Skarkon - In the latest blow to Prime Minister Karin Midular's government, the Archangel cartel has declared "democratic sovereignty" of the Skarkon System, a transit hub separating the Republic border from unregulated space. CONCORD promptly dismissed the notion of any real transfer of sovereignty, calling the cartel's actions "politically motivated with zero legitimacy". While largely symbolic in nature, the Archangels have produced a petition containing over ten million voluntary signatures taken from the inhabitants of Skarkon II, the system's capital planet. This embarrassment follows local promises by Midular to clean up the system as part of a broader effort to reduce crime in the most dangerous parts of the Republic.
The Archangel's openly defiant reaction to her initiative, coupled with the apparent authenticity of the signatures, is a political nightmare for the prime minister. The cartel's influence in Skarkon has been growing for years, and has apparently gained enough popularity such that they are now the preferred governing authority of the system. Between this and the near-ousting of her ambassador appointee to the CONCORD Assembly, the embattled prime minister is facing the worst polls of her premiership, with an approval rating of less than 10%.