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The Klingon Empire is the main antagonistic faction of the Star Trek franchise. It is a feudalistic empire dominantly comprised of the Klingon race, who have appeared various times as antagonists within the Star Trek franchise.
The Empire was originally ruled by an Emperor, but power was later shifted over to a High Council led by a Chancellor and comprised of representatives of the 24 most prominent Houses of the Klingons. Eventually, the position of "Emperor" was abolished and the Chancellor of the High Council was left as the sole position of rulership in the empire.
The ostensibly ruled by a single central government, there exist many competing factions within the empire, similar to Greek city-states on Earth, each attempting to challenge the High Council for dominance over the empire. As a result, a strict Rite of Succession was put in place where a leader could only be challenged to a fight on the grounds of cowardice or dishonorable conduct.