1970-1972 Katranjian political crisis

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1970-1972 Katranjian political crisis
Date October 16, 1970-December 11, 1972
Location Across Katranjiev
Causes
Methods
Result
Parties to the civil conflict

Katranflag5189.png Reformers

  • People's Trade Union
  • Various student organizations
Lead figures

The 1970-1972 Katranjian political crisis (Katranjian: Катрански политическа криза от 1970-1972, Katranski politicheska kriza ot 1970-1972, Luziycan: Katranski politicheskiy krizis i 1970-1972, Namorese: "1970-1972" Кателан джинфувеки, 1970-1972 Katelan jinfuveki) was a notable political crisis in Katranjiev, taking place right after Huankun Chen's death, and lasting until the 1972 general elections. It comprised of a budgetary crisis in late 1971, and it culminated in early 1972 during the leadership convention for the upcoming elections. Following Zeng's defeat in these elections, the political crisis came to an end.

However, the consequences of the political crisis were a significant weakening of the trust placed in the Liberationist regime of the People's Republic of Katranjiev, and the rise of potent opposition. By 1976, a referendum was held, and Baikun Qing resigned, handing power back to Apostol XIV.

Background

The seeds of the political crisis began to sprout when Baikun Qing was chosen to be President by Huankun Chen in 1967 to succeed Nuoju Zeng. Zeng was transferred to the position of premier, after serving a ten-year term as President. However, due to term limits (of two consecutive five-year terms), she was unable to serve as President after 1967, although she could run in 1972 since there were no lifetime term limits.

Huankun Chen had officially not served as head of state or government since 1942, although in practice, Chen maintained all the power, and was the de-facto leader of the country. The Premier in particular had almost no powers, despite being the official head of government, while the Presidency had very limited powers. However, Chen's deteriorating health (as a result of lung cancer) limited his ability to participate in many official functions, and he was unable to exercise his powers. However, since he had such complete control over the country, even after he stepped down as President in 1961, by the time Huankun Chen fell into a coma on June 28th, there was little succession planning.

While his last conscious moments saw him write a will which read "Everything goes to Zeng," a power vacuum began to emerge between the reformers and the Zengites. However, due to the possibility of Huankun Chen being able to re-assume his duties, the two factions uneasily continued day-to-day administration of the state, although tensions began to mount when the chances of his survival slipped.

Early stages of the political crisis

Nuoju Zeng in early 1971

On October 16, 1970, Huankun Chen died. Both Zeng and Qing helped organize the funeral, which was modelled after Yunglang Antelope's funeral. They both publicly appeared at the funeral on October 22nd, and gave eulogies. Wishing to avoid publicizing the divide between them like what had happened in Namor during Yunglang's funeral that ultimately led to a political crisis, the eulogies were worded carefully so they would not inadvertently discredit each other. However, tensions began to increase dramatically after the funeral.

At a speech on December 11th, 1970 (celebrating the 33rd anniversary of the December Revolution), Baikun Qing pledged to implement "Minjuha-style reforms to restructure the Liberationist system in our country as soon as possible." On December 13th, Nuoju Zeng spoke at the Shuvet i Khorata, condemning the "efforts of Qing to remove Katranjiev from the path that was clearly set out by Yunglang Antelope when he liberated Namo from republican tyranny," and called on the Shuvet to impeach President Qing. The chamber was divided, 50-50, with a tie between the ayes and the nays. The President was called to break the tie, and voted "no" to the proposal to impeach him, and also condemned Zeng's "obstructionism."

The deadlock was a sign of things to come: after the session of the Shuvet resumed in January 1971, fierce exchanges between Nuoju Zeng and Baikun Qing were common, to such a point that only one law was passed between January and February 1971, compared to seventeen laws in the same time period the preceding year. However, in March 1971, the budget was not passed, due to fierce disagreements between Qing's faction and the Zengite faction, making long-term financial planning difficult, which would cause the budget crisis.

Budget crisis

Baikun Qing (left) and Kong Jo helping negotiate a budget, December 1971

During the spring and summer of 1971, the two factions led by Baikun Qing and Nuoju Zeng continued their feud. With the outbreak of the Third Namo-Luziycan War in June of 1971, while Katranjiev expressed their moral support of Namor, internal disagreements prevented Katranjiev from launching an attack on Luziyca, especially due to a lack of budget, which hindered the ability of the Katranjians to "meaningfully contribute." Despite efforts to conserve money, propaganda wars waged on the airwaves by both Baikun Qing and Nuoju Zeng resulted that by September 11, 1971, there would be not enough money to provide all services.

Thus, on August 1, 1971, Baikun Qing announced on NRK that "if no new budget can be agreed on by September 11th, we will be left with no choice but to conduct emergency triage." Among the services that would be affected by the emergency triage program (Katranjian: avariino sortirovka, Luziycan: emergencia sotirovki, Namorese: Гиндже луфан, Ginje Lufan) would be NRK1 and NRK3, the People's Airlines, People's Railroad Network, and the People's Shipping Company, and it was clear only schools, hospitals, military bases, the electrical grid and emergency services will remain in day-to-day operation "as normal."

Despite efforts to secure an emergency budget, Zeng only agreed to the budgetary demands if they agreed to impeach Qing. When a budget was proposed in late August with a rider mandating impeachment for Baikun Qing, it was separated 76 against to 74 for the budget. As the deadline loomed, many government services not affected planned to embark in a "solidarity campaign" by embarking on a work-to-rule campaign with the intention of slowing things down so to force the government to pass a budget. At the same time, the People's Trade Union also planned to embark on a work-to-rule campaign, in order to pressure the Katranjian government to pass a budget.

On September 11th, at midnight, the "emergency triage" programs took effect. The rail service was reduced to only a weekly service from Krasimir to Desislav, while the NRK radio stations were all shut down except the Katranjian-language service. Only the Namorese language NRK2 continued to broadcast on television. About 90% of the workforce employed in nationalized firms were unable to be paid, and were essentially locked out of work. This, combined with the work-to-rule campaign in the governmental services not affected and by many businesses helped spur public dissatisfaction with the Liberationist regime, with many organizations critical of Liberationism beginning to emerge during that period, and often met with violence by the 26th of July Movement.

On December 2nd, 1971, Kong Jo made a surprise visit to Krasimir and managed to convince both Qing and Zeng to pass a budget. The "Kong budget," as it was called, resulted in the restoration of funding to non-essential organizations, and was passed into law on December 3rd. By December 8th, all services, including NRK's Katranjian-language and Luziycan-language television services, the rail network services, and others were brought back to normal operation. That very next day, the work-to-rule campaign came to an end as a budget had finally been passed.

The height of the crisis

Nuoju Zeng (left) and Yunhe Shen at the 22nd party congress, 1972

After the budgetary crisis ended, and the government resumed "normal operations," the two factions began to co-operate on some issues. However, as the 22nd Liberationist Party Congress approached, which were tasked with selecting candidates for the coming general elections, there were two clear factions emerging. Both Nuoju Zeng and Baikun Qing expressed their intention to run for the leadership, as well as the Presidency: while Qing argued that her candidacy was unconstitutional, Zeng claimed that there was "a rule prohibiting three consecutive terms, but there is no rule that says that once you serve two terms, you can never serve again!"

At the party congress on February 23rd, Zeng announced her candidacy, and chose her protege Yunhe Shen as her candidate for premier. That same day, Qing announced that he will run for office, and selected Blazhe Hristov. Hristov was not even a member of the party until Qing selected him as his candidate for premier. An effort was made to have both candidates run on the same ticket, but Qing rejected it, saying "if Zeng remains Premier, and I remain President, or vice-versa, there is no hope for the future of Liberationism in the country." Zeng also refused, condemning Qing as a "revisionist" and "a probable CIA agent."

On February 24th, a brawl broke out in the chamber. Blazhe Hristov and Yunhe Shen encountered each other and a fistfight started when Yunhe punched Blazhe in the chest. A brawl began to ensue as the delegates began fighting each other, resulting in the organizers attempting to adjourn the session. When it failed, they were forced to call in the military to separate the two factions. The military separated the two sides (which were roughly equal) for the remainder of the convention, barring them from crossing to the other side for any reason.

Despite this, the debate continued fiercely as Zeng and Qing engaged in a war of words. On February 26th, Qing made a speech declaring that "the only way to restore Katranjiev's reputation on the international stage is to follow Namor's path in Minjuha, and ensure that the people truly have a say in what our government is."

In response, Nuoju Zeng said that "so long as the Slavs remain a majority, we cannot advance to the next stage of the revolution," and openly advocated "relocating" the ethnic Luziycans in the north to East Luziyca under the grounds that "they are a major national security risk to the Liberationist regime."

Her racist remarks against the Slavs drew many people to support Baikun Qing's campaign, and on March 1st, when the votes concluded, 3/4ths of party members voted for Baikun Qing and Blazhe Hristov to run. Zeng maintained that she was the legitimate winner of the election, claiming that the "party apparatus have rigged the election in the favor of the revisionist," and began organizing her own campaign, paving way for the first multi-candidate elections since May 1951.

1972 general elections

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Campaign poster for Baikun Qing, 1972

As the campaign began, ethnic lines became very relevant. Nuoju Zeng was predicted to have high support in the eastern communes (present-day duchy of Trifonov, eastern Talnakh, and the sovereign state of Riro) due to her high support among ethnic Kannei Namorese, while Baikun Qing had major support in Slavic-majority regions due to his promises to reform the government.

The campaign was very vicious with voter intimidation by the 26th of July Movement to force people to vote for Nuoju Zeng, while supporters of Baikun Qing organized demonstrations condemning Zengite tactics. Attack ads targeting both sides were very common, with Zeng's campaign accusing Qing of being a "revisionist traitor aligned with Kong Jo," and Qing's campaign accusing Zeng of being "outdated and pro-Kiang Ssxu."

By October, the military had to be deployed in large cities due to "constant violence among Zengites and Qingites," with much of the efforts to halt the violence spread by the 26th of July Movement that was loyal to Nuoju Zeng. These efforts continued all the way to election day, with not a lot of success. Government officials described the situation as election day approached as being "more of a riot than an election."

On December 10, people went to the polls, with the stations guarded by soldiers due to the risk of violence. When the results were announced, the Zengite faction lost a significant proportion of their seats, giving the reformers led by Baikun Qing a significant majority in the Shuvet i Khorata, thereby ending the political crisis, although for the next while, there was still some disputes between Qingites and Zengites.

Aftermath

Baikun Qing making a speech in early 1976 announcing referendum plans

In the political arena, President Baikun Qing spent much of early 1973 consolidating his power, and removing Nuoju Zeng of all of her power and influence over her politics. A party plenum held in March 1973 saw the expulsion of Nuoju Zeng, and she was charged with treason against the People's Republic, and conspiracy to seize power. Many of her close associates were purged as well. While most political dissidents were released in late 1975 and early 1976, Zeng and her closest associates were only released in August 1976 after the monarchy had returned to power, when Apostol XIV pardoned her.

Following the removal of the Zengites from the party, Qing began to focus on attempting reform. In the summer of 1973, he began announcing programs to democratize the country and to implement a Katranjian equivalent of Minjuha, known as "prestrukturirane" (restructuring) in the Katranjian language. Over the next few years, Qing made great strides in liberalization and economic development. However, as he implemented reforms, they exposed the weak foundations of the regime, primarily due to how the regime was founded by a coup d'etat instead of a revolution. This revelation would ultimately would lead to protests in 1975 and a referendum that saw a majority of voters vote to restore the constitutional monarchy that had existed prior to Huankun Chen's coup d'etat, over the status quo (which was supported by the Kannei Namorese) and a republic.

Legacy

"The People's Republic of Katranjiev died in 1970 with Chen, but its rotting corpse was only buried in 1976." -unnamed official

The political crisis is believed to have hastened the inevitable downfall of the Liberationist regime, as the power struggle that shut down the government in 1971 caused so much disruption that many Katranjians who were previously complacent with the system began to turn against it due to the system's ineffectiveness. The success of the reformers led by Baikun Qing also resulted in more information being released that was related to Huankun Chen's efforts to seize power in 1951 and his abuses of power during his reign. This information would have resulted in many people, especially the younger generation condemning the illegitimate seizure of power, and demanding a referendum to at least "legitimize" the regime in a referendum that was not fraudulent and was monitored by international observers.

Approval ratings were difficult to measure, due to the fact that many opinion polls were rigged in favor of the Liberationists, but it was said that 62% approved of the government in 1970, compared to only 17% in 1972, with the decrease being primarily due to the budgetary crisis from September to December 1971 that resulted in the shut-down of many government services, as a result of the power struggle between the two factions.

Thus, many Katranjian political scientists state that "had the two sides been able to agree on a budget before the emergency triage period started, Liberationism may still exist in Katranjiev," and credit the budgetary crisis for being the impetus for the collapse of Liberationism in the People's Republic of Katranjiev, since the closure of most government services deeply affected the country.

International reaction

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  • Luziyca East Luziyca - While the government opposed the Liberationists, it provided covert support to the reformist faction, concerned that if Zeng's faction did succeed, Katranjiev would be "firmly ensnared in a regime that will have atrocities surpass that of the Chorean Empire during the war."
  •  Namor - Throughout the crisis, the Namorese government mediated between the Zengites and Reformers. President-General Kong Jo paid his only visit to Katranjiev to encourage the government to pass a budget. While Antelope was openly critical of the orthodox Nuoju Zeng, he was also disdainful of Baikun Qing, whom he criticized for "not knowing what reform is about." The government declined to endorse either side during the election.