DILI, 24 February, 2020 (TATOLI) – President Francisco Lú Olo Guterres has asked Timor’s presumptive new governing coalition to “think twice” before nominating previously-rejected candidates for the ministry.
President Lú-Olo, from the opposition FRETILIN Party, sparked a row with CNRT leader Xanana Gusmão in 2018 when he refused to swear in nine of his ministerial nominees because of “poor moral standing”.
Resistance hero, former Timor-Leste President and CNRT party president Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão entered government with current PM, Taur Matan Ruak in 2018, in a deal that would have seen nine of Mr Gusmão’s most senior leaders join the council of ministers.
President Lú-Olo’s refusal led to an impasse in the national parliament, which resulted in the collapse of the governing AMP Alliance – a coalition of CNRT, Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak’s PLP and KHUNTO.
On Saturday, former president Mr Gusmão presented a new coalition of parties, promising to break the political deadlock and pass the stalled budget. But during a speech in Dili today, President Lú-Olo urged caution.
“People know the issue of nine government members who were not officially recognized by the President and this is the reason why the general state budget [OJE] did not pass in National Parliament.”
“Thus to re-present the list of nine candidates again, CNRT or the other parties should think about this, I repeat again [they] should think about this before they re-present,” President Lú Olo said.
The president said, until now, he has not “received any letter” from the new coalition.
Xanana Gusmão presented his new coalition this morn, comprising: CNRT, PD, KHUNTO, UDT, PUDD + Frenti-Mudança (FM).
Gusmao has promised the alliance – unnamed as far as I can tell – to pass the stalled budget and “stiumulate the economy” pic.twitter.com/XDu6i2IJKT
— Robert Baird (@rj_baird) February 22, 2020
Previously, the president declared he would support any new coalition that could form government to settle the uncertain political situation.
Last Saturday (February 22), six parties signed on to the new coalition: CNRT party president, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão; PD president Mariano “Assanami” Sabino; President of KHUNTO, Armanda Berta dos Santos; President of UDT, Rodolfo Aparicio Guterres; Interim President of Frente Mudança, Egidio de Jesus; and PUDD president, Antonio de Sá Benevides.
Read the original Tetum report here: PR Lú Olo: “CNRT Hanoin Didi’ak Bainhira Hakarak Aprezenta Hikas Lista Ema Na’in-Sia”
Journalist: Cipriano Colo
Editor: Robert Baird; Cancio Ximenes
Translation: Nelia Borges