Potato’s Star Loses Its Shine
Dateline Asteel Q0 3210.300
Barbara Wintergreen, Asteel Correspondent
Star Party candidate Alphonse ‘Alfie’ Potato has been returned for a historic third term as GFA President, but the indications from the polls are that even his near-miraculous run in the mercurial world of Esteeler politics may be coming to its end. His share of the vote was the smallest for any elected president in recent GFA history, and his win was purely because of the division of his opponents. Indeed, the big story of the election has been the surge for third party candidate ‘Mo’ Miller, and dismal showing for Reform Party candidate Mimi Poisson, who was characterised as a political lightweight, and whose election gaffes about ‘being able to see Sol from her window’ failed to convince voters on her foreign affairs experience. In spite of not winning, Miller’s historic achievement has been to create a credible third party platform in Esteeler politics for the first time in decades, and some even talk about him as the ‘unofficial opposition’ now.
Meanwhile, there have been rumblings even within the Star Party about cronyism and an alleged ‘cult of personality’ surrounding Potato, and the president has been forced to appease critics within his party via his selections for the new cabinet, which will see an enhanced role for one of Potato’s major rivals within the party, Senator Erasmus Pickett, as Secretary of State. Pickett, who some have called the ‘anti-Potato’, is from a very different social background to the president and his entourage. From an old Esteeler family, Pickett is a graduate in Classics and Systems Analysis Law from the prestigious Jackanapes College on Asteel, where he was elected to the exclusive Ball And Chain Society and first became involved in politics. Parallel to a career in civil rights legislation, he has been prominent in politics on the capital world.
Esteeler political commentator Gord Venal told me: “Pickett is the voice of the Homeworlds-based, monied liberal right of Esteeler politics, tired of the shenanigans of a provincial porn actor and his showboating, money-grubbing hangers-on. Expect a big shake-up at the State Department; more emphasis on human rights and civil liberties in GFA foreign policy, and a more technocratic, goal-oriented approach.”
Meanwhile, however, and in sharp contrast to his showing across the Federation, this month also saw the opening of the ‘Potato World’ theme park on Disney World. Five years in the making, some have suggested that the Hilton-Disney Corporation’s attempt to cash in on the president’s popularity has come just too late, yet on his home planet all the evidence suggests that President Potato remains as popular as ever, and vast crowds thronged the grand opening, leading to the police to have to deploy riot control vehicles. As well as various rides themed with stories from the president’s life, most popular of all has been a virtual reality simulator allowing visitors to experience meeting the man in person; even those close to Potato describe the simulator as “spookily” realistic.
I’m Barbara Wintergreen, and this is my Asteel.
Polls deliver boost to Banderas, centre right coalition
Dateline New Mars Q0 3210.300
Mike Buckley, Mars Correspondent
This year’s Martian Senate elections have seen further gains for the devolutionist Martian Colonial Growth Party. Reinvigorated by popular firebrand leader ‘Toinette Banderas, the MCGF has continued its steady rise of the past few years to become the largest party in the Senate, with 9 of the 30 seats. In spite of solid Liberal (MLWP) party control of the Q0 Martian Union Council, and the left wing MLWP and right wing CDP running neck and neck on 7 seats in the new Senate, Banderas has surprised observers by opting to return to coalition with the Central Democrats, a coalition that fractured four years ago over the Douglas Affair. Some have suggested that the rumours of a second Exterminator Wave that arrived just before the polls closed could lead Martians to seek reassurance in the coalition that successfully prosecuted the last war.
In fact, it’s just like old times in the new Interstellar Coordination Committee, with CDP stalwart Minos Cornelius re-elected to the Senate and taking back his old Seceretary of War brief, and uber-geek Ross Frink continuing to run Science. Cornelius has emerged surprisingly unscathed from the Douglas Inquiry, bolstered by the alarming (for Martians…) developments in Q6. And it’s been a poor day for Liberal Party leader and economics whizz-kid Anton Dec, who has seen his halo tarnish slightly as the Martian economy underperforms. But arguments over defence, the economy and federalism seem set to dominate the next Senate session.