Drapeur was born into a working class family, the son of a metal worker. He had three elder brothers, and no sisters. He was an exceptionally bright school student, and won a scholarship to study at the University of Christ Pantocrator, New Rome - without that scholarship, his family would never have been able to afford to send him to university. He graduated at the top of his class with first class honours, and went on to do a doctorate.
After university, he returned home to work for the Pantocratorian Metal Workers Union as an industrial dispute negotiator. His eldest brother, Philippe, was a union organiser with the PMWU, and his brothers and father were all members. As an industrial dispute negotiator he argued with companies and executives for better working conditions, fairer wages, and better working hours. His style was both confrontational and conciliatory - he was inflexible in his objectives, but had a way of making the person on the other end of the negotiating table feel like he had given up much more ground than in fact he had. As a result of his success his was popular with the union members (who elected him PMWU Secretary in 1976), and as a result of his technique he was popular with the captains of industry - as popular as a union man could be with such men anyway.
In 1981 he was elected President of the Council of Pantocratorian Trade Unions, in the climate of Emperor Andreus I overruling the Imperial Parliament and ruling alone. Labour law reform was totally off the agenda, much to the frustration of Drapeur and the CPTU. Moves began in the ranks of the CPTU and the affiliated unions to organise a new political party to address their concerns in the Pantocratorian Imperial Parliament. The foundations for what would eventually become the Pantocratorian Socialist Alliance began to be laid out at this time, but their efforts to enter the political fray would be blocked by the United Christian Front for another twenty years.
In 1992 Pantocratoria was in the midst of political and economic upheaval. A global recession had had a devastating impact on Peacock Motors, Pantocratoria's biggest employer, which began laying off staff and proposing significant rollbacks of labour law reform passed sporadically over the previous 40 years by the Pantocratorian National Democratic Party. The new United Christian Front government had no parliamentary opposition, and individuals within the party had significant financial links to Peacock Motors. As CPTU President, Drapeur led the fight against the draconian measures, but his skills as a negotiator proved useless when Peacock Motors proved unwilling to negotiate at all. Protests erupted on the street as the only means available to the trade union movement to resist the labour law reforms, protests in which two of Drapeur's brothers were killed in clashes with Peacock Motors thugs and police. The violent reaction to the protests broke the will of most CPTU and affiliated union members to resist, and despite the efforts of Drapeur, the laws were passed without much further fuss.
Pantocratorian Socialist Society
At the 1994 CPTU Imperial Conference, Drapeur resigned as CPTU President and went to work at Demetrius University in New Constantinople as a lecturer in history. An attempt was made on his life in 1995 and again in 1996 - the first time Drapeur escaped unscathed and the second time he escaped with a bullet wound in his shoulder. On neither occassion did the police ever find the assailant. He continued to lecture at Demetrius University until 1999, when he returned to political life as the Secretary of the Pantocratorian Socialist Society.
The Pantocratorian Socialist Society was an organisation committed to the formation of a socialist political party to contest elections for the Pantocratorian Imperial Parliament. It was largely unsuccessful - there is no evidence that the Emperor was influenced by any of the Pantocratorian Socialist Society's efforts in his decision to allow political parties to be formed which weren't founded by members of the Imperial Family, aristocrats or Knights of the Order of the Pantocrator. The Pantocratorian Socialist Society did, however, keep the dream alive, and more importantly, provided a means through which the structure of the party was organised and the policies laid down well in advance of the party's actual formation. It is thanks to the existence of the Pantocratorian Socialist Society that the Pantocratorian Socialist Alliance was seemingly able to spring up overnight and rise to such immediate prominence as an organised political force to contest the 2004 elections.
Repeal and Reform
The first two sessions of the 107th Imperial Parliament were excited explosions of legislative energy, in which many of the most oppressive of the policies of the United Christian Front and previous governments were overthrown. Greek became an official language of the Empire once again, alongside French. The Ministry of Cultural Development was essentially abolished in the sense in which it used to exist. A secular public education system was established. Profound changes occured in Pantocratoria on a greater scale and more quickly than had been seen since the reign of Manuel le Franc.
Coalition Tensions and Contentious Reform
Drapeur's early reforms had near consensus support, but in mid-2005 the Government began to push for more contentious reforms which bitterly divided public opinion in Pantocratoria. Roman Catholicism lost its favoured position as the established religion of the Empire. The Greek rite was imposed on dioceses with a majority Greek speaking population at the request of the Constantinople Party, which demanded Socialist support for the Greek Rite Act in exchange for support on other key reforms. The Socialist backbench almost revolted when despite their support of the Greek Rite Act, the Constantinople Party refused to support several bills, most notably the Marriage Act, which would've established secular, state marriages in Pantocratoria (and consequently, allowed gay marriage under the terms of various United Nations resolutions). The majority of the reform act was passed, and despite the apparent unpopularity of many of the reforms, the Government had seemed to weather the storm of public opinion when the people of Pantocratorian Ambara elected an Ambaran Socialist Alliance minority government. Despite this apparent endorsement by the public, parts of the Socialist backbench have begun to form factions around Treasurer Isabelle Folquet and Foreign Minister Demetrios Raoul as potential leadership candidates, an expression of dissatisfaction with Drapeur's leadership by some of his own parliamentary colleagues.
|Imperial Chancellor of Pantocratoria
|Leader of the Pantocratorian Socialist Alliance