"The Archon leads the city, but the Parliament runs it."The Helikan Parliament is a body of unelected advisors and officials who advise, act on behalf of and elect the Archon of the City-State of Helik. While the Archon is the public face of authority within Helik, ultimately most Archons cannot make all decisions on their own, and the task of running the most populous city in Arikanda and one of the most influential ones is a mammoth task that no one man or woman can do. To this end, the Archon often delegates Parliament to act on their behalf and make decisions for the city. All of these still require the Archon's approval, however as the Parliament both elects and is the source of an Archon, and as the Parliament's collective power usually dwarfs a single noble's, it is in everyone's best interests for them to co-operate as an oligarchy rather than as an autocracy.
The Parliament is officially a 'flat' organisation - there are no senior or junior members, or a hierarchy as such. Any member of a noble family may sit in sessions of Parliament, and there is no gender barrier. Originally membership of the Parliament was limited to the descendants of original nobles, but as the city expanded, wealthy merchants and particularly successful farmers have effectively been able to leverage their wealth and prestige to be admitted. This is usually done through marriage or adoption, but not infrequently by sponsorship of an existing member. Once this is done, the wealthy former commoner effectly entrenches themselves and their families into the system. The 'old guard' have and still do resist attempts fiercely, fearing disruptions of the status quo and challenges to their own power, but generally if a person makes enough powerful friends in Parliament, it's a matter of time before they can join. In practice, the entire Parliament answers to the Archon, and the Archon can choose to delegate particular authorities/jurisdictions to a particular member, who the other members are expected to defer to. In the event of the election of a new Archon, any member can stand as a candidate, and all members have a single vote, with a simple majority deciding the victor.
Officially, Parliament serves as an intermediary body between the Archon and the people of Helik, who act on the Archon's behalf while advocating for the people. In truth, the Parliament is a mixture of various interest groups, most from within the nobility and wealthy classes, all jockeying for influence.
The Helikan Parliament traces its origins back to Helik's transition from farming settlement to organised city-state in the third century DoM. They were originally known as the Council of Helik, and consisted of the most prominent farmers, civic administrators and soldiers of the city. Even in its earliest iteration, the council elected the chief magistrate of the city, which over time became the Archon. As centuries passed and as Helik's size and the complexity of its operation vastly ballooned, the Council became intrinsically linked with the authority of the Archon, and the Archon took to delegating their own authority to particularly capable members of the Council. In turn, to meet the new duties assigned to it, the Council expanded by admitting new members, and at this time was no longer considered a small advising council but a larger assembly, coming to be known as the Helikan Parliament. With Helik's recent rise as one of the most influential cities in the world and as the hegemon of most of southern Arikanda, the Parliament has in turn become one of the most influential government bodies on the continent Arikanda- and a very sure path to power for ambitious nobles.
Council of Helik (formerly)