Sunday, June 27, 2010

Motion of no-confidence adopted; government falls

LISTON-- An opposition-backed motion of no-confidence won approval in the National Assembly today, coming on the heels of the near-passage of an abortion liberalization bill which prompted a rebellion of of the ruling Free Democrats' backbenchers.

In an attempt to save some face and prevent L-209's final passage by the National Assembly, the Government moved up the vote on the no-confidence motion to Sunday, a week before a final reading of L-209 was scheduled.  The motion was approved by a unanimous voice vote, and send the country into a 30-day nationwide campaign which will culminate in an election on 27 July.

Friday, June 25, 2010

FDP rebels expelled from caucus; Government to accept motion of no-confidence

LISTON-- The 108 Free Democrats who rebelled against the party in a vote on L-209 have been expelled from the parliamentary caucus.  In a prepared press statement, Deputy President Dan Featherstonehaugh expressed "with regret" the removals, but said the FDP had reached a cross-roads in its political philosophy and indicated that it would embrace a more "libertarian-populist" model of policy based on "respect for human life and dignity, which is a foundation to any moral capitalist system", he stated.

The three page communique also decribed shortcomings with the current governmental structure, and hinted that the FDP would campaign on reforming the Constitution to "maximize political participation and devolve power from the unitary state to regional entities."

The Government also indicated that it would not oppose a motion of no-confidence, introduced by the opposition Socialist Party-- a pre-requisite to the dissolution of the National Assembly by the President.  A vote on the measure could come as soon as Saturday or Sunday.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Government on the brink

LISTON-- L-209, a bill which has unified leftist parties and exposed deep fractures in the ruling Free Democrats cleared its second reading in the National Assembly today and is one step away from becoming the law of the land: in order for the legislation to pass out of the National Assembly, it must undergo a third reading, likely weeks away.

Meanwhile, sources close to President Krembs tell the Liston Free Press that the Cabinet met today after the vote on L-209 and is seriously considering allowing a motion of no-confidence, introduced by the opposition Socialist Party, to go forward.  If such a motion passes, it would require at least most of the 108 Free Democrats who crossed the aisle today to vote in the affirmative-- an increasingly probable scenario since Free Democrat leaders across the country are calling for the deputies who supported L-209 to be expelled from the caucus.  In the process, it may just allow the President and his more conservative, populist faction of the party to save face before being handed an ultimate defeat on the bill, and head into early elections.

Government loses abortion vote (BREAKING)

Liston-- In a dramatic vote, the National Assembly today passed L-209 in its seconding reading, handing a defeat to the Krembs government and highlighting the fractures of the ruling Free Democrats over abortion.

The bill, which would essentially make legal unresticted abortion, was approved by a vote of 279-268.  Leftist opposition parties voted overwhelmingly for the bill, and secured approval when 108 Free Democrats crossed the aisle with "aye" votes.

What happens next remains unclear.  If the Free Democrats expel from their caucus those members who voted against the Government, they would immediately lose their already slim majority and the President would have to dissolve the National Assembly.  On the other hand, a coalition of opposition parties could introduce a confidence motion and bring down the Government nonetheless and probably secure support from the Free Democrats who crossed the floor on the recent vote in the process.

The final vote tally, by party--

Free Democrats: Aye (108), Nay (168)
Socialist Party: Aye (135), Nay (6)
Radical Party: Aye (2), Nay (57)
Workers Revolutionary Party: Aye (32), Nay (0)
Cruistian Democrats: Aye (0), Nay (18)
Conservative Nationalists: Aye (0), Nay (6)
Party of Moun: Aye (0), Nay (4)
Independents: Aye (2), Nay (9)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Abortion dispute highlights fractures in Free Democrats' civic libertarianism

Liston Free Press-- Things may be coming to a head in the Free Democratic Party which has controlled the government of the Free State since its independence eight years ago.

Since the Free Press reported on an internal FDP debate on L-209, a Socialist bill which, with few exceptions, would allow for completely unrestricted abortion in the country, many FDP backbenchers have come forward with other concerns regarding FDP policies, including the disestablishment of the Central Bank last year.  "The devil is in the details," said Dave Grynwyyd, professor of political science at the University of Liston.  "The FDP is a broad grouping of traditional, classical liberals and moderate libertarians.  They generally agree on broad principles, but there are wedge issues like finance and abortion that can rankle party cohesion."  "We can see essentially two factions of the FDP: the populist conservatives lead by President Krembs and the traditional capitalists, who are more socially permissive and sympathetic to corporate interests," he said.

Such divisions may have always existed since the party's formation but are only now seething to the surface.  "After 8 years of rule, it's apparent that some in the FDP are getting restless with the current management," said Grynwyyd.  Time will tell if the cracks can be patched or will splay under pressure.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Abortion bill divides government

Liston Free Press-- The legality of abortion, long thought to have been a divisive issue amongst ideological opposites, has opened up a rift amongst MPs in the governing Free Democratic Party.  At issue is bill L-209, introduced by a vocal pro-choice FDP backbencher, Marcus Hollzerhen, without the endorsement of the Government.  However, as the bill progressed through its first reading in the National Assembly and received support from the opposition Socialist Party it received the attention of the Cabinet as any strong support for the bill amongst opposition parties could be perceived as a vote of no confidence and bring down the Government.

Cabinet ministers-- who spoke to the Liston Free Press on the condition of anonymity--  say there is serious private debate about the bill in the Cabinet Room in Liston, with an anti-abortion faction-- thought to include President Krembs-- issuing instructions to the Whip to hold backbenchers to a "no" vote.  However, the Cabinet sources interviewed by the Liston Free Press say another faction, which supports a more liberalized abortion policy, has challenged that decision.

The issue may come to a head later this month, as the L-209 will receive a second reading from the Chair of the National Assembly, and a formal vote tallied in an attempt to progress the bill to its final reading and potential passage.