UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: September 9, 300 AP.
Debate galvanises Utani voters
A debate on the state-owned Utani television station, Amara-Nij Utani, between the
parties key to the Utani people, has been broadcast on the national television station. The
debate, broadcast in Ingallish, between five parties was viewed by an estimated three million
viewers and may contribute substantially to electoral gains for, primarily, the two primary
Utani parties: the Utani-Sædaj and Progressive parties.
The debate included:
The debate-organisers allowed each debater five-plus minutes to put across the salient points
of their party's message. After the initial half-hour, the MP's had questions put to them
from a panel of four Utani journalists, allowing the other party delegates to voice their
opinion about what was asked or said. Moderator David Atoha, of the TV station's current
affairs programme "Utani Kohyohe" (trans. "Utani way of life"), had a hard time on several
occasions regaining control of the debate. The debate ended after ninety minutes.
- James Angorit, leader of the Utani Progressive Party,
- Lahsa Areoartre, deputy leader of the Utani-Sædaj Party,
- Robert Ramali of the Yannists,
- Thomas Kompos of the Peoples Party, and
- Douglas Fernui of the Cruis-Democrats.
Though the debate was vigorous, it remained non-personal and was an excellent
opportunity for voters to examine the real issues. During the broadcast, no party-political
advertisements were permitted. The key issues revolved about development and the pace of it.
All-bar-the-Yannists were pro-development, with the Utani-Sædaj least in favour, saying
they did not want the peaceful way of Utani life ruined by the corporate demands of the
Uta-Decashi (roughly: "White man").
James Angorit, at his street-preacher best, retorted that the USP would next complain
that they had been denied progress and wealth and that the "Uta-Decashi" had stolen it from
under their noses. They could not have it both ways, he said. "Either we accept some changes
in our lifestyle to better ourselves, or we continue living in poverty with our Utani
Kohyohe. But we cannot have it both ways." This appeared to be the most salient moment in
the debate, with the parties then galvanising their positions.
Few other issues were debated with so much vigor. Debate ensued over health care -
public or private; over education and the Conservative party's "voucher" system to provide
competition between schools; and social security - Angorit using the occasion to push his
favourite line: "We cannot expect that the hard-working but wealthy Uta-Decashi to throw
money our way to keep us from poverty because we refuse to sacrifice a piece of Utani Kohyohe
to make money for ourselves."
At the end, an audience of people from around Utania were asked to "vote" for whom
they thought had debated best, another for the party they would vote for of the five, and
had their mind been changed by the debate?
The audience gave the "best debater" to the good-natured but determined James Angorit.
As many as 13% of the audience said they would vote for the absent Democrats, but the
25% - Utani-Sædaj;
23% - Progressive party;
17% - Peoples Party;
16% - Anti-progress Yannists; and
6% - Cruis-Democrats.
Most voters who had changed their minds in the course of the debate would now vote for
Angorit's Progressive Party.
The TV show was declared a success and a follow-up will be held in two weeks, just one
week before the election.
©UPA, 300 AP.
©Mike Ham, 2000. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)