UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: May 23rd, 301 AP.

Trade deal with Lendosan Confederation "in the works"

A trade agreement worth up to 30 billion could be announced by Trade Minister Arthur Reagan MP within a week, which would provide an enormous boost the Utanian economy.

Mr Reagan, the Trade and Business Minister in the Okarvits administration, has been overseas for weeks now, and was the focus of a stinging attack by opposition MPs for the high cost of his Trade-boosting efforts, which a Parliamentary expenditure committee said was costing over Û3 million per month. Now, one of his aides let slip that a multi-billion pund deal was being finalised with the Lendosan Confederation.

Despite the accidental nature of the slip, no one in the government is concerned.

"It has wiped that smug smile off the face of Mr Kennett", said one government insider about the opposition MP leading the attacks against Mr Reagan's expenses. It was a theme the Prime Minister's spokesman was more than happy to push on radio today.

"Thirty billion punds gained for the Utanian economy for a cost of less than ten million... I think the Utanian people have gotten a fantastic deal!"

The quietening of the opposition today in Parliament has bouyed the Prime Minister and made the prospect of early Parliamentary elections much greater. The Utanian parliament currently does not "appropriately" represent the Utanian people due to poor population figures available from the Guwimithian regime that were proven wrong by the January Utanian Census. Electoral boundaries have been redrawn by the Electoral Commission, adding 14 MPs to the Parliament to represent the "additional" population. Opposition parties have been very publicly seeking a fresh election, but President Okarvits does not want Presidential elections delayed by another year by a Parliamentary election were held now, as he sees a directly elected President the final step in the "constitutional inauguration" of the Utanian state.

Utania's constitution has several clauses to allow the President and Parliament to "settle it in", and until that period is over, the constitution remains slightly less than rock solid. Furthermore, the moral mandate of the President is weak until he is constitutionally elected.

While the President has no official say in the matter of Parliamentary re-elections - it is a matter purely for the Prime Minister and Parliament - the PM has been refusing to back opposition calls for a fresh election without the President's support. With the government bouyed by good news, the President's opposition is likely to be significantly weakened.

The Trade Minister is due to address the Parliament on May 30, and it is then that the official announcement of any successful trade deals will be made. Details of a trade deal with Guwimith have also not yet been announced.

©UPA, 301 AP.

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