An Interview with Pichtonia
From Citizen to Chief of State
Written by Xecrio
On Monday, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chief of State Pichtonia. I wanted to get a feeling of his rise from citizen to first minister and chief of state. This interview acts a story, from his time so far in Europeia, to what he sees himself doing in the future. Without further ado, let's ask some questions.
Question 1: Your time so far in Europeia has been full of success, how would you categorise that success and do you see any possibility for future success?
Recently it has been more successful, that's probably right. But I must also concede that it hasn't always been that way, it's a mixed record.
I moved relatively quickly from Deputy Minister of Communications to Minister of Culture, Senator, two-times Minister of Communications and Minister of Radio. As leader of a party, we managed to seat more than half of the Senate with our own members, even against legends such as Skizzy Grey. But as much as the factionalism may have been the foundation of whatever influence I might have had at the time, it would come back to bite me - rightfully so. That Senate imploded spectacularly, my term as Minister of Radio ended in disgrace and after my Senate term ended, I resigned myself from being an active member of the Europeian community for a year.
That was early 2017, and in early 2018 I returned (after a light increase of activity) with a Senate run that'd ultimately be successful and kickstarted my return. I was elected two more times, including twice as Speaker by my fellow Senators. There was a setback when I had to resign the offices of Speaker and Senator. I became a Justice not too long after, Minister of Radio a month later and then: Internet troubles. A major annoyance and another short setback, because it meant I couldn't join Kuramia in her Cabinet. Radio was folded into Communications, my Internet returned and I became Deputy Minister of Communications with responsibility for Radio for the legendary Vinage, ran for Deputy First Minister (as it was still called then) and lost against Rand/GraV, who asked me to be Minister of Radio again. That was a nice term, and I was very honoured when then-First Minister Rand asked me to run with him in his reelection campaign. We lost against Lloen, who offered me to remain Radio Minister, which I was also happy to do - until I had to resign again because of my imminent move to France. (You see that resignation setbacks were a common theme for a while)
It was still during my time in France that I ran for First Minister, a situation I talk about in more detail in my October EBC interview - and I won. Since then, I may not have resigned or lost any elections, but of course there were still moments I wouldn't define as the essence of success. And I also want to stress that a record doesn't need to be full of success: You can lose elections, you can be forced to resign (by the will of nature or of your superior) and you can still come back stronger for it.
That, I think, is an important lesson.
Question 2: Since my arrival here, you have served as both Chief of State and First Minister. Is this how you imagined things would go, or did you expect a more relaxed time here?
These are two of the highest offices in the region, and two I assumed I could realistically achieve. As one of the more political players, I certainly had the ambition to eventually reach these offices and to succeed in them. As long as I can actively contribute to Europeia, I will probably always do so to the extent that my irl situation allows. Maybe I'll talk differently one day, my history here is extensive but not as extensive as that of many others. But at least now, I can't foresee how a "Euro-retired" Pichtonia would even look like. I think constantly about the offices that I'd like to hold in Europeia --
"Wouldn't it be awesome to be Culture Minister again?"
"One day, I really need to run for Senate again"
"I hope I'll get to be Councilor of Foreign Affairs once more"
Yeah, I don't think I'll want to relax any time soon. ?
Question 3: How well do you think your term as first minister went and what improvements could have been made?
All in all, I think it went very well. I was always a bit critical of my own terms, but in both First Minister terms, I ended the term with a calendar showing all or most of our actions, and that always reminded me how much we actually got done. And none of that was very visionary or outstanding, in fact much of it was recycled ideas, but mind you: We had no easy situation at the start of the term, and many things you might now find natural were some that we introduced or re-introduced, among them regular Weekend Games and the column system in Communications. I'm also very proud of the fact that we got all of this done with a very fresh team. Excluding the Attorney General/Minister of Justice, I was the most veteran player in both terms. Dax, Maowi, Cara, Astrellan, Istillian - all of them served their first Cabinet term in my Cabinet. Brí, too, but that didn't end as well as the others.
In any case, this evelation of newer members is one of my proudest achievements that term.
Question 4: Do you think that having a different second minister in your re-election damaged your chances at all?
No. And I wouldn't have cared - Astrellan is a wonderful Europeian and a friend, and if running with him had cost me electoral victory, I'd have been happy to take the risk. But the reality is, of course, that anything that could have damaged or maybe did damage my re-election chances originated from myself and my decisions.
Question 5: Is there anything you’d have liked to have done as First Minister, but never got the chance?
Oh, tons! Especially culturally, there are so many ideas flying around in my brain, but you can only do so much one term (and of course, something like an Easter event would also not be very fitting in autumn). Or take Twitch and Steam Games - ideas that are still being talked about today, and that I also talked about, but never got done. One day I hope to return to the domestic Executive, not necessarily as First Minister or even as Minister, to work on those some more.
Question 6: Did you expect to be running for Chief of State this term?
I wouldn't say I was expecting it, but I was ready to run. It all hinged on the decision of HEM whether to run again or not. If HEM had decided to run for another term, and given me the honour of being on his team once more, I wouldn't have run against him. And that was a real possibility. But otherwise, I was confident I would run.
Question 7: Did the lack of candidates put more pressure on you, or were you sure that you’d be confirmed?
I wasn't sure I'd be confirmed, no. Imagine someone would have been very dissatisfied with Aex and myself - maybe they could have formed a last minute ticket and run against us. Or maybe the Senate could have been dissatisfied, and wanted to see more tickets rather than just us. I'm not sure the lack of candidates pur more pressure on me than other candidates would have, but it is definitely a factor you're very mindful of as the only candidate. Especially for an office such as Chief of State. You don't want to be elected into the office with the perceiption that your didn't put any effort into the election; that you don't want the office.
Question 8: Are you expectant on achieving all your policy aims this term?
No, never. Not because I wouldn't want to - I care about these aims and want to see them through.
But I think, statistically, you'll find that it's not the norm for all aims to have been cashed in.
Question 9: How do you aim to improve the council of External Communication?
We've already cashed in one of our biggest aims for External Communication by moving Dispatches over to the Council, of course also thanks to the domestic Executive, which has been very forthcoming. That makes it easier for us to faster communicate our messages, and I think it perfectly bundles the energy of Communications, External Communication and Foreign Affairs. Kuramia as a citizen and government worker has always cared deeply about the Dispatch program, she'll take great care of it once more.
From what Kuramia and I discussed so far, I think the Watch could be elevated a bit further under her. It's a great tool for us to collect information from all over NationStates and has shown value last term. Further building that section of External Communication will bring further rewards, I believe.
Question 10: Could you see yourself running for re-election?
Always. You never know what is needed of you, and neither what the future will bring. I can't rule out that I would run for another term. But I'm also mindful of my own schedule in the months following the next Chief of State election. It is inevitable that I will be even busier in these months and I don't foresee a scenario that'd necessitate me running again under these conditions. So if someone dreams of becoming Chief of State themselves, I say: Go for it. It's not a distant possibility, but a realistic opportunity. There are still between two and three months for you to leave a mark in our Councils. If you work hard for the office, you will be recognized for it.
Question 11: How would you describe your time in Europeia thus far?
It was certainly eventful. I just talked about my record here in length, which will already have given you a bit insight. But besides the mere recalling of these events, it was also an incredible joy personally and emotionally. You know, you come into this region and you're almost immediately met with interest and enthusiasm for your own engagement. People cheer on you to succeed, and they'll be more than happy to award you second chances. I've met great folks here in Europeia, who I'm legitimately happy to chat with on my way to work or on the way back. It's an amazing community and I feel very comfortable here.
Question 12: What would be your Europeian dream for yourself?
It may only be a dream indeed, but my Europeian dream for myself would be the office of Decan of the University of Europeia. And there's wo main thoughts behind it: Firstly, for that dream to become reality, it'd need Europeia to be in a fabulous situation, where the investment of time and energy into such a project is feasible. Secondly, if that situation was indeed to exist and the office of Decan would make a return with it, I'd be absolutely thrilled and want to fill it with life and ideas.
It's not realistic currently, but I hope we'll get there one day.