A tense political showdown was sparked inside the Federation Senate today following the recent release of an independent audit into Tibus Heth's reforms.
Seizing on the absence of President Souro Foiritan, opposition members of the Senate took to questioning his deputies on matters normally handled by their superior. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Head Aulmont Meis had to repeatedly deny making any official comment on the Saari Report, stating that the government needed more time to properly assess all the information.
Her refusal to speak in the President's stead was met with derision from her opponents. Influential Mannar and Jin-Mei Senators demanded either an official response or the early return of the President, who left Villore last evening to meet representatives of the Minmatar government in Sinq Laison. Senator Mei retorted that their demands for an immediate statement were "completely irresponsible."
Reactions from inside the Federation have been mixed following the release of the report. Large sections of the Intaki population as well as their powerful lobby groups urged President Foiritan to encourage what they saw as a positive move. "There are some things we can agree with the Caldari State on," said Intaki activist Kirae Eillen. "Only through dialogue that encourages positive changes can we hope for true progress on anything else."
Elsewhere in the Federation experts lined up to question the interpretation - what many called outright spin - the State had put on the figures. Whilst agreeing more or less with the numbers presented, the experts claimed they frequently didn't tell the whole story or had been distorted. Professor Heloi Gachall at the University of Caille questioned the presentation of many programs. "It's not up for debate that the enrolment numbers in many programs are quite high...but that alone doesn't prove they've been a success. The report offers no insight into just how much the average Caldari will benefit, contrary to many claims made by State officials."
It is expected that the official response to the figures from the report will focus on remarks made by Prof. Gachall and others. "There is much yet to be seen," she said. "I agree that any statement one way or the other would be premature at this point."