Belarian Broadcasting Corporation
Belarian Broadcasting Corporation Goes Regional
BASTIA .::. After years of unravelling red tape, the Belarian Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is now able to broadcast throughout the European Union. Because the BBC is a semi-autonomous public corporation which is owned officially by the Federal Republic of Belarum, it was unable to broadcast throughout the region until being officially granted permission by administration officials in several seperate government ministries, with a final gesture of goodwill given by President Draugen in a press release:
"The Belarian Broadcast Corporation has served the public trust and interest since 1939. Their news is balanced and it has built a reputation in the Federal Republic as perhaps the most unbiased, groundbreaking, and fearless news agency around. One of the greatest regrets of my administration is that we didn't give them the charter necessary to report regionally sooner."
In the years to come, the BBC hopes to continue its reputation for hard-hitting news biased only towards serving the common good. The BBC will cover news stories of pressing interest in Belarum as well as the region through television, radio, and internet broadcasts.
Defense Budget Could See 30% Increase
BASTIA .::. President Draugen's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) sent its spending outlays to the Senate for deliberation today in order to finalize 2008 Fiscal Year spending outlines. The federal budget saw decreases in administrative, energy, commerce, and welfare spending, as well as noticeable increases in health, education, and environmental spending. The OMB has publicly stated that these particular spending fluctuations are dependent on inflation, the performance of the economy, and a variety of other factors. However, the defense budget has been projected to recieve an almost 1/3 increase in funds for the 2008 Fiscal Year.
The Ministry of Defense has already made public what it plans to spend the proposed budget increase on: the Army, Navy, and Air Force would see military personnel increase by at least one million, as well as see millions of dollars worth of new military hardware, including several next-generation fighter jets, strategic bombers, and nuclear submarines. Such dramatic increases in manpower and military hardware would potentially be able to meet current Soviet military units in several areas, which is the arguement the Draugen administration is making in order to justify the proposed funding increases for the military.
The federal budget still needs to be deliberated and voted on by the Senate, however the Draugen administration has stated that it feels confident that it will be able to push through many of its budgetary outlines, most specifically the defense budget increases. The executive office points to the mammoth military personnel and budget of the Soviet Union compared to the Federal Republic in order to make such large increases justifiable. The administration has also stated that because of the better-than-expected performance of the economy this year and several key administrative budgetary restraints placed on government by the President, the defense increases can be afforded while still maintaining a balanced budget.
Marcus Tristan Declines Presidency
ALGHERO BAY .::. Marcus Tristan, former President of the European Union, declined to seek his party's nomination for the Presidency of his own country. Tristan held a press conference at his winter home on Alghero Bay this morning, stating his intentions of staying out of the 2008 race. Marcus Tristan, who has been speculated to jump into the race, said this: "I have no intentions to run, I never did. Someone in the press suggested it, and they ran with it. I'm out of public life, but I'm willing to give advice if any candidate of any party needs it."
Although unpopular in some nations of the European Union for his policies, Marcus Tristan continues to be lauded in the Federal Republic for his percieved compassionate and principled nature. Leaving the Democratic Socialists on the regional scene in favor of the regional European Liberal Party, he hitched his star to the European Presidency and served in that office until the summer of 2007 when a new form of regional government was established by the many nations of the European Union combined with his decree.
Tristan continues to keep himself busy, as he currently chairs the Clairmont Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to funding development programs in impoverished EU nations. He is also a senior fellow on the Council of Foreign Relations. However, these may not be the only reasons he has declined the Presidency, as several pundits have speculated that Tristan remains a polarizing figure on the world stage, and if Tristan were to take the helm of the nation it would only solidify tensions between the Federal Republic and the Soviet Union. Whatever the reason may be, Marcus Tristan has made it clear that he "plans to sit this one out".
Headlines in the European Union
-The Bundesrepublik of Gro?deutsches Reich detonated a five kiloton nuclear fission weapon last Sunday, sending shockwaves through the European Union. The Draugen administration has no official position at this time, but Press Secretary Kevin Varitek has called the action "uncomforting".
-Soviet Defense Minister General Pukhov suggested "a pre-emptive strike against ETO" nations in the EU in response to the Gro?deutsches Reich detonation of a nuclear weapon, despite the fact that there is no proven invovlement of any now defunct ETO states in the testing.
-European Court of Justice elections are currently underway, and will last until January 22. The Right Honourable Ezekial Thomas Lloyd of Aleutia currently leads exit polls with approximately 37% of the vote, with the Right Honourable Jacob Stipe of Aesop Rocks trailing with 28%.
-The Luvenburg General Election is scheduled to be held on January 25. Currently, the Liberal Party under Selene Clarke leads the LNA polls with 28%, with the Conservative Party under the current Prime Minister Anthony Trudeau and the Social Democrats trailing with 26% and 19% respectively.
-The price of crude oil hit a record high of ?54 per barrel on the regional market, causing higher prices at the pump for motorists across the region. President Draugen has promised to take significant steps to make the Federal Republic less reliant on foreign oil.
Defense Spending Meets Senate Opposition
BASTIA .::. President Draugen?s proposed defense spending increases have been met with some resistance. The Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee Les McAlester has been fairly vocal about redrafting the budget for Fiscal Year 2008, stating that he would like to see the increases made to the defense budget go to commerce, education, and urban development. Liberal Senator McAlester made a statement to the press concerning his position:
?It makes so little sense to increase defense spending so dramatically. It seems like a terrible time to do so as well, with regional tensions increasing between several nations and the Soviet Union. The budget needs to see serious scale backs on defense and more investment in our urban centers impacted by poverty as well as local businesses which could benefit from subsidies.?
President Draugen has been adamant in his stance on the budget. He has pledged to see through the 30% increase in defense spending before he leaves office. He answered questions with reporters today:
?So long as the Soviet Union maintains such a massive defense budget, and as long as the Soviet leadership tolerates it when high-ranking members of the government openly discuss attacking our nation for no justifiable or reasonable reason, I will see to it that the defense ministry gets all the funds necessary to defend ourselves from such a provocative and aggressive nation.?
Conservative Party Emerges
BASTIA .::. The National Right Party, a political force in the Federal Republic since its creation in March of 2007, has arranged the defection of two Liberal Party senators and a senator from the Democratic Socialist Party under the banner of a new name. The National Right Party announced today that it is henceforth simply the ?Conservative Party?. Fredrick Hatcher, the leader of the political party, had this to say in a press conference:
?It simply made sense. No one really liked the name ?National Right Party?, it was a mouthful and it was only named that after the old right-wing parties came together with the centrists to combat the measures of the Liberal-DemSoc Coalition. Now that we?re an established political force, exemplified by the defection of three senators from those parties, we?re changing the name to something the electorate is screaming for: conservatism.?
The senators, former Liberals Neil Bapson and Carl Kenton, as well as former Democratic Socialist Kent Lutton, expressed ?serious misgivings? about their parties as the main reason for their defection to the new Conservatives. The senators, who were present at the press conference, stated their intentions to fully support the new initiatives proposed by the Conservative Party, such as a reduction in federal non-defense spending and a repeal of federal marriage recognition for homosexual couples in favor of civil union legislation.
Many political pundits are marking this event as a watershed moment for the party, as it seems as though it is picking up steam in the upcoming 2008 Presidential Elections as well as the Senate Elections, due mostly to the increased hostility of the Soviet Union towards the Federal Republic and a recent spike in social legislation that public opinion polling suggests is out of favor with the general public. This, pundits believe, could lead to a swell of support for the Conservatives against the Democratic Socialists and the Liberals in the upcoming elections.
Large Income Tax Cuts Implemented
BASTIA .::. The Senate finalized today the Tax Reduction Act of 2008 after months of deliberations, revisions, and debate on the matter. Large provisions of the bill had been passed as early as mid-2006, resulting in large top-down reductions in the rate of income tax for individuals. The final result, tax reductions at the federal level largely impacting middle and lower class income earners, as well as small business tax breaks, have been hailed by economists as a contributor, along with the recent reduction in tariffs on non-agricultural foreign goods, to the rapid economic upturn and expansion of the past two years, making the Federal Republic one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union.
Since June 2006, GDP per capita in the Federal Republic has steadily increased, coinciding with the bulk of the tax cuts. As of February 2008, the domestic GDP per capita is ?22,200.07, the fourth highest in the region and nearly twice the size of the GRP. The strength of the Belarian Euro versus other currencies in the region is also increasing, and is rising sharply to meet the DXU currency in worth.
The tax cuts, largely championed by the Conservatives and Liberals, are a very popular move, with an overwhelming 72% of the general public in approval of the action. President Draugen signed large portions of the bill into law in 2007, and has significantly trimmed the budget and bureaucracy in order to keep the budget surplus and pay down the federal deficit.
The cuts come at the protest of the President?s party, however, as most of the Democratic Socialists in the Senate vehemently objected to the cuts, citing the need for more funding for public programs in health, education, and welfare.
FASA Announces Liberty Space Station
CAPE IPSWICH .::. The Federal Aeronautics and Space Administration announced today plans for a space station to be constructed in the Earth?s orbit. The announcement was made by FAS Administrator Louis Botosani in a press conference this morning.
The plans for the station, named ?Liberty?, call for a permanently manned space station in Earth?s lower orbit to function as a research facility, a repair shop for satellites, an observation post for astronomers, a microgravity laboratory for scientists, a microgravity factory for contracting private companies, and an assembly point for spacecraft.
Administrator Botosani called the project a ?great leap forward for Europeans and even the world, and the next logical step in space exploration?. FASA also released some details for the project, including some broad design speculations and the budget for the project, estimated to be at least ?75 billion.
The Federal Aeronautics and Space Administration have also made public its intentions to tap nations in the region, the private sector, and even the European Union regional government for funds for the project. Botosani stated publicly, ?the project is open to any nation or entity that seeks to be a part of it, and funds, manpower, and resources of any kind from any reputable nation or private corporation is more than welcome. We hope this project can be a beacon of hope and scientific achievement for all the EU and mankind.?
Some pundits argue that the Liberty Space Station comes as an answer to Mir, the Soviet station which currently sits in low orbit around the Earth. No comments were given as to whether Liberty confronts Mir as a challenger to the Soviet Union?s seeming ?hegemony over the stars? as one pundit called it.
The announcement for the Liberty Space Station coincides with the announcement of the Greater German Reich?s Artemis Program, which seeks to put GGR citizens in space and on the moon. Botosani stated ?after discussing the topic with the nation?s policy makers, I am certain that our projects can come together in order to send human civilization to new, unknown heights.?
_Susan Young Found Dead _
TORRANCE .::. Susan Young, the wife of Dr. Gavin Young, was found dead in her home in Torrance, a suburb of Bastia, today at 9:43 AM. Susan, discovered dead by her sister Maggie Calibri, was found in a bathtub overflowing with warm water and her own blood in her home with several deep cuts across her wrists and one deep gash under her left thigh. A suicide note was found at the scene, stating her unhappiness with life and her deep urge to be with her deceased spouse once again.
Dr. Gavin Young was a senior analyst and WMD specialist at the Ministry of Defense, and was sent to the Senate to ?make the case? for war in Alikhstan late in March 2007. Dr. Young then appeared on the BBC program Nightly News with Kevin Weathers, and discussed with Weathers new facts that he had unearthed while working at the Defense Ministry, including what some speculated to be the Draugen administration?s plot to protect Alikhi oil reserves for consumption across the region, which including targeting the Nationalist-Islamist Coalition as opposed to the Brotherhood, the organization behind the February 4, 2007 attacks across the region.
Dr. Young complained of a conspiracy to intimidate him into withdrawing his claims made on the program, but he refused, and on June 23, 2007, he was found dead of a drug overdose on the now infamous Harrison Hill. Many speculate that he was murdered, but after an official Senate inquiry and a police investigation, no proof materialized to support a conspiracy against him.
Her sister, Maggie, had this to say before being overcome by emotion:
?I just can?t believe this is happening. She said she wanted to talk about something important, and now she?ll never get the chance. I don?t understand, she was dealing with his death so well and now she?s gone, just like that.?
Liberals Nominate Evan Burke
COSTANJA .::. Evan Burke, the former governor of Gorzowa, captured the Liberal Party?s nomination in the upcoming 2008 Presidential Election following the Anatusian presidential primary today, the last in the party?s primary election schedule. After several months of vigorous campaigning, former Governor Burke emerged victorious, capturing well over the 55% threshold necessary to capture the nomination.
Evan Burke emerged on the political scene in 1996, when the current Presidential candidate won a seat in the Senate and spots on the prestigious Foreign Affairs and select Intelligence committees. In 2000, Burke ran for the governorship of Gorzowa and pulled off a sweeping victory, campaigning largely on his successes in the Senate. During his term as governor, Evan Burke became heavily involved in shaping the image of the ?New Liberals?, crafting most of the European Liberal Party Manifesto in 2007. His contributions to the ELP allowed that party to sweep the European Commission in the July Elections.
Burke entered the race in December 2007, citing a ?critical point in our nation?s history that requires an open mind and a clear head?.
Many pundits have ruled out the Democratic Socialists capturing the Presidency for another four years, citing the economic and social positions championed by the newer Liberal and Conservative parties as more ?in sync? with public opinion. Evan Burke captures the public perception of a modernizer, promoting trade barrier reduction, tax cuts for the middle and working class, gay rights, nuclear nonproliferation, and d?tente with the Communist East.
Currently, the Liberals and Conservatives lead public opinion polling regarding the 2008 Presidential Election, with 39% and 37% respectively. The Democratic Socialists trail with 24%.
Hatcher Increases Lead Among Conservatives, Criticizes USSR
BASTIA .::. The crowded race among Conservatives seems to be winding down, as party chairman and Senator Fredrik Hatcher increases his lead in the polls among party membership to 43%, compared to his main rivals Senator Hanson Montgomery and the former mayor of Costanja Teddy Cagliari. The senator and mayor are polling at 24% and 21%, respectively.
Senator Hatcher issued a statement from Bastia concerning his Presidential bid, and the campaign in general:
?It?s wonderful to see the candidates really discussing the fundamentals of what our party is: we will reduce taxation, trade barriers, government spending, the welfare rolls, and we will fortify the sanctity of family values in law, starting with championing a serious reconsideration of such previous measures as gay marriage. These are important issues, but what I think is most pressing is the Soviet Union. The Liberals want to cozy up to them, but we in the Conservative Party understand that capitulation with communism is as close to treachery as committing the act itself.?
Fredrik Hatcher went on to say that ?the Soviet Union is the most dangerous threat our country faces today. They are the focus of evil in our modern world, and the one thing we need now more than anything is a dramatic boost in the military budget in order to protect ourselves from this Red Giant.?
Senator Hatcher has a vehemently anti-Communist track record in the Senate, voting to authorize President Draugen?s increase of the defense budget by 30% in addition to engaging debate on the floor for more funding, in addition to contributing to several pieces of legislation condemning Soviet actions on the regional stage, including the Mars landing. He has also taken the time to publicly condemn the Soviet publications Pravda and Izvestia, calling them ?pimps for the party line and nothing more?.
Governor Burke ?Irritated? With Conservative Comments
COSTANJA .::. Liberal Presidential Nominee Evan Burke stated in a press conference today his dissatisfaction with his likely opponent?s attitude toward the Soviet Union, calling it ?irresponsible? and ?a great contributor to tensions between our nations?.
Evan Burke went on to say this:
?Frankly, I?m irritated with Fredrik Hatcher?s ?sound bites?. He?s stoking the flames of international animosity to win a couple of votes. He shouldn?t be saying things like this so long as the nuclear Sword of Damocles hangs over our heads by what nowadays is such a thin thread. It?s just shameful politics.?
One of the main planks of Gov. Burke?s candidacy for the Presidency is a relaxation of tensions between Belarum and the Soviet Union, and the encouragement of our regional allies to do the same. Gov. Burke has stated publicly his wishes to engage in arms reductions negotiations and joint space efforts with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, adding to his overall theme of d?tente in the European Union.
FASA Finds Likely Financial Backers
CAPE IPSWICH .::. The Federal Aeronautics and Space Administration announced today that several companies in the Federal Republic, including the Syphax Corporation and ICP Industries, have publicly endorsed the Liberty Space Station project and are willing to contribute sizeable funds for the mission.
Foreign direct investment from the Trieran and Luvenburgish governments as well as several foreign corporations have been hinted at, but as of yet are not confirmed. FASA head Louis Botosani has stated that if these governments directly invest in the project, then he is authorized by the government to invite them to become partners in the project.
James Stanton Travels to Truva, Mourns Queen
TRUVA .::. Internal Affairs Commissioner and former Premier Commissioner of the European Union James Stanton departed for Luvenburg today to mourn the passing of Queen Marguerite. Commissioner Stanton, who was made an Officier of the Order of the Crown of Luvenburg by King Edouard, expressed his sadness concerning the passing of the Queen so shortly after having been formally introduced to the Luvenburgish monarchy.
James Stanton had this to say after declaring several days of absence from the European Commission chambers in order to travel to Truva:
?She was a wonderful, kind woman, in all my dealings with her. Her death is truly a loss for Luvenburg, and the European Union as a whole. She was a symbol of unity in a time of division and a courageous figure in times that could make any man cower in fear. I know I do not speak just for myself when I say she will be missed.?
James Stanton added that he intended to personally lay a bouquet of flowers at the Palace of Piedmont, as well stay in Truva until the royal funeral, where he will be joined by President Viktor Draugen and other government officials.
Black Winter Terrorist Group Resurfaces
ORISTANO .::. The ethnic Gorzowan terrorist group Black Winter, made infamous by the 1989 Oristano Subway Bombings which resulted in the deaths of 276 individuals, has resurfaced in that city.
A police raid on the home of Kobryn Smola, an ethnic Gorzowan suspected of possession of contraband materials, unearthed documents, letters, and plans that lead authorities to believe that the terrorist organization is still in existence. Smola is currently being detained by authorities for questioning.
Black Winter was formed in the late 80?s by Andre Vikza, a radical ethnic Gorzowan with an ideological bent steeped in leftist revolutionary sentiments. Vikza was previously involved in the Stalinist Liberation Army (SLA) from 1979-1983, but left the group when the federal government arrested its leaders for conspiracy to commit treason.
Vikza fled the region for several years, operating as a mercenary abroad. He returned sometime before 1989 to orchestrate to subway bombings and the kidnapping of three senators. In 1991, police and government authorities tracked Vikza to an abandoned warehouse in Marzen, where he committed suicide by detonating C4 charges, causing the building to collapse.
The other leaders and members of Black Winter were thought to have been arrested or killed before 1994, however this new evidence suggests that the group is still active and still plotting terrorism in the Federal Republic.
Democratic Socialists Nominate Alan Mengela
BASTIA .::. The Democratic Socialist Party, in an internal election, has nominated Alan Mengela, the current Vice President of the Federal Republic, to run for the presidency under the party?s banner. The political infighting of the DSP has been evident for months, with Mengela, seen as more of a centrist in the eyes of the electorate and the party apparatchik, battling with more left-wing party members for control over the nomination.
Mengela emerged with a razor-thin majority of 51% after making a passionate speech at the March DSP Conference in Oristano concerning a need to ?modernize or die?. Vice President Mengela had more to say concerning the state of the party in the general election facing the Liberals and Conservatives, two parties that have captured the public perception of being separate from the old image of the Democratic Socialists:
?If we are to continue to be the natural governing party of this nation, if we are to continue to be the party of the Belarian people, than it is vital that we modernize, lest we pass into the annals of history. We have dipped in the polls and are passing into obscurity in the minds of the voters. This is why we must continue a course of economic and social modernization set by President Draugen and reject the failing policies of protectionism, state ownership, overregulation, and high taxation.?
The speech delivered by Vice President Mengela seems to resonate with voters, however it drew immediate boos and harangues from some of the conference crowd, namely the old leaders of the Democratic Socialist party far more likely to oppose Alan Mengela?s support of freer trade, privatization, further deregulation, and a closer look at wealth redistribution policies.
Despite the jeers, Vice President Alan Mengela continued on with his speech, urging his party to follow his leadership into a ?new age of politics?:
_?We are not at a disadvantage if we do not allow ourselves to remain in such a place; we have an opportunity to be the party of modernization and experience. We can run against two parties untested, unseasoned, unaccustomed, unknown, and unfamiliar with the business of government, as well as champion social justice tempered with economic prosperity.? _
The current 2008 Presidential Election Polls place the Vice President in third place with 27% of the vote, trailing despite a recent three point rise after his nomination, against Evan Burke [L] and Fredrik Hatcher [C], who are both polling with 37% and 36% respectively.
Human Rights Watch Founded In Costanja
COSTANJA .::. Prominent human rights lawyer and activist Howard Anzio held a press conference today with several prominent political scientists, lawyers, and human rights activists in order to announce the founding of Human Rights Watch, a non-governmental organization dedicated to alerting policymakers across the European Union to ?violations and egregious abuses of human rights committed by states in the region?.
Anzio announced the creation of the organization amidst concerns for some time now amongst policymakers that no organization currently exists to monitor human rights in the region. He further stated that the organization would more specifically ?monitor human rights situations that pertained specifically to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights?.
Anzio provided this reason specifically for the creation of Human Rights Watch:
?For too long, we have left governments across the European Union and the regional authorities up to the task of monitoring human rights situations on a state by state basis, but they have yet to form even a single committee or task force to deal with the matter. My colleagues here and I feel it is high time to step up to the plate and do the job that regional and national authorities cannot be relied on to do.?
Other founding members of Human Rights Watch include Gary Hendrix, a prominent member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a partner at Nitra, Volen, and Kavanaugh, and Stephen Harper, a human rights specialist at the Calderon Institute.
Headlines in the European Union
-With the Presidential Election slated for May 4, Evan Burke [L] has taken the lead with 39% of the vote according to a new BBC poll. Fredrik Hatcher [C] has slipped recently to 30%, while Alan Mengela [DS] has increased two points since the last poll to 29%.
-The European Union has elected Jacob Stipe, former Internal Affairs Commissioner and Chief Justice of the European Courts, to lead the third European Commission for the Spring of 2008. Stipe won the election with 40% of the vote against Kurt Goerts, Neilander Xeillion am Jenson, Anne de Brantis, and Alexander Romenenko.
-The funeral of Italian President Riccardo Amato Ugoino was held in Roma yesterday, with high turnout among members of government in Nazione Italiana and throughout the European Union. President Draugen made an appearance and offered his condolences personally to the current President of Nazione Italiana.
-The 2008 Parliamentary Elections in Derbyshire and Fife are fast approaching, and public opinion polls place the Liberal Democrats in a commanding lead of 46% over the competition. The party with the second most votes, the right-wing National Front, is polling at 22%. Two days prior to the parliamentary elections, the nation is expected to hold a referendum on whether they will remain a member of the European Union.
Presidential Election Intensifies
BASTIA .::. The 2008 Presidential Election is in full swing, and the candidates are campaigning relentlessly throughout the country. Evan Burke, Fredrik Hatcher, and Alan Mengela have all pulled ahead as the three main frontrunners in the race, with all other candidates of minor parties making up less than 2% of public opinion polling altogether.
Senator Fredrik Hatcher, the Conservative Party nominee for the Presidency, launched attacks on his opponents while campaigning in Galati Province. Hatcher was quoted as characterizing the Vice President and current Democratic Socialist nominee Alan Mengela as a ?footnote to the current administration, and soon to be a footnote to history.? Hatcher also had comments for Evan Burke, the Liberal Party nominee currently leading public opinion polling, calling him a ?capitulator with communism? and a ?partner of Pravda and all the other pimps for the communist party line?.
Meanwhile, Evan Burke took his campaign to Costanja, where he responded to Hatcher?s attacks. Burke said ?It?s a shame that Hatcher can?t seem to wrap his head around any other issues but his infatuation with the Soviet Union as an ?Evil Empire?. I haven?t heard him talk of the state of the economy, which could be fortified by public-private partnerships and tax restructuring, or of healthcare, which can be strengthened through bureaucratic reforms. If he thinks he can sing a one note tune into the White House, he?s got another thing coming?.
Vice President Alan Mengela also campaigned vigorously for the Presidency, stopping off throughout Gorzowa Province, the province of the former Governor Evan Burke. Alan Mengela continues his dialogue as that of a modernizer, challenging Evan Burke?s footing in the race as exactly that. Mengela campaigned on the policies of the Draugen administration, despite the failings of relations between the Federal Republic and the Soviet Union.
Currently, public opinion polls place Evan Burke and Fredrik Hatcher at 35% and 33% respectively, with Alan Mengela gaining with 31% of the popular vote. The race has become extremely tight, as the positions of each of the three main candidates all fall within the margin of error. The polling suggests that Mengela is making up the difference by eroding support from Burke, as the two share similar economic positions, their main differences being between social issues and defense.
Mengela has stated his support for a ?re-evaluation? of the current gay marriage laws, as well as harsher penalties for drug law violations. He has also confirmed his support for the Draugen defense spending proposals, stating ?we live in dangerous times, and so long as the Soviet Union maintains such a mammoth defense budget of a quarter of their GDP as well as such a huge standing force and nuclear arsenal, we have to safeguard ourselves from a nation we are not on stellar terms with.?
Burke, however, has publicly supported the current definition of marriage between _?two consenting adults?, _and has come out with a proposal to invest in urban development and drug rehabilitation centers as opposed to prison for drug law violators. He has also come out in support of an increase in the defense budget, but for markedly different reasons, stating ?I think that we should re-examine our reasons for increasing the defense budget. I think that we can pursue defense spending increases that are reasonable, one reason being to provide the region with one of the best fighting forces for regional peacekeeping around. However, at the same time we should reassure nations in the region that we are pursuant of greater regional security and not saber-rattling, as some nations are bound to believe.?
Defense Budget Increases Pass Overwhelmingly
BASTIA .::. In an emergency session of the Senate, held only hours after the Soviet Union officially reported its figures for military personnel and that state?s massive military buildup, the Senate passed the FY 2008 Budget, with the Draugen administration?s serious spending increases on defense. It is suspected that the Soviet military buildup was the sole reason for the emergency Senate session, as the FY 2008 Budget talks in that body had been stalled for months previously.
With the Presidential Election less than three weeks away, the candidates responded to the Belarian defense buildup quickly, as all had prepared remarks for members of the media.
Conservative nominee Fredrik Hatcher, a member of the Senate, stated ?I cast my vote in favor, and I?d do it again if given the chance. The military buildup and now the mobilization of a hundred million communist men and women should not be taken lightly. The regional authorities don?t seem to care, which says something about their influence in it. They want to control us through every channel they possibly can, and you can bet your bottom dollar it will not be tolerated when I?m President.?
Alan Mengela, the Vice President and Democratic Socialist nominee has also supported the defense budget increase. ?We live in such dangerous times, and we need to guarantee our own security. The best way of doing that is not by reducing the budget; we have to negotiate peace from a position of strength.?
Liberal nominee and former governor Evan Burke, however, criticized the budget increase, citing it as dangerous to regional security. ?If we continue to arm as they arm, they will arm as we arm, and we will be on the road to oblivion. What we need is serious reductions talks with the Soviet Union, so we can live in a world where we don?t need massive defense increases to feel secure.?
Evan Burke and Fredrik Hatcher Advance to Runoff Election
BASTIA .::. Liberal nominee Evan Burke and Conservative nominee Fredrik Hatcher have moved on to a second round of voting, which have yet to be scheduled. There were eight candidates and three which received significant support from the public, those being Burke, Hatcher, and Democratic Socialist nominee Alan Mengela, who was eliminated in voting today.
Evan Burke received a significant 36% of the vote, while Conservative Fredrik Hatcher received a very close 35%. After weeks of heavy campaigning, the two candidates have managed to remain the focal point of the 2008 Presidential Election, while current Vice President Alan Mengela has been unable to inject his campaign with the energy of his two main rivals, attaining only 25% of the vote today.
Minor parties had comparatively little of the vote, with the Belarian Nationalist Party receiving the fourth most votes with 1.4% of the votes cast.
Vice President Alan Mengela, however, remains a relevant factor in the runoff elections because of the significant amount of support he has garnered for his would-be candidacy. An endorsement from him could potentially swing the election in favor of either Burke or Hatcher. He has yet to make an endorsement, but both campaigns have contacted him personally during the course of the day, with both Evan Burke and Fredrik Hatcher speaking personally with him.
VP Mengela can be pegged as a modernizer in this election cycle, with his fiscal and economic policies more closely related to Liberal Evan Burke, while his defense and social policies are more akin to Conservative Party principles. The endorsement, therefore, remains difficult to calculate.