30 July 2014
The Empress had been given no instruction on what she was about to deal with from her father. She was inheriting a government that was in the middle of a huge change in how the legislature was structured, military involvement on the table in a foreign nation, and many other duties that were clear to show that she was not a figurehead monarch, but one who truly ran the nation. She stood with Alenka, Duchess of Lithuania, who returned from Europolis as she heard the crisis was going to unfold, and the newly formed Polish royal cabinet, charged with executing the wishes of the executive monarch.
"So, what are we doing here?" the Empress asked. First stepped forward a man in his mid-40s with slightly greying hair at the sides. He was in a dress military uniform with many decorated medals.
"Your Highness..." he began.
"Please...Josef...call me Karolina. I already told you that I want my cabinet ministers to call me Karolina," the Empress snapped. She was clearly already stressed.
"Karolina...it seems as though there is a large power vacuum, and the territories of the empire are..." began Josef Polanski, Secretary of Defence, to the Empress.
"Okay, I don't have time for this. What is the bottom line here?" the Empress asked.
"The reason your father abdicated his duties wasn't because of the fact that he had poor health, though he does, in fact, have poor health. The real reason is that the monarchy simply will not stand another day," the Secretary of Defence said to the Empress. She looked at nothing, as her eyes couldn't focus on one spot, and the room was loud with silence.
"What do you mean?" the Empress asked.
"Lithuania, Belarus, Hungary, Slovakia...they all want a full democracy...with a president as the head of state and government," said Josef to Karolina. "We are already seeing that many of those states will take to the streets at the beginning of the first Sejm meeting if you do not declare a federal republic."
"That's fine....but what does that mean for me?" Karolina asked.
A different person, a younger man with dark brown hair and green eyes stepped forward. This was Ian Syzmanowski, the Secretary of Home Affairs.
"This could mean one of two things: either you get taken down by a coup of some sort, or you could become the first President of Poland by leading the transition yourself. If you are willing to lead the transition, then you will be viewed as a national hero and reformer. If you do not however, you may very well be deposed or even worse."
The Empress stood in disbelief.
The self-preservation that her father did to her was something that she never even imagine he would do to her. There was cowardice, malice, and general hatred that she felt for a while before she composed herself and looked to the Duchess of Lithuania.
"Alenka, what do you think?" Karolina asked. Alenka shrugged.
"I think you need to meet with them and ask exactly what they want from you, and if they DO want anything from you, give them it. You've seen how the European Union has reacted to disharmony lately: intervention is number one. The rehcroatians and Inquistans will be ready to jump in," Alenka said under her breath.
The Empress nodded and looked at her friend with great admiration. It was a shame that she would go to Europolis, as she would definitely be someone she wanted in her cabinet if she were to continue to lead as a President of Poland-Lithuania.
"Alright," the Empress responded. "I will meet with them. I'll call them personally and ask them to meet in Wilanow..."
"Karolina, it would not be wise to bring them here to Wilanow," Josef said to the Empress slowly. "This is an imperial reminder. It will soon be a Presidential Palace, but we must meet them somewhere outside of Poland. It will be a gesture that shows that you understand them and their needs. You must go to one of the other constituent nations. I wouldn't recommend Lithuania either, since it's part of the name."
"Then where?" Karolina asked, starting to get frustrated with everything.
"Budapest...meet them in Hungary; it's one of the most fiercely democratic constituent nations," Josef suggested. "Budapest will give you a chance to get closer to the people you will be representing as a democratic leader. Your father started to pave the way towards that, now it is your turn to finish it. You will be seen as a great modernizer, bringing us potentially even closer to our ally Halsberg, and a budding supporter, the Duxburian Union."
Upon hearing that...all she could think of in her head was Kyle Nyquist, and how much he meant to her...and how much he missed her.
"Okay...then let's assemble them immediately in Budapest. The Sejm Opening MUST go off without a hitch," said Karolina with strength and steel in her voice. "If we are going to become a republic, I'll be damned if I go down."
Budapest, Hungarian Province, Poland-Lithuania
31 July 2014
The air felt cold when Karolina got out of the coach of the train that took her to Budapest. She was asleep the entire train ride, and had to be in order to get any sleep. Melatonin was her friend, as her mind was racing a mile a minute.
The cultural Hungarian capital shone from where they were located, at the Buda Palace, which towered above the Danube River. Karolina, despite travelling across the vast nation that she grew up in, could not remember ever seeing Budapest before.
"Alenka," she whispered to her friend. "I don't think I've ever been here before."
"Budapest? Really? It's fantastic; you'll have to come here more often. The Hungarian people are really nice; very proud in their Magyar culture," Alenka said to Karolina. "However, we need to continue inside. I think everyone will be waiting for us when we arrive.
The two ladies, flanked by guards and Mr. Syzmanowski, walked through the front entrance. Waiting for them were leaders of the provincial governments of Poland.
"Your Highness," the leading man said, extending his hand. Karolina recognized him as the leader of the Hungarian Parliament, Jancsi Jonas. "Please, follow us this way." She could tell that he was making his own efforts at being polite, speaking Polish to her (despite a thick Hungarian accent).
The leaders all sat down, each by a placard with their names on them. Karolina was the first to speak after being brought a cup of light roast coffee.
"I will go ahead and cut immediately to the chase: you all have been frustrated with the monarchy for a while, and view this as your chance to break away isn't it?" Karolina responded, looking at Alojz Lakatos, the Prime Minister of the Slovak Provincial Government. He felt a sense of awkwardness overtake his body, and didn't know how to respond without offending the monarch.
"No, milady. We don't want to break away from the federal government unless you give us a reason to. What we want is for Poland to join the 21st Century and give us a full republic. Your reforms proposed to give the provinces greater autonomy has worked tremendously," said Mr. Lakatos. Karolina didn't take the bait and crack a smile. She merely sat, stone faced.
"Thank you sir for your compliment, but I take it all of your nations are in agreement?" Karolina said to the round table. The others nodded. Mr. Jonas spoke up next.
"It is viewed by a lot of the European republics as a tyrannical system, even though we are a constitutional monarchy. We have a chance to modernize and therefore achieve even more success for all of our peoples here and now. Why not take it?" Mr. Jonas said to Karolina. She couldn't really find a hole in his logic.
She was faced with a great choice, and Alenka watched on as Karolina struggled.
"The only way this will work is that I am the first President, with the Sejm voting me in. I do believe that we will see that the Sejm will approve me as president of the Federal Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania," Karolina replied. "If we have new elections and what not, that will only tear us apart. Give me a year in the presidency, and then have elections. I will run, and win a full term in office. But for now, for stability's sake, let's take this one step at a time."
The leaders of Hungary, Slovakia, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia and Ruthenia looked at each other before expressing their agreement.
"Then it is agreed, and I will declare the Federal Commonwealth and bring the Sejm back early for an emergency session, where they will vote to put me in power. The Sejm's elections happen next year as well. Let's just all do this at the same time..." Karolina said, relieved that she stopped a crisis. Mr. Lakatos stood up.
"We do, however, wish to have political parties in the Sejm. We cannot function as a republic without political parties, and they would informally be in place anyway. And, that way, we could join the Europarties as a national goverment," Mr. Lakatos requested.
"And do you think this will provide your people with stability and happiness?" asked Karolina.
"Yes, I do," Mr. Lakatos said.
"Then we shall do it," Karolina replied.
2 August 2014
President Kligenberg woke up hurriedly and without bothering to change into day-clothes came downstairs. She was met by Alenka, the Secretary of Home Affairs (Mr. Syzmanowski) and the Secretary of Defence (Mr. Polanski). They were the only people who would be able to stay in government.
"Good morning, Madam President," said Mr. Syzmanowski.
"Why am I up this early?" asked Karolina with disdain.
"We're here to tell you what positions in government need filling and to suggest how to fill them," Alenka said to Karolina. "This is the last thing I can help you with before I go to Europolis."
"Couldn't we have done this later?" Karolina asked through a yawn.
"No, this is of the utmost importance. What you want to do is establish in the first cabinet of the Federal Republic special envoys between the constituent nations and the national government. We must act as a true federation and allow those places a degree of self-autonomy. This will keep them happy, and the leaders of these nations know that they cannot live without Poland, and Poland can't survive without these places," said Mr. Syzmanowski.
"Now, after that, you're going to want to have independent cabinet ministers, since you are not aligned with any political party. Endorsing one vs. the other will be disastrous for your own political agenda."
Karolina took everything in, and looked at Mr. Syzmanowski with great admiration. For someone who was maybe slightly older than her, he certainly knew a lot about the political machine.
"Then what?" Karolina asked.
"Then, fill in the rest with the best minds about that subject you can in the government. Keep in mind that they will not ALL be in your cabinet, but you get to dictate how the size of that cabinet. I propose this," Mr. Syzmanowksi said to Karolina. He handed her a paper with a list:
Secretary of Foreign Affairs
Secretary of the Treasury
Secretary of Defence
Attorney General of Poland-Lithuania
Secretary of Interior Affairs
Secretary of Agriculture and Food
Secretary of Commerce
Secretary of Labour
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Secretary of Transportation and Safety
Secretary of Energy
Secretary of Education and Sciences
Secretary of Intelligence and Home Security
"Is that all of the positions?" Karolina asked.
"Yes, because after that, they will fill their respective bureaucracies and that will get our government efficient and moving," Mr. Syzmanowski said. "I, hopefully, will stay on as Secretary of Interior Affairs." Karolina looked at him and grinned.
"I'd be stupid not to," Karolina said to Mr. Syzmanowski. "Alright, I'll get on the appointments immediately before I go to Munich. Hopefully, the Sejm will approve them all."
"I believe they will. Remember, they're due for an election this year," Mr. Syzmanowski said. "The Socialists will want to claim that this was their big idea, and let them. We need as much stability as possible. What you need to do is learn how to lead an entirely new form of government effectively, and that is what I will do."