East Timor’s deputy PM quits after row with Gusmao;
East Timorese deputy PM resigns over corruption after Xanana Gusmao calls him ‘stupid liar’
Timor’s deputy PM resigns
September 8, 2010 – 8:49PM
One of East Timorese Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao’s deputies has resigned in a fury after the leader publicly labelled him stupid.
Vice Prime Minister for State Administration Mario Carrascalao submitted his resignation on Wednesday declaring he could not tolerate Gusmao’s insults.
“At the age of 73 this is the first time anyone has ever called me stupid or a liar,” Carrascalao wrote in his resignation letter.
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“I will not respond with words to personal attacks because my manners do not permit me to do so.
“My response is to resign from my position … and look to serve my country where I can be useful and be respected by whomever will be my superior.”
Gusmao appointed Carrascalao in January 2009 with a special mandate to eradicate corruption and handle government procurement.
But the pair’s relationship deteriorated in recent months due to disagreements over graft and the handling of government contracts.
During a meeting earlier this month Gusmao labelled Carrascalao “stupid” for his pursuit of missing millions in the finance ministry. Gusmao also said Carrascalao was “lying to himself” over the issue.
Their partnership was never a match made in heaven.
During Indonesian occupation Gusmao was an independence fighter while Carrascalao served as Indonesian president Suharto’s provincial governor in East Timor.
Respected Timorese newspaper Tempo Semanal said Carrascalao’s resignation could cause a “political earthquake” in Dili.
The opposition Fretilin party said Gusmao had made Carrascalao a “scapegoat” for corruption and financial mismanagement.
“Mr Carrascalao’s treatment shows that incompetent and crooked ministers will be allowed to stay at their posts long after Mr Gusmao should have got rid of them,” Fretilin leader and former prime minister Mari Alkatiri said.
A Fretilin spokesman said Carrascalao’s resignation was an indictment of Gusmao’s “authoritarian leadership style” and would leave the government more unstable.
Fretilin renewed its call for elections set down for 2012 to be brought forward to mid-2011.
© 2010 AAP