In the unique political system granted to Gatlia, the position of Duke, while for life, is an elected, rather than hereditary, position. That is not to say that the Duke is not a nobleman. In fact, noble blood is pre-requisite of the position. Our present Duke Gren, some say, even shares a maternal grandmother with our beloved Emperor Tormant.
When a Duke dies, the Gatlian council meets to select a new Duke. While both Lordly Representatives and Popular Councilmen may vote for a new Duke, their votes having equal weight, only one who is a Lordly Representative may nominate a candidate. Candidates are named from the ranks of the Lordly Representatives or of other represented Gatlian nobility.
The Duke of Gatlia oversees the Gatlian council, wielding considerable executive power, having final say on captains of the guard in Syflanis, Delivals and Pelliora, acting as chief admiral of the Gatlian fleets, and top arbiter of laws as set forth by the council. Additionally, while the Duke traditionally refrains from casting a vote on council matters, his yea or nay on any issue may override any non-unanimous decision of the Council. This power, however, has rarely been wielded by Dukes of Gatlia.
The power of the Duke is not without cost. Nobles named Duke must forfeit all other titles and holdings. It is for this reason that often-times powerful land-holding or wealthy nobles (a baron of Sotune, for instance) may defer the nomination to their Lordly Representative (frequently a younger member of the noble house) in the Council.