UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: Thursday, July 18th, 302 AP.

MPs accuse Artos of "hanging on to the bitter end"

Federal Government MPs have accused the country's southern-most state Governor
of trying to hang on to the bitter end in his term of office.

Utani B'yan state, formerly Horn of Olives province, must have a state general
election by February next year, having been in power for four years at that
time. However, this coincides with the federal Presidential elections, an
undesirable time to be holding a state poll. So, while all agree the state
election must be held earlier, and it seems to be a matter of fierce internal
debate as to exactly when "earlier" is.

Governor Hubert Artos of the Peoples Party is holding on to power with grim
determination, federal campaign managers complained, and it is a call the state
opposition, the Democrats, are echoing.

For his part, Artos says it remains the Governor's sole right to determine when
the state will go to the polls, and he alone will make that decision.

Governor Artos' coalition government of 86 MPs has been battered since elected
back in March 299. Nine months later and popular Governor Okarvits left to
become federal Peoples Party leader in the newly independent state, leaving his
deputy, Artos, to take over the reins. Councillors from the Peoples Party were
found guilty of corrupt deals to build shanty-town replacing apartments with
cheaper materials, resulting in deaths in May 301, and then state Ministers
guilty of covering-up the extent of Party corruption.

While Artos has championed the cause of anti-corruption, his opponents say his
ten-year old government, formed when George Okarvits took back power from the
Democrats, is looking tired and worn. Many of the key ministers have joined
federal ranks, leaving the government bereft of talented people, they say,
leaving only a skeleton crew. And the charges are sticking.

In a recent poll, the Democratic and Liberal Nationalist opposition is looking
certain to creep over the 82-MP line with support from the Utani Progressives
and Conservatives, pollsters giving the Governor 6-1 odds of retaining power.
This, claim opponents, is why he should concede defeat and go to the polls
early, allowing the new, revitalised opposition to take charge.

For now, however, Artos is repeating like a Navoomi mantra: "It's the
Governor's decision and I haven't decided."

©UPA, 302 AP.

©Mike Ham, 2002. All rights reserved.