UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: March 8, 301 AP.

Population increase to "cause havoc" for UEC

The Utanian Bureau of Census, which ran a census over the month of January, finally declared the final population figures, increasing the population in the Utani states far more than in the east-coast states, and causing a political firestorm for the Utanian Electoral Commission.

The population of Utania was a confirmed today as 46,218,400 people, which should mean that, at the current rate of representation, being approximately 300,000 people per MP, the number of federal MPs should be 157. What is particularly disappointing to the federal opposition is that twelve of the seventeen new seats will go to Utani B'yan state, which elected 34 government MPs of a total 58.

"This will have a significant impact on voting in the state, and we should expect a significant increase in the number of seats allocated to that state", says Utanian Electoral Commission (UEC) chief, Walter Dale. "It will significantly raise the significance of that state in general elections, and make the Utani vote even more important to any candidate intending to run for President later this year."

Even if the number of people per MP is just increased, it still shifts the influence from the eastern states to the southern and western, the Utani states, the ones voting for the government.

This is where the contentious issues will begin: should the changes to the electoral system be made before the Presidential election early next year? Opposition MPs will oppose it, as they will be left even further behind, while government MPs will support it, gaining a likely seven or more of the twelve extra seats in Utani B'yan.

A fight will also begin in Savana, where the significant increase in population in eastern Savana threatens the influence of the traditional rulers in Navoomi, who fear the radicals in the east, such as James Angorit and his Progressive Party. There, progressives are calling for democratic elections to be extended and for the influence of the chiefs to be reduced. At the moment, only 14 of 31 "advisers" to the Savaj Emperor, who is the state's Head of State, are elected, the remaining seventeen Imperial appointees, usually tribal chiefs.

The census, however, may not entirely go the government and progressives' way: economic statistics are showing that unemployment is rising and much higher than expected, which may shake substantially the Okarvits bid for President later this year. Meanwhile, UEC boss Walter Dale has one of the hardest jobs in the country.

©UPA, 301 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)