independence again during the War of the Five Kings (though according to the "Histories and Lore" extras of Season 6, in the intervening period when their ruler was just a "lord paramount" under the Targaryens and Baratheons, the kingsmoot still existed but only as a formality, always "choosing" the eldest Greyjoy heir). The only other group in Westeros that has formal elections like this is the Night's Watch. The Watch is even more democratic, with literally every member getting to cast a vote — though that isn't really a fair comparison, given that while the Watch does control territory and castles they're not really a "kingdom" but a monastic knightly order.
      • Robb of House Stark is acclaimed King in the North by his bannermen and the riverlords of the Trident. As it turns out, what the bannermen give, the bannermen can take away just as easily. This also happens with his successor Jon Snow.
      • In the series finale, Tyrion Lannister, in his speech nominating Bran Stark to be King of the Seven Kingdoms, further pronounces that from then on, the king would be chosen by the "great lords and ladies" of Westeros rather than by inheritance. As it's the finale, we don't get to see how this works out in the long run.
    • House of the Dragon: King Viserys was chosen to succeed his grandfather Jaehaerys (whose sons had pre-deceased him) by a Great Council of over a thousand lords of Westeros in Harrenhal. There were initially 14 succession claims, whittled down to two: Viserys and his older, female cousin Rhaenys. The final choice —Viserys— was motivated by male primogeniture, despite that Rhaenys was the child of Jaehaerys's elder son Aemon and Viserys was the child of the younger son Baelon.
  • Babylon 5: The Centauri Republic (which despite its title is really a constitutional monarchynote ) allows the Centaurum (the Republic's parliament) to elect an Emperor when the line of succession has become unclear. As seen after Cartagia (inherited the throne from his uncle Turhan) is assassinated and they elect Londo Mollari the new emperor, and his regnal name of Mollari II indicates it's not the first time one of his house was elected. It's later discovered that Cartagia had a son out of wedlock in secret, but by the time he's found Londo has already named Vir Cotto as his designated successor, and it is shown that Vir becomes emperor in the future but not confirmed whether Cartagia's son ever does.
  • The Magicians (2016): Fillory becomes one, and elects Margo High King. Funnily enough, she was a write-in candidate, elected because she was popular with the talking animal population, who it turns out vastly outnumber the humans.
  • Star Trek: The Klingon Empire in Star Trek: The Next Generation and later shows is a close variant. There is no emperor (until "Rightful Heir", when a clone of the ancient Emperor Kahless the Unforgettable, a King Arthur-like figure, is made a ceremonial monarch in hopes of reuniting the empire after a Succession Crisis), but the Chancellor of the High Council, who has equivalent power, is selected either by acclamation of the heads of Great Houses that sit on the Council, or by killing their predecessor in honorable combat.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer:
    • The Empire elects their emperors in essentially the same way as the Holy Roman Empire, with the provincial "elector counts" and the high priests of the various religions selecting one of the counts to rule for life. This system was put in place after the Founder of the Kingdom left for parts unknown without an heir or designated successor. That said, it is a rare occurrence indeed that the Elector of Reikland does not win the election. The Elector of Reikland and the Grand Theogonist and Arch-Lectors of the cult of Sigmar always vote for Reikland, the Ar-Ulric and Elector of Middenheim always vote for Middenheim, and the Elder of the Moot always votes for the eldest son of the incumbent (unless said son wears his pants on his head), meaning that the Elector of Reikland more often than not has five of fifteen votes by default, the Elector of Middenheim has two, and eight are up for grabs.
    • The High Elves have a similar arrangement for the position of Phoenix King, who is elected by the great Princes of Ulthuan. That said, the King's consort, the Everqueen is a hereditary monarch, falling to the daughter of the previous Everqueen and the King. Their system is probably the setting's most stable, as their past with power struggles mean the elves have a series of both spoken and unspoken rules about the process, and lines they know never to cross. For example, 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.
    • The dukes of Bretonnia elect a king from amongst themselves (with the Grail Enchantress having the final word) whenever an old king dies. This is because the king of Bretonnia must be a Grail Knight (a duke, meanwhile, must only be a knight). However, if the king's hereditary heir already is a Grail Knight he's all but certain to be the next king.
    • The Dwarfs do something a bit different. Each individual Dwarfhold has a hereditary monarchy, passed down the royal line of the ruling clan. The position of High King, meanwhile, is open to all royalty (in theory — in practice it has been held by the king of Karaz-a-Karak for milennia). Should the High King die without a clear heir, the result is a Council of Kings — a competition for High Kingship. When a Council of Kings is called, powerful Thanes and the entire royal families of every clan convene in Karaz-a-Karak. The candidates have one year to perform heroic feats and great deeds, and a Council of Elders chooses the High King based on who they believe accomplished the most.
  • 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) is to veto or confirm the Emperor's choice of succession. The other is to dissolve the Imperium. The second power was given as a "mutual assured destruction" should one noble house become too overbearing. 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 even The Emperor's exalted status does not give him more than twenty four hours a day to go through all that paperwork.
    • In practice the power of veto over succession was never exercised in the official timeline, and the Imperium is closer to a hereditary monarchy with the Moot just rubber-stamping whoever the last Emperor picked as heir. 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 have an active hand in selecting the Emperor is when the Right of Assassination is invoked, in which case the Moot has to decide, usually after the fact, whether the assassin's claim is legit. Of course the first time someone claimed the throne that way the Moot had selected the assassin and planned her ascension to the throne before hand after realizing how insane Cleon III was. During the Civil War the Moot generally just accepted whoever had done the deed as long as they also had control of the largest fleet.
    • Notably during the Rebellion the Moot was dissolved by Lucan, the most legitimate surviving heir, soon after he was declared Emperor. Officially the suspension was temporary, "for one year". He didn't want them looking too closely into what had happened to his older twin brother Varian during Dulinor's attempted coup, and he didn't want them selecting a replacement through the Right of Assassination when he proved rather inept in his leadership. The Moot never officially met again and was unable to take any organized action to prevent the destruction of the Imperium as it descended into civil war.
  • 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.
    • The High Lord/Lady of the Aurigan Coalition is elected by the Coalition's council of nobles and their decisions are subject to review (and potentially a veto) by a council majority. This led to a brief civil war in the 3020s as a pro-centralization faction briefly took power in the Coalition following a coup.
    • The Free Worlds League has this... kinda. While more or less a Hereditary Republic in practice, the law (at least as far back as Resolution 288) actually says only that House Marik will have right of first refusal for the post, and there can be multiple candidates for the post even in the 100% of cases where the right was not exercised by House Marik. These candidates are voted on by Parliament, and even in the case of only one candidate for the post, the Parliament actually does have a confirmation process, even if that is largely a formality.
    • The Magistracy of Canopus elects its chief executive officer, the Magestrix, for life. While technically an office open to all women citizens of the Magistracy, in practice a member of House Centrella (the founding house of the Magistracy) has sat on the throne for nearly the Magistracy's entire existence (there have been two exceptions, both administrations being disastrous enough that they ultimately only made Canopians more inclined to elect a member of House Centrella). Magestrixes can also be removed from office in cases of infirmity or by general public outcry, the latter being very likely if the Magestrix tries passing any laws restricting the individual liberties of Canopian citizens.
  • 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 Alexius' coronation, the 4X game Emperor of the Fading Suns takes place after Alecto's assassination and has the objective of controlling enough elector staffs to be elected Emperor.
  • In the Star Fleet Universe version of Star Trek, the Klingon Empire has a variation on this. The Emperor, who serves till death, abdication, or overthrow, chooses three 'Princes', whom must be approved by the Grand Council. There is no requirement that any of the three be blood relatives, and traditionally one is chosen from each the military, the bureaucratic government structure, and industry. When it is time for a new Emperor, the Grand Council then elects one of those three, often choosing the career path that would best serve the Empire at the time.
  • In Blue Rose the monarch of Aldis is chosen by not by people but by the mysterious Golden Hart. The Hart usually chooses one of the nobles, but has also chosen commoners a few times. The Hart is actually a physical manifestation of the collective will of the populace, so in a sense the ruler is in fact chosen by the people. Being a noble isn't something you just inherit either - you have to pass certain tests to become one.
  • In Starfinder the Veskarium is a military government with a "despot" governing each planet of their home system, during (rare) peacetimes the despots rule the Veskarium as a council but in times of war the council elects an emperor. The default starting year takes place during the first interregnum the Veskarium has experienced in 300 years as a result of the last emperor abdicating after the Veskarium signed a peace treaty with the Pact Worlds in order to repel the Swarm. The despot of Vesk Prime is said to fulfil most of the ceremonial roles of the 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 the Danish royal line with him), giving his nod to Prince Fortinbras of Norway, whose leadership he had soliloquized approvingly about earlier.
  • In Macbeth, the Scottish kings are elected, which explains why the title character is chosen after Duncan, rather than his son. Reading between the lines, it may be that Duncan incurred some ire from the nobles for making his son heir-apparent while he was living. The 1971 film version by Roman Polański actually shows Macbeth's election, which involves a special ceremony. Scotland's real monarchy was always hereditary, albeit not always a direct primogeniture system. The actual Macbeth beat Duncan in battle before claiming the throne as both had royal ancestry and may have been cousins, rather than by treachery. He was then defeated and possibly killed by Malcolm, Duncan's son, who succeeded him.

    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has the Twili, but it's never elaborated any further.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Ferelden is a downplayed example. While on the surface the nation appears to follow a traditional feudal system with primogeniture inheritance, unlike in neighboring Orlais where the nobles believe in rule by divine right, Ferelden has a culture of rule by merit and is more democratic. 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 for allegiance, and though the title usually passes to the bann's eldest son, it doesn't have to. The higher-ranked teyrns (akin to dukes) in turn have the loyalty of banns and arls (earls), and the king is regarded as merely the most powerful teyrn and is elected by them at the Landsmeet (an annual council of the nobles that serves the role of a parliament) if the line of succession is unclear, as in the Succession Crisis plot in Origins. In the backstory of the game, after the death of King Maric Theirin, many nobles backed the seasoned Teyrn Bryce Cousland over Maric's barely-of-age son Cailan for the throne, but since Ferelden had just won a hard-fought war of independence against Orlais and preserving their royal line was a major motivation for doing so, Cailan's blood won out. Towards the end of Dragon Age: Origins, the player plays a major role in deciding who the king will be after Cailan dies. Alistair, Cailan's illegitimate half brother and the player's right-hand man; Anora, Cailan's widow and broadly acknowledged power behind the throne; Alistair and Anora marrying in a political union; Alistair and the player character herself if playing a female human noble; or Anora and the player character himself if playing a male human noble.
    • 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. This is the source of much of Prince Trian Aeducan's anxiety; though Trian is the eldest and named heir, King Endrin's second child (the player character) is much more popular among both the people and the Assembly than he is, and he fears Endrin will replace him. Later in Origins, the Assembly cannot choose a king between Prince Bhelen (Trian's younger brother who became the heir to House Aeducan following Trian's death) and Lord Pyral Harrowmont. Endrin allegedly chose Harrowmont (at least according to the latter's supporters) and there is suspicion that Bhelen was involved in Trian's murder. Suspicion that is confirmed by playing the Dwarf Noble origin, where Bhelen either tricks the player (his older sibling) into killing Trian or frames them for the deed. According to Prince Bhelen, the Assembly has passed over the king's chosen heir at least a half-dozen times; the founder of House Bemot became a Paragon and the king in one vote from the Assembly.
  • 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 hold a council every few years in which the most powerful lords choose who will be king until the next council (according to the lore at least - no such council ever occurs during a campaign). 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.
    • In Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, which takes place roughly two hundred years before the first game, the Kingdom of the Rhodoks has been established yet — but two of the three splinter factions of the Calradian Empire desires elective monarchy: the Northern Empire, which professes the traditional method of election by the Senate, and the Western Empire, which wants Emperors to be selected by the army acclaiming them.
  • 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.
  • Crusader Kings II:
    • This is one of the succession options available to feudal rulers of kingdoms and empires. 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 Celtic rulers (Irishmen, Picts, Scots, Welshmen, and Bretons). On the plus side candidacy is restricted to members of the ruling dynasty, so no losing titles to popular underlings. On the negative side, if you are a duke or king,note  every landed noble in the realm gets a vote, not just the dukes, so getting the winner you actually want becomes near-impossible. Additionally, NPC voters in tanistry tend to prefer older candidates from other branches of the dynasty than your direct line of descent, which can complicate things further.
    • Most unreformed pagans are restricted to elective gavelkind succession. On the one hand the successor has to be of the ruling dynasty, but if the decedent has multiple secondary heirs (i.e. the ruler has two sons and elects one), any same-tier title that the ruler controls enough land to create will be created for them automatically, dividing the realm. Unsurprisingly players prefer to ditch elective gavelkind as soon as possible, which means changing to an organized religion, or reforming your pagan faith into one.
    • Eldership, a succession exclusive to Romuva and West African pagans, and any pagan that reform with the "Ancestor Veneration" doctrine. Here, the electing is done by a council of elders, with only dynasty members as candidates. If an elder is pleased, they will elect either the current monarch's choice or, at least, someone they consider competent and fit to rule. If they are not pleased, they will deliberately undermine the ruling dynasty by selecting incompetent candidates.
  • The Real Life example of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is represented in Europa Universalis IV as a unique government reform that allows other countries to support heirs that would favour them if elected.
  • The Free Palatinate of Dyrwood in Pillars of Eternity is ruled by a duc who is elected by the seven regional els.
  • In King of Dragon Pass, Orlanthi tribes are always ruled by elected kings or queens. Hereditary rule isn't seen as an option, and it's extremely rare for successive kings to even come from the same clan. In order to get to the endgame (and either victory or a "standard" loss) you have to form a tribe and have a clan member elected to rule it, which requires decent relationships with your tribemates, a skilled candidate, choosing the right person to speak for them, and of course, hefty bribes.
  • Due to being clones and all, the leadership of the Kingdom of Mikes from Battleborn is elective rather than hereditary according to Word of God in the reveal stream of Oscar Mike's DLC Story Operation. The rulers of this said monarchy are of course King Mike and Queen Mike.
  • In Stellaris the rulers of dictatorships are elected (via "oligarchic election") for life; dictatorships with the "Philosopher King" civic are even referred to as Elective Monarchies.
  • In Ravenmark, this is the case in the Commonwealth of Esotre. The King is elected by the people for a 5-year term. The King's Hand is likewise elected and typically does most of the work in running the Commonwealth (the King is more of a head of state). By tradition, the King is always human, and the Hand is always a dwarf.
  • In Octopath Traveler, the king of the Sunlands is elected by an assembly of the tribe chieftains.

    Web Animation 

  • 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.
  • Freefall: Sam explains that his clan was an elective monarchy due to sqid reproductive biology preventing succession by bloodline.note  The Royal family maintains itself by adopting promising young squids to itself, and elects new king amongst themselves when needed.
    It sounds very orderly when I say it. In reality it's more like thirty seagulls all trying to eat the same potato chip.
  • Unsounded: While the Queen of Cresce may propose an heir that heir needs the support of at least two out of three of the nobility, High Priestess and the Lord General to actually be elected to the position. The heir is usually a young women adopted by the queen but can be another member of the royal family.

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventure Time, the local Con Man and self-proclaimed King of Ooo rallies the gullible citizens of the Candy Kingdom to vote for him to replace their only ever monarch, Princess Bubblegum. She, in turn, ignores all of this, content that she is a Universally Beloved Leader. She loses in a landslide and is exiled to a dingy shack on the outskirts of her former territory. Of course, since said King turns out to be a terrible ruler, she soon regained her crown.
  • The plot of an episode of The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, "Princess Toadstool for President", revolved around the Princess challenging Koopa to try earning the Mushroom Kingdom fair and square in an election.
  • The Galra Empire in Voltron: Legendary Defender is a semi-elective, semi-competitive monarchy. When the Emperor dies, the most important leaders of the Empire gather to perform the Kral Zera, a ritual involving carrying a lit torch up a steep flight of stairs to an unlit brazier. The elective/competitive part is that every one of those leaders has to convince or (more usually) force all the others to stand aside and let them climb the stairs if they want the throne for themselves. The only thing Prince Lotor's place as the late Emperor's only child guaranteed him was a place among those attempting to make the climb, with no guarantee that Zarkon's generals would let him do it unopposed.