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Maximilion Joseph Arbuckle III is a Byrdian politician who served as the country's first Vice President from its independence in 1986 to 1988; and its third President from 1992 to 2000. Born into a wealthy American family living in the affluent Zama suburb of Wayfield, Arbuckle – a young, Harvard-educated lawyer – was an unlikely recruit for the pro-independence Byrdia Freedom Alliance, which was composed almost entirely of ethnic Russians, Ognians and a few working-class Americans. Despite this, he proved invaluable to the organization and expansion of the movement; and, in a narrow victory, was elected to the General Assembly of Byrdia for the Wayfield electoral district, which was considered unwinnable for the BFA.
His election was part of the party's surge in support during the early 1980s, which ultimately resulted in Byrdia's independence from the United States in 1986, when Arbuckle was elected Vice President on Andrey Trishin's ticket. Along with Trishin, Dmitri Pagovich, Walter Selleck and Benjamin Shimok, Arbuckle is considered one of the five most important figures in Byrdia's transition to independence; and was awarded the Antarctic Tuzelmann Award in 1987 for his work in the independence movement. However, despite the widespread public support for independence, Trishin proved an unsuccessful President, and lost the 1988 election to Herbert Spencer. Due to his efforts in Trishin's reelection campaign, Arbuckle missed his chance to run for the Assembly again in 1988, and became a party secretary for the Freedom Alliance. Since its goal of independence had been realized and Andrey Trishin had lost the Presidency so early, the party was in danger of collapse, which Arbuckle was determined to avoid. He steered the party away from disintegration in 1989 (though it was left permanently weakened) and won back his Wayfield seat in the Assembly in 1990; setting him up for a run at the Presidency in 1992.
Despite the unpopularity of the Trishin administration, Arbuckle had maintained a high approval rating, and managed an unexpectedly successful win at the 1992 election. However, the Freedom Alliance was under steadily increasing pressure from internal factions; and two years into his first term – just before the 1994 Assembly midterms – the party completely disintegrated. While most of its former members joined other parties; Arbuckle (along with Vice President Nicholas Odohar) became independent, and served the rest of his term without party affiliation. This led to him having great difficulty in securing the Assembly's support on any matter; and almost cost him the 1996 election, though he ultimately managed a slim victory, becoming Byrdia's first two-term President. With his second term up in 2000, Arbuckle went into temporary retirement, and made several lecture tours in Antarctica and across the world. He published a memoir in 2006 before making an unexpected return to politics with a successful campaign for the Wayfield Assembly seat in 2010, which he still holds.
Early life and family
Arbuckle was the middle child (and only son) of Maximillion J. Arbuckle, jr. (1916-1977), a businessman, and Helena Arbuckle (neé Burlington, 1916-1981), a homemaker. His father had moved to Byrdia from Quincy, Massachussetts in 1940 to help supervise the construction of a munitions factory belonging to his company; while his mother had moved there from Baltimore, Maryland as a child in 1923, when her father, Henry Burlington got a job as a government clerk in the territorial administration, later becoming the territory's Secretary of Commerce. Arbuckle's parents met in 1941, at a party attended by many of the American elite of Zama, and began seeing each other shortly afterwards. They were engaged in 1942, and married in January 1943 – Arbuckle's father, now assistant-manager of the munitions factory, was exempted from military service in World War II.
Arbuckle's parents bought a house in Wayfield, an affluent suburb of Zama (his mother had already lived in the area, but his father had owned an inner-city apartment); and his older sister Marie was born later that year. Three years later, in 1946, Arbuckle was born, and he grew up in the wealthy neighbourhood, seemingly far from the ethnic tensions brewing across the territory. He also had a younger sister, Constance ("Connie"), who was born in 1948. The Arbuckle children were raised partly by an Ognian nanny, which may have influenced Arbuckle's support for indigenous civil rights.
After attending private schools in Wayfield, where he was described as "talented at all subjects, but excellent at none", Arbuckle attended Harvard University in the United States, as well as John Davis University in Byrdia from 1964 until 1971, when he attained his Juris Doctor; and returned to Byrdia to practise law. While at John Davis University, he met Eva Lutovská, an ethnic Czech whose family had been in Byrdia since the Russian colonial era, and was therefore considered "Russian" by the authorities. Lutovská had studied architecture and urban development, and had been one of very few non-Americans to attend the University in the 1960s; her education having been partially funded by her local Roman Catholic parish. They were engaged in 1967, but due to Arbuckle moving frequently between Harvard in Massachusetts and JDU in Byrdia; their families' disapproval of the match; and their shared desire to find work before marrying; they were not married until 1972, by which time the Byrdian Civil Rights Movement had broken down many of the barriers between American and Russian citizens, and Lutovská had been able to get work as a government architect. They lived in central Zama,