| The Right Honourable|
Alan Ralph Kerk
OML, MP, BA, LLM
|18th Prime Minister of Kelssek|
|In office||September 18, 2004 - present|
|Born|| February 27, 1934|
|Party||Green Party of Kelssek|
Alan Ralph Kerk (born February 27, 1934) is the 18th and current Prime Minister of Kelssek as well as the leader of the Green Party of Kelssek. Winning a majority government in the 2004 elections on a social democratic platform, Kerk's widespread popularity among the electorate has helped him remain in power despite growing rifts in his party.
Early career and activism
Born to immigrant parents in the rural town of Windstedt, Kerk attended the University of Conroy at Vickery, graduating with a degree in economics and environmental studies, before he recieved his law degree from Victoria University. He initially became a freelance journalist and did legal work before beginning to champion activist causes, particularly in consumer rights and environmental issues, including several court battles with public and private corporations. He is famous for the 1974 Bloodbath Protest, during which he and a group of protestors broke into the House of Commons and drenched then-Prime Minister Luc Deschamps in red corn syrup to protest Deschamps's refusal to force car manufacturer National Kelssek Motors to comply with new car safety standards.
Entry into politics
Kerk's political career began in 1978 when he helped to found the Green Party of Kelssek. The party won 32 seats in the 1980 elections and agreed with the Liberal Party to form a coalition government. Kerk then left the political scene until 1994 to start the populist consumer advocacy group United Citizens Association, public work for which he was named an Officer of the Order of the Maple Leaves. Upon his return, the Green Party voted him into the party leadership unanimously. He would continue to keep his party part of the governmental coalition with the Liberal Party until 2004, when scandal over an extradition dispute caused a wave of MPs to leave the Liberal Party in protest for the Green Party. The fallout of the scandal helped Kerk to lead the Green Party to a big win, giving them the majority in the House of Commons and propelling Kerk to the Prime Minister's office.
Almost immediately, Kerk faced a crisis when in response to the destruction of their embassy during the Infinite Loop-Packilvania war, Packilvania launched a missile at Mazinaw which killed about 20,000 people, mostly civillians. Rioting erupted nationwide as Hive members were subject to hate attacks, and civil unrest claimed over 160 lives. Besides this crisis, Kerk has had to deal with numerous wars in the East Pacific, although he was lauded for forcing the warring parties in the Krechzianko-Vladistock Island war to a peace agreement.
Another significant controversy was sparked during the 2006 August Crisis, when Kerk invoked emergency laws to detain over a hundred Patriotic Liberation Front militants. Opposition parties accused him of hypocrisy, as he had portrayed himself as a civil rights defender, but polls showed increased support for him in the aftermath and a recall motion he had placed on the ballot was soundly defeated, an effective popular endorsement of his position.
Kerk's significant legislative achievements include the Election Finance Act, which is aimed at eliminating political donations and the "buying of democracy". He also used a public referendum to insert a pacifist clause into the Constitution renouncing Kelssek's right to declare war.
Reduction to minority
Kerk had to contend with a split in his party between the defectors and the original members, particularly the defectors' demands for a greater role in the leadership. This tension came to a head in January 2007 when several of these backbenchers ignited controversy over an official visit to Pacitalia by criticising Kerk for being a "hypocrite", which resulted in several backbenchers being suspended, and then ejected from caucus, prompting a party split. 56 Greens, all of them former Liberals who had defected in 2004, formed a new Democratic Progressive Party, declaring they were "tired of the hypocrisy and corruption of the established parties" and reducing Kerk to a minority government.
After overtures towards the Liberal Party were rebuffed, Kerk secured an agreement from the United Communist Party that they would not vote against the government in confidence motions, allowing him to govern in a more secure minority situation, without having to form a coalition. Next on his stated legislative agenda is to introduce a proportional representation voting system for federal elections to replace the first-past-the-post system currently in use, as well as opening trade ties with Coocoostan, improving infrastructure through projects such as the KHRS high-speed railway, and pushing forward on a program to establish a fossil-fuel-free economy by 2010, initiated in the 1990s.
In spite of the situation he faces within the House of Commons, Kerk remains consistently popular among Kelssek voters, with approval ratings normally in the 60% range, the highest for any Prime Minister since Kieran Pearson. Analysts point to his charisma, the perception of him as a successor to Kieran Pearson's legacy and his history of commitment to environmental protection and consumer advocacy as political reasons for his popularity, as well as the good economic performance with falling unemployment, inequality and rising median incomes, and growth in real GDP despite numerous economic shocks, such as the Nekomimi Flu epidemic, and the declining fisheries industry.