Dr Alkatiri said early elections damage public administration and so "affect people's lives" (Image/Antonio Gonçalves)

DILI 18 February 2020 (TATOLI)- The General Secretary of  the opposition Fretilin party, Marí Alkatiri, said early elections cannot be allowed to “become the political culture” in Timor-Leste.

The former Prime Minister said he wants to see an end to the political impasse, prompted by the collapse of the governing AMP Alliance. But he stressed, Fretilin does not want to join the government now.

“Fretilin forms Government in 2023, not in 2020”, he said, after meeting with the minor Democratic Party (PD) yesterday.

Fretilin was defeated at the 2018 election by the AMP Alliance, comprising of Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak’s PLP, Xanana Gusmão’s CNRT, and the KHUNTO party.

The coalition fell apart after CNRT helped block the government’s 2020 budget in December, and the PLP has ruled out forming a new coalition with Mr Gusmão’s party.

President Francisco Guterres Lú-Olo has the authority to dissolve parliament and order fresh elections, ahead of schedule. But Dr Alkatiri argues that would be a mistake.

“We are not able to settle the argument, and now we go for election? It’s like husband and wife [who] have a fight, then get divorced. Fretilin does not want it to be the culture,” Alkatiri said.

Dr Alkatiri said during the first three years of President Lú-Olo’s five-year term, he has called an early election twice, and that unlike in European democracies, the have a greater effect on Timorese public institutions.

“Now, two [early] elections in our country have affected public administration. And if it affects the administration, it affects people’s lives, this is what we should avoid,” he said.

Dr Alkatiri this week FRETILIN delegations will travel to 10 districts, beginning with the Oé-Cusse enclave and the two municipalities that are aligned to the party.

Journalist: Evaristo Soares Martins

Editors: Robert Baird; Cancio Ximenes

Translation: Nelia Borges

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