UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: February 16, 301 AP.
President Okarvits under increasing pressure over defence expenditure
President Okarvits is under increasing pressure to significantly reduce the capital
expenditure on defence hardware by Utania, with the "Peace Bloc" now said to have as many as
thirty members, since the shock revelation Wednesday that the total bill will exceed Û25
The President held only one press conference today, on the release of casualty reports
from the Office of the Dignanian Peacekeeping mission, and pointedly refused to answer
questions about the current political wrangling over defence expenditure. This has heightened
fears that the President will press ahead with the Executive Order, forcing a showdown with
Parliament and many members of his own government opposed to the expenditure. The showdown is
increasingly likely to result in his defeat, marking a possible end to government support for
The President announced reform of the military, accompanied by a defence expansion
costing Û10 billion. Though several grumbles from pacifists and socialists alike were
heard, the majority of the government supported such a moderate expansion. Since that cost has
near-tripled, opposition has grown substantially.
It is suspected that a bloc of ministers in cabinet have pushed the plan, led by
Minister for Defence Samual Artos. Several MPs are known to have lobbied the President to back
down and reduce the budget, but none have apparently succeeded in securing an agreement from
the President to do so.
©UPA, 301 AP.
©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)