quarta-feira, maio 16, 2007

Dos Leitores

João deixou um novo comentário na sua mensagem "A FRETILIN concorda com as iniciativas do governo ...":

Quero felicitar o/a/os/as Malai Azul por completarem 1 ano de trabalho. Não sou propriamente um fã, mas sou um seguidor atento do timor-online desde junho de 2006. Sei o quão difícil lhe deve ter sido manter-se até agora, e só por isso, merece os meus parabéns.
Quando surgiu, foi para muita gente e durante algum tempo, a única fonte alternativa de notícias sobre Timor-Leste. Mais tarde, assumiu uma linha política específica que, a meu ver, o afastou da imagem criada inicialmente, e lhe deve ter granjeado alguns dissabores.

Gostaria de destacar aquele que foi para mim o momento mais positivo da história deste blog:
O post de 1 de Outubro de 2006, quando conseguiram um verdadeiro "furo jornalístico" ao publicar as fotos de tanques australianos nos corais moribundos da Areia Branca.
Tenho pena que se tenham afastado dessa "linha editorial", mas esse é um direito vosso, e em nada lhes retira o mérito inicial.


Reflections on the East Timorese Presidential elections

From ETAN - 12 May, 2007

by Max Lane

(The following notes are the result of conversations over the phone with contacts in East Timor and with friends in Jakarta who also are in close contact with East Timor, as well as trying to keep up-to-date with what materials are available on some key websites. The lack of a strong media in East Timor means that there is not enough data, especially for a person observing from a long way away, to have a really clear picture of what is happening. News reports in the mainstream media are also often misleading as journalists come and go to East Timor for particular events and report without any understanding of history, even immediate history, or context or sensationalise to seek a bigger market share. In the case of East Timor, a very big majority of materials are written by direct participants in the political battles, or with strong allegiances.

Anyway, in the immediate aftermath of the elections, the following “stream-of consciousness” is now down in writing.)

Jose Ramos Horta, standing as an independent candidate, has defeated the FRETILIN candidate, Francisco Guterres Luolo, 70% to 30% in the second round of presidential elections in East Timor on May 9. This apparently clear-cut vote will not, however, guarantee a shift to a more stable political situation. A deeper analysis of some of the long-term issues behind divisions within the East Timorese political elite and some features of the election themselves point to some unresolved issues.

First, it needs to be noted that Horta was not the first choice of a majority of East Timorese. He scored less votes that FRETILIN’s Luolo in the first round: 23% to 27%. In terms of the balance of firm supporters for Horta versus for FRETILIN, it appears fairly evenly balanced. In addition, other parties such as the Democratic Party, led by Ferdinand Araujo, had scored 18% and the Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT) received 11 %. A number of smaller parties also received votes. The elections have revealed that there is no leader or leadership group which has the overwhelming confidence of the people. At the same time, the second round represents an overwhelming rejection of the FRETILIN wing of the political elite.

It needs to be also noted that this is the first real contest between the two wings of the older generation of the Timorese political elite, the long-term leadership of the nationalist movement. In the first elections in 2001, there was no contest between these two groups, namely, the axis between Xanana Gusmao and Jose Ramos Horta on the one hand and the FRETILIN leadership, under Mari Alkatiri, on the other. What lies behind the tensions between these two groups?

The division - ay least since the 1990s - has not been ideological. Gusmao, Horta and Alkatiri were all leaders of FRETILIN in 1975. The division between them emerged over tactics in the 1980s and 1990s and the way tactics tended to marginalise one group. Gusmao became head of FRETILIN in the 1980s. At first, he tried to organize it into a disciplined Left party, changing its name from FRETILIN to FRETILIN (Marxist-Leninist). Later, allegedly under advice from Horta, he dropped this and headed in a new direction. He adopted the strategy of trying to re-organise the resistance against Suharto’s military occupation under a new organization, the National Council for Maubere Resistance (CNRM), later renamed the National Council for Timorese Resistance (CNRT).

Formally this was an umbrella organization involving FRETILIN as well as its long-term rival, the Timorese Democratic Union (UDT), which had originally leaned more to preserving connections with Portugal. In practice however, the formation of CNRM came in the aftermath of massive devastation of FRETILIN and its armed wing, FALANTIL, under the ten years military onslaught by the Indonesian army. CNRM developed as an organization with its own apparatus, and recruited new young people on a new ideological basis Timorese nationalism minus any specific party identification. Ideological debate and discussion was discouraged in the name of unity. Thought about the future of East Timor was confined to agreement to adopt the basic United Nations declarations on human rights.

FALINTIL, the small guerilla group of FRETILIN, was reorganized to be under CNRM rather than affiliated to FRETILIN.

The CNRM initiative was primarily an initiative of Gusmao and Horta. Gusmao, later captured by the Indonesian army, spoke in the name of CNRM. Outside of East Timor, Horta was the main spokesperson for CNRM, with CNRM representatives in many countries. In Portugal and Australia, however, FRETILIN did maintain a real and separate existence. The FRETILIN leadership-in-exile deeply resented the emergence of CNRM or, at least, some of the concessions Gusmao and Horta had made to UDT. In particular, the proclamation of independence made by FRETILIN, with mass support, in 1975 was annulled. UDT had never accepted that proclamation. CNRM’s diplomatic strategy was based on accepting that the process of self-determination had not been fully carried out. CNRM campaigned for a referendum on independence which required the acceptance that the 1975 proclamation was not applicable.

The FRETILIN leadership’s alienation from the Gusmao-Horta CNRM leadership was also manifested in a mentality that assumed that FRETILIN, which had won majority support from the masses in 1975 as the leadership of the independence struggle, was guaranteed that popular support forever and that FRETILIN would almost automatically have overwhelming support without having to rewin that support, without having to rewin authority. Later, in government, this gave rise to a number of decisions which over-reached the real authority that FRETILIN had.

After the 1999 referendum and the opening up of the political transition process, CNRM, formally an umbrella organization, was disbanded. Gusmao and Horta made no effort to establish political parties of their own. At the 2001 elections there was no serious contest between these two rival wings of the elite. FRETILIN did not put up a candidate against Gusmao for the presidential elections. In the parliamentary elections, neither Gusmao nor Horta, without a party or parties of their own, waged an alternative campaign against FRETILIN. Activists from nationalist student groups, such as Ferdinand Araujo from RENETIL, did start a party which contested elections as did one of the founders of FRETILIN, Xavier Amaral. But in 2000-2001 these were still early challenges. FRETILIN, although predicting a 80% landslide, won just over 60% of the vote.

FRETILIN had started to rebuild its party structure. Some sections of the old CNRM joined. Just what the actual basis of overall recruitment and membership organization is still unclear to me. However, there is little evidence to point to that there was any substantive ideological content to FRETILIN’s appeal. It appealed primarily on the basis of its historical role. In the absence of Gusmao and Horta trying to rival FRETILIN after 1999, FRETILIN established itself as the largest party but with what level of commitment and ideological depth. The results of the Presidential elections reveal that this was always weak.

FRETILIN did have a majority in the parliament and constituted the government up until now although it had to incorporate Horta into the government, first as Foreign Minister and then as Defence Minister and Prime Minister. However, FRETILIN supported him in this category after the April 2006 crisis on the condition that he met weekly with the FRETILIN national leadership.

Both these wings of the Timorese elite were Timorese nationalists with an ideological orientation to establish a capitalist, “welfare state” system in East Timor. In a congressin Sydney after the fall of Suharto, FRETILIN had seriously watered down its original socialist leaning programme. It had diminished the significance of the concept of “maubere” similar to the Indonesian “marhaen” - referring to the oppressed and exploited masses of East Timor. It moved to be able to present itself as an acceptable government to the major donor institutions. In government, it won the praise of the IMF and World Bank. At the same time, both wings, for example, have so far been reluctant to get East Timor into debt with foreign institutions. East Timorese foreign policy, with Horta as Foreign Minister, has attempted to build connections with the Portuguese speaking world, China and the UN as well as Indonesia and Australia its two either huge or wealthy neighbours, both of whom had revealed themselves as willing to act against Timorese interests in the most brutal ways.

In April, 2006, the Alkatiri government dismissed 600 soldiers for protesting over what they felt were patterns of discrimination and favouritism in the army. Legally, the soldiers were acting mutinously and the government had the legal right to dismiss them. But the action was met with a hardening of the soldiers’ response, demonstrations and clashes with the police and other sections of the army. In reality, the FRETILIN government, in the process of establishing a new state, had not won the authority to settle this dispute by administrative fiat. The army and police broke-up, tensions between people from the east and the west of East Timor, gang conflict, and social disorder over-took the country, especially Dili.

The President (Gusmao), President of the Parliament (FRETILIN Luolo) and the FRETILIN Prime Minister Alkatiri had no choice but to ask for international help, including the use of Australian Army and police. The state no longer had any means of coercion.

These events sharpened the divisions between the two wings: again not on ideological issues but around state-building competence, in particular how to build a new state to manage a capitalist society, where the political leadership had only weak authority over the people. In Australia, the Australian political elite favoured Gusmao-Horta. One reason was no doubt that Horta was easier to get along with, while Alkatiri had a less conciliatory personality in dealing with anybody and everybody. The crucial question was which wing could achieve and maintain stability of a capitalist society. However, the battle since then has played out without the Australian elite or state playing much of a role. Despite favourable publicity in Australia, Horta still only scored 23% in the first round. Publicity in Australia is of little importance in the towns and villages of East Timor.

In the first round of the Presidential election, the campaign appeared to be devoid of much discussion of policy. The two major contenders, Horta and Luolo, both based their campaign on general claims that they would restore stability and security. The first round then revealed the reality, that neither had anywhere near a majority support; neither were in a position to simply rest on the authority they may have thought they had won during the struggle for independence.

Horta would have also been shocked by his low vote in the first round initially he talked about possible voting irregularities. Unlike FRETILIN, however, he clearly saw that it was going to be necessary to offer something to people if he was going to win. FRETILIN seemed to simply stick to its guns, defending everything it had done, offering nothing new at all.

There were two areas where Horta could make some policy offerings to win support. The Socialist Party of Timor (PST), which won just under 3% in the first round, while not being able to dent the votes of the big parties, had been able to get out a message raising the issue of the need to use Timor’s oil and gas income to boost agricultural production; to provide inputs for farmers and to guarantee prices for farmers. Other parties had also raised this, though with less clarity on how to use the money. Horta also took up this issue, criticizing FRETILIN for being unwilling to do this. Luolo, it appears, responded by defending the policy of investing the earnings as a long-term investment as fiscally responsible and “fiscal best practice”. Horta campaigned he would be a President for the poor. He also promised to use the money for education and health and to establish pensions for older people and veterans.

A second possibility required getting the support of the Democrat Party (PD), led by Ferdinand Araujo, a former student leader from RENETIL. I don’t understand much about the PD or what it is. Its formal program seems to be a mixture of liberalism and social democracy, but what it is and what it does on the ground is still not clear to me. Some commentators classify it as “right wing” others as “liberal democratic”. One thing does seem clear, however, namely that it is stronger in the poorer western part of Timor (- not that eastern East Timor is rich). I have heard reports that their first round campaign rested on some appeal to sentiments connected to feelings that the western region had been neglected. The PD had also been calling for a halt to the army operations, under Australian command, against Major Alfredo Reinado, who was from the western region.

Horta’s promise of more funding for education, health and agriculture would have been appealing to the PD base. Horta also made a call for the army operations against Reihnado to be called off, if he was willing to dialogue. This was, in fact, a simple reiteration of an already agreed to government policy. The acting FRETILIN prime minister, Estanislau da Silva, criticized Horta for his statement and called for the Australian army not to stop its operations. (Horta’s call would also have won the support of other parts of society who wanted the dispute with Reihnado settled politically and not by Australian helicopter gun-ships hunting him down in the jungle.)

Horta’s second round campaign won the support of all but one of the 6 candidates who stood in the first round, including the support of the PST. (See separate post). FRETILIN received the support of the two most right-wing but tiny parties, including one that campaigned for restoration of the system of hereditary kings.

Horta’s victory settles little apart from indicating that FRETILIN will need to drop its approach of thinking it does not have to re-win its popularity or authority. According to PST leader, Avelino Coelho, FRETILIN has used gang elements to try to frighten people into voting for them.

In his campaign, Horta has committed to being a “president of the poor” and of increasing public spending on health, education and agriculture. As far as I know, he had not raised criticism of the government’s approach on these issues prior to the campaign. Although I had heard reports that he was already thinking about the idea of a large-scale pension system for veterans and elderly people, which was also being proposed by foreign financial advisors as a way to inject money into the economy without actual state “interference” in the economy.

If he does not support moves in this direction far enough and fast enough, then he may well suffer the same fate as FRETILIN.

Also a lot will depend on how the parliamentary elections shape up. In the East Timorese system, the President has minimal powers. Even as head of the armed forces, the President is obliged to act in coordination with the Prime Minister, who must have a majority in the parliament. Real executive power is in the hands of the Cabinet.

At the moment, Gusmao is in the process of forming a new party, the National Council for Reconstruction of Timor (CNRT) the same initials as the old national liberation organization. Friends in Timor say that the there are many desertions of bloc support away from FRETILIN to CNRT, even before CNRT has announced any clear programme,

FRETILIN, CNRT, PD, ASDT, PST, UDT and several other parties, including some completely new parties will all probably contest the elections.

One possible consequence of the 2nd round of the Presidential elections is that issues connected to strategies for economic development may be more at the centre of things. The low votes for all candidates in the 1st round has revealed that no one person or group can assume majority support. This may also apply to the icon of the East Timorese national liberation struggle Xanana Gusmao.

The situation remains very fluid: parties and leaderships presenting a consistent programme of organizing the people, of arguing for self-organisation, cooperatives and policies aimed at the urgent increase of incomes and productivity will have opportunities to strengthen their position in the coming period.


Addendum: The authority of the national liberation leadership

I think it can be said that the political authority of the leadership of the national liberation movement in East Timor has always been weak at least since the 1980s. There are a number of reasons for this.

1. Most of the original leadership in East Timor had been captured or killed during the first ten years of the Indonesian occupation. 2. After a brief period of urban mobilization of youth during 1990-1991, political organization and mobilization after the Dili massacre became almost impossible. The density of Indonesian army presence and the level of repression made it impossible. The basic activity of the national liberation movement was to organize couriers taking clothes and medicines to the guerillas in the bush. The FALINTIL guerillas were also very small in number and unable to move very freely. There was very little explicitly political activity, even underground. No figure of any authority has emerged from the movement within East Timor during the 1990s. 3. Most mobilization was of East Timorese in Java, who carried out a series of sit-ins in foreign Embassies. These were carried out with the logistical support of the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) and, to a lesser extent, the activist group PIJAR. This was the period when Xanana was in prison in Jakarta and had some means of communication with people outside. However, there was a heavy emphasis, as a part of the CNRM perspective, of discouraging ideological discussion. Xanana’s own authority is tied to the successes of CNRM’s tactics and the symbolic importance of an imprisoned leader. His authority is not based on any ideas which people had come to support. 4. Other leaders were outside the country. Most people knew of Horta or Alkatiri outside the country via Portuguese language radio broadcasts. 5. RENETIL and other student leaders had the opportunity to win some authority, either in Java during the 1990s or during the interregnum period after the fall of Suharto, 1998-1999, in East Timor. But they later dispersed into a myriad of networks. Ferdinand Araujo, PD leader, comes from this sector.

In addition to this, the lack of communications infrastructure, the national leadership has had little means to reach the majority of the rural population except through traditional patron-client communication networks.

After 1999, nobody in this national leadership grouping adopted a strategy of mobilization. The first real political mobilization since 1990-1999 took place during 1998-1999 leading up to the very impressive turn-out for the 1999 referendum. But even during this period, the leadership (outside students and the PST) tried to hold back mobilisational politics. After the referendum, the model adopted was the traditional passive parliamentary system.

East Timor's Imperfect Election

Far Eastern Economic Review - May 2007

by Jill Jolliffe

The high level of instability afflicting East Timor since independence in May 2002 has its international partners wondering whether the new nation is suffering more than postindependence growing pains. Perhaps, they speculate, it is time to declare it a basket case. Of urgent relevance is whether the present cycle of scheduled elections, for a new president and parliament, will change things.

The country was rebuilt by the United Nations after Indonesia's scorched-earth withdrawal from the former Portuguese colony in 1999. The first free elections were held in April 2001, with former guerrilla chief Xanana Gusmão becoming president with 82.7% of the vote. In August of that year, the liberation party, Fretilin, won government with 55 seats in the 88-seat parliament, under Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri.

Even before independence there was concern in U.N. circles that some institutions it had built were fragile, particularly in the justice and law-enforcement sectors. Alarms sounded in December 2002, when rioters attacked parliament and burned politicians' homes and some businesses. The culprits have never been identified, but the issues they were acting out against included police brutality, alleged government corruption, unemployment and Portuguese as an official language.

Despite consolidating revenues from the Timor Sea gas and oil fields which are exploited jointly with Australia (income from the fields is predicted to rise to $350 million in fiscal year 2006), the Fretilin government has not attracted other steady investment. Discontent has grown as the economy stagnates.

Last year these sentiments climaxed over government mishandling of a mutiny by soldiers from western regions who accused army commanders of ethnic bias. Their rampage through Dili attacking government buildings and burning the homes of easterners sparked months of political and ethnic violence. Then-Prime Minister Alkatiri was forced to resign in June, after allegations, since shelved, that he armed civilians to kill political opponents.

The election underway in East Timor to replace President Xanana Gusmão, who has completed his term, is unlikely to cure the country's chronic troubles. Its likely outcome is a mere trading of places between government politicians. Even so, first-round results have served notice on the country's long-time leaders that they are dealing with a more discerning electorate that should not be taken for granted. In the elections of April 9 this year, parliamentary speaker Francisco "Lu-olo" Guterres, of the governing Fretilin party, came in as most-voted candidate with 27.89% of the vote. Because he did not receive the 50% needed to win outright, he will compete on May 9 against Prime Minister José Ramos-Horta, who polled 21.8%. Mr. Ramos-Horta is an independent who replaced Mr. Alkatiri when he resigned in June.

In an interesting twist, the fate of this election lies to some extent in the hands of a fugitive former army major, Alfredo Reinado, and his armed band of followers. The 41-year-old former head of military police is a hero to East Timorese youth, and to many others in the western districts where the Fretilin government stands accused of discrimination. In May 2006 he refused orders from pro-Fretilin army leaders to fight against 600 mutinous fellow-soldiers from the west known as "petitioners." Mr. Reinado and around 20 of his men instead took to the mountains with their guns. His saga continued throughout 2006, with an arrest by the Australian military peacekeeping force, a subsequent jailbreak and a series of press interviews from jungle hideouts.

Events escalated in February of this year, and in early March five of Maj. Reinado's men were killed in an attack on his base. The operation angered locals and in Dili his supporters lashed out. Traditionally pro-Australian, there was now an anti-Australian tinge to their rage. However, greatest anger was reserved for Mr. Gusmão and the Ramos-Horta government. Maj. Reinado urged supporters not to vote either for the Fretilin party or Mr. Ramos-Horta on April 9.

The story of Maj. Reinado, however, is only part of the picture. Another key issue involves Portuguese and Australian competition for post independence influence, an issue linked to a drive for generational leadership change. The tragedy for East Timor is that during its most difficult years of post independence growth, Australia and Portugal-two countries with grave responsibilities in its botched decolonization-have never combined forces for the country's good.

During the troubles of 2006, hate blogs sprang up in Dili, of which the Portuguese "East Timor Online" was most read. Its contributors defended the Fretilin leadership and Mr. Alkatiri, accused Australia's Howard government of staging a covert coup to seize East Timor's oil riches, and fanned the flames of hatred for Australian soldiers. An anonymous entry of Oct. 26 reads: "All Timorese who love their country must unite in a grand popular movement (easterners and westerners) to drive out the Australians, who've invaded and occupied, to steal your sovereignty."

The bloggers' heroes are the Guarda Nacional Republicana (National Republican Guard), the militarized Portuguese police who patrol Dili streets alongside the Australians in an atmosphere of mutual dislike. These people do not reflect official Portuguese opinion but rather the widespread fear in the Portuguese community that if the Fretilin government falls decisively they will no longer be welcome.

Lisbon has cultivated close ties with Fretilin leaders since Indonesia's 1999 withdrawal, in keeping with its foreign policy of developing cultural and commercial interests in all its ex-colonies, from Africa to Macau.

Many of Timor's younger generation are fiercely anti-Portuguese. They have nothing in common with Fretilin, and resent its choice of Portuguese as an official language. Educated under the Indonesian system and now unemployed, they see the language of the political elite as an instrument of their exclusion, and even tend to put Mr. Gusmão and Mr. Ramos-Horta in the same basket as former Prime Minister Alkatiri. In the current election approximately 100,000 first voters-those who turned 17 since 2001-are registered to vote, representing a fifth of the electorate.

On the Australian side, Prime Minister John Howard saw the 2006 violence as confirming an "arc of instability" to Australia's north threatening its well-being. Lumping East Timor with other potential "failed states" in the region, Canberra found new justification for regional intervention. His view was expressed on the abc's Asia Pacific program on Aug. 25, 2006 thus: "It is overwhelmingly in our interest to stop states failing and to deal with ... an incipient failure with problems in our region. I have very much in mind the examples of East Timor, the Solomons, the worry I continue to have about Papua New Guinea, Vanuuatu....The rest of the world rightly says 'this is Australia's patch.'"

The statement suggested that Australian foreign policy for this vastly different and complex nation remains as primitive as it was in the 1990s when Australia backed Indonesia's military occupation. An anti-Australian chorus followed from Fretilin. When eastern demonstrators traveled to Dili to support Mr. Alkatiri, they carried slogans describing Australia as "communist" (a catch-all phrase for anything bad) and calling on its troops to withdraw.

Timorese Horse-Trading

So who was on the ballot of the April 9 elections? There were eight registered candidates for the presidential office, ranging from Marxists to monarchists. On the fringes were candidates such as Avelino Coelho da Silva, a flamboyant Guevara-like personality who formed the Timorese Socialist Party (PST) from a split with Fretilin. He won 2.06% of the vote and has asked his supporters to vote for Mr. Ramos-Horta in the second round. Another fringe candidate was monarchist Manuel Tilman, who polled 4.09%. He plans to endorse Fretilin's Mr. Guterres.

The sole female candidate was Lucia Lobato, an articulate deputy for the opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD). She polled 8.86% and joined veteran politician Francisco Xavier do Amaral in redirecting votes to Ramos-Horta for the run-off. The aged Mr. Amaral is a founding father of Timorese nationalism and of Fretilin, who now leads the Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT). His candidature attracted 14.39%-double the ASDT's tally of 7.84% in the 2001 parliamentary elections.

Ms. Lobato and Mr. Amaral had a pact with Democratic Party (PD) candidate Fernando Lasama to give voting preferences to any one of this all-western trio who made it to the second round. Mr. Lasama, is seen as a political cleanskin and was expected to poll well enough to run against Mr. Guterres in the final round. He is unusual among former resistance operatives in never having belonged to Fretilin, and has youth backing. He served seven years in Jakarta's Cipinang prison, alongside Xanana Gusmão, and won the 1992 Reebok Human Rights Award.

Messrs. Lasama and Amaral took the lion's share of votes in the western districts, partly due to endorsement from Mr. Reinado. Nationwide, Mr. Lasama came in third with 19.18% (the Democratic Party won 8.72% in 2001). He alleged Fretilin rigged the vote against him in various districts of the territory. Six other candidates backed his claims, but evidence he presented was dismissed in court-just as his opponents dismissed him as a sore loser.
A meeting of Democratic Party members on April 25 decided to back Mr. Ramos-Horta for the second round on May 9, guaranteeing his status as front-runner. There was a price, however-the Democratic Party demanded that Mr. Ramos-Horta resume with Mr. Reinado, the rebel soldier. The request was accepted. Mr. Reinado and his armed band, it seems, were the backstage guarantors of the poll.

Winning first-round candidate "Lu-olo" (Mr. Guterres) has been the parliamentary speaker since 2001. He had an unbroken record of service with the guerrilla resistance during its 24 years in the bush, principally as a political commissar. He's seen as an austere figure who lacks the popular touch, but has the advantage of being a family man with two children, which Fretilin campaign propaganda emphasizes. His 27.89% in the first round made him most-voted, but it was a big slump compared to Fretilin's 2001 parliamentary result (57.37%). In the second round on May 9 he can expect to glean up to 7% more from votes redirected from Joao Carrascalão and Manuel Tilman, but will otherwise depend for victory on stronger Fretilin mobilization.

East Timor's best-known politician and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mr. Ramos-Horta served as foreign minister in the Alkatiri government after 2001, and replaced him as prime minister last year. He is an accomplished diplomat who spent the occupation years abroad representing East Timor at the U.N. He was a founder of Fretilin but left in the 1980s when Mr. Gusmão formed a nonparty resistance front. He remains close to Mr. Gusmão, but is a political chameleon who has defended Mr. Alkatiri.

Mr. Ramos-Horta's 21.81% vote was won with the help of two groups: first, the UNDERTIM party formed recently by charismatic ex-guerrilla L7 (Cornélio Gama), who mobilized a sweeping eastern network to back his childhood friend against Fretilin; and second, the dissident Fretilin faction Fretilin Mudança (Fretilin Reform), led by Foreign Minister José Luís Guterres.

Mr. Gusmão, who is forming a new party to contest the 30 June parliamentary elections, persuaded Mr. Mudança to back Mr. Ramos-Horta instead of fielding its own presidential candidate. (The outgoing president is planning to trade places with Mr. Ramos-Horta, by running for prime minister as head of the new party.) Some in the reformist group are disappointed, having expected their strategy would result in the Democratic Party's Mr. Lasama being in the run-off, rather than two first-generation nationalist politicians.

It has been an imperfect election so far, but the first-round trend towards closing the unhealthily large gap betweengovernment and opposition parties means it has rung in some useful change. If the second round proceeds normally, Fretilin may suffer a substantial reverse in its fortunes as the electorate punishes its arrogance. Both leading candidates have been in touch with the once-reviled Mr. Reinado to propose a voter-pleasing peace deal. President Gusmão's bid to trade places with Prime Minister Ramos-Horta instead of meeting a promise to retire as a pumpkin-farmer means the younger generation will continue to be frustrated by the behavior of older politicians, who they see as blocking meaningful change.
- Ms. Jolliffe is a free-lance journalist working on the Living Memory Project, a video archive of testimony by East Timor's former political prisoners.


É pena que a jornalista não assuma quando escreve as suas preferências políticas, ao contrário de nós.

Nunca fomos um blog de "ódios". Pelo contrário. Sempre lutámos por valores democráticos.

Notícias - 15 de Maio 2007

CNE: números finais da segunda volta

Díli, 14 Mai (Lusa) - A Comissão Nacional de Eleições (CNE) divulgou hoje os números finais da segunda volta das presidenciais timorenses, que confirmam a vitória de José Ramos-Horta com 69,18 por cento dos votos, contra os 30,82 por cento de Francisco Guterres "Lu Olo".
O apuramento nacional das eleições de 09 de Maio terminou com a produção das actas zero, das actas distritais conjuntas e da acta nacional final, assinada hoje numa cerimónia realizada na sede da CNE.

De um total de 524.073 eleitores registados, exerceram o seu direito de voto 424.475 eleitores, o que significa um índice de participação de 81 por cento.

Do número total de votos na segunda volta, a CNE registou 413.177 votos válidos, ou 97,34 por cento; 2.015 votos em branco, ou 0,47 por cento; e 9.283 votos nulos, ou 2,19 por cento.

O primeiro-ministro, José Ramos-Horta, recebeu um total de 285.835 votos e o presidente do Parlamento e candidato da Fretilin, "Lu Olo", obteve 127.342 votos.

"Nesta segunda volta das eleições, a participação das mulheres cresceu, chegando a 47,69 por cento enquanto que o índice de participação masculina foi de 52,31 por cento", declarou o presidente da CNE, Faustino Cardoso.

A CNE recebeu 126 queixas, provenientes de todos os distritos do país, a maior parte relativas ao processo de contagem nas estações de voto, "mas não afectam o resultado das eleições".

A acta final hoje assinada será enviada ao Tribunal de Recurso e o público tem 24 horas para recorrer dos resultados.

O novo chefe de Estado toma posse dia 20 de Maio.


Timor-Leste/Eleições: Ramos-Horta apresentou resignação na despedida ao PR

Díli, 15 Mai (Lusa) - O primeiro-ministro timorense, José Ramos-Horta, apresentou hoje, diante do II Governo Constitucional, a carta de resignação ao Presidente da República, no final da despedida oficial a Xanana Gusmão.
A resignação do chefe de Governo poderá ser formalmente aceite depois de o Tribunal de Recurso validar os resultados da segunda volta das presidenciais de 09 de Maio, que deram a vitória a José Ramos-Horta.

A confirmação do Tribunal de Recurso pode acontecer ainda hoje, depois do prazo para apreciação de queixas e recursos do apuramento final apresentado pela Comissão Nacional de Eleições.

Xanana Gusmão "foi sobretudo o impulsionador da reconciliação nacional, através do apoio a várias iniciativas, como a Comissão de Verdade e Reconciliação, a Comissão de Verdade e Amizade e outras iniciativas presidenciais tomadas após a crise" de Abril e Maio de 2006, declarou José Ramos-Horta na despedida ao chefe de Estado.

José Ramos-Horta elogiou também o papel de Xanana Gusmão, primeiro Presidente eleito de Timor-Leste, "no reconhecimento do esforço de todos os que lutaram pela independência".

"A sua experiência, como líder histórico, continuará ao serviço do povo de Timor-Leste", acrescentou o ainda primeiro-ministro diante do Executivo reunido na sala do Conselho de Ministros.

Em resposta, Xanana Gusmão recordou as "divergências e dificuldades" que houve entre Presidência da República e Governo, mas recordou também "muitos momentos em que partilhámos juntos alguns passos positivos".

"Sei que não fiz tudo bem, sei que magoei pessoas, sei que magoei instituições, mas acreditem que não foi nenhuma questão pessoal", explicou Xanana Gusmão.

"Foi a própria responsabilidade como Presidente inscrita na Constituição que guiou as minhas decisões, controversas, correctas algumas, más outras", disse, garantindo, porém, que em nenhum momento considerou os outros órgãos do Estado "como órgãos de menor importância que a Presidência da República".

"Acredito que todos estamos comprometidos e conhecedores daquilo que cada um de nós podia dar ao Estado e ao povo nestes primeiros cinco anos", afirmou o chefe de Estado.

"Saio sem saudades, já que nunca me moveu ser Presidente da República, mas saio consciente de que pude dar um bocado à construção do Estado, dentro dos princípios que defendemos e que a Constituição prescreve", concluiu.

José Ramos-Horta toma posse dia 20 de Maio como Presidente da República.


Timor-Leste/Eleições: Novo Governo toma posse sábado - Ramos Horta

Díli, 15 Mai (Lusa) - O novo Governo timorense toma posse dia 19 de Maio, véspera da tomada de posse do novo Presidente da República, afirmou hoje o ainda primeiro-ministro José Ramos Horta.
"O Governo tomaria posse no sábado com um novo primeiro-ministro proposto pela Fretilin, aceite pelo Presidente da República, que vai iniciar consultas" com os partidos representados no Parlamento, declarou José Ramos Horta à margem da assinatura do contrato para a construção do Hospital de Baucau.

"Não me parece que vá haver qualquer alteração no elenco governativo.

Ficariam todos os membros nos seus postos" do II Governo Constitucional nas próximas "sete a oito semanas", segundo José Ramos Horta.

"É muito provável" que na liderança do Governo de gestão, até às legislativas marcadas para 30 de Junho, fique o actual primeiro vice-primeiro-ministro e ministro da Agricultura, Estanislau da Silva, se essa for a escolha do Comité Central do partido maioritário, disse.

José Ramos Horta venceu a segunda volta das presidenciais, realizada a 09 de Maio, contra Francisco Guterres "Lu Olo", presidente do Parlamento e candidato da Fretilin.

O sucessor de Xanana Gusmão, a quem hoje de manhã José Ramos Horta apresentou a carta de resignação, toma posse dia 20 de Maio.


Timor-Leste: EUA aconselham os seus cidadãos a não se deslocarem ao território

Washington, 14 Mai (Lusa) - O Departamento de Estado norte-americano voltou hoje a aconselhar os cidadãos dos Estados Unidos para que evitem viajar para Timor-Leste, manifestando "preocupações" com a situação de segurança. Num "aviso de viagem" emitido hoje, o Departamento de Estado afirma ainda que os cidadãos norte-americanos que já se encontram em Timor-Leste "devem avaliar cuidadosamente a sua segurança face à situação instável e ao potencial para instabilidade civil violenta".
O comunicado lembra que devido à situação em Timor-Leste, o governo indonésio tem encerrado periodicamente a sua fronteira com este pais e que o governo da Austrália aconselhou também os seus cidadãos a não se deslocarem a Timor-Leste porque "australianos e interesses australianos" podem ser alvo especifico de ataques.

O Departamento de Estado diz que "violência comunitária indiscriminada" continua a ocorrer através do país" incluindo Díli, onde incidentes de apedrejamento de veículos "são frequentes e em varias ocasiões afectaram cidadãos norte-americanos".

O documento aconselha os cidadãos norte-americanos a "evitarem" certas zonas da capital onde a violência é "cronica", precisando que "têm ocorrido agressões sexuais contra cidadãos estrangeiros, que poderão aumentar no actual ambiente".

"Viajantes do sexo feminino são aconselhadas a ter cautela especial e a evitar viajarem sozinhas a pé ou de táxi, especialmente à noite e em áreas desconhecidas ou isoladas," diz o aviso, acrescentando que "criminosos" continuam a operar em postos de controlo ilegais em algumas zonas de Díli para exigir dinheiro a condutores e passageiros.

O Departamento de Estado emite regularmente três tipos de documentos que servem de guia para cidadãos norte-americanos que visitem países estrangeiros.

O de menos gravidade é a "Nota Consular" que, além de avisos sobre o crime, contém dados sobre cuidados médicos, moradas de embaixadas e consulados, informações de alfândega e outros dados de interesse.

Segue-se o "Anuncio Público", que contem avisos específicos "sobre os riscos à segurança para viajantes norte-americanos" e depois o "Aviso a Viajantes" em que o Departamento de Estado geralmente avisa os cidadãos a não se deslocarem a certos países ou zonas de certos países.


Timor-Leste/Eleições: Convidar Cavaco por umas horas "não faz sentido"- Horta

Díli, 14 Mai (Lusa) - O primeiro-ministro e chefe de Estado eleito, José Ramos-Horta, considera que "não faz sentido" convidar o Presidente português Cavaco Silva "só para a tomada de posse", no dia 20 de Maio.
"Convidei o Presidente Cavaco Silva a visitar Timor-Leste numa ocasião em que ele possa mesmo fazer uma visita de Estado ao nosso país", declarou à Lusa José Ramos-Horta, vencedor da segunda volta das presidenciais realizadas a 09 de Maio.

"Convidar o Presidente Cavaco só para vir à tomada de posse e voltar não parece fazer sentido, embora o convite fique aberto".

"Outros que estão na região, talvez virão, porque é perto. Estarão umas horas e depois regressam", acrescentou o primeiro-ministro.

à tomada de posse do sucessor de Xanana Gusmão poderão vir "alguns chefes de Estado e alguns ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros" da região.

Contactado pela Lusa em Bruxelas, o ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros Luís Amado, confirmou que irá representar Portugal na tomada de posse no dia 20 de Maio, data que assinala igualmente os cinco anos da restauração da independência de Timor-Leste.

"Dada a escassez de tempo, não gostaria de impor a amigos e colegas da região e do mundo que venham a Timor-Leste", sublinhou José Ramos-Horta.

"Não temos um único quarto de hotel vago. Se alguém vier, terá que vir por algumas horas e logo a seguir sair. A não ser que a embaixada os acolha", acrescentou.

"O que nós dizemos é que, enquanto chefe de Estado eleito, Timor-Leste se honraria com a presença dos nossos amigos mas não temos condições para os acolher".

A viagem de avião de Lisboa a Díli e regresso demora, no mínimo, três dias, e com mais frequência quatro, dada a escassez de ligações aéreas entre Bali, Indonésia, ou Darwin, Austrália, com a capital timorense.

A Comissão Nacional de Eleições anunciou hoje os números finais que dão a José Ramos-Horta 69,18 por cento dos votos, contra 30,82 por cento de Francisco Guterres "Lu Olo".


EFE – 15 Maio 2007 - 03:11

Timor-Leste vive noite de violência após vitória de Ramos Horta

Díli - Um saldo de 17 casas incendiadas, algumas delas de membros do partido governamental Fretilin, e 24 pessoas feridas em atos violentos foi registrado ontem à noite no Timor-Leste, depois de a comissão eleitoral anunciar a vitória oficial de José Ramos Horta nas eleições presidenciais.

O subinspetor Jacinto da Conceição disse hoje à Efe que não houve mortes por causa da explosão de violência. Mas não confirmou se as causas dos incidentes foram políticas.

O secretário-geral do Fretilin, o ex-primeiro-ministro Mari Alkatiri, denunciou hoje que militantes de seu partido foram feridos em ataques a suas casas nos distritos de Ermera e Liquica (oeste de Díli), Oecussi (oeste do Timor) e Baucau, a antiga capital.

A violência explodiu horas depois de a comissão eleitoral anunciar a vitória de Ramos Horta. Ele obteve uma ampla vantagem sobre o candidato do Fretilin, Francisco Guterres.

Alkatiri exigiu que a Polícia da ONU abra uma investigação. Ele declarou que os ataques pretendem intimidar os eleitores do Fretilin nas eleições legislativas de 30 de junho.

EFE – 15 Maio 2007 - 01:01

Ramos Horta homenageia Gusmão e diz que seguirá seus passos

Díli - O presidente em fim de mandato do Timor-Leste, Xanana Gusmão, foi homenageado hoje num ato de despedida, em Díli, presidido por José Ramos Horta, o vencedor das eleições presidenciais, que anunciou que seguirá a política de seu antecessor quando ocupar a Presidência.

Após a cerimônia, Ramos Horta disse aos jornalistas que o ato tinha como objetivo prestar homenagem a Gusmão e às suas conquistas durante seu mandato de cinco anos.

"Não é fácil seguir o caminho do presidente Xanana. Mas eu tentarei, porque ele estabeleceu as raízes e eu continuarei trabalhando de acordo com a Constituição", disse o Prêmio Nobel da Paz de 1996.

Ramos Horta acrescentou que seguirá a trilha do diálogo para evitar atos violentos como os de há um ano, quando o Timor-Leste sofreu a mais grave crise desde que a sua independência, devido a atritos dentro do Governo e das forças de segurança.

"Seguirei seu exemplo de dirigir o diálogo entre a sociedade civil, a Igreja Católica e outros grupos com o Governo e o Parlamento como órgãos soberanos do Estado para resolver nossas diferenças", declarou Ramos Horta.

Gusmão respondeu que está disposto a ajudar Ramos Horta sempre que for necessário. E lembrou que não abandonará a arena política, já que vai disputar as eleições legislativas de 30 de junho com o Conselho Nacional da Reconstrução Timorense (CNRT), partido que fundou no mês passado.

O atual presidente é um dos favoritos ao posto de primeiro-ministro.

Na segunda-feira, a Comissão Eleitoral Nacional anunciou oficialmente a vitória de Ramos Horta no segundo turno das eleições presidenciais de 9 de maio. Ele teve uma ampla vantagem sobre o seu rival, Francisco Guterres, do partido governamental Fretilin.

O secretário-geral do Fretilin, o ex-presidente Mari Alkatiri, denunciou hoje que várias casas de membros do partido foram incendiadas nas últimas 24 horas, numa campanha para intimidar os militantes nas eleições legislativas.

Alkatiri pediu à Polícia da ONU que abra uma investigação sobre o caso. Ele declarou que desde meados de 2006 existe uma estratégia "para destruir a base do partido e derrubar o Governo eleito de maneira democrática".

Agence France-Presse - Tuesday, May 15, 2007

ETimor's Ramos-Horta pays tribute to Gusmao

East Timor's president-elect Jose Ramos-Horta on Tuesday hailed the outgoing Xanana Gusmao as a skilled diplomat, and pledged to continue his work to strengthen international ties when he takes over the job.

"To follow in the footsteps of the president and old brother Xanana Gusmao is not easy," Ramos-Horta said at a farewell ceremony honouring Gusmao at the presidential palace.

"As president he was the number one diplomat in this country," he said.

Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, won last week's presidential election in a landslide, raising hopes among Timorese that he will help resolve tension and unrest in their troubled state.

The popular Gusmao, who did not seek re-election, became East Timor's first president after it gained independence in 2002 following a bloody separation from occupying Indonesia three years earlier.

With parliamentary polls due next month, Gusmao is the favourite to win the powerful post of prime minister, in a move seen as a job swap with close ally Ramos-Horta.

Ramos-Horta will step down as prime minister after results of the presidential election are declared official on Wednesday, and ahead of his inauguration as president on Sunday.

He said Tuesday that he would build on Gusmao's work to strengthen relations with the international community, whose assistance the tiny nation needs as it tries to claw its way out of poverty five years after independence.

"His vision has given strength (to the people) and his cooperation with the government has helped ensure diplomatic relations with the international community can be maintained," he said.

Foreign peacekeepers were deployed to the nation to restore security after unrest last May left 37 people dead and forced 150,000 to flee their homes.

Ramos-Horta was appointed prime minister after the then premier Mari Alkatiri was forced to resign for sacking 600 army deserters who were claiming discrimination, a controversial move that helped trigger the unrest.

Radio Austrália – 15/05/2007, 09:48

New president says East Timor should subsidise agriculture

East Timor's newly elected President, Jose Ramos-Horta, says his Government needs to support its own agricultural industry if it wants to begin to compete on the international market.

Dr Ramos-Horta says East Timor has all the resources to support itself and it is up to its government to create trade opportunities, and help local growers expand their businesses.

He says it is impossible for farmers to make a profit when products such as rice are cheaper to import than to produce locally.

"The country has tremendous potential, we have resources, the country can feed itself," Dr Ramos-Horta said. "The state, the government, must, at least for five or ten years, subsidise our agriculture. We get our farmers to produce rice, or corn, and the state guarantees purchase on this, at a fair price."

ABC – Tuesday, May 15, 2007. 5:00am (AEST)

Ramos Horta wants Aust TAFE training for E Timorese

President-elect of East Timor, Jose Ramos Horta, says he wants several hundred Timorese to come to Australia to study at TAFE, to help boost the number of skilled workers in his country.

Speaking on ABC Radio National's Late Night Live program, the former prime minister said his nation is in desperate need of skilled workers, and TAFE can give young people opportunities not available in their own country.

He says he has spoken to the Australian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister about the plan, and got a positive reaction.

"If Australia will be generous enough to open up TAFE's around Australia to hundreds of Timorese, in five or 10 years from now, we will have thousands of people with good English, good vocational training," he said.

Dr Ramos Horta says his Government needs to support its own agricultural industry if it wants to begin to compete on the international market.

He says East Timor has all the resources to support itself, and it is now up to government to create trade opportunities and help local growers expand their businesses.

He says it is impossible for farmers to make a profit when products such as rice are cheaper to import than to produce locally.

"The country has tremendous potential, we have resources, the country can feed itself," he said.

"The state, the Government, must, at least for five or 10 years, subsidise our agriculture.

"We get our farmers to produce rice, or corn, and the state guarantees purchase on this, at a fair price."

Meanwhile, fugitive army rebel leader Alfredo Reinado says he is ready to give himself up to East Timor authorities.

Dr Ramos Horta says he has met with two bishops to discuss a peaceful surrender by Major Reinado - possibly this week.

Major Reinado has been on the run since Australian-led troops attacked his mountain hide-out in March.

Last August, Major Reinado escaped along with 50 other inmates from a prison where he was being held on charges of involvement in a wave of violence that killed 37 people and drove 150,000 from their homes.

Statement by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Timor-Leste, Atul Khare

The top UN envoy in Timor-Leste today formally congratulated Dr. José Ramos-Horta on his victory in the country’s presidential election.

President-elect Ramos-Horta will be sworn in as the country’s second president at a ceremony in Dili on Sunday.

“I am confident that the new President Dr. José Ramos-Horta will energetically tackle the problems facing the country on behalf of all Timorese people,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste, Atul Khare said.

“I would like to congratulate the people of Timor-Leste on two peaceful presidential votes.

I must also pay respect to Francisco Lú-Olo Guterres who has accepted the results graciously.

During both rounds of the presidential election, all candidates have conducted themselves with dignity and professionalism, and showed respect for democratic principles.

As the new President, Dr. Ramos-Horta will be well-placed to guide the nation to take its position alongside other nation-states of the globalised world while retaining the unique political and cultural identity defined by its history.

At the United Nations, we look forward to working with Dr. Ramos-Horta and all citizens of Timor-Leste to assist in this emerging and exciting time.” Mr Khare said

For further information please call UNMIT Spokesperson Allison Cooper on +670 7230453

UN says it won’t tolerate violence


16 May 2007, Dili: The UN’s top envoy in Timor-Leste has expressed his concern over signs of a resurgence of gang fighting and mob violence in the nation’s capital, Dili, in the past 24 hours.

The fighting, which included rock-throwing and arson, occurred yesterday between 6.30 and 7pm between two groups of approximately 100 people in the Bairro Pite area of Dili.

The fighting continued this morning between 10 and 11 o’clock in the same area. Four small houses and a vehicle were burned.

Both today and yesterday, Malaysian and Portuguese Formed Police Units along with UNPol and the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) attended and quickly brought the situation under control.

Nobody has been injured and 17 people have been arrested.

The Special Representative of the Secretary General in Timor-Leste, Atul Khare visited the area this morning to talk with residents affected by the violence. He was accompanied by the UNPol Commissioner Rodolfo Tor.

“While the police - with the assistance of the ISF - took control of the situation very quickly I am concerned to see fighting between groups of young people,” Mr Khare said.

“People who commit criminal acts will be treated as criminals by the police. Claiming to act out of political motivation following last week’s election will not be tolerated” Mr Khare said.

“In the past 24 hours I have told all political leaders in this country that violence justified as political is unacceptable and I have their agreement.

Specifically I have been in contact with the President-Elect, Dr Jose Ramos Horta, the Secretary-General of Fretilin, Dr Mari Alkatiri and the President of the Democratic Party (PD) Fernando Araujo Lasama. They all agreed that any persons committing criminal acts who claim to be party supporters should be put in jail,” Mr Khare added.

UNMIT is mandated through Resolution 1704 to “ensure, through the presence of United Nations police, the restoration and maintenance of public security in Timor-Leste through the provision of support to the Timorese national police (PNTL) … which includes interim law enforcement and public security until PNTL is reconstituted…”

For more information please call UNMIT Spokesperson Allison Cooper on +670 7230453

UNMIT – MEDIA MONITORING - Tuesday 15 May 2007

National Media Report

F-FDTL is ready to have a dialogue with petitioners

After meeting with the F-FDTL commander, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, on Monday (14/5) at the government palace, the Vice Prime Minister, Estanislau Aleixo da Silva, said that F-FDTL is ready for a dialogue with petitioners to look at a peaceful manner to resolve the problem.

Mr. Estanislau said that the meeting would be an important and positive step to solve the petitioners’ case. (DN, TP and STL)

Alfredo’s case is an alternative of justice

Alfredo Reinado Alves’ lawyer, Benevides Correia Barros, said that Alfredo Reinado’s case is the alternative for people who are hungry for justice during this national crisis.

Mr. Barros also said that his client is 100% willing to engage in dialogue to come to a solution.

“Our client Reinado is willing to engage in a dialogue, however conditions need to be created”said Benevides on Monday (14/5) when assisting the plenary at the national parliament. (DN, TP and STL)

The final result of the presidential election

At a press conference held by CNE on Monday (14/5) in Dili, CNE President Faustino Cardoso Gomes stated that the results of national vote showed that Jose Manuel Ramos Horta got 285.835 votes (69,18%) and Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo had 127.342 votes (30,82%).

The presidential candidate, Jose Manuel Ramos Horta is waiting for the Court of Appeal’s approval to recognize him as the new president of the republic. (DN, STL and TP)

Mal Rerden: situation remains in calm

The commander of International Stabilization Forces (ISF), Brigadier Gen. Mal Rerden, reportedly said that the situation across the country remains calm after the poll last week.

According to Rerden, the people of Timor-Leste have accepted the results of a democratic process in a peaceful and calm manner.

Rerden added that even though the situation remains calm, ISF maintains its position to guarantee the security until the completion of the upcoming parliamentary elections. (DN)

Railos asks Rogerio to tell the truth about Alkatiri

Vicente da Conceicao Railos was pleased with the imprisonment of former Interior Minister Rogerio Tiago Lobato. However, he is disgruntled that Rogerio did not disclose information on the people who ordered him.

Railos called on Rogerio to tell the truth about the former Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri and his involvement in that case.

“I am very happy Rogerio is imprisoned, but I call on him to disclose Mari’s involvement in the weapons distribution case,” said Railos on Monday (14/5) via Mobile Phone. (TP)

STAE Director is ready to step down

STAE Director Thomas Cabral directly contacted the Vice Minister of State, Valentim Ximenes, on Monday (14/5) to say that he is ready to be discharged from his role as the STAE director.

In response to the declaration made by the Vice Minister of state Valentim Ximenes to investigate the STAE Director on charges of manipulation in Lautem district during the run-off presidential elections, Mr. Cabral declared that he challenged such declaration as the person to be investigated should be the electoral coordinator of Lautem district. (TP)

Horta wins, Fretilin moving with democracy

CCF Bonifacio Magno Pereira said that Fretilin accepts the victory of Ramos Horta in the presidential election, and Fretilin will work on the upcoming parliamentary election.

“We do not question this victory; it is clear that in a competition between two people, one should become the winner,” said Bonifacio on Monday (14/5) at his office in Caicoli Dili.

Furthermore, he added that Fretilin tried to identify its weaknesses as a lesson for the upcoming legislative election on 30 June. (TP)

International Media Reports

Rival gangs torch houses, fight in East Timor following election

DILI (AP): Gangs torched houses and fought in East Timor, wounding about 14 people, as violence broke out following East Timor's presidential elections, police and party officials said Tuesday.

The country's ruling party, whose candidate lost last week's polls, said its members were attacked by those of the winner, Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta. Police declined to say who the victims were.

"Seven houses were burned down to the ground and nine others were destroyed and about 14 people are confirmed as injured" in Viqueque and Ermera districts late Monday, following the formal announcement of Ramos-Horta's victory, said Police Inspector Jacinto da Conceicao.

All is calm as people return to Dili

Abdul Khalik, the Jakarta Post, Dili
15 May 2007

Life in Dili is normalizing several days after last Wednesday's landmark presidential election that handed Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta a landslide victory over Fretilin's Francisco Guterres "Lu-Olo".

"Things are looking good here. Many people have returned from their hometowns because they see nothing has happened so far. I hope this peaceful condition continues," said Renato de Aquino, a taxi driver in Dili.

Earlier, speculation was widespread that violence would erupt throughout Timor Leste should Fretilin's candidate lose the election.
Reports from the 13 districts across the country confirmed, however, that no major incidents had occurred, though minor brawling and stone throwing were reported in several districts, including Viqueque and Liquica.

Observers here associate the peaceful condition surrounding the presidential polling with growing democratic maturity among the Timor Leste people and their leaders. The presence of international forces, which have tightly secured strategic areas across the country, has also helped, they said.

Noted Timor Leste political and military expert Julio Tomas Pinto said Fretilin's quick acceptance of the election result, and the congratulations the party offered to Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta within only two days of the election, have dampened the possibility of clashes among supporters and inaugurated a new political culture in Timor Leste.

"From the beginning, I always believed that the Timor Leste people were mature enough to practice democracy. And they proved it. You see, they put their hopes in the election for a better future. It's the political leaders I'm worried about," he told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

"But now I think they are beginning to show their maturity. You see, we are still learning about democracy. And it's a surprise that Fretilin could concede defeat that easily. As the country's biggest and most influential party, it must be hard (its members) to do that. I think we must appreciate it. I hope it will set an example for future elections," Pinto said.

He added that the public appeal made by Fretilin's leaders to party supporters to avoid violence demonstrated that they fully understood the negative impact such violence could have on their image and trustworthiness in the upcoming parliamentary election.

Dili-based political expert Nugroho Katjasungkana agreed that Fretilin's quick acceptance of the election result and the public's general wariness of stoking rumors had contributed to the relatively peaceful condition in Timor Leste.

"Clashes and violence were predicted to erupt in the eastern part of the country, where Fretilin supporters are a majority, but a significant number of Ramos-Horta supporters also live there. But that hasn't happened, thanks to the people's awareness of the importance of a peaceful election," he told the Post.

However, Aniceto Neves, an expert at the National University of Timor Leste, was wary of linking the tiny nation's peaceful condition with Fretilin's growing democratic maturity.

"From the beginning, rumors of the possibility of violence if Fretilin lost the election were issued by Fretilin's supporters themselves. They spread fear to get votes. But people voted based on what they thought were suitable for them. They didn't vote for Fretilin's candidate. This is their maturity," he said.

Indeed, most commentators agreed that the presence of international troops was the key of maintaining peace throughout the country. In addition, the awareness that Timor Leste's political leaders had of the fact that the international community was focused on the world's youngest nation further decreased the likelihood of major clashes.

"Supporters from all parties know that this time international forces will be tough on them if they initiate violence. I hope the condition can continue until after the parliamentary election because it will be the real test for the Timor Leste people and leaders to see if democracy has genuinely flourished in this country," Pinto said.

I am ready to surrender, says East Timorese army rebel

May 15, 2007 - 12:43AM
The Sidney Morning Herald

DILI: The fugitive army rebel Alfredo Reinado says he is ready to give himself up to East Timorese authorities after deciding he could get a fair trial.

Last August Reinado and 50 other inmates escaped from a prison where he was being held on charges of involvement in a wave of violence that killed 37 people and drove 150,000 from their homes.

"I see in [former interior minister] Rogerio Lobato's case no interference of certain leaders in the justice process," he told Reuters yesterday by mobile phone. "And now I have contacted my lawyers and sent a letter to our President, Xanana Gusmao, for a peaceful surrender to justice and returning the weapons to the authorities."

The Court of Appeal last week upheld a 7-year jail sentence for Lobato for his role in last year's wave of violence.

The Prime Minister, Jose Ramos-Horta, who won a landslide vote to become East Timor's new President last week, appears to have taken a softer line of late on Reinado, the country's former military police commander.

Mr Ramos-Horta said yesterday that he had met two bishops on Friday to discuss a peaceful surrender by Reinado, possibly this week.

"As we promised to him and to the people of East Timor that if he surrenders himself, including the weapons he seized, the Government and the state will treat Major Alfredo and his associates well and respect their dignity as human beings during the judicial process," Mr Ramos-Horta told reporters.

The former army major has been accused of raiding a police post and making off with 25 automatic weapons while on the run.

Mr Ramos-Horta said: "Major Alfredo has sent a letter to President Xanana which sounds like he is willing to surrender to the justice process, and I welcome his letter, and hopefully he can fulfill his promises in the next few days."

Reinado managed to evade a raid by Australian-led troops in March, which triggered a protest in the capital, Dili, by thousands of his supporters.

Separately, the National Election Commission said the turnout in the presidential election last week had been 81 per cent. Mr Ramos-Horta won 69 per cent of the vote. Reuters

Ramos Horta wants Australia TAFE training for E Timorese

Last Update: Tuesday, May 15, 2007. 5:00am (AEST)
ABC News Online

President-elect of East Timor, Jose Ramos Horta, says he wants several hundred Timorese to come to Australia to study at TAFE, to help boost the number of skilled workers in his country.

Speaking on ABC Radio National's Late Night Live program, the former prime minister said his nation is in desperate need of skilled workers, and TAFE can give young people opportunities not available in their own country.

He says he has spoken to the Australian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister about the plan, and got a positive reaction.

"If Australia will be generous enough to open up TAFE's around Australia to hundreds of Timorese, in five or 10 years from now, we will have thousands of people with good English, good vocational training," he said.

Dr Ramos Horta says his Government needs to support its own agricultural industry if it wants to begin to compete on the international market.

He says East Timor has all the resources to support itself, and it is now up to government to create trade opportunities and help local growers expand their businesses.

He says it is impossible for farmers to make a profit when products such as rice are cheaper to import than to produce locally.
"The country has tremendous potential, we have resources, the country can feed itself," he said.
"The state, the Government, must, at least for five or 10 years, subsidise our agriculture. We get our farmers to produce rice, or corn, and the state guarantees purchase on this, at a fair price."

Meanwhile, fugitive army rebel leader Alfredo Reinado says he is ready to give himself up to East Timor authorities.

Dr Ramos Horta says he has met with two bishops to discuss a peaceful surrender by Major Reinado - possibly this week.

Major Reinado has been on the run since Australian-led troops attacked his mountain hide-out in March.

Last August, Major Reinado escaped along with 50 other inmates from a prison where he was being held on charges of involvement in a wave of violence that killed 37 people and drove 150,000 from their homes.

Faz hoje um ano que começou o Timor-Online


Todas as traduções de inglês para português (e também de francês para português) são feitas pela Margarida, que conhecemos recentemente, mas que desde sempre nos ajuda.

Obrigado pela solidariedade, Margarida!

Mensagem inicial - 16 de Maio de 2006

"Apesar de frágil, Timor-Leste é uma jovem democracia em que acreditamos. É o país que escolhemos para viver e trabalhar. Desde dia 28 de Abril muito se tem dito sobre a situação em Timor-Leste. Boatos, rumores, alertas, declarações de países estrangeiros, inocentes ou não, têm servido para transmitir um clima de conflito e insegurança que não corresponde ao que vivemos. Vamos tentar transmitir o que se passa aqui. Não o que ouvimos dizer... "

Malai Azul. Lives in East Timor/Dili, speaks Portuguese and English.
This is my blogchalk: Timor, Timor-Leste, East Timor, Dili, Portuguese, English, Malai Azul, politica, situação, Xanana, Ramos-Horta, Alkatiri, Conflito, Crise, ISF, GNR, UNPOL, UNMIT, ONU, UN.