Charles Vauban

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Charles Vauban
36th Prime Minister of Midrasia
In office
13 September 2013 – 8 September 2017
Monarch Louis XII
Preceded by Mylos Ranieri
Succeeded by Melcion Portas
Leader of the Social Democratic Party
In office
16 May 2011 – 8 September 2017
Preceded by Marc Llalondec
Succeeded by Michel Leroux
Shadow Transport Secretary
In office
12 April 2006 – 16 May 2011
Preceded by Julles Hollande
Succeeded by Lauren Degarde
Member of Parliament
for Sidona
In office
5 January 1994 – 8 September 2017
Preceded by Thierry Wyre
Majority 15,430 (42.0%)
Personal details
Born 12 June 1958 (age 58)
Bourges, Midrasia
Nationality Midrasian
Political party PSD
Spouse(s) Marie Tyre (m. 1989)
Residence Hôtel Lindoir
Alma mater Alba College, Roixs
Religion Alydianism

Charles Henri Vauban (born 12 June 1958) was the 36th Prime Minister of Midrasia and former leader of the Social Democratic Party, having served as party leader since May 2011 and Prime minister since September 2013 until September 2017. He has served as the Member of Parliament for Sidona in Hiverbourg from 1994 to 2017.

The son of a successful farmer from rural Padania, Vauban spent much of his early life in and around Bourges in northern Midrasia. Vauban received a scholarship to the University of Roixs in 1975 where he studied economics. From 1979 to 1984 Vauban worked for the Neufchatel Educational Awareness fund, before joining Nord Banque as an investment banker. Vauban departed from the banking sector to enter into politics in 1990, where he ran unsuccessfully as an PSD candidate for the constituency of Le Puy in 1991. However, Vauban was successfully elected to Parliament in 1994 for the constituency of Sidona, after its previous holder Thierry Wyre stepped down.

Vauban served for several years as an MP, before being appointed as Shadow Transport Secretary under the leadership of Mark Llalondec. Following the party's defeat within the 2006 election and Llalondec's resignation two years later, Vauban announced his candidacy for party leader. Vauban came second within the first ballot, only losing out to Robert Vivende; however won the popular election among members of the party. Following the defeat of the Alydian Democratic Union Party within the 2013 general election, Vauban's party entered negotiations with the Liberals resulting in the formation of a coalition government. In April 2017 Vauban became the centre of a corruption scandal for allegedly providing corporate access to classified governmental meetings and summits. In May 2017 a parliamentary investigation was launched into his affairs, which is currently ongoing.

On 8 September 2017, Vauban announced his resignation as leader of the Social Democrats and his retirement from politics 'for the foreseeable future'.

Early life and career

Born on 12 June 1958 in Bourges, South Padania, Vauban was the second child of Philippe and Lucile Vauban. His father was a successful farmer who owned a large farm and winery outside of the town. Vauban attended the local primary school in Bourges before gaining entrance to Oyonax Grammar school. Following his entrance into a national essay competition on the subject of education reform, Vauban received a scholarship offer from Alba College at the University of Roixs one of the most established and well respected universities in Aeia.

Vauban studied economics at Roixs, graduating with upper second-class honours. Following graduation, Vauban found employment with the Neufchatel Educational Awareness Fund, a Midrasian charity aimed at promoting and providing resources for education within developing countries. Vauban worked at the institute as a logistical coordinator, monitoring the programs funding activities. It is here that Vauban suggests he became influenced by left wing politics and values.

Vauban left the charity in 1984 to work as an investment banker for Nord Banque. Speaking about his time at the company, Vauban commented 'the pay was good, but the work was not.' In an interview with The Royal Standard, Vauban described his time at Nord Banque as 'tiring, stressful and not nearly as rewarding as Neufchatel'. In 1987 Vauban officially joined the Social Democratic Party, leaving the banking sector in 1990 to pursue politics full-time.

Political career

Vauban initially served as a councillor for Libret ward in La Campagne. In the 1991 general election, Vauban campaigned unsuccessfully as a candidate for the constituency of Le Puy, coming a close second behind UDA candidate Michelle de Craye, losing out by 1,732 votes (18.47%). Vauban then campaigned in the 1992 North Wincaestre by-election, coming a distant third with only 2,370 votes (18.38%). However following Thiery Wyre's retirement from politics, Vauban was able to win the safe-PSD seat of Sidona within the 1994 general election with a majority of 17,670 (46.5%).

Member of Parliament

Much of Vauban's early political career was spent as a backbench MP. However Vauban became notable for his grassroots campaigning within his constituency, his work resulting in the reconstruction of Sidona Library and extra funding for local council initiatives. Vauban also played a major role within the Parliamentary Committee on Health and Social Care, promoting several measures to improve local care access and standards. Following his reelection as MP for Sidona in 2000, Vauban became notable for his campaigning on local transport. Vauban's work secured much needed investment to redevelop Sidona's rail and bus links. His further work as a major backer of the Relier High Speed Railway earned him much notoriety among the party leadership, resulting in his appointment as Shadow Transport Secretary in 2006. In 2007 Vauban became a well recognised public figure following his successful campaign to prevent the privatisation of the Relier network.

Party leadership

In 2011 following the resignation of PSD leader Marc Llalondec, Vauban announced his candidacy for party leader. Despite Robert Vivende appearing as an early favourite among elected MPs, Vauban managed to secure enough support to move onto the popular leadership election. Vauban's work in securing the Relier, along with his campaign promises of Upper-House reform resonated with the party membership, resulting in his election as leader of the Social Democrats.

Vauban's appointments to his shadow cabinet showed a marginal shift toward the moderate wing of the party in contrast to the leadership of Llalondec. Matilda Oreza was appointed as foreign secretary, whilst Jean Recorde was retained as Shadow Chancellor. Jacques Marfrond was appointed as Secretary of trade, however was replaced with Fabian Lereff during a cabinet reshuffle in 2012.

Under Vauban's leadership in the 2013 general election, the PSD won its first election since 1994. However the party only earned 173 seats, 28 short of an overall majority. As such, the party entered negotiations with the Liberal League to create a coalition government. Under the leadership of Vauban, the PSD-Liberal coalition has governed Midrasia since 2014.

Prime Minister

On 5 January 2014 Vauban was inaugurated as Prime Minister, becoming the first PSD Prime Minister since Manuel Pegrant, 19 years prior. Within his inauguration speech, Vauban spoke of the importance of a balanced approach to government focused on compromise solutions which would be workable for both parties within the coalition agreement. Furthermore, Vauban stressed the importance of electoral reform, particularly of the upper-house which he proposed be replaced by an entirely elected Senate. Vauban also stressed his support for greater diplomatic and economic cooperation with Midrasia's Asuran neighbours, particularly Ohen and Oserland.

Vauban addresses Parliament following the attacks in Newrey.

Much of the Vauban administrations early work was dedicated to matters of internal infrastructure. In early interviews Vauban accused the UDA of 'withholding much need funding from the transport sector'. The government managed to successfully increase the transport budget by over 10% within its first year of governance, and laid the foundations for the expansion of the Relier from Lotrič to Argois, construction of which is currently ongoing. The government also introduced a highly controversial bill attempting to re-nationalise the independent rail franchises across Midrasia; however the bill was dropped following its unpopularity among the Liberal members of the coalition.

When the 2015 Bejarstan scandal broke, inditing several MPs for illegal business dealings within the Terncan region of Bejarstan three members of the Social Democrats were forced to resign by the Prime Minister, notably including Luix Jeans. On 5 September 2016 Midrasian newspaper the Oracle reported that Vauban also had links with foreign investment within Bejarstan, on behalf of the Midrasian firm Tundre Pétrole. However, following initial investigations the claims were dismissed due to a lack of evidence.

Following a number of terrorist incidents within Asura during Autumn 2016, Prime Minister Vauban spoke of 'maintaining order and liberty in the face of extremism'. Despite this, a number of measures were swiftly introduced by the government to combat the perceived terrorist threat. The measures included, but were not limited to, more rigid airport security, increased number of patrol officers, deployment of a small number of armed police in urban environments and an increase in passport border checks. As of January 2017, two suspected terrorists have been arrested at the Midrasian border, both of whom are currently held in policy custody. There have been no confirmed terrorist incidents on Midrasian soil since the 1981 Alzur attacks.

Economy

Under the Vauban administration, the Midrasian economy has continued to grow at a steady rate of around 2.80% of overall GDP, continuing the trend seen under the preceding Conservative government of Mylos Ranieri. Despite this, the government has committed itself to increased investment within the Midrasian economy, particularly in areas which have seen limited growth. The Vauban government has placed a much greater emphasis on manufacturing, particularly of cars, aircraft and naval vessels. The government has invested millions of Ducats into the economies of Argois, Padania and Elsouf, areas seen as lagging behind the more affluent regions of Toussaint and Vaellenia. Such investment has seen the enlargement of the Port of Argois, now reclaiming its spot as the largest port on the coast of the Asur. Investment in Elsouf has also seen the establishment of several new car manufacturing plants, by companies such as Âge and CAM.

Immigration

For the majority of the Vauban administration, immigration into Midrasia had increased at a steady rate, with levels in 2015 showing 312,000 entrants. However with Midrasia's entry into the Asuran Community, levels have increased to around 450,000. Much of this new immigration is from skilled migrants from other Asuran states such as Aquidneck, Ohen and Oserland. Despite calls from several more conservative members of the Assembly for Midrasia to withdraw from the common movement agreement as Newrey has done, the Vauban government has assured MPs that the current rate of immigration is entirely sustainable; pointing out that new migrants are bringing 'key skills necessary for Midrasia to prosper as a modern twenty-first century economy'.

Foreign affairs

Under the Vauban administration, much of the government's foreign policy work has been devolved to the foreign office. Many have speculated this is due to a lack of foreign policy experience on the part of the Prime Minister. Despite this, Vauban has made several key diplomatic appearances, with the most notable being his participation in the Zalejk summit of summer 2016. The summit discussed issues of territorial disputes within Rennekka. Under Vauban's leadership, the Midrasian government pursued a policy of mediation within Rennekkan affairs, with an emphasis on seeking an agreement which would satisfy all parties, despite key Midrasian influences within the region.

The Vauban administration also played a key role in the creation of the Asuran Community.[1] Although the ideas main proponent was Trade minister Fabien Lereff, Vauban publicly supported the program, in the interest of 'peace and prosperity'. The Treaty of Berghelling was ratified by the Midrasian government with a majority of 367-33, one of the largest majorities in the history of the Assembly. Vauban's support for the project contrasts with his initial statements on the project, which he described as a 'fantasy'.

On 17 October 2016, Vauban gave a speech addressed to the Public Assembly, condemning the recent declaration of war by Tarasanovia on Rohst.[2] Vauban, who had been notably critical in the past of Midrasia's relationship with Tarasanovia suggested the move toward war was done so 'without consideration or thought'. The Prime Minister implored MPs to support measures which sought to bring about an end to the conflict. In December of the same year, the Vauban administration issued a trade embargo on Kavo, in light of the state's recent civil war. Many have suggested that the decision made by the Midrasian government was integral to the collapse of the Kavoese government in early 2017.[3]

In 2017 the Vauban government also took direct action against the government of Johka following the revelations of ongoing ethnic cleansing within the country. The Vauban government supported a bill condemning the Johkan regime and calling for military action against the state.[4] The Midrasian government then took a leading role in the Johkan War which resulted in the downfall of the authoritarian government in Frigidarum.

Electoral reform

During negotiations with the Liberal League for the creation of a coalition government, both the PSD and Liberals agreed to pursue a policy of electoral reform. In the run-up to the election, both parties had promised some form of constitutional reform, with the PSD focusing on the creation of a directly elected upper chamber and the Liberals focusing on introducing a proportional voting system. An agreement was reached in late 2013 which saw both parties commit to the implementation of direct senatorial elections and the implementation of a mixed-member-proportionality voting system, retaining existing local representatives. Despite initial opposition from the UDA and several members of Vauban's party the positive public outlook toward the new system ensured it was popular within the Assembly. Despite this, a number of members of the Liberal League were opposed to the implementation of a directly elected Senate which was believed to highly favour the larger Midrasian parties. Ultimately the government were unable to secure a majority for its upper-chamber reform, however was able to move away from the first-past-the-post system. The first Midrasian general election to use the newly introduced Mixed-member-proportional system will take place in late 2017.

Resignation

On 8 September 2017, Vauban announced his resignation as leader of the Social Democratic Party and his retirement from politics in general.[5] In a statement, Mr Vauban suggested that his resignation aimed to rectify the party's falling poll ratings for the upcoming election by removing himself from the political sphere. Despite this, many suggested that his resignation was due to internal party pressures and the belief that he would be unable to maintain his hold on the constituency seat of Sidona.

Corruption Allegations

On 5 April 2017, Midrasian satirical magazine Le Picayune published an article titled 'Favours' from Mr Vauban, detailing a list of corruption allegations involving the Midrasian Prime minister. The article alleged that Mr Vauban had provided access to business officials and media representatives to classified governmental meetings and summits.[6] Many of those involved with the allegations had been businesses who had backed Vauban's 2013 election campaign, heavily donating to the PSD. In exchange, le Picayune suggested that Mr Vauban had provided such donors political influence through parliamentary loopholes and implementing favourable legislation. Whilst Vauban's alleged actions were not illegal under Midrasian law, the PSD and Vauban took a huge hit in polling ratings, falling over 15 points in a single day. In a statement, the Prime minister denied the accusations, suggesting the article was a 'non-story' and mere 'clickbait' to rescue Picayune's ailing subscription rates.

Later the same day, the hacktivist and news leak organisation Incognito released a statement over Chirper that they had 'far more information' on Mr Vauban than had been released in the Picayune article. The group stated that their information would be released to the public unless Mr Vauban resigned immediately. The Vauban administration denounced the claims made by the group which it branded as 'criminal', pointing to a number of hacking attempts made by the group in the past, attempting to infiltrate the Midrasian security network.[7]

As a result of such claims, protests broke out across Midrasia, most notably in Lotrič against political corruption, marking the beginning of the Midrasian Spring.

On 14th May 2017 Parliament passed an act officially authorising an investigation into the conduct of Vauban and a number of his advisers.[8] The investigations will be carried out by the Midrasian intelligence services, in conjunction with a parliamentary select committee established to oversee the investigation.

Personal life

Vauban married Marie Tyre in 1989, who worked as a journalist for the Midrasian newspaper The Times of Lotrique, before becoming chair of the Midrasian think tank Voix libre in 2008; the couple have no children. Vauban describes himself as a non-practising Alydian, having being brought up in a religious household, but not taking an active role in church service. Vauban is a fan of Oyonax Football Club and sometimes attends matches. Vauban is also a keen fisherman and gardener, having entirely redeveloped the south garden at Hôtel Lindoir.

References

  1. "Unity in Asura". The Royal Standard. 28 November 2016. https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=388478&start=25#p30508169. Retrieved 28 September 2016. 
  2. "Prime Minister Calls for Peace in Tarasanovia Conflict". The Royal Standard. 8 September 2017. https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=388478#p29825217. Retrieved 8 September 2016. 
  3. "Midrasia Embargoes Kavo". The Royal Standard. 30 December 2016. https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=388478&start=50#p30771141. Retrieved 30 December 2016. 
  4. "Midrasia calls for Joint Nation Task Force to Deal with Johka". The Royal Standard. 10 April 2017. https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=388478&start=100#p31503609. Retrieved 10 April 2017. 
  5. "Charles Vauban Resigns". The Royal Standard. 8 September 2017. https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=388478&p=32469526#p32469526. Retrieved 8 September 2017. 
  6. "Favours From Mr Vauban". Le Picayune. 5 April 2017. https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=388478&start=100#p31469006. Retrieved 5 April 2017. 
  7. "Springtime of the Nation". The Royal Standard. 6 April 2017. https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=388478&start=100#p31476877. Retrieved 6 April 2017. 
  8. "Parliament Announces Investigation into PM". The Royal Standard. 14 May 2017. https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=388478&start=150#p31729603. Retrieved 14 May 2017.