President of Stroulia
Michael Kenna is the current President of Stroulia, having assumed the role on February 1, 1989, after the death of the previous President, Stephen Allen, on January 13 that year. Before becoming president, he was the first Prime Minister of the country from 1969 to 1977, Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1977 to 1981, and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party (now LDP) from 1981 to 1989. He is a member of the Liberty and Democracy Party (LDP), having joined the party in 1981 after leaving the SDP, and holds a Bachelor's in Political Science as well as a Master of Law.
Born September 8, 1927, Michael grew up in the state of Tolomeo in the small town of Typson. He started working as a busboy in a local restaurant at the age of 14, and after a few years built up enough of a saving to attend Eksterenoj State University. It was there that he grew an interest in the realm of politics, and would finish out his schooling in 1949 with a Bachelor's in Political Science. That same year he would marry Sophie Douglas.
For the next few years, he struggled to get by due to the faltering economy, and by 1956 was working as a lawyer in his local town, assisting in cases involving civil offenses. However, at the beginning of the civil war the next year, his parents were forced into labor service by the government, and he found a need to fight back, leading to him joining the Free Stroulia Front. Starting out a lowly messenger, he became noticed when he helped fight off a small detachment of the government's troops, saving several dozen civilians from being gunned down. From there he managed to climb the ladder, assuming higher positions in the SLF until he became the leader of the Front in 1964.
Under his leadership, the SLF would finally break the stalemate in the war and begin to take more and more territory. By early 1967, the SLF had occupied roughly 80% of the country and had secured foreign backing from the democratic governments of France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States. Finally, on October 4th, the Front took the capital of Regario, arresting the dictator Gerald Julia and having him tried. The next day, the group declared victory in the war and established the Federal Republic of Stroulia.
Because of his position as the leader of the SLF, and his popularity among the general population, Michael assumed the role of head of state in the transitional period. The first elections for the new Republic took place on October 5th, 1969, having been delayed from their initial 1968 date due to lack of voting resources, with Kenna as head of the Stroulian Democratic Party, and won the position of Prime Minister by a landslide, with 83% of the vote. Serving two full terms as PM, his time in office saw many of the modern developments in the country as well as the extensive rebuilding effort post-civil war.
Following his two terms as Prime Minister, he would serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs under the Silson administration, but after the controversies surrounding the SDP party leadership during the 1980 elections, as well as the shifting ideology of the party itself, he left the party and joined the Liberal Party, becoming the Deputy Leader. He would stay in this position until 1989 when President Allen collapsed of a heart attack. With his reputation within the party and the general populace, he assumed the role as the second President of the republic.
Positions and Beliefs
Having grown up during the country's brutal dictatorship, Kenna developed very liberal beliefs and ideals, and by the time the civil war began he would join the ranks of the Free Stroulia Front (now the Stroulian Democratic Party) based on the group's liberal stances and goals. When the party began shifting away from these beliefs to more conservative and authoritarian practices he was one of the first to call out the party, and would leave to join the Liberal Party in 1981 as Deputy Leader of the party during the Lignoviro administration, championing Lignoviro's causes to help the lower and middle classes and to end the immense poverty among the general populace. Since becoming President he has continued to represent the nation as a beacon of democratic ideals and equal representation for everyone.
Kenna has always been in support of an open and free market to allow for the development of private industry. In comparison with many of his colleagues in the LDP, he's generally been been for fewer regulations on the market except those that prevent the creation of large monopolies. In terms of trade, Kenna has supported free trade between nations and preventing actions that would affect that trade relationship.
In terms of energy, during his time as Prime Minister, Kenna saw the dangerous effects of over-dependence on oil having seen how the United States, in particular, was affected during the 70s energy crisis. He made efforts to reduce the overall use of petroleum, such as improvements to public transportation and a nationwide campaign to encourage carpooling and taking bikes to work. He also oversaw early efforts to develop wind farms to provide an alternate source of electric power.
From very early on Kenna was a vocal proponent of equal treatment for the island's native population and a protection of the language from extinction. Having grown up in the Eksterenoj, a state with a substantial native minority, he saw the mistreatment of native islanders by white Stroulians, how natives could not hold any form public office and the encroachment of their homes and land, including to people he knew. As a lawyer, he became known for taking many cases involving native Stroulians, fighting against the racial bias of the state courts.
When he became Prime Minister, one of the first acts he took was to sign into law the "Native Stroulian Protection Act", which made it illegal to discriminate against the native population and that they would be allowed to hold any public office. He also took great effort to protect locations of importance to the native culture and to personally help to rebuild local native communities.
As President, he has consistently called for the protection of native and minority groups across the world, speaking out against authoritarian states such as China and Russia.
Beyond protecting the rights of native Stroulians Kenna has always fought for the rights of both women and other minority groups such as blacks and Muslims. His administration made it so that women and men were required to be payed the same amount for the same level of work
Despite having been raised in a Christian household, Kenna has always been weary of the influence of religion in politics. Under his administration the parliament passed the controversial "Fair Treatment of Religious Institutions Act", forcing all religious congregations and churches to pay a 10% tax on income. However, he believes that religious private schools have a right to exist and that parents should be able to send their child to one if they so wish.
He has also supported the rights of religious groups under persecution in other nations, and heavily spoken out religious extremism and violence.
Kenna has always held a "tough-on-crime" attitude, in contrast to many of his contemporaries who were more lenient stances. As Prime Minister he increased the funding of the country's police forces, and helped to establish the "Elite Police Unit" as a more advanced force. He was particularly against drug crime, believing it to be the largest issue facing Stroulia, expanding the punishments for drug suppliers.
Prime Minister of Stroulia
Richard Scottson is the current Prime Minister of Stroulia, and has held the position since 2012, and is also the head of the governing Liberty & Democracy Party. Before being elected Prime Minister he served as Deputy Leader of the LDP from 2008 to 2012, and was the Governor of Ardlinghill from 1996 to 2008, the longest serving Governor of the state with four consecutive terms.
Growing up in the capital of Regario, Richard took an interest in politics from an early age. As a child he grew up during the civil war, seeing how the military dictatorship ruled over the city with an iron fist and forcefully dragging away many of his neighbors in the apartment complex that he lived in, which he has said is what made him believe in democracy from such an early age. When he turned 18 he would attend the University of Ardlinghill, and would earn a master's degree in economics.
His first stint in governance would occur when he joined the City Council of Regario, acting as an advisor on local development projects. From here he would climb the Council ladder until being elected as Mayor of Regario in 1988. His tenure would see the establishment of new parks, the improvement of the city's public transportation system, and overhauling the emergency services to better respond and reach citizens. As a result, when he ran for governor of Ardlinghill in 1996 for the Liberal Party of Ardlinghill he was elected with a majority of the vote at 74%.
His four terms as governor saw the gradual improvement of the economic situation of citizens of Ardlinghill, reducing the poverty rate of the state by 9% and the number of homeless in Regario and the smaller cities towns by 18%. Infrastructure in the state also saw large improvements, repaving older roads and expanding the state's highways. He served four consecutive terms as governor from 1996 to 2008, and is considered one of the most popular governors in Stroulia's history as well as the governor with the longest tenure.
He would be chosen as the Deputy Leader of the Liberty & Democracy Party in 2008, helping to give the party the name recognition it was looking for in such a popular figure. He was immediately pegged to be Thompson's successor in the 2012 elections for Prime Minister. Running on a platform of expansion of the country's welfare programs and further protections of the environment and making Stroulia a benchmark in the fight against climate change, he helped to reform the LDP's image in the eyes of voters after the Thompson administration's disappointing tenure, preventing an easy victory for the Stroulian Democratic Party. He would win the 2012 national elections with 59% of the vote.
Unusual for Stroulia's Prime Minister's, Scottson's approval rating has remained steady and has even gone up over time, starting at 55% in 2012 to 61% today. He has generally been seen as a competent PM who has managed to successfully accomplish most of the party's goals and has helped to increase the quality of life of the country's citizenry. He carried the 2016 vote with 66% of the votes, further cementing the LDP's governing rule and coalition. He will not be able to run for a third term in 2020.
Positions and Beliefs
Richard has been an advocate for European style social democracy for several years, believing in the role of the government in the market and the benefits towards a strong safety net. Though this has led to some accusing him of being a socialist, he's always denied these claims saying that capitalist systems have their place.
As a social democrat Scottson believes that capitalist system can be made better, to work for the people in place of profits. His time as Prime Minister has earned him the nickname "The Regulator" due to his enforcement and strengthening of government regulations over corporations, effectively forcing them to work with heavy government oversight.
In regards to energy, Scottson has long been an advocate for renewable resources replacing non-renewables, which has put him in favor of the Greens. Under his administration Stroulia has heavily invested in wind and solar farms, and provided subsidies for green companies. He's also pushed "Green Stroulia 2040", a government project that aims to have the country be entirely fueled by clean energy by 2040.
A believer in the rights of all individuals, Scottson has supported the rights of people regardless of their heritage, ethnicity, or religion. He has worked closely with minority groups in Stroulia for decades, and as mayor of Regario helped to establish programs to assist those who faced discrimination in school and the workplace.
He's also worked closely with Stroulia's native population to provide them with more local autonomy and protection.
Richard Scottson is Stroulia's first non-religious Prime Minister, being a self-described agnostic. Despite this he's always been supportive of the right to practice religion freely, as well as fighting against religious tension and violence. As a result of his agnosticism, he signed the "Non-Religious Individual Support Act" in law in 2014, which ensured not only the protection of non-religious individuals but also that agnostics and atheists are able to run for any political office.
One of Scottson's main goals in his 2016 campaign was to reform Stroulia's prison system, which were crowded and underfunded over the last few decades. Since then this has been his focus, reducing sentences for non-violent crimes and providing increased funding for the national prison system, as well as improving the quality of prisons.