FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE
31 May 2008
Timor-Leste faces new institutional crisis
Early this week, on May 27, the Social Democratic Association of Timor, with five MPs, withdrew from the Parliamentary majority coalition, AMP, providing a trigger for President Jose Ramos Horta to dissolve the Gusmão government and ask another party to try to form a workable majority.
José Reis, Assistant Secretary General of Timor-Leste's largest party, FRETILIN, said today that Timor-Leste has entered a new institutional crisis, which must be resolved quickly if the country is to regain stability and security.
ASDT entered a political alliance with FRETILIN on May 1 and signed a joint program on May 8, citing incompetence and corruption on the part of the AMP de facto government.
FRETILIN has 21 MPs, its ally KOTA/PPT has two MPs, and Fernanda Borges' PUN has three. The combined vote of CNRT, PD (Democratic Party), PSD (Social Democratic Party) and Undertim (comprising of some veteran fighters) is 34, still a majority in a parliament of 65.
However, PSD, with six MPs, is also now highly critical of CNRT.
“If the AMP, to which the President of the Republic gave his confidence to form government, has fallen, it means that Mr Gusmao’s party, CNRT, will have to seek to form a new alliance and form a new government,” Reis said.
“It really does depend on the President as to whether he continues to give confidence to Mr Gusmao to continue as head of government or give someone else the opportunity,” Reis added.
“In August 2007 President Ramos-Horta invited Mr Gusmão as leader of the AMP to form government, because he was able to cobble together a post-election coalition made up of disparate political groups and parties, many bought off by positions in the government. Mr Gusmao managed to find only a narrow majority in the parliament.
“We always believed the AMP would not last, and in less than a year we can see that its slim majority has now been eroded by the withdrawal of ASDT. That’s why we pushed for the creation of a government of grand inclusion, with a prime minister chosen with the consensus of all parties, but with government posts being selected in proportion to parliamentary seats held.
“Now we have a very unstable and undesirable situation, which must change if Timor-Leste is to get back on track.
“ASDT has traditionally been a very united and disciplined political force. We expect them to continue to behave accordingly and respect Mr Xavier do Amaral, their party President, the man who was a founder of the first ASDT and who proclaimed National Independence in 1975,” said Reis.
Reis stressed that the ASDT move to quit the AMP demonstrates that the AMP leadership does not value the historic role of parties that led the struggle for Timor-Leste's independence from Indonesia.
“ASDT have made it clear that they have been ignored. ASDT also have made it clear that they have not been happy with the policy direction of the AMP de facto government. They clearly say there has been no benefit to the people from the large budgets that have been approved by the parliament and yet no one seems to know where the money has gone.”
Contact: Jose Teixeira +670 728 7080, +61 438 114 960; Nilva Guimaraes +670 734 0389
The ASDT statement of May 27 reads in full as follows:
DECLARATION OF POLITICAL POSITION
Given the current situation and the political stance of the AMP government that at this time no longer benefits the people of Timor-Leste, and least of all members and supporters of the ASDT Party.
Given also that the ASDT Party has put forward to the AMP government a proposal as follows:
- Persons to substitute the Minister and Secretary of State (Mr Gil Alves and Mr Abilio Lima),
- Persons who should be nominated to posts such as ambassador,
- Persons who should be nominated Interim Administrators in Districts and Sub-Districts where the ASDT Party won majorities in the parliamentary election.
To date no response has been received from the Prime Minister to the proposals made.
The political dynamics as a result of the impact of the economic crisis, such as the constantly rising price of everyday basic necessities have made the Maubere people unhappy and lose confidence in the AMP government.
The situation caused by the fact that the people are not seeing anything concrete from the large amounts of money that we have all heard was approved by the National Parliament for the General Budget of the State in order to help with the development of our people, and we all ask, where has it all gone? The ASDT Party sees the current very difficult living conditions of the people, and the National Executive Council (CNE) therefore states the following:
- It declares to the people that they can no longer blame the ASDT Party, because as they can see for themselves the ASDT Party's representatives no longer participate in the AMP Government;
- It declares to the people that starting today, the 27th of May 2008, whenever the AMP Government does anything that negatively affects the people, they should ask the CNRT, PD and PSD Parties directly because the ASDT Party is no longer responsible and no longer participates in the decisions taken by the AMP government, as the AMP Government has shown no consideration for the views expressed by the ASDT Party.
Dili this 27th day of the month of May in the year 2008.
The National Executive Council of the ASDT Party:
Francisco Xavier do Amaral
President of ASDT Party