Monthly Archives: July 2007

More anti-FRETILIN bias in Australian media

FRETILIN today denied it was responsible for a recent protest against
Australian Prime Minister John Howard in Timor-Leste, and criticised
sections of the Australian media for continuing to deliberately
misreport events in Timor-Leste.

The website of the State-owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation on
July 26 reported that “Fretilin party protestors waved anti-Australian
banners” at Dili airport that day.

However Fretilin parliamentarian Jose Teixeira said today the protest
“was a spontaneous action by East Timorese citizens unconnected with

“The ABC report is a continuation of inaccurate and biased reporting
of events in Timor-Leste attempting to cast FRETILIN in a negative
light,” Teixeira said.

“The ABC is fully aware that FRETILIN has appointed English-speaking
spokespersons to liaise with the media and has dealt with them
recently on several occasions. The ABC should have acted
professionally and contacted us before reporting, without any
evidence, that the airport protesters were Fretilin members.”

For more information, please contact:

Jose Teixeira (+670) 728 7080 or send an email to,

East Timor parliament sworn in, no deal yet on government

The Associated Press

Published: July 30, 2007

DILI, East Timor: East Timor’s newly elected parliament was sworn in Monday, but there was no sign of agreement over the formation of the next government a year after violence brought the country to the brink of civil war.

The Fretilin party won parliamentary elections in June, but fell short of a ruling majority. It insists it has the right to lead any new government, but is up against a coalition of parties that controls more seats in the legislature.

President Jose Ramos-Horta has repeatedly urged the two sides to form a national unity government but both refuse, with one of the biggest disputes being who should be named prime minister.

After Monday’s swearing-in ceremony, lawmakers unanimously selected Fernando “Lasama” de Araujo of the Democratic Party as president of the 65-member body, triggering small protests by supporters of the man he replaced, Francisco Gueteres of Fretilin.

Dozens of youths clutching steel pipes and machetes hurled rocks at passing cars and motorcycles in the capital, Dili, and shouted, “Lasama has robbed Fretilin’s position.” Others burned tires, but witnesses said they were quickly dispersed by police.

East Timor, which broke free from decades of often brutal Indonesian rule in 1999 following a U.N.-sponsored ballot, descended into chaos last year when clashes between rival security forces spiraled into gang warfare and looting.

At least 37 people were killed and another 155,000 forced to flee their homes before the young government collapsed and foreign troops arrived to restore order. But isolated acts of violence continue and the political deadlock has raised fears of prolonged unrest.

Ramos-Horta said if parties failed to reach a compromise, he would use his constitutional power to unilaterally form a government by the week’s end.

De Araujo, the new parliament chief, meanwhile promised he would use his position “to represent national interests, not those of individuals or certain parties.”

“We won’t act as a mouthpiece for the government,” he told the legislature. “Rather, we will be the ears of the poor, who have been longing for true independence and a better, decent life.”

East Timor, a tiny nation of less than a million people, is facing major security, humanitarian and economic challenges just five years after it officially became Asia’s newest state.

Unemployment hovers at around 50 percent, and aid agencies have warned that a fifth of the population is threatened by food shortages after crop failures. []

ETimor president sets deadline for new government

Wed Jul 25, 11:33 AM ET

JAKARTA (AFP) – East Timor’s president Jose Ramos-Horta said
Wednesday he will decide unilaterally how a government will be formed
in the tiny nation if parties do not reach an agreement themselves by July 30.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner has been pushing for a national unity
government to be formed in the wake of parliamentary polls last
month, which were the first since East Timor won independence in 2002.

None of the 14 parties contesting the polls won the absolute majority
required to govern the impoverished but oil and gas-rich nation,
which faces huge economic and social challenges.

“We are going to continue consultations with political parties… I
will not run nor jump forward to make a hasty decision,” he told reporters.

“That’s why from today until July 30 I will continue consultations
but after July 30, I’ll make a decision.”

Parliament’s first session is set for that day.

The former ruling Fretilin party won 21 seats in the 65-seat parliament.

Trailing in second place was a new movement set up by independence
hero Xanana Gusmao, which has allied with three smaller parties and
wants to form a coalition government with 37 seats in parliament.

“Due to the situation in this country, I want a government that
represents all Timorese, as was shown by the election results,” Horta said.

“What I want is an all-inclusive government which all (parties)
accept. The problem is, who will head it — Fretilin or (the alliance)?”

Tensions have risen on Dili’s streets over the past week, with
repeated low-level run-ins between UN police and youths. Ten UN
vehicles have been damaged in incidents, police said.

The UN police upped their presence here after violence in April and
May last year that left 37 people dead and forced thousands to flee
their homes.

International peacekeepers were dispatched to restore calm and remain
on the ground to provide security.

Elections in the former Portuguese colony followed ongoing violence
and political tension.

East Timor gained independence after a bloody separation from
occupying Indonesia, which ruled it for 24 years.

Judge revokes Reinado amnesty

Mark Dodd | July 24, 2007

A District Court judge in Dili has overturned a presidential decree offering amnesty to East Timor army rebel Major Alfredo Reinado.

The decision is a big embarassment to the UN mission in Dili whose mandate includes reforming the country’s notoriously weak justice sector.

Last month, acting under pressure from politicians, East Timor’s top law officer ordered the Australian military commander in Dili and his UN police counterpart to stop the hunt for Reinado.

The 39-year-old Australian-trained former military police commander is wanted for subversion and involvement in last year’s deadly political violence.

Prosecutor-General Longhuinos Monteiro’s June 27 letter raised concerns of double standards because former interior minister Rogerio Lobato, an Alkatiri loyalist, is currently in jail after being found guilty of illegally arming civilians during last year’s bloody mayhem.

Now a UN judge says Mr Monteiro’s decision was unconstitutional and criminal charges could result.

“Not only is the letter for safe passage by Reinado and his group invalid – it is clearly a crime to interfere with or otherwise seek to hinder the due execution of an outstanding warrant of arrest.

“Graver is the fact that the Prosecutor-General issued a letter to police and military authorities when he has no legal authority to do so,” said Judge Ivo Rosa.

Judge Rosa warned there was compelling evidence to launch a criminal investigation into the issuing of the amnesty decree first announced by President Jose Ramos Horta.

The lastest brouha over Reinado follows the failure of East Timor’s political leaders to agree on a new coalition government to lead the country.

Rival parties have until July 30 to decide who should lead a new coalition government although talks headed by President Horta last Thursday broke down.

Leaders of the Fretilin party, which won most votes in last month’s elections but not enought to rule in their own right met with an alliance headed by the new party of independence hero Xanana Gusmao, the National Coalition for the Reconstruction of East Timor.

Power sharing between the two parties was not an option with both groups split over who should become the next prime minister.

East Timor: East Timor Facing Political Crisis After Coalition Talks Fail

Updated:2007-07-24 17:50:06 MYT

DILI, EAST TIMOR: Rival parties in East Timor have failed to agree on the formation of a new government, the president said Tuesday (July 24th), raising the prospect of political deadlock in the tiny nation.

East Timor’s ruling Fretilin party won the most votes in bitterly contested parliamentary elections in June following the ousting of the prime minister last year amid widespread violence, but fell far short of a ruling majority.

The party insists it has the right to head any new government, but is up against a coalition of rival parties headed by former president Xanana Gusmao that controls more seats in the legislature.

“All political parties have not yet reached agreement on a new government,” said President Jose Ramos-Horta, who according to the constitution has the final say on its formation.

He said a Wednesday (July 25th) deadline he had given the parties to come up with a compromise was “flexible.”

Ramos-Horta has repeatedly urged the parties to form a national unity government amid fears that political tensions could again erupt into violence in the country, where tens of thousands still live in camps after last year’s bloodshed.

Ramos-Horta said he would announce a new government by the end of the month.

A spokesman for the Gusmao coalition said if Fretilin formed the government it would go into opposition. Such a bloc would outnumber Fretilin, meaning it could vote to reject the government’s legislative program, forcing fresh elections.

East Timor, which broke free from Indonesian rule in 1999 in a U.N.-sponsored referendum, faces major security, humanitarian and economic challenges just five years after it officially became Asia’s newest state.

Unemployment hovers at around 50 percent, and aid agencies have warned that a fifth of the population is threatened by food shortages after crop failures. (AP)

Interim election results

Dear Friends,

This is an interim count of the votes in the Timor Leste parliamentary elections, as at the close of counting on Monday. 250,000 votes were counted, more than half of the total vote.

Counting got off to a late start in Dili, and so there are more votes still to count in Dili than in other districts. The delay was caused when officials tried to start counting with scrutineers locked out, and there was a very loud protest. When that was resolved by having ballots put back in the boxes and scrutineers allowed in, there was a 3 hour power outage.

FRETILIN (Da Silva) 29%

CNRT (Xanana) 22%

ASDT / PSD (do Amaral / Carrascalao) 16%

PD (Lasama) 13%

KOTA (Manuel Tilman) 4%

Ferndanda Borges 3%

Abilio Araujo 3%

Undertim 3%

This count indicates that there will have to be a coalition government formed, and negotiations will commence very soon. The cutoff is 3% so the four smaller parties are all in on this count. CNRT would need the support of ASDT / PSD and PD to form a government.

The full vote should be counted by tomorrow lunchtime, and it is expected that there will be an official declaration by Saturday.

Peter Murphy

SEARCH Foundation
Level 3, Suite 3B, 110 Kippax St,
Ph: 02 9211 4164; Fax: 02 9211 1407

ABN 63 050 096 976