STEPPING ASIDE: President Everdeen declines third consecutive term

In a stunning turn of events, President Katniss Everdeen (Liberty-D12) shook the political scene to its core when she announced that she would not seek reelection to a third term as president of Panem. Everdeen had been widely expected to run again considering her popularity.

President Everdeen was first elected in the first regularly scheduled presidential election, which featured Everdeen defeating rivals Celine Oswald (now Vice President) and incumbent President Cecelia Paylor, then an independent. Everdeen was inaugurated as President in a ceremony lauded by many for the peaceful transition of power between Paylor and Everdeen.

During her first term, President Everdeen was mostly preoccupied with war as the International Anti-Nuclear Organization, an organization that included the countries of France and the Netherlands, invaded and bombed Panem. Ultimately, Panem prevailed, bringing more popularity to the Everdeen admininstration.

After the end of the war, President Everdeen made history again by announcing the formation of a new District, District 14. The district entered the union with the highest population of any district in Panem, which gave it 20 electoral votes.

President Everdeen sought reelection to a historic second term, facing opposition candidates Rick Canth (Labor-D7), former President Cecelia Paylor (Civic-D8), and Sandra Morrison (People for Panem-D9). She won her second term by the skin of her teeth, matching the exact amount of electoral votes she needed to win. After her reelection, Everdeen assembled a bipartisan administration, stressing the need for unity in Panem’s government.

Everdeen was faced with controversy almost immediately after her reelection when Senator Morrison filed a court case against Everdeen regarding voter fraud in the election. Morrison, losing the case unanimously in the Panem Supreme Court, declared herself President and announced the secession of District 6 as her new country. President Everdeen ordered their arrest for treason and banned the party for treasonous acts against Panem, a decision that is mostly applauded but questioned by a few.

In her second term, President Everdeen has championed bipartisanship and brought in an era of prosperity to Panem. Few problems have arisen nationwide this term, excluding the District 3/Capitol earthquake. The earthquake, registering a 9.1 according to geologists, severely damaged the district, the Capitol, and the main power grids of Panem. It also, for the first time in Panem’s history, tested the Presidential Line of Succession when all in the line of succession were reported missing. In the absence of anyone able to take charge, the governors of Panem, led by District 14 Governor Rosalie Descoteaux as interim President, formed an interim administration. This administration was slightly altered when Jonathan Madison was found and sworn in as the third and interim President of Panem. President Everdeen was found after six days in the rubble of the presidential mansion, where she had been knocked unconscious by falling debris. Everdeen was confined to a wheelchair afterwards due to both legs being broken, but she is expected to make a full recovery.

Everdeen, 28, was widely expected by political pundits to seek reelection due to her widespread popularity. However, after the earthquake, many questioned her intentions due to her injuries and also due to her newborn child, Clarity.

The main question now isn’t why Everdeen is stepping aside, but rather who will take her place. Many are turning to Vice President Celine Oswald, who has run a presidential campaign before and placed second only to Everdeen herself. Others consider Governor Rosalie Descoteaux, who served as interim President and VP while Everdeen and Oswald were missing, to be a possible contender. Many consider Jonathan Madison perfect for the job after he served as interim President.

Other parties have begun to rally their forces now as the Liberty Party is losing their strongest contender for the Presidency. Civic Party chairwoman and Secretary of Intelligence Cecelia Paylor, who also served as president before Everdeen, is expected to jump in the race. If not Paylor, then her VP nominee from last election, Samuel Trenton, will be expected to run. The Labor Party is a less sure quantity due to their loss of Rick Canth, their previous presidential nominee, when he declared himself an independent. Joan Kindred, the previous VP nominee, may run, and former presidential contenders Ophelie Murray and Thomas Stemp will be expected to run.

Then comes the even stranger part of the next election- independent candidates. While many will rally around the Liberty, Civic, and Labor candidates, there are many possible independent candidates as well. Governor Elizabeth Steinbeck of District 8 has already announced her presidential campaign as an independent. Others could include former VP and Sec. of International Trade Tyler Thompson, former VP Plutarch Heavensbee, and Secretary of the Interior Rick Canth.

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