Although it has seen occasional unpleasant episodes of dynastic succession in its past, the Principality of Estria clings more fiercely to the ancient Germanic traditions of electoral monarchy than most neighbouring polities. The Prince is chosen by an electoral assembly of 41, including 38 noble electors, two clerical electors (the archbishops of Orlezzo and Saintonge) and one bourgeois elector (the Sindaco of Orlezzo). In addition, should he choose to call a conclave during his lifetime, the Prince himself may also choose to vote.
The current Prince, Sigismundo Baldovino II, clings tenaciously to life, but he is an elderly man in poor health. Everyone knows an election to choose his successor may come at any time, and likely sooner rather than later.
By hoary tradition, his successor must be chosen from among the five Dukes of the Principality. The Estrian abhorrence of dynastic succession ensures that the Prince's son Marco Antonio, the present Duca di Rimaldi, has no prospect to win election. Georges-Henri, le Duc de Marignac, has made clear that (for reasons unknown) he does not wish to be nominated. The contest for succession to the Principate is therefore a three way race between the Grand Dukes of the realm: Franz Eugen Amadeus, Großherzog von Zeichen-Nietschbaden; Louis-Charles Joachim, Grand Duc d'Anchoise; and Federico Massimiliano, Gran Duca di Brescegna.
The rivalry between these three worthies is intense, and the contest will likely be fiercer than any the Principality has seen for generations. With an election on the horizon, the Grand Dukes have already begun applying whatever methods of persuasion and coercion they can bring to bear on the other 38 electors to secure votes and ensure victory.
We must hope that the election, however bitterly it may be fought, will be enough to settle the issue. God help the Principality if the Grand Dukes decide they must resort to force of arms.