This article belongs to the lore of Aeia.

Charles Vauban

Charles Vauban
Charles Vauban.jpg
44th Consul of Midrasia
In office
1 January 2014 – 31 December 2017
Preceded byMylos Ranieri
Succeeded byMelcion Portas
Leader of the Social Democratic Party
In office
16 May 2011 – 8 September 2017
Preceded byMarc Lalondec
Succeeded byMichel Leroux
Shadow Transport Secretary
In office
1 January 2006 – 16 May 2011
Preceded byJules Hollande
Succeeded byLauren Degarde
Member of Parliament
In office
1 January 1994 – 31 December 2013
Personal details
Born (1958-06-12) 12 June 1958 (age 61)
Bourges, Midrasia
NationalityMidrasian
Political partyPSD
Spouse(s)Marie Tyre (m. 1989)
Alma materAlba College, Roixs

Charles Henri Vauban (born 12 June 1958) was the 44th Consul of Midrasia and former leader of the Social Democratic Party, having served as party leader since May 2011 and Consul since January 2014 until December 2017. Previously Vauban had served as a Member of Parliament and a member of the Shadow cabinet under the leadership of Marc Lalondec.

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 NorteBanque as an investment banker. Vauban departed from the banking sector to enter into politics in 1990, where he ran unsuccessfully as a Social Democrat candidate in 1991. However, Vauban was successfully elected to Parliament in the 1993 parliamentary elections.

Vauban served for several years as an MP, before being appointed as Shadow Transport Secretary under the leadership of Mark Lalondec. Following the party's defeat within the 2009 elections and Lalondec's resignation, 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 Chartist Bloc within the 2013 general election, Vauban won the popular vote to be elected as the 44th Consul of Midrasia, with the wider Reform Bloc forming the government. In early 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, though a tribunal eventually acquitted Vauban of any wrongdoing.

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, 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 Neufchastel 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 NorteBanque. Speaking about his time at the company, Vauban commented 'the pay was good, but the work was not.' In an interview with La Republique, Vauban described his time at NorteBanque as 'tiring, stressful and not nearly as rewarding as Neufchastel'. In 1987 Vauban officially joined the Social Democratic Party, leaving the banking sector in 1990 to pursue politics full-time.

Political career

Vauban as a member of parliament in 2012

Vauban initially served as a councillor for Libret ward in La Campagne. In the 1991 general election, Vauban campaigned unsuccessfully as a member of the PSD, with the party not reaching the vote threshold for him to gain a seat. Vauban then campaigned in the 1992 North Bicêtre Senate by-election, coming a distant third with only 42,370 votes (18.38%). However, during the 1993 general election, Vauban successfully gained entry into parliament in part thanks to the PSD's rise under the leadership of Manuel Pegrant.

Member of Parliament

Much of Vauban's early political career was spent as a backbench MP. However Vauban became notable for his grassroots campaigning with a number of local level PSD activists. 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 in 1996 and again in 2001, Vauban became notable for his campaigning on local transport. Vauban's work secured much needed investment to redevelop rail and bus links in the country's more deprived areas, notably inland Castana and Elsouf. 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

Vauban was renowned for his no-nonsense attitude as party leader

In 2009 following the resignation of PSD leader Marc Lalondec, Vauban announced his candidacy for party leader. Despite Robert Vivende appearing as an early favourite among elected MPs and Senators, Vauban managed to secure enough support, particularly from the moderate wing of the party, to move onto the popular leadership election. Vauban's work in securing the Relier network, along with his campaign promises of Upper-House reform resonated with much of the party membership. Additionally, a number of media gaffes involving Vivande and his alleged ties to a number of hard-left figures in the former FSR led Vauban to ultimately win the leadership election.

Vauban's appointments to his shadow cabinet showed a marginal shift toward the moderate wing of the party in contrast to the leadership of Lalondec. 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 1997, winning 153 seats. This, in combination with the support of the wider Reform Bloc, allowed for the formation of a left-leaning government. Within the Consular elections, Vauban fought a close running battle with incumbent Milos Ranieri of the Republican party. However, as the campaign progressed, it became evident that Vauban was the frontrunner, eventually winning out with 61.2% of the vote.

Consul

Vauban addresses Parliament following the attacks in Newrey.

On 1 January 2014 Vauban was inaugurated as Consul, becoming the first PSD head-of-state and government since Manuel Pegrant, 14 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 all parties within the Reform Bloc. Furthermore, Vauban stressed the importance of electoral reform, particularly on the issue of campaign finance and advertising. Vauban also stressed his support for greater diplomatic and economic cooperation with Midrasia's Asuran neighbours, particularly Cuirpthe and tir Lhaeraidd. Vauban also stressed the importance of maintaining a vigilant foreign policy, particularly in regards to Veleaz.

Much of the Vauban administrations early work was dedicated to matters of internal infrastructure. In early interviews, Vauban accused the Chartists 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 was completed in November 2018. 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 Reform Bloc.

When the 2015 Parliamentary corruption scandal broke, inditing several MPs for illegal business dealings within Kagon, three members of the Social Democrats were forced to resign by the Consul, notably including Luix Jeans an important member of the cabinet. On 5 September 2016 Midrasian newspaper The Oracle reported that Vauban also had links with foreign investment within Kagon, 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, Consul 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. In January 2017, two suspected terrorists were arrested at the Midrasian border with Miersa, both of whom were held in policy custody and arrested for the plotting of a terror attack in Ibbené.

Economy

Under the Vauban administration, the Midrasian economy grew at a steady rate of around 2.8% of overall GDP, continuing the trend seen under the preceding Republican government of Mylos Ranieri. Despite this, the government 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 Duravel 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 Visant.

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, most of which came from within the Aeian Community. The vast majority of these migrants came to be employed in manufacturing jobs, particularly within the Avadin region. Despite calls from several more conservative members of the Assembly for Midrasia to withdraw from the common movement agreement as Newrey had done, the Vauban government 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

Vauban delivers a speech to parliament calling for an embargo on Kavo

Under the Vauban administration, much of the government's foreign policy work was devolved to the foreign office. Many have speculated this is due to a lack of foreign policy experience on the part of the Consul. 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 Sifhar. Under Vauban's leadership, the Midrasian government pursued a policy of mediation within Sifhari 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 expansion of the Aeian 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 Third 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. The agreement saw the nations of Brilliania, Ustekia & Dynaria, and Romellea join the community. Vauban's support for the project contrasted with his initial statements on the expansion project, which he described as a 'fantasy'.

In December of 2016, the Vauban administration issued a trade embargo on Kavo, in light of the state's recent civil war within the country. On the same date, Vauban gave a speech condemning the violence perpetrated by the Army of Kavo as well as the Socialist Republic of Sheera under the strongman dictator Truman Kumbukani. Many have suggested that the decision made by the Midrasian government to embargo Kavo was integral to the collapse of the Kavoene government in early 2017, bringing about an Araabyne victory within the conflict.[2]

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.[3] 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 Reformist cabinet, 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 reforms to campaign finance, whilst the Liberals had emphasised an introducing of a proportional voting system for the Senate. An agreement was reached in late 2013 which saw both parties commit to the implementation of a mixed-member-proportionality voting system in the Senate. Despite these commitments, the motion for a proportional Senate was deeply opposed by smaller parties within the reform Bloc, such as the Socialists and Greens who relied on several key senate seats for representation. As a result, whilst the campaign finance reforms were passed, the Senate reforms were defeated.

Resignation

On 8 September 2017, Vauban announced his resignation as leader of the Social Democratic Party and his retirement from politics in general.[4] In a statement, Mr Vauban suggested that his resignation aimed to rectify the party's falling poll ratings for the 2017 elections by removing himself from the political sphere. Despite this, many suggested that his resignation was due to internal party pressures and the belief that the Reublicans would win the upcoming Consular elections.

Corruption Allegations

Vauban fields questions from the media after allegations of corruption emerge

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 Consul. The article alleged that Mr Vauban had provided access to business officials and media representatives to classified governmental meetings and summits.[5] 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 Consul 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.[6]

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.[7] The investigations were carried out with the cooperation of the Midrasian intelligence services, in conjunction with a parliamentary select committee established to oversee the investigation.

On March 4, 2019 the committee responsible for its investigation into the charges aimed at Vauban published its verdict. Ultimately the committee concluded that Consul Vauban had not broken the law with his actions, but had acted in 'bad faith'. The suggestion that Vauban had called on the Midrasian security services to arrest members of the hacker group incognito was proved to be untrue. Following the publication of the committee's verdict, Mr Vauban stated that he had been 'vindicated' and that the allegations against him were 'part of a coordinated campaign to spread fake news about my person, thereby damaging my political career'. When asked about a potential return to politics, Vauban stated: 'never say never, for now I need to rest, this case has been tiring. But i'm not going to rule it out'.

On April 6 2019 a petition was started online to allow Vauban to be readmitted into the Social Democratic Party. After 2 months the petition had accumulated 52,074 signatures, though the PSD refused to comment on the matter.

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 orthodox 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 Aeia". La Republique. 28 November 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  2. "Midrasia Embargoes Kavo". La Republique. 30 December 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  3. "Midrasia calls for Joint Nation Task Force to Deal with Johka". La Republique. 10 April 2017. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  4. "Charles Vauban Resigns". La Republique. 8 September 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  5. "Favours From Mr Vauban". Le Picayune. 5 April 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
  6. "Springtime of the Nation". La Republique. 6 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  7. "Parliament Announces Investigation into PM". La Republique. 14 May 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.