Lousewies van der Laan
|Lousewies van der Laan|
|Prime Minister of Knootoss
late 1990s- early 2000s
Galadriël Táralóm nos Círdan
Lousewies van der Laan is a former Prime Minister of Knootoss, who is currently leading the liberal SLP party in the Knootian parliament. Her main issue is promoting Education and Information Technology for a 'knowledge-based economy' which she believes to be the future for the DDR. Economically speaking, she belongs to the more progressive wing of the SLP as is evidenced by the enormous increases in both taxes and allocations in the first government led by her, especially for spending departments such as education, while severely cutting defence spending even in the face of growing international ambitions. She is also a strong proponent of a strict seperation of church and state, and has sometimes been accused of being anticlerical. She did, however, staunchly oppose suggestions within the party that the Bible should be banned for inciting hatred against minorities.
She first assumed this role of leading the SLP in parliament under the two SLP / Conservative Party (now RCPK) coalitions under Prime Minister Vogels, serving as the public voice of secular liberalism. When the Shadow War broke out and Vogels was assasinated, she headed the government in exile in Lavenrunz.
Van der Laan I
In the wake of the Shadow War, the electorate wanted a progressive voice that was different from the fascist methods and aims Dick Tator had professed. Van der Laan played to this sentiment after having gained much goodwill for leading the government in exile. With the conservative movement still highly suspect, the election meant an overwhelming victory for her liberal SLP and the green KGP. She then formed a coalition government and assumed the position of Prime Minister.
Heading a decidedly left-wing SLP/KGP coalition government (van der Laan I). Her self-professed aim was to build a sustainable society. She presided over extensive progressive reforms, such as improving Social Welfare and the environment. Especially the social welfare reforms were succesful, rapidly expanding Knootoss' social net in a relatively short period of time. Progressive tax levels increased to 69% under this administration. Environmental regulations met with more opposition and some specific reforms failed, such as efforts to ban corporate donations to political parties and introducing environmental concerns into the WBO. The greens also argued that the government did not go far enough in its endeavours, blaming the SLP for wanting only small reforms.
Eventually, her government lost the political support of the SLP over percieved international distrust of the very progressive partners it was trying to find while alienating longstanding alliances such as those with Menelmacar. This fundamental split between the coalition partners was mostly over foreign policy, but also over the economic path of the DDR. Regardless, both parties went into the election with a message of full support of a second term for van der Laan with the same coalition.
Inauguration: Knootoss moves left
Van der Laan II
The second government of Lousewies van der Laan officially continued the SLP/Green coalition, but it was in fact in many ways a right-wing SLP/RCPK coalition despite the greens still holding various ministerial posts. The SLP, still disagreeing with the greens over foreign policy and the economy, found a new partner in the reformed RCPK. The key change was when the highly controversial green state-secretary of Foreign Affairs was replaced by the ambitious conservative 'hawk' Galadriël Táralóm nos Círdan after another diplomatic incident. This move was supported by the SLP and RCPK factions in parliament, who signed a joint motion of distrust against the green and approved the appointment of the new junior minister. During the second van der Laan administration, the government came to rely on changing coalitions alternating between SLP + Greens and SLP + Conservatives.
A cold war with the CACE tainted the foreign policy leadership of the second administration, Operation rattling sabre being the absolute low point. Under this administration, many of Lousewies' initial progressive reforms were undone both by acts of parliament and by a strong lobby from the ministry of Economic Affairs for tax reform. Taxes were cut deeply, brining tax levels back to a level that was seen as more reasonable for WBO nations. Another important event of this administration was Knootian withdrawal from SATO over disagreements with Syskeyia and the subsequent joining of UnAPS.
In the end, she lost the election in her third bid for Prime Minister to the more charismatic Elvish RCPK candidate Galadriël nos Círdan, who subsequently formed a coalition government with the SLP. Lousewies then returned to leading the SLP in parliament without a particularly high profile. She supported Operation Tempo Doeloe when requested to do as such by the SLP ministers in the government of Galadriël.