News of 3206 Turn 55

Election Success For Crisis-Hit Zhang

Earth Q0, 3206.124

Earth’s First Minister Lee Zhang has returned home from an electioneering tour of the Q0 Homeworlds amid talk of crisis within his Administration. Senior Imperial Audit Office figure Van Helsing is facing mounting calls for his resignation over recent anti-piracy action at Shi’Ar. Some Senators claim he has exceeded his authority, and Zhang’s support has
been lukewarm at best. Zhang seems to be attempting to distance himself from the Shi’Ar affair during this
crucial election year.

Ironically, the crisis comes as Zhang’s Imperial Party has scored notable success in the Council of Representatives elections, held at the end of last year. With all of the results now in from Earth’s far-flung systems, the balance of seats in the Council is now as follows:

Old Council
New Council
Imperial Party
Citizens Party
Republican Party
Real Republicans
Populist Party

The Imperial Party has replaced the Citizens Party as the largest in the Council. There have also been gains for the far-right Real Republicans, who advocate the re-absorption of the Venerian Republic.

The new Council of Representatives is currently electing the Council of the Senate, which itself will later this year elect the new Imperium and First Minister. It remains to be seen what effect the current crisis will have on these elections.

Liberal Government Predicted As Mars Goes To The Polls

New Mars Q0, 3206.149

Voting is underway in the Martian Quadrants for this year’s Senatorial and Quadrant Supreme Council elections. Major gains are expected for the Martial Liberal Welfare Party (MLWP) and Mars Colonial Growth Faction (MCGF) following the collapse last year of the ruling CDP-led coalition in the wake of the Douglas Affair. Senate and judicial inquiries into the affair are continuing, and police investigation continues into the apparent suicide of Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Shadbolt, widely blamed for the debacle.

Replacing Shadbolt as Q0 Senator will be MLWP economics guru Anton Dec, who is widely credited with making the MLWP electable again after its wilderness years following the Pickles Administration. He has enabled the MLWP to take on the CDP on the latter’s home ground, its economic record, by highlighting waste and mismanagement in the economy.

Meanwhile, in Q6, the world of Douglas has confirmed its formal secession from the MAFC. Chu-Sho O’Hare has been replaced as Quadrant Naval commander in order to return home to face a court martial. A more independent-minded MCGF Supreme Councillor is expected to replace the outgoing Councillor Zelazny, who has long trailed his retirement from Martian Politics.

Voter Intimidation Claimed

Ahriman Q0 3206.141

The colonial government on Ahriman is facing a legal challenge following the elections to the Planetary Diet. Opposition parties claim that there was widespread vote-rigging by the ruling Social Strength Party. The Prime-Minister elect, Un Bleck, said “They are just sore losers – we won fair an square. if they want to mount a challenge, then bring it on”.

The two main opposition parties, the Social Electoral Party and the Democracy and Freedom Party report widespread voter intimidation and some cases of interference with the voting machines.

Under the colony’s constitution the government’s Chief Law officer, Duo Bleck will be expected to rule on the legality of the election.

Popular Tourist Site Quarantined

B’Krath Q7, 3206.061

There has been considerable complaint from regular visitors to the Misty Hills Republican Park when the entire area was suddenly cordoned off by Venerian Special Constabulary and GF forces.

In a spectacular display of military might, the region, one of outstanding natural beauty, was sealed off to outsiders. Locals reported seeing tanks, artillery, even starship marines deployed to secure the area. The Republican authorities are remaining typically tight-lipped about the situation – their official communique simply referred to a ‘matter of Republican Security’. Guesses from the locals include a major forerunner find, a secret pirate base and an invasion by 12-foot shape-chaning lizardmen. According to official sources the area will remain sealed off until further notice.

People living on the outskirts say they heard heavy firing from the area – and many observers claimed to have seen an orbital laser strike hitting the area. Certainly the local hospitals have been dealing with military casualties, though again, these have officially been caused by ‘traffic accidents’ and ‘reactor leaks’.

Exclusive INN Breakfast with Frost Interview, with Surre-David Frost (3)

Dateline Earth 3206.095

Surre-David Frost : Hallo, good evening and welcome to the studio. I am Surre-David Frost, and tonight my guest is Earth’s dynamic First Minister, Lee Zhang. Good evening Lee.
Lee Zhang: Good evening Surre-David. Can I call you David?
Surre-David Frost: (laughs) Of course you can, we’re all old friends here. So, thank you for agreeing to come on the show and answer a few questions. I’ll start with one that I was asked not so long ago – are you The Most Dangerous Man in the Universe?
Lee Zhang: (laughs) Do I strike you as a dangerous man sat here in your studio? No, I don’t believe so, I think there are many more dangerous individuals out there, many of whom we are not even yet aware of.
Surre-David Frost: Well, I’ve heard about the Kung-Fu… but I’m sure you know what I mean. You perhaps I might say arguably the most powerful man in the Universe. Who would be more dangerous than that?
Lee Zhang: I doubt I have as much power as many people think. I am an elected representative serving under a President. My decisions are subject to checks and balances within an elected Senate which is itself answerable to a vast electorate. I manage a large Empire, with the largest fleet in the known Universe, but that fleet is not at my sole disposal, nor completely unchallenged. But none of that makes me either powerful, or dangerous.
Surre-David Frost: Well let’s talk about that fleet, then. It has got very large in recent years. Earther forces have been in action on a number of worlds in many quadrants. Some have seen a new Imperialism in Earther policy. How do you react to that charge?
Lee Zhang: Others, with smaller fleets, or no fleets at all can prove more dangerous to stability. The Fleet has been expanded, to face potential threats such as the Exterminators. The level of involvement with other Polities has grown, that is true. But only after a century of virtual isolationism. What you see is the Solar Republic and Empire repositioning itself at the centre of Human politics, and helping to drive forward many issues that require international action.
Surre-David Frost: I was thinking of the kind of ‘involvement’ that Orion or Hot Boiler have seen recently…
Lee Zhang: Our actions at Hot Boiler, and at Orion, and elsewhere have been designed to bring peace from conflict. Our forces have deployed firstly as peacemakers, and then as peacekeepers. And certainly at Hot Boiler the citizens have shown gratitude for our intervention when they were suffering under growing internecine conflict. At Orion our local officials have been working alongside the Xyonists to similarly promote peace.
Surre-David Frost: I don’t want to dwell on this area, as we have a lot to cover, but you see your interventions as a force for stability?
Lee Zhang: Yes, I do see the Fleet being a source of stability.
Surre-David Frost: I wonder if I could return to something you said earlier about those “with smaller fleets who could be more dangerous to stability” – did you have anyone in mind?
Lee Zhang: I had no particular Fleets in mind, simply the fact that having the largest Fleet does not equate to being dangerous. Those with small Fleets might be more willing to engage in dangerous or ambitious posturing against other smaller powers. Such posturing could lead to conflict and draw in others. There are no circumstances I can predict under which I would want to use the Imperial Navy against another major power.
Surre-David Frost: Would you include the Martians, or the Venerians among such powers?
Lee Zhang: I am not trying to draw attention to any other powers, simply to the fallacy of the logic that large fleets are dangerous. One could argue that not having a large fleet, in the face of an Exterminator-like threat is THE most dangerous thing in our Universe.
Surre-David Frost: Well since you mention the Exterminators, can I ask whether you are satisfied with current international efforts to tackle the ‘hostile exterminator builders’?
Lee Zhang: That is a difficult and complicated question David. What we understand about the possibility of ‘hostile exterminator builders’ is based on a single strand of Venerian derived intelligence. That intelligence has yet to be subjected to peer review, or subject to repeated analysis. But, to be safe, the Empire has organised a reconnaissance mission to investigate the location provided by the information.
Surre-David Frost: You think the Venerians are lying?
Lee Zhang: No, I do not think they are lying, I just do not think that there is sufficiently strong evidence to commit all our eggs to one basket. David, one might almost think you were trying to get me to say bad things about our neighbours…tsk!
Surre-David Frost: Far from it, I’m sure! Well I wonder if I can touch briefly on the Venerian issue. You have attracted criticism from various quarters for your policy of rapprochement with the Venerians. Are you uncomfortable to be in disagreement with the NeoPope and the First Citizen?
Lee Zhang: I believe that honest debate such as that which we have in the Empire, even at its highest echelons can only be a healthy thing. No leader willing to take difficult decisions can be immune from criticism. Each of us has our views tempered and improved by debate with others – I know that I do.
Surre-David Frost: But your critics are wrong, then?
Lee Zhang: No, I think they simply have different views on some issues. I disagree with some of the extreme views I have heard, as they might disagree with some of mine. But as mature leaders of a mature and democratic polity, we do not let those disagreements result in violence on the streets.
Surre-David Frost: Indeed. Another area where some have had different views from you is on the question of the status of the Q0 colonies, or ‘homeworlds’ as you term them. Is Earth’s time past as the main world of the Solar Republic?
Lee Zhang: I think that Earth will always be the homeworld of humanity and the first among Equals, be those the other worlds of the Solar Republic, or the Homeworlds of other polities. Its population, its economic strength, and its history makes such a position inevitable.
Surre-David Frost: But its influence is waning.
Lee Zhang: I do not believe that Earth’s influence is on the wane. Quite the opposite.
Surre-David Frost: Within the Empire, it is, surely?
Lee Zhang: I do recognise that the economic potential of the other worlds of the Solar Republic is being better utilised, and a new balance being negotiated amongst members of that Republic. None of those worlds though, economically powerful as they may be, challenges the historical influence of Earth.
Surre-David Frost: I have one last question for you, Lee. You are about to fight your second election – technically your last. Indeed, some argued you should not stand this time. Will you go “on and on”, or do you have a retirement time in mind?
Lee Zhang: The constitution of the Republic allows me to stand this once more. I have no intention of seeking to modify that constitution. By the end of a second term it will be time for fresh blood to move the Empire on, with new ideas, and new drive. But I hope that I will have laid the ground work for that future.
Surre-David Frost: Well, that’s clear enough. We’re out of time, alas, but Thank you, Lee Zhang.

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