ETimor govt will not last beyond two years: ex-PM

Wed Sep 12, 2:52 AM ET

JAKARTA (AFP) – East Timor’s new government will not last beyond two
years because of mounting friction among its coalition parties,
ex-prime minister Mari Alkatiri said in an interview published here Wednesday.

A new government headed by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao took office
in August amid protest from Alkatiri’s former ruling party Fretilin,
which won the highest number of votes in June polls but not the
majority required to govern.

Gusmao’s party cobbled together a coalition commanding 37 seats in
the 65-seat parliament, but Fretilin insisted it should have been
invited to rule, sparking sporadic violence in the young nation.

“This government will at the most only last two years. If it can
survive one year, it would already be a great thing,” Alkatri told
the Indonesian-language Kompas newspaper.

“There is nowadays a lot of friction within the alliance,” Alkatiri
said, alleging that resentment among parties in the coalition over
cabinet appointments had sowed “the seed for a conflict.”

Fretilin continued to view the government as unconstitutional, he said.

“This government has to be brought down. There is no other solution,”
he was quoted as saying, adding however that “it will not be done by violence.”

Alkatiri is currently visiting Indonesia to attend a private seminar
and to hold informal meetings with several leaders, including Vice
President Jusuf Kalla.

Alkatiri stepped down as premier last year after unrest on the
streets among security force factions left at least 37 people dead
and forced some 155,000 people from their homes.

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