Imperial Election

Following the death of the Holy Roman Emperor, the process of the electing his succesor begins. The election begins within 30 days of the death of the previous Emperor and takes place in Frankfurt.

The procedings are carried out by the seven Prince Electors - The Archbishopric of Mainz, the Archbishopric of Cologne, the Archbishopric of Trier, the Dukedom of Saxony, the Margraviate of Brandenburg, the Kingdom of Bohemia, and the Palatinate of the Rhine.

After celebrating a mass in the Frankfurt Cathedral, the seven swear a public oath to select a candidate based on merit and the good of the whole Empire. Then they begin voting which takes place publicaly in the main hall of the cities castle.

The Archbishop of Mainz is the presiding officer. Each Elector casts one vote. Electors can vote themselves if they wish though this is considered crass. In order for a candidate to be succesful, he must recieve four votes.

The rules for eligibility are suprisingly lax. Candidates must be 18 years old and of good reputation with noble blood going back to all four Grandparents. They don't have to be German, a resident of the Empire or Catholic.

The election is actually for the title "King of the Romans". It is only after being crowned by the Pope that the office holder becomes Holy Roman Emperor.

The process can take a lot of time. Bribery and intimidation are commenplace: the winning candidate is usually the one with the deepest pockets.

The current Emperor is Charles V who defeated Francis I in the 1519 election by four votes to three.



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