UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: July 11, 301 AP.

Prime Minister starts negotiations with "third parties"

Prime Minister Barth has begun negotiations with the Burovians, Utani
Progressive party and even the Democrats to prop up his likely minority

At this stage it appears certain that the Peoples Party, the largest of any
party in Parliament, will not be able to form a viable coalition government
with only its traditional partners, the Utani Saedaj and Republican Parties. It
appears the trio will likely only have 76 MPs, when 79 are required for a
majority in Utania's second parliament.

The Electoral Commission has finished counting the ballots cast for the first
round, but will commence a second round of counting in four seats that have
slim margins. It is also waiting for the last of the postal and overseas
ballots to be delivered. It reported earlier today that, the final four
Parliamentary seats exempted, the 157 member Parliament will have at least 41
Peoples Party MPs, 27 Utani Saedaj MPs and 6 Republicans, making only 74 MPs.

However, the situation is no better for the opposition, where the combined
strength of six right-wing or moderate parties -- Conservatives, Cruistian
Democrats, Liberal Nationalists, Democrats, Utani Progressive and Burovians —
would yield a likely 75 MPs, too. The four MPs in the middle, between the two
sides, are the three Yannist MPs and John Stirling of the Democratic Socialists,
who was a member of the government over the previous nine months, but his role
was described by insiders as "not constructive" to the running of cabinet.

The Utani Saedaj are refusing to directly speak with the Utani Progressive MPs
whom they describe as "apostates", ruling out such a coalition. The Burovians
appear the likely choice — they were supportive of the previous government — but
the price is a role in cabinet, and some more leftist government MPs were not
happy with their presense in Cabinet over the past nine months.

The only other option is to invite the opposition Democrats to support the
minority government, or for them to JOIN the government. Many moderate Peoples
Party MPs are supportive of a Peoples-Utani Saedaj-Democrat coalition which
would have a very strong presense in Parliament.

Either way, negotiations have only just begun.

©UPA, 301 AP.

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