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Monday, February 17, 2014

Mixed feelings after plenary session

After the plenary session of the 5th Supreme People's Assembly ended this morning, legislators and political analysts have expressed both optimism and scepticism.

After Vice-Chairman of the Presidium Po Er Kwa Deul published an open letter to Chairman J.J. Hakimoto lambasting his implementation of the 26 May market reforms law, Hakimoto called a plenary session to discuss the law and attempt a compromise. Shortly after, Hakimoto released an official response condemning the letter and ruling out an early election, which some observers interpreted as a sign that the ruling Prosperity for Yurtyzstan coalition would dissolve.

The session began 14 February at 10pm UTC. The deep divisions in the ruling party became apparent immediately, as legislators took sides in belligerent opening remarks. Po renewed his call for snap elections and announced that he had drafted a bill to reverse policies enacted by the Central Bank and Reserve since October. Hakimoto asserted that his government's stance on the market reforms law had provided needed cash to Yurtyzstani startups. The Assembly adjourned after barely an hour of discussion.

Saturday and Sunday proved more fruitful. Po and Hakimoto engaged in talks several times over the weekend, presenting a bill on Sunday resolving to hold formal negotiations before dissolving the government and temporarily restricting the circulation of the hmin. On Sunday morning, Yurt Shin-ak, a legislator with Po's Impoverished Yurtyzstanis' Front, told New Light of Yurtyzstan, "We actually are starting to think that the government will stay together."

However, Hakimoto and his moderate allies took the extra step on Monday of introducing a bill requiring a referendum on any move to change the government's economic policy before the May 2014 election. The IYF legislators, outnumbered, left the floor in protest. The Assembly reopened as a partial session and unanimously passed the bill. Outside the Assembly chambers, Po declared, "unless they reverse it, this government is over."

None of the moderate Prosperity for Yurtyzstan legislators have given any information about whether they will entertain a motion to repeal the bill. It is possible that such a concession could be made to convince the IYF to enter talks. It's also possible that the IYF will withdraw from the coalition without waiting for an answer, though this would be a gamble on their part that the remaining coalition members would not form a coalition with another party.