UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: Friday, July 12th, 302 AP.

Utani politicians not likely to "sit on their hands" at party conference

Utani government politicians have been been increasingly making threats that
they will stand against the President's renomination at the August joint-party
conference.

The Utani politicians are not happy the President seems intent on "riding out"
the economic disadvantages of the Utani people, Horon Tumakti told reporters at
a press conference today, and they want decisive action from the President.

The Chiquiti tribe's most famous son, Horon Tumakti is one of the government's
most competant Utani MPs, a stirring speaker that could more than viably
provide a challenge to the President. He is also one of the more moderate Utani
MPs in the government, defending the President on numerous occasions from
attacks from dissatisfied Utani nationalists.

Most have assumed that when the joint Peoples and Utani Saedaj parties
conference is held in late August, the assembly will simply reannoint the son
of the People's Party's founder for another term as their President, that he
would sweep into power in January and govern for another four years.

Perhaps not any more: all such assumptions received a rude shock this after-
noon, when Tumakti spoke out. It is now reasonable to assume that the attack by
the moderate Chiquiti MP is a serious indication of the dissatisfaction in the
government backrooms, and that the President could be in trouble.

PRESIDENTIAL APPROACH

It is not the first time the President has been called to account for his
policies on economic redistribution. Utani cheered when the Okarvits was
elected, believing their ship would now "come in", that the economic
injustices, the exploitation, would end, and the assets of the Uta-Decashi
would be transferred to the poverty-stricken Utani, traditional owners of the
land.

Yet, their President has done little toward that goal. There is little sign he
is reining in the profiteering and exploitative Belson corporation, so they
have taken to the proposal of nationalising the company, which the President
believes is "too radical" a solution.

Nor has there been no moves toward land redistribution, with cattle ranchers
and Uta-Decashi farmers still owning the majority of land once owned by the
Utani tribes. Nor has there been much economic redistribuition, until recently,
when taxes were raised on the wealthiest Utanians and assistance provided to
Utani families.

So, why has he failed to act? The President has always stressed that his job is
to provide a foundation for the fledgeling nation in building national
institutions and the bureaucracy. An example is the recent U7 billion water
supply initiative and oil and gas explorations off the northern coast. Yet, his
critics point out he has time for non-essential environmental policies. So,
more recently, he provided an indication in a interview with the Utani-language
Mana newspaper when he said that too radical a shift in assets would destroy
the value of the assets and, with it, the Utanian economy.

"We would end the day with everyone being equal: the Uta-Decashi being as poor
as Utani. My job is to make sure that everyone benefits."

ACCUSATIONS

Utani MPs accuse him of wanting to "ride out" the injustices, that is, keep
developing the economy so that soon enough Utani are earning good enough wages
that they will forget the injustices against their parents. Others are even
more cynical, saying he has sold out to the Uta-Decashi, vowing to protect
their interests.

And the mud is sticking. In a recent poll, only 55% of Utani voters said they
trusted the President, compared to earlier polls of more than 80%. A radical
2% once believed the President was listening to the Uta-Decashi more than
Utani. That figure is now 14%.

The possibility that the President could be challenged at the party conference
would severely undermine the President's popularity come January. Utani voters
would, for the first time, no longer consider the President infallable, a
quality his paragon father held. This could hearten the Conservative and
Democratic challengers, and the election next year could be even more
interesting than pollsters originally thought.

Yet, the President still has time to repair some of the damage and restore his
image in the next six weeks, but it will require decisive action, something he
is apparently not comfortable with.


©UPA, 302 AP.

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