President Loire Suffers Cardiac Arrest; Defense Minister Named Acting President
Esthar President Laguna Loire, hero of the Sorceress War and president of Esthar for forty years, suffered a heart attack which rendered him comatose yesterday, appointing Defense Minister Raguel Stern as acting president before collapsing.
The news came as a shock to government staffers, opposition leaders, and Esthar citizens alike, as despite his advancing age, President Loire has always been given a clean bill of health during annual examinations. Preliminary reports blame a heart attack brought on by the stress of a high-stakes political meeting between Loire and several political leaders known to oppose his pro-offworlder stance, including Stern, World First party leader Damokt Gold, and General Sierna Strom.
"Unfortunately, while negotiating with President Loire on certain key platform elements, he collapsed and began writhing," General Strom said at a press conference held in the president's manor, where she and the other leaders remained to ensure a smooth transition of power. "I regret that we all believed President Loire was simply being himself to avoid a serious discussion, which delayed our efforts to seek treatment for him until we realized his condition was serious." When questioned about her black eye and reports that she had been treated for injuries, General Strom replied that, "President Loire continued to thrash for the duration of the event, striking me several times as we attempted to restrain him to perform first aid."
According to the statement released by Acting President Stern, President Loire regained consciousness just long enough to name him as acting president, and state his own intent to retire, before collapsing. No hospital responded to queries seeking the location of President Loire and his current condition is unknown.
Esthar Declares War on Balamb Garden
The nation of Esthar has declared war on the independent state of Balamb Garden.
One of Acting President Raguel Stern's first acts as leader of Esthar was to formally sign a declaration of war, which specifically names Balamb Garden as "the enemy of the nation" and calls for its immediate surrender or destruction.
In a statement originally read on Esthar radio and consequently published in the Esthar Post, the government calls for its citizens to "take arms against the off-world Sorceresses and those brainwashed into standing by them".
It accuses Balamb Garden of plotting to take over the world in these times of chaos and appeals to the international community to condemn its support of off-worlders and use of child soldiers.
Despite the conciliatory nature of President Loire's government towards the SeeD forces, anti-off-worlder sentiment has risen in Esthar since Balamb Garden forcibly acquired Galbadia Garden from Sol Invictus two weeks ago. Vlas Colban, Estharian Special Envoy to Balamb, publically spoke out against Balamb Garden after his son, a cadet at the school, was killed in the battle. This current move came as no surprise to political watchers, as Stern, World First party leader Damokt Gold, and General Sierna Strom had been meeting with President Loire to advocate this position at the moment of President Loire's collapse.
Esthar has reactivated all of its defense mechanisms such as the cloaking device hiding the nation. Train services between Fisherman's Horizon and Esthar, which have been running thrice a week since July last year, have been stopped.
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