Former President Cecelia Paylor does not easily forget her downfalls. After all, it was she who was soundly defeated last time. All odds were in her favor- she was an incumbent president with little scandal to speak of. The only problem was that she was not the most popular person in Panem.
Cecelia Paylor was born and raised in District 8. Like most leaders in Panem, Paylor was born under the authoritarian rule of President Coriolanus Snow III, the father of the final dictator of Panem. She, like many, saw the horrors of the Hunger Games. This influenced her greatly, especially once her family was murdered by the Panem government during the fire bombings of District 8. Paylor did not stand idly by after her innocent family was killed- she took action by joining the rebellion against Snow’s imperial government. She quickly rose through the ranks and became the leader, giving order to the chaotic group of rebels in District 8.
Now skip to the end of the Rebellion. President Snow has been captured and is set to be executed by the Mockingjay, Katniss Everdeen. Shock sets in once Katniss assassinates the new President of the United Districts of Panem, Alma Coin. President Snow is killed in the chaos that follows. Without a leader, Panem descended momentarily into chaos until a special election was called. Ultimately, the people of Panem elected their first leader: District 8 rebel commander Cecelia Paylor. Paylor never campaigned for such a role, but she accepted the position nonetheless, stating that it was her solemn duty to serve the nation of Panem in whatever way possible.
The new President of the Republic of Panem was presented with a difficult task: govern a country that has no discernible government structure, no allies in the world, and govern it in a way that will be positive for the citizens. President Paylor managed to complete the task. Under the new President, Panem gained standing in world politics for both the better and worse. Trading began internationally under the International Free Trade Act. However, with this also came conflict. The backdrop to the Panem-IANO War was set when the IANO began to threaten Panem over its nuclear stockpiles, the last of their kind in the world. Paylor also provided the first government structure to Panem, creating a democratic government in the mold of the ancient United States government.
President Paylor’s term went downhill once key figures in her adminstration broke with her on many policies, particularly that of term limits for the Presidency and her reforms. Future vice president and then-Secretary of Communication Plutarch Heavensbee and then-Secretary of State Effie Trinket resigned from their posts, stating that Paylor was becoming a dictator like Snow. This set the stage for a tumultuous presidential election that drew two high-profile challengers: Governor of District 13 Celine Oswald, and war hero Katniss Everdeen. Oswald and Everdeen became cutthroat in their campaigns, destroying Paylor as they trekked across Panem. Ultimately, their accusations of authoritarianism and corruption took a toll on the President, landing her in last place behind Everdeen and Oswald. President Everdeen took office in that next January, performing the first presidential transition in Panem’s history.
However, Paylor decided that this wouldn’t be her final stand. The former President rebounded and has become one of President Everdeen’s fiercest (and only) critics. Many were still surprised, however, when Paylor announced her second campaign for President, intending for a rematch against her opponent. She ascended to the second place in the polls, but her plans were complicated once the Labor and People for Panem candidates for president were announced. Sensing that her poll numbers were dropping due to her status as an independent without a running mate, Paylor filed to form a new political party: the Civic Party. Running with former Speaker of the House Samuel Trenton on the Civic Party ticket, Paylor’s numbers were boosted. However, the former President has fallen to third in the polls behind Labor nominee Rick Canth after Paylor took a beating in the presidential debate.
Former President Paylor has defined history in Panem, and is attempting to make a second round. Whether she will succeed in becoming the first President to receive a second term (even though the said term will be nonconsecutive) is a mystery and can only be determined by the ballot box. Regardless, Paylor is a figure that is both dignified as well as divisive, and will influence Panem’s political scene for times to come.