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Tribune was a post in the Golden Empire, created in 127 ABY. That year, the Royal Consul Vessyk had been exposed as a traitor to Queen Rin Sakaros, using his position to exploit the people under his governance. After disposing of Vessyk and putting Ekshi to rights, Rin decided to establish a political and informational check on the vast authority of her Consuls and created the position of Tribune on every member world.

Tribunes, elected by simple majority vote of the citizens of a world for a term of two years, served as the "voice of the people". Initially, Tribunes reported to the Sovereign directly; following the 65 Reforms, they reported to their sector Procurators. Tribunes had the authority to appeal any government action of a Consul to the Procurator, and the action could not be enacted until the sector government ruled on the matter (although Mintishiad v. Cord exempted the Consul's power of pardon). In addition, Tribunes reported regularly to the Procurator apart from their Consuls, so that Procurators could be assured they were receiving the facts from both. Tribunes attended the annual Consular Assembly along with their Consuls.

Citizens could serve up to three consecutive terms as Tribunes, and theoretically innumerable terms total, although a span of time equal to their most recent total consecutive service had to pass before they could run again (i.e., a one-term Tribune could run again in two years, a two-term Tribune in four, a three-term Tribune in six). Rin made an exception for Shaydow Tynblade on Rykar, allowing him to serve as Tribune indefinitely. To discourage citizens from viewing the Tribunate as merely a "stepping stone" to greater power, and to keep Tribunes focused on serving the people, Tribunes could never serve as Royal Consuls or Procurators themselves, although they were eligible for election to the post of Advocate.

As officers of the Empire, Tribunes were paid from the Royal Treasury, not by their home systems.

As a sign of the seriousness with which Rin viewed the importance of her Tribunes, the office of Tribune was the only office other than Sovereign and the heir apparent specifically created in the Charter of the Golden Empire. On most member worlds of the Golden Empire, assaulting a Tribune was grounds for a death sentence.

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