I hope that you are up on your reading! This gets long, but I am having a blast writing this up!
In this section, we will go all the way to the reunification of Syldav Island (Woah, hotness! Where are we going? Wooo!) I dare any other CJer to get into this level of detail!
1995-1997... In 1995, President Samuel McColley appointed his cousin Ted McColley to serve as Balboa's interim President. A competent leader, Ted was never much of a political "leader." Samuel McColley hoped that within a couple of years, a general election would be held to elect a new leader. For now, Ted was a caretaker President.
Having never run a national election, the general public took the government's repeated pushing back of the election date in stride.
Ted McColley, touring the networks after his appointment
By 1997, the election still had not occurred. Former President Samuel McColley began voicing displeasure with the situation, though held back from directly attacking his appointment.
Meanwhile, Ted McColley was finding his role of "caretaker" different than most had anticipated. He allowed old laws to fall off the books when they expired; social safety nets and commercial regulations began falling to the wayside. Samuel McColley had enough, and announced that he would give a speech on June 28, 1997. It was an open secret that he was going to call on Ted to call an election or resign.
Then, on June 21, 1997, Samuel McColley was assassinated. A radical right wing organization with ties to Bordav claimed responsibility.
News of the assassination of Samuel McColley spreads throughout Balboa
1997... On June 22, 1997, Ted McColley ceased being a caretaker president and addressed the nation. In this speech, the President blamed the assassination on the bitterness between the nations on Syldav Island. "Together, we can prosper and live in joy," he stated. "But to insist on these divisions is to ask for an end to our way of life."
Ted McColley Presidential Address on June 22, 1997
The call for unity was soon seen as an open door for a full scale rolling back of social and economic policies that had created the greatest income parity in the Americas. Free trade was established between all four nations on Syldav Island. But with Peotav, and Bordav weak from years of fighting and military expenses, those nations became pools of cheap labor. Tax cuts on the wealthiest 10% of the population and lesser restrictions on corporate profits created wider divisions amongst Balboans as well.
A new leader emerges... Alexander Swift rose to fame as an eighteen-year-old football standout. He was a star player for Taraville Public University, the flagship football program in the nation. An orphan whose parents were killed in a Bordavian air raid in 1982, he was also class valedictorian with degrees in History and Political Science.
Taraville Public University, 1992
In 1992, Swift was given his own thrice-weekly radio program where he played music and talked with callers about everything from sports, pop culture, history, food, politics, and so forth. He quickly became Balboa's most popular personality and trend setter.
Banking on Swift's celebrity and intellect, he was recruited by Samuel McColley in 1994 to serve in the new position of Secretary of Youth & Cultural Affairs. At 24 years old, he was the youngest cabinet secretary in history--by 12 years! Swift was allowed to keep his radio show and, by his account, was never asked to censor himself. Indeed, he often criticized the government and once called a political speech of McColley's "mundane... why reasonable people take to smoking over politics."
Behind the scenes, however, Swift was the president's protege. A full cabinet member, he was expected to voice his opinion on all matters of state. When other secretive actively dismissed is presence, the President would offer private meeting time with Swift to discuss his ideas further. In his unfinished and recently published memoirs, Samuel McColley wrote "At some point, her will have no choice but to use his intellect and personal skill to lead this nation, one way or another."
Alexander Swift, 1998
Swift chose not to stay in government after his mentor was replaced by Ted McColley, and moved his program to 6 days a week. Hugely popular (and rapidly becoming wealthy), Swift became more and more political. In one memorable moment in Spring 1997, Swift stated "I listen to more people every day than anyone here. I am heard by more people everyday. And I like to be told I'm wrong and to see things new ways. These are three truths I'd rather grant the President than a disk jockey like myself.
Following the assassination of Samuel McColley, Swift dedicated much of his programming to remembering the changes that took place in Balboa during Samuel's 20-year rule. During this period, Swift gained listeners in older demographics; despite his youth, Swifts accurate and fair understanding of issues that took place before his birth impressed more people then ever. Throughout this period, Swift only seemed to criticize the government by giving examples of the past.
This changed in 1999. Swift, like others in the nation and around the Island, felt that Ted McColley's policies were too reminiscent of the failed experiment in capitalism from the 1960s and 1970s. In a dramatic speech at the Balboan Press Club on February 16, 1999, Swift called for elections the following year. "No one asked for a lifetime of Ted," Swift said to laughter. "But no one," Swift added somberly, "did anyone grant him any atrocity to tear down the politics that built this nation.
Swift's speech at the Balboan Press Club
President Ted McColley didn't back down--in fact, he trenched in deeper than ever before. While his policies became more and more right-wing, the President openly stated reunification Through all this, the President pulled closer and closer within his inner circle, while Swift's audience and popularity only grew and grew. Then in November 2, 1999, Swift drew a line in the sand.
In what became the most widely watched political speech in Balboan history, Alexander Swift announced that he was forming the first political party in Balboa's history: the Social Democratic Party. (Political parties hadn't existed before because there was little democracy to fight around. Most interaction was through interest groups--not a dirty word in Balboa--where representatives organized for attention in law making and governance.)
"We are forming a party because there will be an election come November 2000, and there will be an opposition to the status quo that ignores both its people and its duty to the Island!"
Swift announcing the creation of the Social Democratic Party
For a year, Swift campaigned across the country against no opposition for an election that was not planned. In August 2000, President McColley backed off the latest suggestion of an election--he was polled to have an approval rating of 23%. Then the bombshell came that the President was trading for Bordav's spy's information Swift's operations.
On October 1, 2000, Swift gave a speech: "We promised an election next month; this promise will be kept if we have to take over the government to do so." The speech landed Swift in jail, on trial for treason, and the public into a general panic. Riots broke out across the nation and the government split in two and stopped functioning.
President McColley speaks on Swift
On October 20, 2000, Chief of Security Max Stance--a veteran of Samuel McColley's Presidency and friend of Swift's--ordered his personal security staff to free Alexander Swift and to apprehend President Ted McColley. The President learned of the betrayal and felt, but security forces caught up with his helicopter and forced it to land.
Chief of Security Max Stance--think Secretary of Defense and Homeland Security--in official dress
Only 30 years old, Swift was sworn in as Interim president on October 23 and ordered a nation-wide election for President and local offices for November 30. Swift and his party won the elections in a total landslide.
"Today, we take pride in our social policies; to protect all those in need and to secure our future! And we take pride that this island was born to be one rather than four.
Reunification! Even before election day, Swift was planning to move on Bordav. Both Bordav and Peotav and wouldn't be able to put up much of a fight. In fact, polls showed most citizens of Bordav and Peotav were in favor of reunification. It was decided that Bordav would be attacked first. War was declared by Congress on December 17.
Swift in a November Cabinet meeting
Within 4 days, Balboa' forces moved all the way through Bordav to the capital. With little resistance, the government fell. At once, Balboa declared war on Peotav who surrender only hours later--choosing to not bother with a fight after the loss of its stronger allies. Within less than a week, Balboa tripled its land holdings on the island.
On December 28 2000, as Balboa's troops were beginning spread out to control its new holdings, Syldav's King Muskav gave a short speech:
"This year has seen many transformations in Syldav. After over 100 years, our province of Balboa has satisfied it's founding charge to reunify the island. Having accomplished its lawful purpose, the Kingdom of Syldav will retake the souther region. let us begin new millennium as a united island--together. Our forces are already reroute to Balboa City to begin this peaceful transition. Thank you, and may the Kingdom continue to live in peace."
Swift and his government were caught by surprise. This was not their--or anyone's-understanding of the law and not at all what they had in mind. Besides, they did not want to see the entire island fall away from democracy after the years of struggle. A poll taken the following day showed that virtually no one in Balboa, Bordav, or Peotav was interested in abandoning democracy before it was truly born.
It was decided that Balboa would attack Syldav.
Chief of Security Max Stance developed the plan. First, since Balboa was under attack, no Congressional action was needed. Second, Balboa's forces in Bordav would fake a move south back to Balboa City. Once Syldav bought the bluff and mobilized more of its forces, Balboa moved sharpy north-west to Klov--Syldav's capital. With stronger air forces and mobility, Syldav was caught flat footed. On January 11, 2001, Klov fell to Balboa.
While many decried Balboa's move against Syldav as incompatible with Swift's stated politics, most supported the action as a defensive and likely beneficial matter.
Building a new nation... This was more than Swift had bargained on: in less than four months, he had staged a coup, won national election, overtook 3 nations, and increased the country's population by 421 percent. Now, building a nation which had been divided for over 150 years was the task at hand.