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Jan 8, 2003

Early budget seals the deal on early elections

In yesterday’s newscast we examined the pros and cons of government calling an early election. Today, an announcement from Cabinet offered a strong indication that the Prime Minister has made his decision…and it looks like that the vote will come soon, perhaps as early as February. The seemingly innocuous announcement from the Prime Minister’s Office came in the form of a release on the results of Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting. One of those decisions was to convene a meeting of the House of Representatives on January seventeenth, the purpose being the delivery of the Prime Minister’s annual budget speech. But what makes this year’s budget exercise remarkable is that it is being presented a full two months earlier than Prime Minister Said Musa has ever done before. Looking back over the last four years the budget–which takes effect on April first–has never been presented earlier than March fourteenth. So why the rush? If elections were to be called for February, it would mean that on January seventeenth the government could paint what will no doubt be a rosy financial picture, and the Opposition–which does not get to reply until the next meeting–may well have to wait until after the election to offer its criticism. Depending on the results of the voting, the next government would still have the option of revising the January seventeenth budget or throwing it out altogether.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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