UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: July 24, 301 AP.

Prime Minister Barth re-appointed

The Peoples Party-lead coalition government, though four seats short of majority
were re-elected, or "appointed" in the official lingo, to government, setting
the legislative agenda for Utania.

The now-157 member Parliament assembled at 10am, outside the chamber with several
new members, and several missing members. The Sergeant-at-arms for the Parliament
then let the members inside, and all sat in the places their parties occupied in
the previous Parliament.

The first order of business was the changing of the Speaker. This is a task for
the Vice President, Lahsa Areopatre, who presides over the Parliament in the
brief interim. He reminded members of the service the previous Speaker had given
to the Parliament, a cue for Speaker John Ward to rise and introduce the new
Speaker. Mr Ward had represented the Democratic Party in the electorate of
Hamilton last year, but had won it comfortably this year with a margin of over
18,000. He introduced Mr David Schammel, who had represented the Democrats --
another Democrat Speaker?? -- in Mulgrave in the south-east and lost by a mere
174 votes. The introduction, and Mr Ward's taking his seat were both applauded.

However, what received the most applause was the introduction of the Deputy
Speaker. In the Utanian system, the Speakers are the two candidates that lose
the election by the finest margins, the people who are the 158th and 159th
Parliamentarians, were the Parliament so expanded. Therefore, to get the
Speaker from one party handing over to another man of the same party is
considered a rare enough feat. Well, then imagine the small odds that the
Deputy Speaker hands over... to himself?!

George Polonovsk, the Deputy Speaker last month, handed over to... well, George
Polonovsk, the new Deputy Speaker. Mr Polonovsk stood for the Burovians in the
Lasanne state electorate of Gyum'th last year, but lost by a close 321 votes.
This year, heartbreak again -- Mr Polonovsk lost by a mere 304 votes, the
second-closest margin, returning him to the position of Deputy Speaker, and to
enjoy rapturous applause from the Parliamentary members, as well as those
observing in the gallery.

<Tech> And to answer the questions of the skeptic: no, I did NOT plan nor
conspire to get this result. It is the most incredible fluke I can think of.

In his short speech, Polonovsk pointed out that at his current rate of
improvement, 17 votes per year, he only had 18 more years as Deputy Speaker and
Speaker before the prize would be his. Or, was it 18 more elections? It is the
greatest anomoly of this election, a fact not lost on the Parliament who
praised his role as Deputy last year.

Then, once the Speakers took their seats, the task of electing a new Prime
Minister began. It was brief, with the leader of the most well-represented
party -- having the largest representation in the Parliament, in this case the
Peoples Party with 41 MPs -- being asked by the Vice President to declare
whether he could form a government. Mr Barth said he could, and it was put to a
vote. With a quick show of hands, and with both the Burovians and Utani
Progressive Party in support, the minority government of Prime Minister Barth
was appointed 93-61, with the three Yannist MPs abstaining, as they always have
in such votes.

The Government has only 75 of 157 seats in the Parliament, four short of
majority, meaning Prime Minister Barth will be heavily dependent on the
Burovians and perhaps the Utani Progressive Party for support to pass bills. It
will be a rough ride for the government, but they survived the past year with a
majority of only one in fine style.

©UPA, 301 AP.

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