Fretilin denies former Timor Prime Minister Alkatiri is seeking re-appointment

Former ruling party Fretilin has denied reports that the country's first prime minister Alkatiri is seeking re-appointment.
By: East Timor Legal Information Site
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Aug. 4, 2007 - PRLog -- East Timor's largest political party, Fretilin, has denied reports in the international media that former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri is seeking re-appointment to the country's top job in the wake of legislative elections that left the party with less than a third of the Parliament's seats.

Fretilin issued the denial in a press release yesterday stating that Mr. Alkatiri has stated publicly on several occasions that he does not want to be prime minister and will not nominate himself as a candidate for the position.  He has told the National Political Commission of FRETILIN that he does not want to be PM.

Fretilin, which spearheaded the internal resistance to Indonesian rule for 24 years, has seen a dramatic decline in its political dominance after bloody chaos last year which left at least 37 people dead and tens of thousands of internally displaced persons, many of whom remain in squalid camps dotted throughout the capital, Dili.

In a run-off round in Presidential elections in May this year, the Fretilin candidate was defeated by President Jose Ramos Horta and in the June parliamentary elections, Fretilin's popularity plummeted from 57% in the 2001 elections to a mere 29%.

A further blow was dealt to Fretilin as the new Parliament convened on 30 July and elected the leader of the Democratic Party, Lasama de Araujo, as the parliamentary president forcing Fretilin's Francisco "Lu Olo" Guterres to step down from the position he occupied since 2002.

Uncertainty continues to plague the nation as no party obtained a majority in the Parliament. An alliance lead by first president Xanana Gusmao's National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction has secured a workable majority but Fretilin has maintained a dubious constitutional right to designate the new Prime Minister.

Likely candidates for the Prime Ministership are Social Democratic Party chief and Indonesian-period Governor, Mario Carrascalao, CNRT's Xanana Gusmao and Fretilin's Minister for State Administration, Ms. Ana Pessoa.


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