New Chief of State to Tackle Nation States Fascism
written by Minister of Communications Istillian
On January 24, standing for Chief of State was opened by Senate Speaker Lloenflys, with elections to be held by the Senate on February 3. Pichtonia, with Aexnidaral by his side as potential vice chief of state, was quick to submit his intention to stand on the same day. Pichtonia ended up being the only candidate to stand for Europeia’s Chief of State.
On January 28 Pichtonia released his platform, which firstly summarised the extensive experience in leadership across Europeia that he and his running mate have had, followed by an encouraging additional message by Aexnidaral, outlying his support for Pichtonia as chief. Their platform was founded on a few key policies; the “one ambassador, one embassy” policy would now have a softer approach, allowing ambassadors to take on a second region. Further staffing in the Council of World Assembly Affairs to be a priority for the term, due to the currently thinly staffed nature of the council.
In World Assembly affairs the duo intend to continue supporting Europeia’s friends and allies, and opposing fascism in-game; noting also that Europeia would remain invested in the World Assembly Legislative League, and to quote Pichtonia, “will fight for its stand as a relevant institution in the face of competing organizations such as the Interregional Legislative Coalition and in face of changing alliances across NS.”
Regarding the Europeian Republican Navy Pichtonia made mention of the significant progress made in the recent term into overhauling the training program; and prior to that, the overhaul of the naval rank system. These changes are something that Pichtonia intends to look at focussing on for increased activity and strength as a considerable tool for Foreign Affairs.
Finally, external communication teams from the prior term were complimented in the platform for their innovation and new standards, laying some solid groundwork to build upon; with this term the intent being that the Council's will release at least another Foreign Update, and be more focussed on sharing smaller news in the NationStates world.
By February 4, the Senate had unitedly voted for the Pichtonia/Aexnidaral ticket. Shortly after being confirmed as Chief of State, Pichtonia nominated Izzy as Councilor of World Assembly Affairs, Aexnidaral as Councilor of Foreign Affairs, Bowzin as Grand Admiral, and Kuramia as Councilor of External Communication; of which all had been confirmed by February 11. On February 11, Pichtonia released an inspired inaugural address, in which the newly appointed Chief of State discussed his previous experience in a major coalition (CAIN) to combat Nazism across NationStates, and how the spread of the alt-right, fascism, and Nazism is still evolving and building. Pichtonia explained that there are battles against toxic regional environments that we must still fight, and that this is still very much a focus for Europeians overall.
On February 15, former Minister of Communications Xecrio published a fascinating interview with Pichtonia through the Europeian Broadcasting Corporation. The interview covered some of the experiences that led Pichtonia to be one of Europeia's most active and accomplished citizens, and digresses into Pichtonia's dreams, hopes, and ambitions, both personally and for our region. The interview is an extremely worthwhile in-depth experience into the evolving career of our current Chief of State.
Two Birds of a Feather
Europeia discovers its interest in birds thanks to Speaker Lloenflys
written by Chief of State Pichtonia
Europeians are known to take keen interest in political simulation. Our primary - and state - news media organization, the Europeian Broadcasting Corporation, exemplifies this interest with a great variety of articles on the latest news, controversy or polling analysis.
But one citizen awoke something in us we didn't know we had: A love for birds. That citizen is former First Minister Lloenflys.
On July 26nd, 2019, he released the first edition of "A Modest Ornithological Proposal" for the Europeian Broadcasting Corporation; an article in which he would assign five famous Europeians a bird. For the potentially most famous Europeian, its founder HEM, Lloenflys analyzed:
Overall, throughout three articles, Lloenflys assigned seventeen birds to sixteen individual Europeians. Only Vice Chancellor and legal mastermind Drecq (Great Tit and the Turkey Vulture) and the writer of this article (European Blue Tit and Amazonian Royal Flycatcher) received two birds.The Rock Pigeon is nothing if not ubiquitous. Whether in a city, where it can be seen eating the remains of stale donuts off the streets, or in the countryside where it is gathered around silos and other piles of grain gorging itself to stupefaction, the Rock Pigeon is the most jort-like of birds. Not necessarily ugly, but unnecessarily vulgar. Far more common than one would hope. Utilitarian in the extreme. No bird could more effectively represent our dear founder quite so elegantly.
An eighteenth bird was assigned to OnderKelkia at his ovation, the Resplendent Quetzal, with Lloenflys stating that a "bird symbolizing justice and liberty is a perfect bird to represent a Europeian whose tenure has been all about those subjects".
As Europeians of all backgrounds celebrate the creativity and thoughtfulness of Lloenflys and his articles, eagerly awaiting the day that they might be assigned a bird from Lloenflys, we talked to him to further introduce him and his project to our friends and allies in other regions.
Question 1: What raised your interest in birds?
Lloenflys: As I kid I always enjoyed observing birds, but I wasn't a bird-watcher in an organized sense because I didn't know that was a thing. I was lucky that both sets of grandparents liked birds and put out feeders, so I was exposed to birds at an early age, and I was also lucky enough to own a pair of cockatiels for awhile when I was growing up, and I really loved that. I discovered bird-watching while I was living in Colorado in law school, and the combination of spending time in nature, checking things off a list (which is very satisfying for me), and looking for rare or unusual species really appealed to me.
Question 2: What has been your favourite bird encounter in the non-virtual world?
Lloenflys: For the most part, the most exciting moments are when I know I am seeing something new that is going to be a life bird for me. That is especially the case if I just go out to the wilderness somewhere and wander across something that I don't recognize. I don't count any of my sightings unless I get an identifiable picture of the bird (this is stricter than what the "big time birders" do, but I frankly don't trust my sound identifications or fleeting images of something), so the most exciting time while birding often comes after I get home and put the pictures in my computer and have a chance to really analyse them to see what exactly I spotted when I was out in the field.
I'll briefly give you three other fun moments that I enjoyed while birding - use any, all, or none of these, as you wish! First, one of the birds I really wanted to see was an Indigo Bunting, a beautiful, strikingly blue bird. After having sought it for half a summer, I came downstairs one morning when I was staying at my dad's house to see one on his feeder. This was a life bird that I had been actively searching for, and it came to me! Another very interesting time was when I wandered onto a back road in the winder and came to some kind agricultural building that must have been putting out an irresistible smell for predator birds because there were at least 100 Bald Eagles right around that building in the trees. It was incredibly intimidating! Finally, (and don't try this at home), when driving in the countryside up in northern Minnesota I came across a Northern Harrier (a type of hawk) that was hunting by flying along a ditch next to the road. I was able to pace the bird for probably 3 or four miles while taking pictures (no, this is not safe - no, you should not do it). It was an incredible experience. Thankfully in that part of the state there is very, very little traffic.
Question 3: What gave you the idea for your series?
Lloenflys: I wanted to write something for the region that I thought was fun and amusing, and this was something that I certainly knew no one else was going to do. I thought it was could a chuckle or two, but I think it's probably the most popular thing I've done in the region, and for people who haven't had a bird assigned to them yet it is something of a sore point as I am regularly pushed to do the next one!
Question 4: How do you decide what bird to assign to someone?
Lloenflys: I actually spend a lot of time thinking about that. I try to think about a feature of the person in question that defines them or that people will see as being associated with them, and then I try to tie that into the choice. Sometimes it is how a bird looks, sometimes how a bird acts, sometimes it is about how a bird is perceived. On rare occasions I happen across a picture of a bird and think I absolutely use that bird for someone, but much more often I'm looking for traits of the person that I can then match to a bird.
Question 5: Did you ever wonder what your own bird would be? Your own avatar, famously, is a snowy owl.
Lloenflys: There are times when I feel like all sorts of birds, but an owl is probably what I most closely identify with. I happened to pick a Snowy due to an avatar contest that was underway to do something "snowy" but now I've started identifying closely with it so I'm not feeling any reason to switch!
Question 6: What’s your favourite new information you learned while writing the series?
Lloenflys: I would say that the sheer number and variety of Kingfishers in the world is one thing that astonished me. Kingfishers are my favorite birds, but while I knew a bit about the international varieties, I had no idea quite *how many* or *how gorgeous* they would be. That research just cemented my overall love of Kingfishers!
The Shock of Resignations:
written by Istillian
Having someone unexpectedly resign presents as a huge challenge for our leaders, particularly for those not familiar with how to manage the onslaught of tasks involved in the aftermath. With our finite amount of resources in the region, and relying on people power over anything else, losing our citizens can be deeply difficult in not only dealing with the frustrations of change-of-management, but abrupt departures then affecting the mindset of those left to keep things running.
This is not a diatribe on the people that depart our region, it's a recognition of the steadfastness of those that persevere in their roles despite setbacks.
Recently we had seen some downturn in activity across the region, and a significant amount of our leaders that were heavy contributors either departed the region or resigned from their roles. So where does that leave the person left in charge? When you’ve grown to rely on someone to not only do a job well, but to be a pillar of support to talk to when things are difficult it can be very lonely when that support is gone, and with a sudden uptick in tasks to take on, it can be stressful. This region isn’t a normal political landscape; there’s not always the time to say goodbye, no cake or farewell gifts to present as a form of finality, and the impact of something happening so unexpectedly can leave you devastated and unsure.
With this in mind I sought to ask some of our current leaders how they were affected by sudden departures in their past terms. I firstly approached Councilor of External Communication Kuramia, and I was genuinely surprised at her initial response, “For me, this process actually happens during campaigning.” To which she added, “You’re not just setting up your platform, you have to have the “perfect” cabinet as well. I hesitated for a long time not just because I wanted to make sure I was ready, but also because I wanted a good cabinet. I wanted people I knew could do the work and do it the way I wanted it to be done.”
I was interested to see how this affected Kuramia personally in her experiences as a leader, which she explained, “Now when you have that “perfect” cabinet, and real life strikes one of them, your first worry is how you find someone with that work ethic that you need. You still need someone you can work with, but there is a hint of desperation. Citizens expect a replacement fairly soon, and not having one is worrying. If you can’t find a replacement, then you have to think about either running things yourself - - as I had to do with the Navy until HEM saved me - - or folding ministries or councils into other ones.”
I queried Kuramia further by adding, “I like that you’ve mentioned that hint of desperation at times – I know things can get stressful when you’re relying on people. Have you had anyone take you by surprise with either taking responsibilities well, or the opposite of people not performing and it being harder for you?”
Kuramia responded, “I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed by anyone’s performance. Honestly, just them agreeing was a surprise, but I have to say HEM was the most surprising. He not only called out that the ERN didn’t have direction or a leader, but then once I explained what was up he immediately took it upon himself to correct things. He did that and more. He transformed the ERN into something that makes sense and got a lot of participation.”
I had to agree with Kuramia’s statement here, having personally enlisted into the Europeian Republican Navy (ERN) since joining the region, the structure that HEM gave really increased my activity and motivation to serve for Europeia.
Kuramia continued, “I guess that’s why I picked people so carefully. I watch everyone. I see what they do, and I see what they don’t do. As someone working beside others in cabinets and with others in my own cabinets, I can tell who can handle the workload and who can’t. I always make sure to support people too.
“It’s a fine balance between wanting to do a job and having the ability to do it because of real life. I’ve only ever seen people who’ve worked for me freely able to admit when they need to step back. That’s as important as having a good work ethic.”
I then turned to the current Minister of Interior Calvin Coolidge for a basic rationale behind his approach to people leaving roles. As he was a recently outgoing first minister, that was dealt a few sudden resignations in his tenure, I felt that his experiences would be fresh to draw upon.
“So, sudden resignations are something that occur almost every term in some form or another. As First Minister, President, Minister, or any sort of leadership position, you have to be prepared by having deputies selected, a strong plan in place for whoever fills the position next to be able to step into, and you need to be able to do the job yourself, frankly, while the transition period is underway. If you don't have these things in place before the resignation, you will undoubtedly be frantically scrambling to get them after, and that's no fun for anyone.”
Now, while I had some solid answers, and some logical and rational approaches from these two leaders, I felt that I hadn’t really explored the personal toll these resignations may have had on people. So I decided to rephrase my line of questioning when I asked Supreme Chancellor Lethen about a time when things had been rough for him in a transitional period; for all the political twists and turns we take in Europeia, Lethen's answer seemed to have a lot of impact on me in exploring how resignations effect both the populace, and the leaders managing expectations.
“I've dealt with two different kinds of resignation in my time: sudden resignations and resignations where you at least saw them on the horizon. Admittedly, I've been out of elected office where I had underlings for a very long time, but typically sudden resignations catch you off-guard and force you to re-evaluate your staffing options. In some cases, I've had a relatively deep talent pool like in, say, my tenure as Culture Minister in 2011. In many cases though, you don't have a replacement in mind. That can cause deeper issues than simply having no one to run a ministry or pick up slack. In the early days of Europeia, for example, HEM and I struggled mightily to find, train up, and then keep Grand Admirals. Think of all the time we lost to identifying and training the candidates that were being groomed for leadership. Generally, it can be very frustrating and somewhat draining to address sudden resignations - especially if you keep having to address the same concerns from the public while trying to emphasize following your vision for the term. I think it just takes the wind out of the proverbial sails for a lot of those in charge.”
It is of note, particularly going by Lethen’s comments, the hours of work that go in to the training process for raising people into leadership roles, and the after effect of resignations can leave leaders feeling flat and disheartened if their time has seemed fruitless. However, there is always an opportunistic side, one that I think Kuramia got to the heart of when talking about HEM’s transformation and direction of the ERN. Those that remain strong after departures, and weather the storm of responsibility, are then esteemed for their contributions; those that create new ideas will shape our future; and those that persevere deserve to be rewarded for their abilities and the hope they hold when faced with adversity – even to those that step down, for the brutal overload of work expected of them, they are respected for giving so much of themselves.
Looking back on past terms you can see that those leaders that have had success amongst turmoil usually have a contingency plan, as Calvin suggests, and they come prepared knowing full well that they may have to work hard to get things moving along again; but even with these plans in place I feel that, particularly recently, there are times where you can feel suddenly thrown into disarray and confusion – but thankfully we are starting to see a new wave of citizens in Europeia with fresh ideas, activity building, and the sparks of opportunity flying high once again.
First Minister Election
Written by Xecrio and Cookiespagientland
You couldn't describe this as a two-horse race; the first minister election of February 2020 was dominated by the citizen who now finds herself in the top position. That, however, does not mean that this election was easy, for the journey from how we began to where we are now is full of twists and turns. In what was characterised by radio shows, debate, and confusion, the Europeian Broadcasting Corporation presents you with this special to enlighten you with how we got here.
To really get a grip of what happened, we have to go back to Calvin Coolidge's (Calvin) first minister address. This was the address that would ultimately set the precedent for who would run. Calvin announced, quite simply, that he would not run. This opened up a window of opportunity for many new citizens who were eyeing up the big prize. In a "Get to Know Your Executive" radio show, Xecrio revealed he would run in the election, while others kept quiet for the time being. It was also interesting to note that Calvin mentioned in a different radio show that the candidates who were standing had revealed to him prior to the show that they would not stand if he stood.
Standing opened on January 20, with Xecrio/GraVandius being the first ticket to declare their candidacy. Not long after, the ticket of Sopo/Maowi came through followed by Dax/Bowzin. It had barely been a day, and already this was shaping up to be an exciting race. A day later, on January 21, newcomer cookiespaigentland (cookies) entered the race with her running mate cuddles. This ignited a whole new flame in the election: could the newcomer take on some of the region's most recognised citizens? The race was on.
Not long after standing opened, the Europeian News Network conducted the election's first opinion poll. The poll, that at that time, did not include the cookies/cuddles ticket as they had not stood yet. The poll put Sopo and Maowi well in the lead, when undecided voters were forced to make a decision, with Dax and Bowzin just behind them. Xecrio found himself in a much worse position than cuddles, Calvin, and HEM had predicted in a First Minister Candidate discussion the day before. Now, here's where things start to get interesting. The ticket of Dax/Bowzin withdrew due to time constraints and the ticket of Sopo/Maowi reversed itself. Now there were three candidates in the race; Maowi, Xecrio, and cookies would spend the next week battling it out in debate to see who would come out on top.
Candidates were quick to get their platforms out, with Maowi and Xecrio both releasing theirs on January 22. A day later, on January 23 cookies released her platform. Then, on January 27, a new poll was released, this time including cookies/cuddles, Maowi/Sopo, and Xecrio/GraVandius. Maowi led by 10 points, with 50 percent, whilst Xecrio had 40 percent. Cookies was far behind with 10 percent. However, interestingly, it seemed as though the majority of Xecrio's supporters did not think he would win - he only polled at 10 percent when participants were asked who they thought would win. Cookies was at 15 percent, and, unsurprisingly, Maowi was at 75 percent.
The candidates went on to answer questions asked of their platforms. Then, on January 28, the second ministerial candidates Sopo, cuddles, and GraVandius participated in a second minister debate over radio. This allowed all Europeians to hear from all candidates, one of whom would eventually go on to become second minister.
On January 29, all three first ministerial candidates participated on a debate over Discord text. The debate covered many topics - from the EuroChoice Awards, to the Ministry of the Interior, to dispatches. The Panda's Pen released an article in which Calvin, Pichtonia, and Common-Sense Politics rated the performance of each candidate; overall, Maowi came out on top, although all three of the debaters had weaker and stronger moments.
Just three days later, on January 31, the election was officially held. The results were not too surprising, with Maowi officially being elected as first minister after racking up 24 votes, which gave her 68.6 percent of the vote share. Xecrio came second, with 17.1 percent, and cookies was in a distant third with just 5.7 percent
Overall, this was an extremely eventful and interesting race, with many unexpected twists and turns.
Citizens’ Spotlight - TheNationofthePeople
Nation: The Nation of the People of the Nation
Classification: Democratic Socialists
Motto: "Yes We Can"
Population: 3.39 billion
Currency: Paw Print
Leading Cause of Death: Old Age (74.5%)
Notable Ranking: The nation is in the top 4% of the world for youth rebelliousness.
Contributions so far: "So the first thing I did was re-acquaint myself with Euro's laws. I was a citizen here a year or two ago but I never really got established. My read through of the laws caused me to find some things I felt were a problem, mainly revolving around EO's, I then started a grand hall thread in which I got into an argument with some people that knew way more then me and that helped cause the EO debate that continued for a while. This experience caused me to apply to be a law clerk, which is a role that I am still moderately active in now. Later I also applied to be a member of The Watch, an Ambassador, and a member of the CoWAA. Then I became a City Councilor in Arnhelm, which is a position I highly recommend to everyone as it allows everyone to gain some legislative experience. After a bit as an active councilmember I ran for Mayor, an office I currently hold and we have passed 4 bills so far with 2 more in vote now, as well as the budget now being on the table. Finally, I am now a candidate for Senate!"
Dream Job: “Well as you know, currently I am running for Senate and of course I would love to be elected, but long term I would like to be a Minister and maybe eventually FM or CoS, providing the Executive Reform keeps those positions."
Congratulations to TheNationofthePeople!