The newly democratized Rhine Ruhr was at the peak of its wealth and influence during the presidency of Fredrick Jeffery. The nation had one of the loudest figurative and literal voices in the Council, Jaxson Marshall, and was the homeland of the Premier Commissioner. The economy grew at a frightening pace and the citizenry benefited from both an increase of work opportunities and ever decreasing taxes. So what happened?
At the end of his first term, President Jeffery chose not to seek reelection claiming "no person should hold the reigns indefinitely". With zero chance for a candidate outside of the Freedom Party to win the presidency, only Ludger Bosque, of the Liberal Party, put their name forward to contest the FP's nominee. The primary election in the Freedom Party, however, was quite eventful with a half-dozen candidates jockeying for support. While they largely agreed on fiscal policy, a schism formed when debating foreign affairs and immigration.
In the end, Boone Krusen won with a plurality of votes behind a populist movement and a thinly veiled nationalist message. Krusen argued that Rhine Ruhr's economy thrived in spite of European membership and that too much of its gains went to other European states. While such extreme views expressed by Krusen aided Bosque's campaign, Krusen won the general election by over twenty points. The majority stuck with the FP candidate, believing that he would moderate his stances once in office and that the bureaucracies in place would act as a roadblock should the candidate give into some of their worst impulses.
Once in office, President Krusen distanced the Hipster Republic from the EU. Assured by the President that the economy would benefit immensely from this move, the legislature removed any taxation that remained at the expense of all government spending and public programs. The economy continued at the same pace. While it did not grow at the staggering pace the President promised, it did not decrease either. Now free from all taxation, the citizenry backed their President unquestionably. It was then that the legislature, at the behest of the President, limited immigration to the nation as well as pass a series of restrictive citizenship policies. The peak of this new push was the refusal to grant full citizenship to anyone born outside of Rhine Ruhr.
With the economy continuing to strengthen, and the rewards going solely to Rhinians, President Krusen's work was done. He would spend much of 2017 and 2018 on holiday, as did the majority of the legislature. The government's activities grounded to a halt and existed in name only as the nation's wealthiest took the reigns of power. That is, of course, until the Spring of 2019. A boating accident lead to a section of the, now polluted, Rhine river catching fire. The fire, carried by the breeze, spread to nearby forests leading to the greatest natural disaster in the nation's history.
The fires blazed for months as private firefighting forces struggled to procure the supplies necessary to fight the flames. The fires would only be reigned in after a series of heavy storms blew in from the north at the start of autumn. Nearly a quarter million homes were lost as was the nation's timber industry. With no programs in place to assist the displaced thousands, massive camps began to take form outside of the nation's largest cities. The titans of Rhine Ruhr's timber industry declared bankruptcy and laid off countless workers and caused doubt in the national economy for the first time for over half a decade.
With no safeguards in place, the stock market continued to plummet as many found themselves out of work for the first time. The public was abandoned by its government and left to fend for itself. Riots spread across the nation as Rhinians battled over what supplies they could get as companies raised costs of basic necessities. The President and the legislature were powerless to quell the anarchic state that the nation found itself in. The election of 2019 now found itself as the most important event in Rhinian history, even before it had come to pass.