Antelope Shohai

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Antelope Shohai
Антелопе Шохаи
令狐萧亥
11th President-General of the People's Republic of Namor
Incumbent
Assumed office
20 April 2015
Vice President Long Jiaoche
Preceded by Fu Wen
Secretary-General of the Liberationist Party of Namor
Incumbent
Assumed office
12 November 2009
Deputy Long Jiaoche
Preceded by Antelope Txo
Deputy of the Namorese Central Council
In office
7 February 2000 – 20 April 2015
President Kaitlyn Khan
Fu Wen
Constituency #5
Personal details
Born August 9, 1960 (age 57)
Namo, Capital District
Nationality Namorese
Political party Liberationistpartylogo.png Liberationists
Spouse(s) Sang Fadong (m. 1991)
Alma mater Namo University
Religion None

Antelope Shohai (born August 9, 1960) is a politician serving as the 11th President-General of the People's Republic of Namor. A member of the Antelope family, he is the great-grandson of Antelope Yunglang, the grandson of Antelope Gelai and the son of Antelope Txo, all three of whom had served a position of leadership in the government.

Antelope began his political career by running for Namo Municipal Council in 1993. After serving in the Municipal Council for several years, he entered the Central Council in 2000, becoming one of the CenCo's youngest members. Following his father's retirement from politics, Antelope became Secretary-General of the Liberationist Party of Namor in 2009. That year, he initiated his first presidential campaign, but lost to incumbent President-General Fu Wen in the 2010 election.

As leader of the Liberationists, Antelope worked to improve the party's image among younger people. The Liberationists adopted a more liberal stance on social issues such as drugs and LGBT rights, softened its attitude towards religion by welcoming agnostics into its ranks, and placed a greater emphasis on environmental protection and worker's rights.

In 2014, Antelope entered the 2015 presidential election. He was nominated as the candidate for the Popular Front - an alliance of left-wing parties. With 59.5% of the popular vote, Antelope was elected the 11th President-General of Namor. Antelope's victory marked the first Liberationist President-General since the election of Chanin Chen in 1985. It also marked a resurgence in the Namorese left after ten years of New Democratic rule.

Antelope Shohai is the first President-General to lead a genuine coalition government in which the cabinet is divided among the three Popular Front parties. His presidency has been marked by the expansion of the Common Medical Care System (CMCS), the introduction of a national minimum wage, greater governmental intervention in the economy through the Market Emergency Response Act (MERA), and the Climate and Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), widely considered to be the most comprehensive environmental protection law in Namorese history. In foreign policy, Antelope championed an unsuccessful bid for EC membership, chaired the Third Esquarian Summit and repudiated Namo-Luziycan detente.

Early Life

Antelope Shohai was born in August 9, 1960 in Namo. He is a fourth-generation member of the Antelope family.

Antelope joined the Young Liberationists, the youth wing of the Liberationists, and studied at a party school. He rose to the top of his class and attended Namo University.

Political career

Namo Municipal Council

Namo municipal councilmember Antelope Shohai, 1995

Antelope ran for the Namo municipal council in 1993. He won and became part of the council. During his time as a city council member, he kept in touch with younger residents of Namo, particularly the student body. He supported the closure of community colleges while at the same time urging universities to raise their acceptance rates so that more Namorese regardless of their level of performance may be encouraged to enter tertiary school rather than getting a job early. He proposed legislation authorizing the Capital District government to build a technical college.

Central Council

Antelope Shohai campaigning during the 2000 legislative election

In the 2000 general elections, Antelope entered the Central Council as a deputy of the 5th Legislative District.

Having entered the CenCo at the age of 37, Antelope was identified as a "Post-60," a politician born in the 1960s. As a member Young Comrades faction of the Liberationists, which consisted of younger, pro-reform party members, Antelope was an outspoken supporter of "revitalizing" the Liberationist Party so that it may surpass both the Democratic Socialists and New Democrats.

Although the left-wing parties suffered a massive defeat in the election of 2005, Antelope managed to secure his seat in the Central Council by advocating an alternative to both incumbent President-General Kaitlyn Khan and New Democratic candidate Fu Wen, calling both candidates "incompetent." While he endorsed Liberationist candidate Vang Jun, Antelope objected to the Liberationists' "anti-right" strategy, which encouraged party members to vote for either Khan or Vang as a means of deterring Fu. He accused the party of "dedicating itself to the preservation of Khan's administration instead of taking the initiative to bring us back to the Executive House."

Liberationist leadership

Antelope Shohai speaking at the "Stop Luziycan Imperialism, Nantai is Namorese" rally in East Po'ai, 2013

Antelope was elected a member of the Liberationist Party's Central Committee during the 24th Congress in 2000. Five years later in the 25th Congress, he was promoted to serve in the Politburo but fell short of entering the Politburo Standing Committee to avoid accusations of nepotism (at the time, Antelope Txo was secretary-general of the party and a member of the PSC).

Antelope Txo announced his retirement from politics in 2009, leaving the position of Secretary-General up for election in the 26th Congress. Following the announcement, Antelope Shohai announced his candidacy for party secretaryship. Antelope Txo endorsed Shohai, whom he said "has what it takes to unify the party and return it to the mainstream of Namorese politics."

Antelope's bid for party leadership did not go unchallenged. Fellow Politburo member Su Rongyun and Txotai Head of State Vang Jun ran against him; Su called Antelope's aspirations to become Secretary-General one that was "established upon blood ties." Despite this and other claims made against him, Antelope was elected Secretary-General with 57 of all 87 votes of the Party Central Committee.

2010 election

Over a week after becoming Secretary-General, Antelope announced his bid for the presidency, expressing his desire to cooperate with the Democratic Socialists and Socialists as a coalition. He urged the three parties to "stop bickering and look forward" so they can effectively challenge Fu Wen. Antelope was swiftly nominated by the Liberationists while both the Socialists and Democratic Socialists declined to nominate candidates and endorsed him instead.

During his campaign, Antelope focused on criticizing Fu Wen's economic policy and accused Fu of being ineffective in containing state and corporate corruption. In addition to criticizing Fu's domestic policies, Antelope was a critic of the the Fu administration's approach to Namo-Luziycan relations, calling the October 7 Consensus on the status of Nantai "vague" and accusing Fu of placing closer relations with Luziyca above cooperation with the EC and NOSDO.

Ultimately, Antelope lost the election to Fu, winning 41.94% of the popular vote compared to Fu's 51.79%.

Popular Vote (2010 presidential election)
Fu Wen
  
51.79%
Antelope Shohai
  
41.94%
Kuo Zhang
  
4.97%
Other Candidates
  
1.29%

2015 election

Popular Front primary

In August 9, 2014, Antelope Shohai called on Namor's left-wing parties to unite behind one candidate, saying "If someone from each party gets nominated and runs, the New Democrats will definitely have a better chance of maintaining control of the Executive House. Since we swore that will not happen next year, we should take all actions necessary to consolidate our votes and form a united front." Antelope officially entered the race on August 18.

Antelope, along with Socialist Tao James and Democratic Socialist Namsa Singho, ran for the Popular Front nomination. Antelope started off as the frontrunner, but from November to December he trailed behind Tao. Antelope did not regain forerunner status until January, when polls showed him in the lead as Tao's popularity subsided.

In January 22, Antelope was named the Popular Front nominee after leading the latest nationwide poll.

Results of the Popular Front primary of 2015
Antelope Shohai
  
45%
Tao James
  
41%
Namsa Singho
  
14%

Post-primaries

After his nomination, Antelope competed directly with New Democratic candidate Huan An and People's First candidate Kuo Zhang for the presidency.

Antelope maintained a commanding lead in the months leading up to the election; even as the percentage of undecided voters rose, he remained the preferred candidate among over 40-50% of voters. Antelope's campaign capitalized on popular frustration with the New Democratic government, specifically its handling of the 2014 stock market crash, as well as Huan An's support for a territory-wide referendum to determine Nantai's political status, which was unpopular among voters. As predicted, Antelope won a landslide victory, winning nearly 60% of the popular vote whereas Huan won 22.3% of the vote and Kuo won 17.2%. In the legislative election, Antelope's Liberationists won the most number of seats, becoming the Central Council's largest party for the first time in three decades.

Popular Vote (2015 presidential election)
Antelope Shohai
  
59.5%
Huan An
  
22.3%
Kuo Zhang
  
17.2%
Bao Ding
  
0.5%
Jijin Fenzi
  
0.26%
He Pingtao
  
0.22%

Presidency

Domestic policy

Antelope meeting with Kungtongsen (Namorese United Front of Trade Unions) leaders, 2016

In a departure from the Fu Wen years, Antelope's presidency has seen increased government intervention in the economy and an expansion of welfare programs.

Unlike Fu, who saw excessive government intervention in the economy as dangerous to long-term prosperity, Antelope Shohai argued that the Fu administration's laissez-faire approach to the economy is the chief cause of the 2014 stock market crash and its effects. Under Antelope's administration, policies were introduced that gave the state more powers to readily address future economic crises. An example of such policies include the Emergency Response Act (MERA) of 2016, which passed the Popular Front-dominated Central Council and was signed into law by Antelope. The MERA authorizes the government to declare a period of economic crisis during which it may regulate the activities of stockholders.

In May 2016, Antelope proposed expanding the Common Medical Care System (CMCS) to low-income patients living in the cities. Dubbed the "Antelope Plan," the reforms intend to cover 50-75% of urban low-income patients' medical bills, thereby making healthcare more affordable not only among people in rural areas, but also people in urban areas. The Antelope Plan passed the Central Council in May 26 and would take effect in 2016. In compensation for the money spent on the Antelope Plan, the government cut subsidies to farmers, arguing that "vestigial subsidies" are not necessary when farmers are already covered by the CMCS.

In September 2016, Antelope signed into law the National Minimum Wage Act (NMWA), which instituted a national minimum wage of P35.00 ($5.00)/hour except in areas where the local minimum wage was higher. Prior to the passage of the NMWA, a national minimum wage did not exist as the task of setting the minimum wage had been delegated to the local governments.

During his 2017 Policy Address, Antelope announced his intention to replace the CMCS with the "Popular Care System" (PCS), which he said would extend healthcare insurance to all low-income Namorese; in addition, he introduced the "2035 Plan," pledging to enact policies aimed at reducing Namor's reliance on coal such that the Namorese economy will be coal-free by 2035.

As part of the 2035 Plan, Antelope promulgated the Climate and Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), considered to be the most comprehensive environmental law in Namorese history. The act established the Ministry of the Environment, levied taxes on petroleum fuel, non-renewable natural gas and coal-generated electricity, set a timetable for the phasing out of coal and most petroleum vehicles and earmarked P5.6 trillion (NS$800 billion) in funds for the construction of nuclear power plants, solar and wind farms. After the passage of CEPA, Antelope appointed Aleka Sayavong as the first Minister of the Environment.

June 10 earthquake and tidal wave

Antelope Shohai with restaurant owners in Hai Nang, Tuhao - one of the cities struck by the tidal wave

On June 10, 2017, a magnitude 9.4 earthquake in the East Namor Sea triggered a tidal wave that devastated the coasts of many countries in the Central Ocean Basin, including Namor's eastern coast.

In response to the tidal wave, Namor declared a state of national emergency. President-General Antelope launched Operation Rishen, ordering the Namorese Liberation Army to take part in rescue operations in the eastern coast. Over 200,000 troops, 500 aircraft and 40 naval ships participated in the operation, making it the largest assistance operation in Namorese military history. Both Antelope and First Spouse Sang Fadong paid visits to areas affected by the disaster. Two weeks after the tidal wave, a Mojing Sibo poll found that Antelope's approval rating had shot up to 86 percent - the highest for a President-General since 2005, when Fu Wen ordered an invasion of Peitoa.

Amid fears of an economic downturn, Antelope introduced the Regeneration Act. The largest stimulus package in Namorese history, the Act sought to invest over P10.2 trillion (US$1.5 trillion) in infrastructure, tax cuts and housing. Despite concerns that the money from the stimulus would be misused and the stimulus would drive up the national debt, the stimulus was passed by the Central Council.

Foreign policy

Antelope and the EC's chief envoy in Namor

Following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Antelope pledged to defend Namorese national interests while in office.

Antelope supported Namorese integration into the EC and announced a nationwide referendum on EC membership which was held on August 5, 2016. However, fears of compromising national sovereignty and a general lack of interest in the issue resulted in low turnout which invalidated the referendum results. Despite this setback, Antelope signed the Namor-Esquarian Community Association Agreement (AAECNA) in 2017, which established formal mechanisms for Namo-EC cooperation and lowered tariffs on certain imports from both sides. Both the Namorese and Esquarian legislatures ratified the agreement, which Antelope labeled as "historic."

Namor hosted the Third Esquarian Summit in 2016. As Chair of the Summit, Antelope proposed an Esquarian trade organization that would regulate international trade and a convention prohibiting biological and chemical weapons.

Namor's relations with Luziyca cooled considerably after Antelope took office. Antelope supported maintaining stable relations on the basis of Three Mutuals - "mutual benefit," "mutual respect" and "mutual trust." Following Luziyca's accession to the EC, Antelope protested the representation of Luziycan-administered Nantai in the Esquarian Parliament by withdrawing the Namorese ambassador from Bethlehem - a move unseen since the normalization of relations in 1991. Ambassadorial contact was restored after the Parliament voted to bar Luziyca from seating representatives from Nantai. Months after calling Namo-Luziycan detente a "burden" during the 2017 Annual Policy Address, Antelope signed the Defense of Namorese Dignity Act (DNDA) into law. The act significantly restricted contact between Namorese and Luziycan officials and required the Foreign Ministry to publish an annual report on pro-Luziycan governments and organizations worldwide.

Despite overall deterioration in relations with Bethlehem, Namor under Antelope improved ties with the Lutheran Catholic Church, allowing Pope Stephan V to step foot on Namorese territory for the first time in to attend the funeral of late Patriarch of Gusev Ivan III in Txotai.

Antelope started his presidency pledging to improve ties with developing countries, with Namor joining the International Forum for Developing States. But growing unease with expanding Ankoreni influence in Nautasia and political repression in developing states forced the administration to adopt a more hesitant stance. In response to the violent crackdown on protesters in Xiaodong, Antelope called for political reforms and increased civil liberties in developing countries.

Public image

At the beginning of his political career, Antelope enjoyed a relatively positive public image compared to older Liberationists. He is often referred to as a "fourth-generation party member" - someone who grew up in the Minjuha era and was therefore more receptive to democratization and the concept of a pluralistic society. However, critics have called Antelope as a political dynast because he is a descendant of three former party leaders, two of whom were Presidents-General at some point of their lifetime. In an interview with PTH in which he was asked about his familial background, Antelope Shohai lauded Yunglang, Gelai and Txo but rejected the label of political dynast, saying: "If I were to choose between keeping 'Antelope' and 'Shohai' in my name at gunpoint, I would choose 'Shohai' because that is who I am, first and foremost."

Despite Antelope Shohai's fourth-generation credentials, his rise to the Liberationist leadership in 2010 received a mixed response from both inside and outside the party. An editorial by The Liberator, the party paper, called Antelope "the conscience of Liberationists," adding that "with both the political capital inherited from his predecessors and the will to change the party, Shohai has what it takes to bring the Liberationists back to the center stage of post-Minjuha Namorese politics." However, Su Rongyun, who ran against Antelope for party secretaryship and was later elected to the Politburo Standing Committee, said "Shohai will have a hard time convincing voters that our party is the force of progress." The Mojing Sibo, which had endorsed Su ahead of the 26th Party Congress, said "the takeover of Antelope Shohai has cast a shadow of uncertainty for the Liberationists. Whether Shohai will let his predecessors or his own generation guide him is a question even party insiders are finding difficult to answer."

As Antelope adopted a more reformist outlook during his secretaryship, he came to be identified as a moderate among the Namorese left. The Aininian newspaper République noted before the 2015 election that Antelope has a "thoughtful and progressive plan of action that does not embrace the neoliberalism of past administrations," but "also does not attempt to drag Namor back to the hard-left."

Personal life

Antelope married television presenter Sang Fadong in 1991. The two have one daughter - Antelope Hong (b. 1993), who is currently a graduate student at the University of Talon.

As a member of Namor's most famous political family, Antelope Shohai's relations have come under public scrutiny. His cousin, Antelope Yigi, is a member of the Liberationist Party's Central Committee and a deputy in the Central Council representing the 47th Legislative District - the same district that Antelope Txo had served. There are rumors that Yigi will run for President-General towards the end of Shohai's presidency or succeed Shohai as the Liberationists' next secretary-general.