UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: Wednesday, June 6th, 301 AP.

Luka Herald Editorial: The election gentleman's agreement will never hold

When the Utanian parliamentarians agreed to hold a new interim election, by an overwhelming majority, they also agreed that this should be a "low key" affair. There should not be overt campaigning to draw in voters (press statements excluded from this rule, and being submitted by the thousands by each of the parties), because the election should simply be a reflection of how people voted in September adjusted for the new electoral boundaries.

That optimistic naivity may not hold water for much longer, as the Nationalist Party is beginning to actively campaign in several east coast electorates to win that vital seat to maintain a voice in the country's democratic system. While privately and quietly condemning the Nationalist's actions, many MPs are now fearful that this will put them at a disadvantage come the election in four-and-a-half weeks. The Liberal Nationalists (LNP) particularly, having the most to lose from a Nationalist Party revival, are quietly squirming and beginning to send their MPs to campaign on weekends. They are expected to break the agreement within a week, and publish a denouncement of the Nationalist Party's policies in the Mulgrave Triumph newspaper. After that, expect the floodgates to open.

It was perhaps naive to hope that all would abide by the gentleman's agreement, and perhaps foolish to refuse to campaign, even if it is only an interim election, a redistribution of votes. The reason why is that the opposition parties had blown millions on the previous campaign and their supporter's are suffering "donor fatigue". The government parties are also cash-strapped, but with a more "grass-roots" campaigning style, they are less likely to need much funding. By agreeing to not campaign, the government hopes to gain simply by virtue of being the party in power.

We shall see how strong the resolve of the major parties is to hold onto this agreement in the face of anticipated "disobedience" by the LNP.

©UPA, 301 AP.

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