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|Prime Minister of Lihnidos|
|Assumed office |
25 January 2010
|Preceded by||Lycaon Buros|
|Leader of the Conservative-National Alliance|
|Assumed office |
24 January 2010
|Preceded by||Lycaon Buros|
|Secretary of State for the Interior|
23 October 2006 – 25 January 2010
|Prime Minister||Lycaon Buros|
|Preceded by||Iona Tassi|
|Succeeded by||Filippo Papadopoulos|
|Shadow Secretary of State for the Interior|
09 February 2003 – 23 October 2006
|Preceded by||Gregor Pavlis|
|Succeeded by||Argos Rosi|
|Deputy for Pieria 19|
|Assumed office |
16 October 1998
|Preceded by||Apolline Stathi|
Fotis Arcenio Raptis
4 May 1977
|Political party||Conservative-National Alliance|
Odessa Alexopoulou (m. 1997)
|Alma mater||University of Arcadia|
Fotis Raptis (Fotis Arcenio Raptis; born 4 May 1977) has been the Prime Minister of Lihnidos since 25 January 2010. Alongside his role as Prime Minister, Raptis also serves as the Leader of the Conservative-National Alliance and represents roughly 207,000 Lihnidosi as the Member of Parliament for Arcadia's 8th district. Raptis identifies as a social and economic conservative, but has been criticized by extremists in his party as being too moderate. He is the 26th Prime Minister of Lihnidos, the 34th Leader of the Conservative-National Alliance, and at the time of his ascension to Prime Minister was the youngest individual to ever hold the office.
Raptis was born and grew up in the Lihnidosi capital city of Arcadia with his mother, an accountant, and his father, a banker. He attended public schools in Arcadia for both primary and secondary education. Upon graduating from secondary school in 1994 at the age of seventeen after graduating early, Raptis became employed at the Papa Nilo's fast food chain and worked as a cashier for a year until he turned eighteen. After his eighteenth birthday, with assistance from his father, he was able to become a teller at a branch of the First National Bank of Arcadia. Also after his eighteenth birthday he applied and was accepted to the University of Arcadia where he studied for an Associates Degree in Economics. Raptis worked as a teller throughout his time at university and upon graduating in 1997 he left his position.
In 1998 at the age of twenty-one, Raptis submitted his name to the Conservative-National Alliance to run for the National Assembly in Arcadia's 8th district. Having just reached the age when eligible to run for national office, his chance of being selected by the national party as the candidate was slim. The district, which had been held by the Democratic Coalition in the past two election cycles, seemed like an unlikely place for any conservative candidate to be victorious. Due to a general lack of candidates, the CNA selected Raptis to run as the CNA candidate in the 1998 general election. Facing the incumbent Assemblywoman, Karen Gabri, Raptis began running his campaign based on conservative ideals and used his youth to his advantage. Karen Gabri was indited on corruption charges two weeks before the general election. The Democratic Coalition replaced Gabri on the ballot, but the unknown candidate that replaced her resulted in low DC turnout and a victory for Raptis at the polls.
In 2003, after winning re-election in 2002, Raptis was appointed by CNA leader Lycaon Buros as the Shadow Secretary of State for the Interior. At the age of twenty-six, Raptis was the youngest person to ever be placed in a shadow cabinet for any party. His initial appointment drew criticism from many in his party. Worries that he was too young and inexperienced caused many to expect that he would be replaced shortly after his appointment. Despite the complaints, he was never replaced and remained as the shadow secretary. In 2006 the CNA won a majority in the National Assembly and at the age of twenty-nine Raptis was appointed as Secretary of State for the Interior.
Raptis served as Secretary of State for the Interior for almost four years before CNA leader and then Prime Minister Lycaon Buros passed away. Having built many friendships and a good reputation for himself, Raptis entered the CNA leadership election in a strong position. Raptis placed third on the first ballot of CNA MPs by a small margin, but then won on the second ballot. On the third ballot, Raptis garnered a majority of votes from among CNA MPs and was elected as the next CNA leader. The next day, during a session of the National Assembly, he was elected as Prime Minister. Empress Stella II approved of Raptis's appointment to the Prime Ministership the same day after the two met at the Imperial Palace.
- 1 Early Life and Education
- 2 Early Parliamentary Career
- 3 Secretary of State for the Interior
- 4 Prime Minister
- 5 Political Positions
- 6 Personal Life
Early Life and Education
Born on 4 May 1977, Fotis is the son of Cyryl and Aspasia Raptis. Working as a loan officer when he was born, Raptis's father worked at the First National Bank of Arcadia. As he grew older, his father progressed up the executive chain of command at the bank, first becoming Chief Operations Officer and then Chief Executive Officer. Raptis's mother worked as an accountant at the small Arcadian accounting firm Stathou and Vidales. Both of his parents still live in Arcadia.
Raptis's wealthy upbringing afforded him a relatively easy childhood. He was raised in a small family with no siblings. For his extended family, he had his maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather, as well as two uncles on his father's side, one aunt on his mother's side, and five cousins. His mothers family lived in the western province of Messenia in the country where his mother had lived for the majority of her life. His father's family lived in Arcadia. Benefiting from the money that his father made from his position at the bank, Raptis grew up in the southern east side of Arcadia which at the time was considered to be one of the wealthiest parts of the city. His status put him in a positive position going into primary school and secondary school, as he was able to spend more time fostering relationships with classmates rather than having to concern himself with providing for himself by working a job through school. He had few social or educational problems going through school and graduated with a 3.71 GPA and was eighth in his class.
Due to skipping a year of his secondary education, Raptis graduated at the age of seventeen. While he did apply for and obtain a job at the Lihnidosi fast food restaurant Papa Nilo's, it was his personal choice rather than a necessary move. After turning eighteen, Raptis left his job at Papa Nilo's and obtained a job as a teller at a branch of the First National Bank of Arcadia. His ability to obtain the job is widely believed to be a result of his father's position at the bank at the time. His employment during his time at university, along with assistance from his parents, isolated him from any student debt.
Raptis attributed his conservative beliefs to his parents. His father's position in the financial services industry exposed Raptis to economic conservatism while his mother, having been raised in Messenia, an overwhelmingly conservative province, had always been an economic and social conservative. His parent's Fabrian Catholic faith also contributed to Raptis's conservative upbringing as the teachings of the church were socially conservative in a large part.
Despite his wealthy upbringing, Raptis was educated in the public-school system. He attended primary school at Poton Primary School and later attended secondary school at Metheron Hill High School. Following his graduation from Metheron Hill, Raptis took a year off before applying and being accepted to the University of Arcadia. He studied at the University of Arcadia for two years before earning an Associates Degree in Economics.
Early Parliamentary Career
Raptis was sworn in as a Member of Parliament on 16 October 1998. His upset victory over Aldora Nanou took the political world by surprise and was covered by many major news organizations. Raptis stated during one interview that he, "never expected to win," but thought that experiencing a race for the National Assembly would, "be a good experience." His victory followed the incumbent, National Assemblywoman Karen Gabri, being indited on corruption charges two weeks before the general election. The Democratic Coalition was quick to name a replacement for Gabri, deciding to stand local doctor Aldora Nanou as the new candidate. Prior to running for the National Assembly, Nanou worked as a primary care physician at a private practice. Nanou, who only had two weeks to campaign before the general election, was still believed to be the favorite due to the constituency's prior voting history. Fortunate for Raptis, Nanou's short campaign was plagued with missteps and scandal. During one campaign stop, Nanou jokingly said that she would not mind seeing an end to the monarchy. Her statement did not play well with many potential voters, as a poll taken after the statement showed the Empress with a 74% approval rating in the constituency. Three days before the general election, Nanou's husband announced that he would be filing for divorce due to "disagreements" with his wife. On election day, turnout among registered Democratic Coalition voters was down 21% from the previous general election. The low turnout was attributed to Raptis's victory with 47.3% of the vote.
Upon his entry to Parliament, Raptis was appointed to the Committee of National and Local Government Affairs. The committee was seen as one of the more insignificant committees in the National Assembly, and Raptis had stated after the appointment that he believed the appointment was retaliation for his upset win in an until then secure Democratic Coalition constituency. Raptis's membership on the committee began without much fanfare. Loved by many in his party for managing to flip a constituency that the leadership believed unflippable, he was befriended by several CNA MPs who looked to take advice and share in the spotlight that he found himself in for the weeks following his election. This proved useful in December of 1998 when the provincial council of Pieria brought forth a proposal to the committee to redraw the province's constituencies. The Democratic Coalition majority on the committee was in favor of bringing the matter to the whole of the National Assembly, where it would inevitably be approved by the Democratic Coalition. The Piereia Provincial Council, comprised of four Democratic Coalition members and three Conservative-National Alliance members was split on the proposal, with the CNA members of the council declaring that the DC members were attempting to gerrymander the province to further benefit the DC. Several conservative members of the committee, after reviewing the proposed changes made by the provincial council, disagreed with the CNA council members objections and announced that they planned on supporting the changes. Raptis, whose district would have been affected in the change, urged his CNA colleagues with whom he had formed a good relationship to instead vote down the proposal, knowing that if the proposal were to make it out of committee it would be approved. On the day the committee voted, the proposal was rejected after all opposition MPs and two DC MPs voted against the change. Raptis was credited with the rejection of the proposal, which was later seen as a victory for the CNA.
Through his first term in the National Assembly Raptis made it a habit to comment on several issues that were being highly contested. He stated once when the Democratic Coalition brought forth a bill to legalize abortion in the case of fetal defects that he, "believed all abortion should be illegal." His position, which was held by many in the CNA, was criticized by Democratic Coalition members as extreme and unfair to women. The bill, which was eventually defeated, saw Raptis abstain from voting after being absent when voting took place. His absence was noticed and earned him air time on television as national media wished to know why such an outspoken critic of the bill was not present for the vote. He used the time on television to explain his views on social issues and refused to give a concrete answer as to why he was not present to vote against the bill.
In the 2002 general election Raptis was reelected with 43.9% of the vote, down from his previous victory at 47.3%. The election saw the CNA make gains in traditionally democratic constituencies. Raptis remained on the Committee of National and Local Government Affairs after his request to be assigned to the National Assembly Committee for Finance and the Economy was declined. In February of 2003 then-opposition leader and leader of the Conservative-National Alliance Lycaon Buros appointed Raptis as Shadow Secretary of State for the Interior. Only twenty-six at the time, he was viewed by many of the older CNA MPs as inexperienced and unqualified for the position. It was speculated for a time that Buros may cave to the pressure from the senior members of the party and replace Raptis. Despite the pressure, Buros kept Raptis in the position. As Shadow Secretary of State for the Interior, Raptis was a strong proponent of conservative ideals and was commended for his work in the shadow cabinet.
Secretary of State for the Interior
In 2006 the Conservative-National Alliance regained a majority in the National Assembly. Lycaon Buros was appointed as the Prime Minister by the National Assembly and Empress. When forming his cabinet, Buros selected Raptis to be his Secretary of State for the Interior. The move was expected following Raptis's three year tenure as Shadow Secretary of State for the Interior, in which he was successful in proving himself as a capable individual for the position.
Raptis's first action as Secretary of State for the Interior was to renew the authorization of the Stability and Security Act which allowed for the surveillance of individuals who were believed to be a threat to the nation. The move to reauthorize the act came as little surprise, as Raptis had supported government surveillance through his time as shadow secretary. The reauthorization was met with criticism from both sides of the political spectrum as many in his own party said that it was unjust and immoral to spy on citizens of Lihnidos.
Early in his time as secretary Raptis advocated against the legalization of marijuana and the use of other recreational drugs. He encouraged the administration to pass legislation that would more strictly punish drug dealers if their actions of selling drugs led to the death of someone they sold to. It is believed that Raptis's stance on drugs stems from the death of his childhood friend Attis Monas who died following a drug overdose. The prosecution of drug dealers increased under Raptis as the government cracked down on recreational use of illegal drugs.
He instituted a review of the use of private prisons in Lihnidos in 2009 and found that there were several instances of abuse and malpractice on the part of the prison administration. Following the conclusion of his review he advised the government to close several of these facilities for violations of the law. His advisement was taken into consideration by the Prime Minister and later the offending prisons were shut down and the administration of the prisons tried and charged with a number of criminal violations.
In 2009, a mass shooting occurred in Andros which resulted in the death of eighteen Lihnidosi citizens. Raptis assured the public and the National Assembly that there was no threat of a follow-up attack and visited surviving victims of the shooting with the Prime Minister and Minister of Health. The attack was later determined to be the work of christian extremist group the Lord's Holy Army that was being run from Fakolana at the time. Raptis later banned the known leadership of the organization from the country and issued warrants for their arrest.
CNA Leadership Election
Raptis announced his candidacy for the leadership of his party following the death of Prime Minister Lycaon Buros in 2009. He campaigned on his widely regarded success as Secretary of State for the Interior and emphasized the need for a youthful leader who could bring fresh ideas and new voters to the party. He insisted that he could unite the party and the voters under a new message that would ensure a conservative majority in the coming October 2010 elections. His message was slow to catch on with many of the older members of the party leadership and he was criticized as too young and inexperienced by his opponents.
Raptis later gained the support of several members of the Buros cabinet that he had served with for the prior four years. The Secretary of State for Justice Yehor Lazos, Secretary of State for Transportation Menoceceus Laskos, and Secretary of State for Media and Communications Zoe Chroni were three of the early cabinet secretarys to support Raptis in his bid for the leadership. During the first round of voting Raptis was opposed by the Secretary of State for National Defense Feodor Anagnos, Conservative-National Alliance party chairman Taryn Drakou, MP Stergios Barberis, and Chief Whip Rhea Manika. Raptis placed third in the first round of voting, having fallen behind Feodor Anagnos who garnered 81 and Chief Whip Rhea Manika who garnered 41. Raptis had earned the support of 40 MPs. Taryn Drakou and Stergios Barberis earned 24 and 20 votes respectively. Drakou and Barberis both dropped out of the race following their poor results. Drakou announced his support for Raptis while Barberis did not endorse any candidate. On the second round of voting Anagnos placed first again with 95 votes, followed by Raptis with 71 and Manika with 40. Manika was eliminated from the third round of voting. On 24 January 2010 Raptis was elected with a 110 votes while Anagnos won 96. Raptis was announced as the Leader of the Conservative-National Alliance that night.
Appointment as Prime Minsiter
On 25 January 2010 Raptis attended a private audience with Empress Stella II where she invited him to form a government and formally appointed him as the Prime Minister of Lihnidos. His appointment made him the youngest ever Prime Minister of Lihnidos at the age of 33. His audience with the Empress lasted roughly thirty minutes and it is believed that Raptis's wife was permitted to meet with the Empress for a short time. Following his appointment Raptis departed the Imperial Palace and arrived at Palamaras Mansion shortly after, where he gave his first address as the Prime Minister. He said that he was "deeply honored" to be chosen by his party and to be "found acceptable" by the Empress.
Raptis's first act as Prime Minister was to appoint his cabinet. Many of his initial appointments were holdovers from the Buros cabinet on which he had served on. He notably did not reappoint Feodor Anagnos as Secretary of State for National Defense, whom he had run against for the Conservative-National Alliance leadership. He appointed Claas Peris as the Secretary of State for the Environment and Agriculture, a move that drew criticism from the left due to Peris's involvement with fossil fuel companies.
Raptis attended his first meeting of the National Assembly as the Prime Minister the following week and was greeted enthusiastically by many in his party and some in the right-wing opposition parties. He was questioned on his stances on healthcare and education by Democratic Coalition leader Fania Zarou. In his first test against the opposition he was able to properly fend off their attacks and articulate his government's views on the issues by explaining that, "affordable healthcare is something that every Lihnidosi citizen should have access to," and on education that, "the education of our youth is extremely important to the government. We will continue to encourage parents to be involved in their children's education and look to further the access to private and charter schools."
In 2010 Raptis saw the loss of seven seats to the opposition despite his constant campaigning for his party and individual candidates. The loss gave ammunition to his opponents in his party that once again insisted that he was too young to properly run the party. Steven Tassis, who was Secretary of State for Energy at time, was caught on a hot mic calling Raptis an "idiot." He later resigned from his position and was replaced with Ivankor Caras.
In 2011 Raptis took his first trip abroad in his official capacity to Vannois. He met with the newly elected Prime Minister the Duke of Périnesse-Toucourt. During his trip he pledged continued support to the Belisarian Community and its member nations.
In 2014 the CNA saw a continued loss of seats, this time losing seventeen seats. Raptis was pressured to resign following the poor results but refused and stated that he would, "be staying on for as long as he had the confidence of the National Assembly and the Empress." Following his statement several members of his party came out in support of him and his performance.
In 2018 Raptis was Chairman of the Belisarian Council as Lihnidos had reached its time in the rotation. He once again reaffirmed Lihnidos's commitment to the Belisarian Community during his first speech to the council as chairman.
Raptis has described himself as pro-life and against abortion. He has said that he believes that abortion is tantamount to murder and that a civilized society should not be murdering children. While in the National Assembly, Raptis has either voted against legislation that would allow for better access to abortions or has not been present for the vote. During his tenure as Prime Minister, Raptis has refused to allow voting on bills that would lessen restriction on abortion. He has publicly said that he would not be against reviewing the current laws on abortion, which allow for abortions if the pregnancy is a result of rape or if the pregnancy would endanger a woman's life.
Despite never speaking on the issue publicly, Raptis's record shows that he is against same-sex marriage. In 2009 he voted against a bill that would allow marriage between same-sex couples after the bill was approved by the Health and Public Safety Committee despite objections from several members. The bill, which would have allowed same-sex couples to marry and adopt children was rejected by the National Assembly, and Raptis, who was Secretary of State for the Interior at the time, refused to comment on his vote or elaborate on his position. The issue has not gone away, and as Prime Minister the Democratic Coalition has proposed several bills that would have legalized the act. None of the bills ever made it to the floor of the National Assembly for a vote, either failing in committee or no time being scheduled for debate and vote by the whole legislature.
Raptis has often stated that he is a supporter of legal immigration from any country, but that those who immigrate to Lihnidos should be accepting of Lihnidosi culture and want to integrate. During a press event at Parliament, Raptis said that those in the country illegally, "should be given a chance before being deported." His apparent willingness to allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country under certain circumstances drew criticism from those in his party that sought the deportation of anyone found to be in the country illegally. He later walked back his comment, saying that anyone in the country illegally, "had committed a crime," but that, "they aren't necessarily bad people."
Raptis has said that the current citizenship laws are adequate and do not need modified. In 2015 his administration lessened the restrictions on seeking asylum or refuge in Lihnidos despite objections from several members of his party.
As a member nation of the Belisarian Community, Lihnidos is a part of Laennes Area which permits the free movement of people in member nations. Raptis has stated that he supports the Belisarian Community and does not believe any changes need made to Lihnidos's part in the Laennes Area.
Economy and Trade
Ratpis is a supporter of the free market and laissez-faire economics. During his tenure his administration has cut business regulations in an attempt to make Lihnidos a more attractive country for not only big business but also in order to encourage small and local business in order to increase employment. He has stated his desire to lower taxes for Lihnidosi citizens and corporations. In the 2014 Conservative-National Alliance manifesto the party solidified its stance and promised to lower the corporate tax rate from 34% to 30%. In 2015 after the CNA retained its majority in the National Assembly the party made good on its promise and lowered the corporate tax rate as well as tax rates for individuals and increased the standard deduction.
Raptis supports Lihnidos's membership in the Belisarian Community and has said that the single market is extremely beneficial to the nation. He is against tariffs and said that free trade is not free if being restricted by tariffs. In 2016, he stated that, "a tariff is a tax on the individual," rather than any country or business.
Environment and Energy
Ratpis has stated that he is a skeptic with regards to global warming, rather saying that he believes in climate change. Despite this, he and his administration have cut regulations on people and business that were in place to protect the environment. In 2012 Raptis supported a bill that designated a large section of forest in north western Lihnidos as a national park and protected land. He has said that he enjoys nature and the outdoors and understands those who say he does not go far enough on protecting the environment but disagrees with their assessment.
The Raptis administration has encouraged the transition toward renewable and clean energy and away from energy generated from fossil fuels. A supporter of nuclear energy, he has ensured the public that the expansion of nuclear plants in the nation would be safe and well regulated to ensure that no safety risk is posed to the populace.
Foreign Policy and Defense
Raptis is a vocal critic of Rietumimark and Liothidia, whom he has said are the two biggest threats to Belisaria. He has supported the Belisarian Community and committed to furthering Lihnidos's relations with nations that "share Lihnidos's values." He has made it a point to signal Lihnidos's support for nations who are threatened by communism or fascism in any form and to work tirelessly to ensure regional prosperity and security.
On defense, Raptis has proposed budgets that increase spending on the military and national defense, saying that it "is vital to the continuing existence of Lihnidos." He has been a critic of the independence and lack of oversight on the Empress's Imperial Guard, but has continued to fund the branch of the armed forces at the levels requested by the Empress. Raptis has continued Lihnidosi involvement in Belisarian Community military activities and pledged troops to any Belisarian nation who needs assistance in times of crisis.
Raptis is not a supporter of universal healthcare and believes that privatized healthcare is the better option for many. Despite this, he has said that he understands the need for a system where citizens are able to afford healthcare and not have to concern themselves with whether or not they will be able to visit a doctors office or hospital if they become ill. Steps taken by the Democratic Coalition government under Pietr Carras in 2004 to assure affordable healthcare to everyone were not rolled back by the Buros or Raptis Administrations.
He has cited the plans instituted by the Democratic Coalition in 2004 as the reason that healthcare costs are rising and is behind the government's need to continuously increase the spending on healthcare. He has not ruled out reforming or replacing the system put in place in 2004.
Law and Order
Raptis has called for a reform in the criminal justice system. In 2009 as Secretary of State for the Interior he instituted a review of the prison system and use of privatized prisons. His review found that, in several instances, violence, corruption, and understaffing had resulted in conditions far worse than those government-controlled facilities. His review led to the closure of several private prisons.
He is in favor of the death penalty and has advocated for stronger sentencing against drug dealers whose actions result in the death of an individual.
Raptis has shown public support for law enforcement and has often commended them on their work in times of crisis. He has stated that police have the right to defend themselves if they feel threatened just as anyone should be allowed to do.
Science and Technology
Raptis has supported further developments in space exploration and medical sciences and stated that some of his greatest hopes were to see disease wiped out and the colonization of a new planet. Government budgets under his leadership have increasingly allocated more funding to the Ministry of Education and Innovation and the Ministry of Health in hopes that breakthroughs could be made in those fields.
Raptis met his wife, Odessa Alexopoulou, while attending the University of Arcadia. The two reportedly met during their first year in an entry-level Audonais class and shortly after entered into a romantic relationship. The pair became engaged in 1996 and were married in 1997 following Raptis's graduation from university. Odessa remained at the University of Arcadia following their marriage to continue her studies for a Bachelor's Degree in molecular biology. Following Raptis's successful run for a seat in the National Assembly, the pair had their first child, Sebasten, in 1999 and later had their second child, Rhea, in 2003.
Raptis is a member of the Fabrian Catholic Church and is known to attend mass on Sundays accompanied by his wife and children. Raptis and his family currently live in Palamaras Mansion, the official residence of Lihnidosi Prime Ministers. Raptis also owns an apartment in the southern east side of Arcadia close to where he lived during his childhood with his parents. He is known to enjoy fishing and hunting and has expressed interest in books written by Lihnidosi fiction author Irene Polite. He has traditionally spends a week alone in the forests of Kalymnos during a National Assembly recess where he enjoys outdoor activities. Rugby is one of his favorite sports after having participated in the sport at Metheron Hill.