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What's with your big tummy, Miss Prime Minister?

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Brutland and Norden
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What's with your big tummy, Miss Prime Minister?

Postby Brutland and Norden » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:58 am

What's with your big tummy, Miss Prime Minister?


OOC Notes:
So this is some sort of a political RP (more char-RP-ish) wherein Brutland and Norden's prime minister is accused of being pregnant without a husband - a big scandal in a Catholic, conservative country. That and along with the other burning hot political issues along with an upcoming election.

And to those who have noticed, this is a resurrection/reposting of an (abandoned) old RP of mine. That had been retconned, so it means it never happened. It was retconned again in this year, in view of continuing the RP into the general election.

And, yes, the date is really 2013. Brutland and Norden operates in flexi-time, and so it's kinda stuck in the past. It is still 2013 there. :lol:

Though this RP will be open, I'd like people to contact me first (via TG) before posting. Thank you!



Timeline:
Italics indicate news articles.

7 Feb 2013: L'Unnone: Committee Approves Livro Proposal
11 Feb 2013: L'Unnone: Social Democrats Supports Livro Proposal
12 Feb 2013: L'Unnone: Art Exhibit Outrages Conservatives
13 Feb 2013: Prime Minister's Press Conference
Last edited by Brutland and Norden on Fri May 02, 2014 5:00 am, edited 3 times in total.
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What's with your big tummy, Miss Prime Minister?
Economic Left/Right: -2.25 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 0.26
Moral Order: -2.5 Moral Rules: -1
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Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Brutland and Norden » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:03 am

February 13, 2013
10:00 AM


The press room of the Government Palace was again teeming with journalists and their camera-and-lightbulb-and-microphone-toting assistants. It was Wednesday - and Wednesday is the day when the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Brutland and Norden holds her weekly press conferences. It was some kind of tradition now for the Prime Minister and the Government Palace Press Corps, ever since Prime Minister Marianna Cortanella rose to power. Cortanella wanted the government to be open, and so she instituted weekly press conferences to update the journalists and Brutland and Norden to whatever was happening in the government.

The press conference, in all its noisiness, resembled more like a happy fun social gathering rather than a hunting session of a pack of wolves hungry to get a piece of the juicy information.

Perhaps it's because journalists in Brutland and Norden aren't like their foreign counterparts. They are civil, less obtrusive, more tactful. Even though the media in the country is free, native journalists tend to maintain a certain degree of unique professionalism, proper decorum, and respect towards anyone they interview. That is even if they hold wildly differing opinions and even if their bosses are extremely critical of the individual in question. Indeed, just by the way they interact, anyone can spot the foreign journalists from the natives in the crowd.

The buzz became louder as Prime Minister Marianna Cortanella entered the room. As if scripted, the journalists opened their notepads, bright lights focused on the podium, and the cameras rolled. Slowly, the Prime Minister walked towards the podium, saying hello to La Brutelliense's Carmela Brutarigo and welcomed back TRNM's Ernestina Giovanetti. Cortanella asked about Giovanetti's newborn child, the reason why the reporter was absent at the Government Palace Press Corps for the past three months. Cortanella smiled as she listened to Giovanetti's brief summary of her experience with childbirth. "You will give me tips, ok?" Cortanella said, and then added, "If I'll have children, that is."

After a few moments Cortanella stepped on the podium, with some uncharacteristic difficulty. She had managed to avoid any podium gaffes so far, unlike her predecessors. Rinnero Faro was hit by the falling Nord-Brutlandese coat-of-arms that was poorly attached on the wall right above the podium, while Borio Drasella fell down face flat after tripping on the podium step as he ran to give a hasty press conference.

The din of the crowd died down as Cortanella tapped on the microphone. The Prime Minister made a few announcements, and then opened the floor for questions. La Brutelliense's Brutarigo asked whether the federal government had made a decision towards funding the Crona River Dam Project in Brutland, Cortanella said that the Cabinet decided to seek the advise of the General Court. Giorgio Bambini of the left-leaning La Díernalo, a newspaper critical of Cortanella, asked whether the government had decided on a stance on the livro issue. Cortanella answered "No comment," and coupled it with her 'do-not-push-the-issue' look. Bambini and a few others chuckled. "No comment" was the neutral answer to any question that had to be dodged. Prime Ministers from time immemorial all used it, and Cortanella was no different. Its seemed that that phrase as invented for dodging questions.



Carina Olivetti of the tabloid Extra! was sitting at the back, half-interested in taking notes. As a tabloid journalist, she isn't that much interested in dams or budgets or the economy. She's interested for news items that are juicy. Tabloids in Brutland and Norden, unlike their respectable broadsheet counterparts, spew out sensationalist exaggerations, wild claims, and rabid exposés that targets anyone, from the King of Brutland and Norden to the few lowly hobos of Kingsville. Despite those, it is difficult to prosecute journalists in the Kingdom due to its liberal media and speech laws, held sacrosanct by the people and the courts. Still, those in the respectable journalism section dare not to abuse the protection of the law. The tabloid and many of the magazine writers, on the other hand, flaunt it. In a sense, they are more akin to the foreign journalists, hungry for the first scoop, the juicy exclusives, and the prestigious prizes.

Olivetti was your typical tabloid journalist. She had been observing and researching about Cortanella since the 2008 elections, and was confident that she knew everything about the Prime Minister of Brutland and Norden. Cortanella had been somewhat odd lately, an observation she kept secret from everyone else, lest they outscoop her. There had to be some explanation for the somewhat reduced energy level of the typically flamboyant and radiant Prime Minister. There had to be some explanation for her gradually closing her private life to snoopers, paparazzis, and tabloid journalists like her. And there had to be some explanation for that seemingly enlarging belly. And by treats or by threats, she would uncover that explanation. Or perhaps she would just make her own.

Olivetti had blared out speculations about Cortanella before and this won't be different. She won't say it directly, she will hint at it so the others will just direct attention to it. And Carina Olivetti will be famous as being the first to raise the alarm and provide the explanation.

She raised her hand after the Prime Minister answered a question from L'Unnone about some Kingsville project. Cortanella immediately spotted her and pointed at her. In that fleeting moment, exhilaration and anticipation built up inside Olivetti. You won't suspect what I'll say, she thought.

Olivetti stood up and leaned forward. She said tauntingly in Nord-Brutlandese, "What's with your big belly, Miss Prime Minister?"
Last edited by Brutland and Norden on Fri May 02, 2014 4:51 am, edited 4 times in total.
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What's with your big tummy, Miss Prime Minister?
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Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Brutland and Norden » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:46 am

February 13, 2013
10:44 AM


The crowd of journalists gave out a collective gasp - perhaps it was because of the realization that the Prime Minister's tummy was indeed enlarging, or perhaps incensed at the audacity of this tabloid reporter to make the accusation that the Prime Minister is carrying a child out of wedlock. Or perhaps both.

Prime Minister Marianna Cortanella's jovial aura immediately vaporized. She glanced briefly at her tummy and then looked up, her eyes narrowed, throwing a spiteful glance at the accusing journalist. "I don't like the tone of your voice, madame," she said tightly, leaning forward towards the microphone. "That is my comment on your question."

Undeterred, Olivetti tried to pursue the question. "That's doesn't answer my question, Miss Prime Minister. I want an answer to my question."
"You want an answer?" Cortanella almost growled at the microphone, seething with never-before-seen hatred. "No comment. That's your answer." She straightened back up. "This press conference is over." She then swiftly exited towards her office to the shocked silence of the journalists present.



Of course, that spat immediately appeared in the news, and aside from the Prime Minister's tummy, her odd reaction to a seemingly innocent question further fueled speculation. The Nord-Brutlandese press, even those respectable broadsheets, began to ponder and wonder about Cortanella and her tummy . Olivetti, in Extra!, wrote:

Image
Nato o Grasso?
La Mistero di Finisterrettùnèlà Cortanella'que Pusono


via Carina Olivetti
Noi dei ojeco Finisterrettùnèlà Marianna Cortanella'que cifre verdei smidal, non qua verdune destelleco circe ceque pusono largheca? Forse s'il percce ceque pusono larghecco gradual? Noi sum al Extra! ozecce passo esale al hereque Ore Finisterrettùnèlàque, e final, il dessécci la sorziene di verdune. Sgrece al l'immaginu sota, ojece per tuse. Passi dell'ici pubblimmaginecca.

ImageImage
(Sinistra) Finisterrettùnèlà Marianna Cortanella (on la podio), anno una fa, on a Sprette Natala te la Corteso Genera. Screcco on ici Rinno Kail II e Reno Madre Carlotta II. (Destra) La Finisterrettùnèlà al hereque cofferenze pensa. Tu do ojece la gonfie?

Buene la Finisterrettùnèlà rifiutecce discutecche moltal ceque pusono e collecce e terminecce immediatal la cofferenze pensa minuti núacica antal. Qua la defenzemmíe, noi oaspecularece ollo. Ce ici saura accusecche di gravide? O ce ici saura basecche a 'grasso'? Qui ce do sece, a aborte o a liposuzione?

Per nove, tu lacorece: la pusono Finisterrettùnèlà'que: nato o grasso?

Noi scopreche.

Translation:
Image
Baby or Flabs?
The mystery of Prime Minister Cortanella's Tummy


by Carina Olivetti
We all see Prime Minister Marianna Cortanella's figure almost everyday, but why isn't everyone talking about her enlarging tummy ? Perhaps it's because her tummy had been enlarging gradually? We here at Extra! raised that issue during yesterday's Prime Minister's Hour, and finally, it had caught the attention of everyone. Look at the pictures below, see for yourself. These are not photoshopped.

ImageImage
(Left) Prime Minister Marianna Cortanella (on the podium), one year ago, on a Christmas Address to the General Court. Looking on are King Kyle II and Queen Mother Charlotte II. (Right) The Prime Minister at yesterday's press conference. Do you see the bulge?

Needless to say the Prime Minister refused to discuss her tummy further and turned cold and immediately terminated the press conference fifteen minutes early. Why the sudden defensiveness, we can only speculate. Is she afraid of being accused of being pregnant? Or is she afraid of being called a 'fattie'? What does she want, an abortion or a liposuction?

For now, you decide: the Prime Minister's tummy: baby or flabs?

We will find out.
Last edited by Brutland and Norden on Fri May 02, 2014 4:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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What's with your big tummy, Miss Prime Minister?
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Postby Brutland and Norden » Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:29 am

February 14, 2013

Meanwhile, the Nord-Brutlandese public awaited for any statement from the popular Prime Minister. The potential scandal distracted them from other issues at hand. The populace was divided into several theories and opinions on the matter; some believed the Prime Minister was pregnant, some believed she was not, some still held the truth was still no known, and others didn’t give a damn about it. Reactions for a possible pregnant Prime Minister also varied, some would denounce the Prime Minister as an immoral slut for bearing a child out of wedlock, some would insist that it is a personal matter, some would rather see her resign from being the head of government, some would take it with the characteristic Nord-Brutlandese shrug.

Reactions varied from person to person; the website of the tabloid Extra!, which started all the brouhaha, set up an online poll:

Image
(Translation: Miss Prime Minister’s belly: baby or flabs? Baby, Flabs, Don't Know. Vote!)


The more respectable Nordville newspaper La Díernalo put in its website a compilation of comments from prominent personalities, ranging from the outraged to the sympathetic to downright clueless:

“If indeed the Prime Minister is pregnant, this would be the biggest political scandal in three decades.”
--- Ms. Cristina Bacco, Popular Party MP from Norden


“Having a child out of wedlock is simply immoral. If ever she is pregnant, she should resign now, she will not be a good role model and leader for Brutland and Norden.”
--- Mrs. Sylvia Bertagnoli, Popular Party MP from Brutland


“Boy or girl?”
--- Baroness Sara Montascoli-Biancaniello of Cavese


“Why should we care if she would have a baby? If she can be both a mother and a Prime Minister at the same time, why not?”
--- Mr. Correone Rimotta, Minister of Science and Technology


“These unfounded, despicable, and salacious lies are character assassination attempts the tabloid is trying to perpetuate on the Prime Minister. Ms. Olivetti is not a journalist, she is a liar and a slanderer; every good journalist should be angry that Ms. Olivetti uses that term to describe herself.”
--- Mr. Pietro Valdegambiero, spokesperson of the Government House


”Please tell me again why is this an issue?”
--- Governor Adam Lambroglio of Norden


“Speculation, much?”
--- Deputy Prime Minister Sean Montògliore (PP, City of Timberland)


“All I can say is, if she is pregnant, congratulations on your being a mother. If not, then may she have more birthdays to come.”
--- Green Party Leader Lúella Carbonella


“Well, why don’t we let her tell the truth?”
--- Mr. Cristiano Sernagiotto, President of the Grant Council of Santelleria


“Hmmm, that’s interesting.”
--- Mayor Girolamo Sartori of Kingsville
Last edited by Brutland and Norden on Fri May 02, 2014 4:55 am, edited 4 times in total.
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What's with your big tummy, Miss Prime Minister?
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Postby Brutland and Norden » Fri May 02, 2014 5:08 am

Et cognoscetis veritatem et veritas liberabit vos.
You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.


14 February 2013
Government House


For almost one whole day, the matters of the state took a backseat in Marianna Cortanella’s mind as accusations and speculations filled the atmosphere of Brutland and Norden. Never mind that it was Valentine's Day - the fact that it was the day of love fueled more speculations about one of the hypothesis. Already her phones are ringing off their hooks and the once famously-open prime minister had started to sulk into her private room in the Government House. For several hours she sat on her bed, pondering what to do next, mentally plotting the course she would take, its consequences for her and for her country, and oftentimes mentally cursing that pesky diabolical tabloid reporter for assaulting her character and her career. Her secretary turned away everyone who wanted to see her and talk to her, from reporters to MPs to party leaders. For now she only wanted to talk to three people: her mother, her brother, and her childhood friend. She had talked to them and they are now on their way from Norden to Kingsville to lend her emotional support.

Her thoughts went back to that special day that they shared back in November. While the country was busy being spooked by Halloween and the neopagans got the media coverage with their odd rituals in some Piscierettu hill, Marianna Cortanella went back to her retreat house in the backwoods of Norden. The Nord-Brutlandese media and people were courteous enough to afford her privacy in her personal dealings, and so she was able to spend her time in Rotignola without intervention. Except of course, him.

They had known each other for decades and had many things in common, but the distance and artificially-widened gulf between them had kept them apart. Now that he had relinquished the very things that attempt to separate them, they had begun to drift closer to each other, especially within the past few months.

The Nord-Brutlandese public is most probably ignorant of the other lives of their prime minister, primarily because the media keeps them uninformed of things that should be rightly kept private. That pesky journalist knows something, but the Nord-Brutlandese traditional distrust of tabloids and that journalist being drowned out in the large media market keeps that knowledge hidden. Until now…

A knock on the door refocused Mariana’s attention to preparing for her visitors. “Come in,” she muttered. Her visitor opened the door. It was her youngest brother Bricco, the sibling she was closest to. He was the first one she had called after the event, and despite him being busy with work, he promised to come over as soon as possible.

Bricco seems to have noticed the distraught look in Marianna’s face. “Sise*,” he murmured as he closed the door and approached her for a hug.

“Thank God you’re here,” she said, breaking off the embrace. “I don’t know what to do...”


*A Nord-Brutlandese term used for an older sister.
Last edited by Brutland and Norden on Fri May 02, 2014 5:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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What's with your big tummy, Miss Prime Minister?
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Postby Brutland and Norden » Fri May 02, 2014 11:23 pm

February 14, 2013
Government House


Everyone that Marianna Cortanella turned to for advice said the same thing. Her usually taciturn mother, who flew all the way from Cavese, said it bluntly: “You know the shit’s gonna hit the fan anyway.” Her best friend Paola said the same thing, though in gentler terms: “It is inevitable that people would know. You can’t keep it away from prying eyes for long.” And her brother Bricco, her most devoted supporter, also implied such: “Perhaps you just have to accept the situation and deal with the consequences. We can’t do anything to change it.”

These three people were the only ones who had been with her the whole day. They remained with her, giving advice over Mrs. Ella Cortanella’s cake made from Norden cacao, the Prime Minister’s favourite comfort food.

What were the consequences for the country? “They’ll just have to... deal with it,” Bricco said in a tone reminiscent of the internet meme. “I mean, what the hell do they care about your personal life?” He plunged the fork into his cake slice. “If the Nord-Brutlandese can’t accept you the way you are, that’s their problem, they’re bigoted.” He then cut a small piece off the cake and placed it in his mouth. After some chews, he continued, “As long as you’re happy with your life, why should they care?” Bricco pointed the fork in his sister’s direction. “Now, are YOU happy?”

His brother’s question hit Marianna like a splash of cold water. Was she happy? All the time she was thinking about the country, what would people think, the consequences it would have for Brutland and Norden, what would other people say, what would her political allies do... and she never asked that question about herself. Was she happy?

“Are you?” Bricco repeated the question. “Don’t think of Brutland and Norden. Personally, are you happy?”

Marianna was happy of what she did and was doing, and its product. In fact, she enjoyed it very much. She was like a teenager trysting with a secret lover. She enjoyed every last bit of something forbidden. Now if only the circumstances were different, and if there were no other factors to consider, she is, basically, happy.

“Yes I am happy with it, but –“
Bricco cut her off. “There you go. You are happy. The only things making you worried or sad or anxious are all the other stuff. Perhaps it’s time for those “other stuff” to understand you now, after everything you did for them.”

“You know as they say, Marianna, the truth will set you free,” Mrs. Cortanella remarked. “Time is running out for you to come clean. Delay it any further and the mess is going to be larger than you can handle. Don’t strain yourself too much. It’s bad.”

That night, as her three guests left their room, Marianna Cortanella pondered on her courses of action. Her mother was right, she can’t evade the situation any further. As her brother said, why should others care? It’s her personal life. But what would the reaction of Brutland and Norden be?
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What's with your big tummy, Miss Prime Minister?
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Postby Brutland and Norden » Sat May 03, 2014 12:00 pm

15 February 2013

It seemed that one gauge of Brutland and Norden would be the reaction of its monarch. That morning, the Prime Minister sent a secret message to King Kyle II of Brutland and Norden for an urgent private audience. The King readily consented to an audience.

The Prime Minister thought that the young monarch would at least be sympathetic. The monarch of Brutland and Norden was affable, charming, open, and kind. He was liked and loved by his subjects, and respected almost everyone in the country - even the Communists.

For all His Majesty’s good traits, he is a heartbroken young man. That was odd, considering that he was the sort of things the fairy tales write about a Prince Charming. But would his lovelife affect his reaction to her admission?

Now His Majesty has been focusing himself on his “passion” – matters of state, government, and his various charities. “Brutland and Norden is like my child,” he told her once with a maturity uncharacteristic for young people. “I might not need an heir.” Will his dedication to the country affect his reaction?

Marianna Cortanella hoped to find her answer that late morning. She was told that they would be meeting in a study room in the private wing of the Royal Palace, instead of the usual place in Royal Palace Court complex. A private place within a private place. Perhaps the King already had an inkling of what she was going to tell him.

She arrived inside the study a few minutes before the agreed time, having been whisked through a maze of doors, corridors, and hallways, many of which, she, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Brutland and Norden, had never seen before.

The Prime Minister spent the wait by carefully observing the room. She admired the intricately-carved antique Norden cedar desk she was sitting in front of. There were only a few things on top of the king’s immaculately clean desk: a small flag of Brutland and Norden, a pen holder containing a pencil and a fountain pen, and a small notepad. Behind the desk is the cushioned wooden chair, probably of the same manufacture as the desk. Past the chair, is a wallful of shelves, filled with a variety of books. What caught her attention was the Sasane di la Popolo Nordèbrutelliense – “History of the Nord-Brutlandese People” – the seminal book by revered historian Arduino Calebasso. The book was composed of four thick tomes, and judging by the state of the books’ spines, she surmised that the monarch had spent a lot of time reading it. Beside it were well-worn Nord-Brutlandese-language textbooks titled “Macroeconomics”, “Public Administration” and “the Nord-Brutlandese Political System”. The monarch, it seems, is also fond of studying matters of state.

After a few moments, the King of Brutland and Norden entered the room through another door. She would’ve mistaken him for a commoner if she wasn’t in a secluded, guarded room of the Royal Palace. He was wearing a jersey of the Nord-Brutlandese national football team, brown cargo shorts, and blue-and-yellow (the national colors) sneakers. His spiky blond hair was arranged in a fauxhawk. He carried himself around casually, more casual than his already casual public persona. He looked like a normal twenty-five year old, unencumbered by the rigors of court life and the formalities of being the monarch. It was the first time the Prime Minister of Brutland and Norden had seen the King dress like that in audiences – even in private audiences.

Evidently he had observed her reaction as he walked in. “Don’t worry, I’m still the King of Brutland and Norden even with this getup.” He chuckled as he took his seat behind the desk. “You asked for an urgent meeting, urgent enough that I didn’t had time to change clothes,” he said in jest. “This is how I like to dress up – casually. But as you know, it isn’t really conducive to working, as the Nord-Brutlandese have standards of how their monarch should look like. I do what I like privately, just like now. But sometimes you have to follow what the people want. On the other hand, sometimes you have to follow what you want. They respect that. And they should.”

As the King was speaking, the Prime Minister felt that he was referencing her situation. Does His Majesty know something about what was she going to say?

“So, now that you have seen how I look like in private, you said you have something private to tell?”
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Postby Brutland and Norden » Sat May 03, 2014 11:16 pm

15 February 2013
Royal Palace


Congratulations. That was the reaction of King Kyle II of Brutland and Norden to Prime Minister Marianna Cortanella’s admission. She had expected something longer, something more inquisitive, something more... something more. The succinctness of his reply – from someone young enough to be her son – took Marianna by surprise. He knew. He understood. And he accepted.

The Prime Minister resisted the urge to probe further the King’s reply, but instead went to the more pressing matter. The Prime Minister laid out her plan of action to the King – including the worst case scenario that could involve His Majesty. All the while, he just looked thoughtfully at her and her scribbled plans. As she finished, he only muttered, “OK.”

“OK?” The Prime Minister inadvertently repeated in an inquiring voice. The King took the hint.

“It’s okay with me, it is your life anyway. Who am I to tell you what to do in your life? I can tell you what to do in matters of state, but the other matters are not in my realm.”

Marianna nodded.

“So good luck to you, Miss Prime Minister. Some things won’t go well, I suspect, but overall, hopefully this will be for the better.”
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Postby Brutland and Norden » Sun May 04, 2014 8:53 am

From that day's newspaper:

General Court ends debate on Livro Revaluation Proposal


February 15, 2013
by Andrea Sinigaglia

KINGSVILLE – the General Court, in a vote of 73-70, last night ended the debate on the proposal pertaining to the revaluation of the national currency. The extra-governmental proposal, introduced by MPs Filippo Carmonello (PDS: Vilònorda Settra, Norden), Atturo Molmetti (PDS: Civito di Carpa, Norden) and Agata Rissotti (PP: Ferbiabbo, Norden), aims to convert the Nord-Brutlandese livro into a semi-representative currency.

Half of the Popular Party (PP) MPs voted against ending the debate, symptomatic of the ruling party's division over the issue. All of the Social Democrats, the two Greens, and the lone Communist in the Parliament voted to end the debate. Six MPs abstained, including Treasury Minister Lúanna Gardefini and Defense Minister Kail Brecchio. Prime Minister Marianna Cortanella was absent during the vote.

....

The Cabinet is set to meet today in order to discuss a stance on the proposal, which is scheduled to be voted on Wednesday.

(Click here for the complete article)
Last edited by Brutland and Norden on Mon May 05, 2014 9:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Brutland and Norden » Mon May 05, 2014 9:28 am

15 February 2013
Government House


Later that day, that Friday’s weekly Cabinet meeting was preoccupied with another matter of state: the livro issue. The liberal wing of the Popular Party supported a revaluation of the national currency, while the conservative and much of the moderate wings of the party were stridently opposed. The heated public debates – in Parliament, in public opinion – were also reflected in that meeting. The debate was so acrimonious that the Prime Minister’s belly was all but forgotten.

“I am not going to be part of a government that debases our wealth,” thundered the usually soft-spoken Treasury Minister, Lúanna Gardefini. “I am going to tender my resignation if this government will adopt that position disadvantageous to the country.”

“Then resign,” deputy Prime Minister Sean Montògliore countered. “It’s not like we need a hindrance like you.”

Gardefini gave Montògliore a hard stare. Several ministers, including Defense Minister Brecchio and Foreign Affairs Minister Lupacchino, had a shocked expression.

“Well, didn’t your ministry even recommend this proposal?” The cocky deputy prime minister said. “Then why are you opposing it?”

“The Giambrone Paper isn’t even officially sanctioned by the Ministry of Treasury,” Gardefini answered back. “You might be confusing the Serenelli Report and that internal Ministry paper that you leaked.”

“Even then, both of them recommend the transition you so oppose.”

Gardefini rolled her eyes. “That’s because you focus on the studies that highlight your position. Have you heard of the Sir Thomas Gresham? Do you even have a rudimentary grasp of economics?” Her voice was seething with disdain, bringing out her innate Brute tendencies. “What you want to do is precisely that – replace perfectly good currency with something worse.”

“Miss Treasury Minister,” Montògliore said in a patronizing manner, “It’s not worse, it’s better – “

She cut him off “Do you realize that what you are actually advocating is already in place? Do you even understand how our currency works?” She jabbed a finger in his direction. “Don’t you dare lecture me on how my ministry works or how the currency works! You may blather all you want about what you think is better, but that thinking of yours is neither grounded in fact nor reasonable in the first place.”

“Alright, alright,” muttered King Kyle II in an authoritative voice. The Prime Minister noted that the monarch, who chairs the weekly cabinet meetings, looked more formal now than earlier when she met him, having exchanged his casual clothing with a blue shirt, yellow tie, and black suit. “We need to act more like adults here, yes?” He said in a sardonic tone. Every one of the so-called honourable cabinet ministers sitting around the table was at least a decade older than him, and he was acting more maturely than them. “This government does not seem to have a consensus stand on the matter.” He turned to Cortanella. “Miss Prime Minister?”
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Postby Brutland and Norden » Tue May 06, 2014 6:51 am

15 February 2013
Government House


For a moment Prime Minister Marianna Cortanella met King Kyle II’s eyes, and she felt uncomfortable. This was the first and only time she felt this way with the monarch. His Majesty’s blue eyes drilled icily into her mind, provoking a cascade of disorganized thoughts in her head. She lost track of what to say next. “Um, er – “ she stammered, racking her brain, searching for a something to say. Thoughts ran through her mind. Shall I divulge it now to my cabinet? No – they’re still quite upset. But what about my agreement with the King? Can it be postponed? Yes? Can I still keep this a secret? I’m really not ready yet to tell them. What would they think? Oh, do I have to call the Press Corps later? What –

Her runaway thought train was derailed as His Majesty abruptly cleared his throat to get her attention. “It seems even Miss Prime Minister is undecided on the issue,” King Kyle II told them. “Shall we declare that the Government of Brutland and Norden has no official stance on the issue?” He focused his attention on his distracted Prime Minister, and said pointedly, “So that we can move on to other things.”

That finally caught her attention. “Yes, that will be our stance,” she said hastily. No, I’m not ready yet. “That’s all the agenda that we have for this meeting, we will meet next Friday, same time, same place, unless my office informs you otherwise. Thank you for attending our meeting.”

The minsters rose from their seats and shuffled out of the room, with Miss Gardefini ignoring Mr. Montògliore on their way out. The Prime Minister and the King remained on their seats, observing the members of the Cabinet as they went out of the room that held that day’s acrimonious meeting.

As soon as the last minister left and the door closed, the young monarch looked around to ascertain that only he and his prime minister remained in the room. He then turned his attention to his prime minister. “I thought you were going to tell them,” he said obtusely.

That statement provoked a rush of emotions in her. Guilt, sadness, disappointment, fear, shame, anger. Her hand was visibly shaking as she tried to fix the papers in front of her. “I-- I—I’m sorry, Your Majesty...” Her voice creaked with pent-up emotions. “I wasn’t... really... ready yet.”

The monarch looked sympathetically at his prime minister. This was a woman with a tough public persona, having won many cases in court as a lawyer, and carrying a wise decisiveness that enabled her to become one of the country’s most popular prime ministers. And yet here she was, in front of the King of Brutland and Norden, on the verge of emotional breakdown at her indecision.

“That indecision I can forgive,” the monarch told her. “But remember that you cannot postpone everything. I would like to see that old Prime Minister Marianna Cortanella – decisive, confident. The secret you’re keeping isn’t the only one that needs your attention... there are other things that would also merit your consideration.”

“Pardon me if I’m about to give some unsolicited advice, but this... thing you’re keeping to yourself is hindering everything. Hindering you from moving on with your life, hindering you from performing your duties, and hindering your enjoyment of what should’ve been an enjoyable experience. Do you understand what I mean?”

“Yes, Your Majesty,” she said, as tears welled up in her eyes.

“Don’t cry yet – the paparazzi are outside,” he said, chuckling. “They might invent gossip that I made you cry,” he joked.

The Prime Minister lightened up a bit. “Thank you, Your Majesty,” she said, drying the tears that had started to accumulate at the corners of her eyes.

“Think about it over the weekend,” he told her. “Remember that if you act too slowly, other people might seize the moment and you might lose control of the situation.”
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Postby Brutland and Norden » Fri May 09, 2014 7:37 am

16 February 2013
From that morning's newspaper:

Anti-revaluation MPs appeal to the King


February 16, 2013
by Andrea Sinigaglia

KINGSVILLE – two of the parliamentary leaders of the debate against livro revaluation, Mr. Carlo Mondragone (PP: Terrallo-Storrefine, Norden) and Mr. Brocco Cuttiglione (PP: Padania Norda, Brutland), delivered a petition to His Majesty King Kyle II during a personal audience at the Royal Palace yesterday afternoon. The petition, signed by sixty-four anti-revaluation MPs, urges the King to use his reserve powers “to prevent debasement of the Nord-Brutlandese livro and maintain monetary stability and fiscal responsibility of the country.”

(Read the rest of the article here)
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Postby Brutland and Norden » Sat May 10, 2014 7:45 am

16 February 2013

The Prime Minister spent that Friday afternoon and much of the Saturday thinking about her options. She can’t stop it, other people already know. Her options are limited; the possible consequences are boundless.

She had her secretary, Estelle, cancel all appointments over the weekend. There were only a few allowed to get through phone calls. That Saturday morning, the government spokesperson, Pietro Valdegambiero, asked her what should he say is people ask him for the reason why the Prime Minister is cancelling all engagements.

“Diplomatic illness,” Cortanella retorted.

There was a long pause.

“To be honest with you, Marianna, this is starting to smell fishy,” Pietro said on the other side of the line. “Hopefully you’ll do well.”

Two of the MPs from her party, Carlo Mondragone, her protégé, and Tobias Lupacchino, her Foreign Minister, attempted to meet with her.

“Miss Cortanella had said that she will not entertain anyone during the weekend,” Estelle told them when the two young men arrived in the office that afternoon.
“Can’t you do anything about that?” Carlo asked her in a silky voice. “Tell her is this very important.”
“What is it about?” Estelle asked. “I had bothered her five times today already; I have to know it is really important.”

Carlo gave the secretary his nicest smile and his sweetest look. “Just trust me.”

“Alright,” Estelle told him as she started dialling on the phone. “If you weren’t so cute, Mr. Mondragone, I wouldn’t have allowed you in.”

Both men chuckled.

Estelle spoke for a few moments with her boss. “They say it’s important... you want to talk to them?” She then turned to the two men. “Miss Cortanella asks what is it about.”

Carlo reached out for the handset. “She wants to talk to us?”

“No, she’s asking what will be the meeting about,” Estelle told him, still holding the handset close to her ear.
“Just tell her it’s extremely important. We aren’t going to bother her if it wasn’t.”

Estelle relayed this to her boss, and transmitted her reply to the two men. “If you won’t tell her what is it about, she’s not going to meet you.”
Carlo sighed. “Alright, tell her it’s about the money.”
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Postby Brutland and Norden » Tue May 20, 2014 1:37 pm

17 February 2013
Government House


The Prime Minister scheduled the meeting with her two junior MPs at midmorning. She was suspecting they were going to ask her about the livro issue, an issue which she doesn’t care about and she had pushed to the back of her mind as a mere annoyance.

She would have wanted to be alone for that weekend. But she thought to at least show some interest in state affairs meanwhile, and keep in touch with what was happening about the livro issue. She had already made Deputy Prime Minister Sean Montógliore deal with the issue since the controversy about her belly broke out.

She had permitted Tobias Lupacchino and Carlo Mondragone to meet with her, just to hear what they have to say. The two MPs were seen as being close to her, coming from the same background: young moderate Popular Party MPs from Norden, who were recruited by Cortanella to run for MPs in their districts.

Tobias Lupacchino is seen as more conservative than Carlo Mondragone, though still a moderate, especially by Brutland standards. Hardworking and passionate, “Toby” had been appointed as deputy foreign minister because of his interests in Nord-Brutlandese diplomacy. He unexpectedly succeeded to the foreign minister post after the death of the venerable Bricco di Sint’Brullizio. The liberals consented to this, due to the lack of other candidates (Kyle Lambourne was more conservative and had declined his nomination) and because the Foreign Ministry was traditionally not seen as an important office in insular Brutland and Norden (so they were ready to concede such an unimportant office). Lupacchino had been silent throughout the debate on the livro issue, although he had supported the Treasury Minister Lúanna Gardefini during Cabinet discussions.

Carlo Mondragone is a youthful-looking thirty year old freshman MP from eastern Dennland. Identifying with the moderate wing of the Popular Party, Mondragone, for a backbencher MP, had been seen as especially close to the Prime Minister. Cortanella wanted him for a Cabinet post, and so she trained and prepared him for such a position, including advising him to take courses in public policy and administration. The problem was that some in the liberal wing of the Popular Party thought he was “too conciliatory”, “too nice”, and “spineless” to deal with conservatives in the partly. Many of the liberals in the party, especially Montògliore, dislike him enough to block his appointment as deputy in the Ministry of Education in 2010. Cortanella never understood this aversion to Mondragone, blaming it instead on the hidden but increasingly visible fractures between factions in the party. Mondragone is, however, genuinely popular in his constituency and with the greater public, helped by his good looks, straight talking style, amiable character, and use of social media.

The two were selected by their group to bring their case to the Prime Minister. Mondragone had already brought their case to the King, and he is going to do that too to the Prime Minister again that morning.

The debate had already intensified, both in Parliament and in the public sphere. The Parliament had already fractured between the conservative wing of the Popular Party on one hand, and the liberals on the other. The mostly-irrelevant Social Democrats cheered on, as usual, and then put more fuel to the fire by supporting the liberals.

This should be the moment when Cortanella and the moderates should be stepping in to bridge the gap. But Cortanella was unable – or unwilling – to provide leadership, embroiled in a personal controversy herself. She seemed detached from matters of state lately; probably stung by the accusations. Leadership, then, fell to her Deputy Prime Minister, the famously abrasive and haughty Sean Montògliore. It didn’t help that the liberal Montògliore was rabidly pro-valuation, taking one side an already divisive debate isn’t going to foster consensus.

Even the moderates found the liberals’ proposal distasteful. Opinions hardened, and even those in the middle were in no mood to compromise on what was seen as an odious proposal. Mondragone himself was against the livro proposal, Lupacchino even more so, and the conservatives viscerally opposed. Based what he had seen on polls and in social media, Mondragone judged that public opinion was overwhelmingly opposed. It gave him confidence that his stance was proper, and that the Popular Party should not be seen as supporting such a proposal.

They were meeting the Prime Minister in a side office in the Prime Minister’s wing of the Government House, not far from her personal quarters. Mondragone knocked on the room’s door, and, assured by Estelle that the Prime Minister was there, opened it.

The two men opened to door to find the Prime Minsiter sitting behind a table, looking somewhat worse than usual. She looked flustered. Her tousled platinum blonde hair looked like she had just got out of bed, with dark rings around her eyes and a dishevelled look on her face. She noticed them coming in.

“Good morning, Miss Prime Minister,” Mondragone greeted her.

The Prime Minister just nodded. She then threw them a question. “So, have you decided to support the livro proposal?” She asked in a relatively indifferent tone.

Mondragone could not decipher whether it was a flippant question, or whether she just joshing him. Lupacchino, however, never considered the latter possibility and thought she was going to force them to support the proposal. This meeting was not going to end well.
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Postby Brutland and Norden » Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:40 am

17 February 2013
Government House


Mondragone ignored the comment. He instead gave her the basket of fruits they brought. “We brought you fruits,” he told her. “I believe you should eat healthy food especially when you’re sick.”

“Why, thank you Carlo,” the Prime Minister said, smiling as she accepted the fruit basket.

“How are you feeling?”
“Relatively better now,” she replied, hoping that he wouldn’t ask about specifics of her feint illness.

“That’s good to hear,” Carlo said. “I’m not going to tax you with unrelated stuff. We’re here to discuss about the livro issue. Toby and I were sent here by a large group of MPs to air our concerns with you.”

The Prime Minister listened as Mondragone outlined their opposition to the proposal and why she should join them in doing so. He was hoping that they could convince her to stop the liberal wing of the party, who holds high positions in the party hierarchy, from hijacking the party completely.

“My fear is that this will cause divisions within the party if we don’t make a stand now, especially with elections looming,” Mondragone told her.

“I’m not sure if making a stand will be productive,” she told him. “Elections are near, and I would like to see the issue decided freely.”

“So you’re not going to support us?”
“The issue should be decided freely.”

To Mondragone, that meant that she would rather have a free vote on the matter or leaving it up to the electorate. Which would throw the issue wide open. To Lupacchino, it seemed that the Prime Minister was favouring the pro-revaluation side. The liberals already control much of the higher posts in the party. Her indecision would only lead to her lieutenants, most of them liberals, to take over and force the issue.

“I think we should not do that and instead make a stand,” Lupacchino said, speaking for the first time. “The liberals had been steering the debate to push the proposal.”

“In which they followed proper parliamentary procedure,” Cortanella retorted, surprised and irritated at the tone of the Foreign Minister’s voice. “If there were violations, Count Tassilone would be hot on our heels now.”

“What I mean is that they had been steamrolling the proposal through.”
“Well, if it gets the support of the parliamentary majority, why not?”
“Montògliore had been very much active in pushing the proposal. He’s not fit or impartial enough to be the speaker for the party – ”
“That is perfectly within his right as an elected member of parliament. Look, Toby, I’m not going to fire anyone in my cabinet for airing their views or pushing their favoured legislation. If you want to oppose it, sure you may oppose it. I’m not going to take it against you if I’m saying this will be a free vote.”

Lupacchino sighed. The conservatives and the moderates are probably the majority within the Popular Party, yet he felt their voice were being drowned out by the liberals who had now made an alliance with the opposition to pursue their goals. Using the organization and leadership posts the party earned on the backs of the conservatives and moderates, they pushed their agenda through. Lupacchino still harboured resentment over the way that the liberals treated Mondragone; with their group’s organization, they hogged the power, and even attempted to stack the party with like-minded candidates last election. The liberal wing’s organizational support and control made it likely that they will win out; Cortanella’s inaction will cede victory to the liberals by default.

“The liberals’ organizational control – ” Lupacchino began, but was abruptly cut off by the Prime Minister. She had only heard the first three words and started to speak.
“You conservatives can make your own organization. You moderates can make your own grouping.” The fact is, she was getting fed up with the factionalism within the Popular Party. She wondered whether this was the reason for Rinnero Faro’s psychiatric illness. “The liberals have their own informal group within the party, there’s nothing stopping you from making one in order for you to more effectively push your agenda.”

Lupacchino took the implication from her statement that she did not consider herself a conservative or a moderate. That left one other option, which confirmed his suspicions.

“That is dangerous territory, Madame,” Mondragone told the Prime Minister. “It risks undoing everything you have done in the past eight years. The increasing factionalism and domination from one wing of the party is unacceptable.”

“Then you have to counter it,” Cortanella dared them.
“You say we make our own organization,” Lupacchino said cryptically, “don’t be surprised when we do it.”
“Go ahead,” Cortanella said sardonically. “You have my blessing.”
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