Timor Leste – Parliament is just a “mouthpiece” of the CNRT government – Aniceto Guterres

MEDIA RELEASE

Dili, 10 Setember 2007

ANICETO GUTERRES: PARLIAMENT IS JUST A “MOUTHPIECE” OF THE CNRT GOVERNMENT; PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY HAS DISAPPEARED.

The Executive of the Timor-Leste National Parliament, made up of CNRT and its allies, has become a “lackey” and “mouthpiece/spokesperson” of the CNRT de facto government, despite the President of the National Parliament having stated during his speech following his election as President that the National Parliament would never become the “spokesperson” of the government, said today the Leader of the FRETILIN parliamentary group Aniceto Longuinhos Guterres.

“We have already seen during the elections for the executive of the parliament that they do not have democratic tendencies and do not respect the other parliamentary groupings as the legitimate representatives of the people. They deliberately and vindictively neglected the status of FRETILIN as the most voted party and largest parliamentary grouping. Now, we can see yet again that they do not respect the other parliamentary groupings and they are not willing to abide by the parliamentary regulations, which guarantee to each parliamentarian a voice in the parliament by way of guaranteeing regular weekly plenary sessions of the parliament where each can have a say,” said Guterres.

On the 7th of September, Notice No. 4/SAPLEN/II, was emitted on behalf of the parliamentary executive following a meeting of the representatives of the parliamentary groupings last Wednesday, 6 th of September, decreeing that the regular plenary sessions for today and tomorrow had been suspended. However, FRETILIN contends that this notice contravened the parliament’s own regulations, which stipulates that plenary sessions of the parliament shall take place every Monday and Tuesday, and FRETILIN has questioned the parliamentary executive’s motives behind this suspension of the plenary sessions.

“They have suspended the plenary sessions because they do not want FRETILIN or the other parties to raise in the plenary today or tomorrow the many worrying questions which have already arisen regarding the proposed government program. It is important to note that the proposed government program document itself was also delivered to the parliamentarians via the back door; that is without being properly formally tabled in the plenary session of the parliament which by rights it should have been. They have clearly acknowledged this mistake and have scheduled the tabling of the government program for a plenary to be held tomorrow,” added Guterres.

Guterres also made it clear that as the Leader of the FRETILIN grouping, during the meeting of the representatives of the parliamentary groupings which took place on the 6 th of September last, he requested that the plenary sessions to commence to discuss the government program should be scheduled for the 17th of September next, in order to give four more days in which the members of parliament could analyze the government program, also ensuring that the debate could be more fruitful.

“As we see it the proposed time frame is too short because we only received a photocopy of the Portuguese version of the government program document last Friday afternoon, almost evening. Many of the members of parliament from all parties are new and have a limited command of Portuguese. They have not had enough time to properly analyze the government program. Many have never even seen a government program before. Despite our having insisted on a number of occasions, the last one being on Saturday the 8 th of September, for the plenary session to debate the government program to be scheduled for the 17th, the executive of the parliament insist that it should be scheduled for the 13th of September next. This is because they are being pressured from all sides to adhere to the 13 th of September date,” said Guterres.

“The FRETILIN grouping will attend the parliament this morning and tomorrow, because as we see it the plenary sessions have not been suspended in accordance with the parliamentary regulations, as it is only by a deliberation of the plenary of parliament that the plenary sessions may be suspended or scheduled for alternate dates. We have attended today, in this the people’s house, because we do not accept this disrespect shown for the parliamentary regulations. We have come today to raise and discuss the many important issues which affect our people right now, in accordance with our right as the representatives of the people exercised through the plenary and in accordance with the regulations of the parliament,” clarified Guterres.

“Yet again we can see clearly that despite their lip service to promoting high democracy, the practicing of politics of inclusion and heightened respect for rights of our people, they do not really respect the people because they have shown a lack of respect for the groupings and their right to sit in parliament during the plenary sessions during those times safeguarded by the parliament’s regulations.”

“The parliament has become the mouthpiece of the government. They need not try to represent that it is otherwise. This is a very regressive step for our new legislature. FRETILIN will do everything within its power to oppose these actions by the parliamentary executive, actions which are manifest in devaluing the role of the parliament and a blatant disrespect of parliament as the representative of the people,” concluded Guterres.

Contacts: José Teixeira (+670) 728 7080, or email: fretilin.media@gmail.com

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