Nicholas Brennan

Nicholas Brennan
70-something nearly-bald man in suit with blue tie
12th President of Laeral
In office
January 6, 2011 – January 6, 2019
Prime MinisterChen Ting-fei (2011-2012)
Gérald Barre (2012-2015)
Tanvi Misra (2015-2019)
Preceded byEliot Ganard
Succeeded byLiu Mei-han
Minister of Justice
In office
September 18th, 2008 – November 1st, 2010
PresidentEliot Ganard
Prime MinisterChen Ting-fei
Representative
In office
January 6th, 1986 – November 1st, 2010
PresidentEliot Ganard
Prime MinisterChen Ting-fei
Personal details
Born (1949-03-27) March 27, 1949 (age 70)
Marist, Choisel, Laeral
NationalityLaeralian
Political partyProgressive Party
Height5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Spouse(s)Francette Guichard Brennan

Nicholas Brennan is a Laeralian politician and member of the Progressive Party who served as the 12th President of the Allied Provinces of Laeral from 2010 to 2018. Brennan was formerly the Minister of Finance and Minister of Trade, as well as an influential Representative in the Laeralian Assembly of Commons. He succeeded Eliot Ganard of the Laeralian People's Party as President following his victory in the second round of the 2010 Laeralian Presidential Election over the incumbent, and defeated Corinne Pelletier, also of the LPP, in 2014.

Early Life and Education

Brennan was born Nicholas Maxence Brennan on March 27th, 1949 to Gaston and Marguerite Brennan in Marist, the capital of Choisel province. He was the second son of the Catholic couple, between his older brother Etienne and younger sister Henriette. His father, Gaston Brennan, worked as an accountant for local businesses, while his mother was a housewife.

In 1952, when Brennan was four, the Bloody Summer, a violent coup attempt, took place. Brennan's mother was injured in a riot protesting the actions of coup leader Alain Mette, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. Brennan has said that he has no memory of the Bloody Summer, but has said that seeing the struggles his mother experienced under the limited welfare safety net of the ensuing decades was a major factor in shaping his pro-welfare stance.

While in high school, Brennan intended to become an accountant like his father, but decided on a career in law after his time as the leader of his high school's Mock Trial Association. Brennan attended Causse University, in Meridoc, for his Bachelor's Degree in Pre-law, and attended Emil and Adrienne University for law school, becoming certified as a practicing attorney soon after.

Legal Career

Brennan joined the for-profit legal firm Bonnet & Vidal in 1975, before joining the Laeralian Poverty Rights Compact (LPRC), a non-profit dedicated to protecting the rights of the disadvantaged, in 1976. He achieved some measure of renown while working as an attorney for the LPRC, notably by suing several major businesses for violating the Disabled Laeralites Act of 1968 by failing to provide wheelchair-accessible ramps at their facilities. During the presidential election of 1976, Brennan was involved in a case accusing Conservative Party candidate Alain Bricout of violating campaign finance laws, which was thrown out by the court. Brennan was offered a seat on the Laeralian Poverty Rights Compact Board of Directors in 1977.

Early Progressive Party Involvement

Following his involvement in the high-profile Bricout case, the opposition Progressive Party offered Brennan a position on their legal team. Brennan accepted in 1978, becoming a senior member of the Progressive Legal Defense Committee. He was responsible for defending in court Progressive Party operations and members. In 1980, he was transferred away from active legal work to become a member of the influential Progressive Executive Committee on Policy's Subcommittee for Justice, responsible for writing Progressive positions on the actions of the Justice Ministry. After becoming Vice-Chair of the Justice Subcommittee, he was offered a position on the Progressive ticket for the Assembly of Commons in the 1984 elections, at the 132nd position. The Progressives were hopeful of having Brennan in office as a legal specialist, able to write and ensure the legality of Progressive bills.

Brennan was not elected to the Assembly of Commons in 1984, and continued his work with the Progressive Executive Committee on Policy, rising to becoming Chair of the Justice subcommittee. In 1986, he was given the 97th position on the Progressive ballot, and was elected to the Assembly of Commons.

Representative

In 1986, the Progressives governed in coalition with the Conservative Party. During his first session, Brennan was involved extensively with a proposal for criminal justice reform, which passed narrowly in 1988. Brennan won reelection that year, and in 1990. In 1991, he became a Deputy Whip for the Progressive Commons Caucus, responsible for ensuring that Progressive Representatives voted in accordance with the party leadership's wishes.

Brennan continued his legislative career in this capacity for several years, achieving brief fame in 1995 for attacking President Pierre Leung's proposal for overhauling the system which appointed judges. His remarks, delivered during the President's Questions on June 3rd, 1995, were broadcast around the country. When the Progressives became a part of the governing coalition in 1996, Brennan was cited as the author of the Fair Judicial Appointment Act, which established the modern Judicial Board to appoint Judges nationwide. The bill passed in 1997.

In 2000, Brennan was only narrowly reelected (as #53 on the Progressive list, while the Progressives won only 55 seats). The Progressives refused a coalition with the ruling Socialists, becoming part of the Opposition. Brennan was selected as the Progressives' Shadow Minister of Justice. In this capacity, he was responsible for criticizing the government's judicial policies. During this period, he notably opposed Socialist attempts to decrease the power of the Gendarmerie as well as lending his support to abolishing the President's pardoning power.

Minister of Justice

In 2004, the Progressives took power, becoming a member of a ruling 'Grand Coalition'. Brennan became the Minister of Justice in late 2004, the fifth-most important role in the Laeralian government. He lent his support to major overhauls of the Laeralian justice system, culminating in the Criminal Rehabilitation Act of 2005. This sweeping act changed major portions of the Laeralian legal code to promote better conditions for inmates in Laeralian prisons, including by eliminating the use of solitary confinement as a punishment, as well as eliminating the practice of minimum sentencing.

Fesnau Scandal

In 2006, Brennan was thrust into the national spotlight in the far-ranging Fesnau Scandal. It was found that in 2003, President Maurice Fesnau's Chief of Staff had taken bribes from various companies and political organizations to influence the President into taking certain actions. In 2005, Representative Hervé Korgolot was arrested for bribery, followed by Fesnau's Chief of Staff and numerous other politicians. Brennan appointed Léandre D'Avenir as Special Prosecutor to investigate the emerging scandal. D'Avenir produced an explosive report in January 2006 which alleged that President Maurice Fesnau had accepted bribes to select Martel Defense Yards for a multibillion Mark defense contract, had turned a blind eye to bribes occurring under his watch. Fesnau was accused of having spent such funds on a mansion in Tirzah, Zamastan and a house in Choisel for his mistress. When the report had been issued, the Assembly of Commons passed an impeachment resolution, calling for the General Assembly and Constitutional Court to convene and decide whether to remove President Fesnau from office.

Fesnau Impeachment

Upon the report's release, Brennan came under fire from prominent Socialists, as Special Prosecutor D'Avenir was accused of having been a political operator, due to his status as a registered Conservative. The D'Avenir Report had also contained damaging details, such as the identity of Fesnau's mistress, that some considered sensationalist and exceeding the Special Prosecutor's mandate. Brennan defended D'Avenir's impartiality. During the impeachment proceedings, Justice Minister Brennan was called upon to testify before the General Assembly-Constitutional Court special session, regarding his choice of D'Avenir and his personal trust of the Special Prosecutor. Fesnau was impeached by a two-thirds majority in August of 2006. In the 2006 special presidential election which ensued, as well as the legislative elections of that year, the Progressives lost seats and were pushed from power by a right-wing Laeralian People's Party-Conservative coalition.

Ganard Administration and Return to Power

Brennan continued as Shadow Minister of Justice within the Progressive opposition. Newly-elected President Eliot Ganard, of the Laeralian People's Party had proposed various criminal justice plans which Brennan had publicly opposed. The global financial crisis of 2008, however, distracted the Ganard Administration from their criminal justice initiatives, although Brennan did end up stalling a proposed freeze on judicial salaries. In 2008, campaigning on a platform of economic revival, the Progressives seized power in the Assembly of Commons. Chen Ting-fei, the Leader of the Opposition, was elected Prime Minister, although some had encouraged Brennan himself to make a bid for the position (Brennan publicly denied interest in the role).

Returning to his former position as Minister of Justice, Brennan oversaw the passage of the Safety and Security Bill (2009), which provided a pay raise for federal law enforcement. Brennan also supported a bill mandating the use and long-term storage of sexual assault evidence (rape kits), and a bill targeting illegal online activity.

2010 Presidential Campaign

In 2010, with People's Party President Eliot Ganard running for re-election, the Progressives sought a candidate to win the position. After Prime Minister Chen Ting-fei made the surprise announcement that he would not run for the Progressive nomination, Brennan entered a field that included Delegate Matthieu Lu-Rossignol and Representative Marie-Claire Beringer. Campaigning based on his legislative experience, perception of being honorable and fair, and moderate policies, Brennan won the Progressive primary with 58% of all votes cast.

Brennan campaigned hard against Ganard, promising an economic revival and greater regulation of business. Ganard, whose approval ratings had reached near-record lows by summer of 2010, made a notable gaffe on the campaign trail in which he said that the Laeralian economy was "a heck of a machine". Brennan won 38% of the vote in the first round, compared with 32% for Ganard. He defeated Ganard in a landslide in the second round, 60% to 39%, and entered office with great support in the National Assembly.

President of Laeral

As President, Brennan pledged to be pragmatic and avoid ideology. His first Prime Minister, Chen Ting-fei, led a Progressive-Conservative coalition with broad majorities in both houses of the National Assembly. The main focus of Brennan's first two years in office was on restarting the economy. Within his first month in office, Brennan sacked the head of the Bank of Laeral. He imposed moderate austerity measures while passing a tax reform bill which increased government revenue. Meanwhile, Brennan focused on increasing international trade and boosting employment, although he did engage in high-profile criminal prosecutions of various bankers. In 2012, the Progressive -led coalition retained a reduced majority in the Assembly of Commons.

During his first term, Brennan also passed the Renewed Transportation Act of 2011, which imposed major reforms on the state-run railway system and increased spending on airports and port dredging and the Securing Nuclear Materials Act of 2012, which imposed greater standards on nuclear power and increased funding for nuclear power.

In 2014, Brennan ran for reelection, facing LPP Representative Corinne Pelletier in the second round. Brennan defeated Pelletier with 55% of the vote. However, the Progressives took electoral losses in the National Assembly. Representative Gérald Barre, a moderate Conservative, was chosen as the next Prime Minister in a Progressive-Conservative grand coalition. Brennan maintained cordial relations with Barre. Under PM Barre, Brennan focused on foreign relations rather than domestic issues. In the New Year's Address of 2015, Brennan announced his intentions for Laeral to join the World Assembly, an undertaking that would require Laeral to be in accordance with General Assembly regulations. This was met with broad support from across the political spectrum, giving Brennan a broad mandate. Marie-Claire Beringer, Liu Mei-han, and many others were assigned to achieve this goal.

In 2015, the Progressive-Conservative coalition fell due to internal dissent. Brennan chose Tanvi Misra, an experienced Delegate, as the next Prime Minister. She was able to assembled an unwieldy Progressive-Conservative-Socialist coalition built around the common goal of WA accession. Dozens of pieces of legislation designed to bring Laeral into compliance with WA law were passed, including criminal justice reforms, military and police reforms, and others. In 2017, Laeral was accepted into the World Assembly.

As the 2018 Laeralian General Election approached, Brennan endorsed Tanvi Misra for President of Laeral. Brennan presided over the response to the 2018 Laeralsford Blackout, the murder of Representative Christian Zhou, and the ensuing riots in Cordeliers. When Misra failed to proceed to the second round of the presidential election, finishing in third, Brennan endorsed Liu Mei-han over Damien Vendorme. Brennan's term as president ended in January 2019.

Family and Personal Life

Nicholas Brennan is married to Francette Guichard Brennan, an attorney whom he met during his years of private practice. They have two sons, Lucas and Guillaume.