Passed by Kenyon Marik during the death throes of the Star League, Resolution 288 gave the Captain-General of the Free Worlds League almost complete authority over the nation "for the duration of the crisis", further cementing the Captain-General as the sole real power in the League.
Much like the rest of the Inner Sphere, the whole of the Free Worlds League had watched with breath held for almost a decade as the leaderless Star League balanced between peace and war in the wake of the Operation LIBERATION. After the SLDF's departure from the Inner Sphere in 2784 left large swaths of the shattered Terran Hegemony undefended, the aggressive and power hungry Kenyon Marik however sensed an opportunity to enrich and empower both the League and House Marik.
With attacks from the Lyran Commonwealth and Capellan Confederation seemingly imminent, Kenyon took advantage of the panicked and inexperienced leaders of the Free Worlds League Parliament who desperately sought to abrogate their responsibility and place the burden of maintaining control during the military crisis on the federal government. Kenyon proposed Parliamentary Resolution 288 which gave the Captain-General extensive and near total control of the Free Worlds League Military and far-reaching discretionary powers "for the duration of the crisis". Bolstered by his repeal of the Rule of 75 allowing him to provide past evidence of political delays that negatively affected the League's military fortunes, Kenyon justified the Resolution as a means to ensure the strength required to protect the League during the crisis, and it was easily passed.
But as the Succession Wars era continued seemingly without end, Parliament began to realize to its horror just what it had agreed to, the vaguely worded Resolution making the Captain-General the sole arbiter of what the "crisis" was and when it concluded. Additionally, where previously Parliament was able to censure or remove the Captain-General, Resolution 288 effectively ensured that "for the duration of crisis" that the incumbent Captain-General could only be removed upon death or voluntary resignation, that Parliament's ratification of the Captain-General's choice of successor was at best a rubberstamp and that during the "crisis" the body itself existed purely at the suffrage and whim of the Captain-General. Further, Resolution 288 expanded the Captain-General's control of the League's industrial complex, making his or her decision on the directions of companies that were designated as "vital to the war effort" final with the threat of federalization if they refused his orders.
Attempts to Repeal or Limit Resolution 288
Each successive Captain-General would strenuously resist any attempts to repeal Resolution 288, among the most notably being Kenyon's abrasive son Thaddeus. With Parliament meeting after Kenyon's death under its own direction to regain the powers lost to Resolution 288, Thaddeus interrupted their deliberations with his affirmation of the resolution, backed up by the military threat of a battalion of combat ready BattleMasters encircling Parliament. While the bulk of Parliament backed down in response to this blackmail, the powerful Duke of Oriente Carter Allison refused to be cowed, Thaddeus calling his bluff by withdrawing all military aid from Oriente in the face of a belligerent Confederation until Allison was finally forced in desperation to sign his agreement to save his province.
Lacking direct recourse against Resolution, Parliamentary opponents of the Captain-General turned to the areas still under their control to restrict it, primarily their power over the League's finances. The most notable conflicts centering on finances in this area occurred during the reigns of Charles and Stephan Marik.
Taking advantage of Charles' weakened position due to the ill-considered ComStar War, even after ComStar agreed to restore service in November 2838, Parliament rejected FWLM appropriations bills and efforts by Charles to co-op commercial JumpShips into military service, pressing their advantage to try and overturn Resolution 288. But as the League's enemies advanced deeper and deeper and Charles left Atreus to command the last-ditch defense of Irian, with Parliament increasingly fearful if they waited any longer that there were not be any League left to govern, Parliament voted to restore military funding on January 5, 2842.
While Parliament blinked first against Charles, the situation reversed under Stephan in 2989. With acrimonious tensions between the Captain-General and Parliament freezing funding to both the FWLM and SAFE for many years, following the LCAF's highly successful Deep Raid of 2987 a desperate Stephan recognized that to receive the funding vital to strike back that he would finally have to swallow his pride and accept further concessions and limitations. After Stephan agreed to Special Resolution 512, giving the provinces a share of spoils of captured territories, and Special Resolution 523, giving Parliament greater say in military dispositions, Parliament quickly loosened the purse strings.
The most successful brake against Resolution 288 however would a misstep by House Marik itself, with the Third Succession Wars' Home Defense Act. Passed in 2906 during the reign of Elisabeth Marik, the Home Defense Act was intended to improve regional defense by allowing provinces designated as being under immediate threat of military attack permission to retain 75% of its troops within its borders and refuse any requests by the Captain-General involving those troops. While her harmonious relations with Parliament ensured Elisabeth never had cause to feel the Act's sting, her successors discovered that much like Resolution 288, the vaguely worded Home Defense Act didn't specify the level or nature required to invoke it and many of those most opposed to 288 would utilize the Act to hamstring the Captain-General.
Always displeased at the Home Defense Act's crippling restraint upon the powers gained by Resolution 288, Elisabeth's successors would look for any means to rescind it, finally receiving the opportunity during the Andurien Secession. Much like fear of the approaching First Succession War allowed Kenyon to pass Resolution 288, the crisis represented by the Secession allowed Janos Marik and his son Thomas Marik to easily push through a fearful Parliament the Internal Emergency Act of 3030 and the Addendum to the Incorporation, stripping the provinces of much of their power. Both bills effectively allowed the Captain-General to sidestep the provinces in everything save matters deemed "culturally significant" (of which the vague definition of such was debated heavily much like Resolution 288 and the Home Defense Act) and veto any law that interfered with the will of the Captain-General, Thomas's Addendum specifically citing and rescinding the Home Defense Act.
The Great Debate of 3067 and the Word of Blake Jihad - Resolution 288 rescinded
One of the strongest challenges to Resolution 288 and House Marik's control of the League in centuries came in 3067 from Duchess Alys Rousset-Marik. Following the failure of her uncle to save her mother, Alys grew antagonistic with Thomas Marik, choosing the arena of politics to undermine him by focusing on Resolution 288. On August 28 3067 Alys addressed Parliament, pointing out that with the formation of the Second Star League, the threat of the Clans ended and the League's neighbors in disarray after the FedCom Civil War as ample proof that "the crisis" had ended and tabled a motion to revoke Resolution 288 and return full powers to the Parliament. While Alys' motion garnered the support of the most strident opponents of the Captain-General Thomas Marik, most notable the Principality of Regulus and the Duchy of Andurien, Thomas's allies and the smaller unaffiliated worlds that feared the loss of protection represented by a strong League easily defeated the measure.
Inexorably linked to the maintenance of a strong combined Free Worlds League, after the League itself disbanded in 3079 after the conclusion of the Jihad, Resolution 288 was automatically repealed.
- Handbook: House Marik, p. 30: "Endgame"
- Field Manual: Free Worlds League, pp. 7–8: "Resolution 288"
- House Marik (The Free Worlds League), p. 33: "The Second Succession War - At War with ComStar"
- House Marik (The Free Worlds League), p. 34: "The Second Succession War - Driven to the Brink"
- Handbook: House Marik, p. 44: "Third Succession War"
- House Marik (The Free Worlds League), p. 40: "The Great Compromiser"
- House Marik (The Free Worlds League), p. 42: "Operation Killing Stroke"
- Handbook: House Marik, p. 7: "Families"
- Field Manual: Updates, p. 143: "Free Worlds League - The Great Debate"
- Masters and Minions: The StarCorps Dossiers, pp. 71–72: "Alys Rousset-Marik"