CNRT President, and coalition leader, Xanana Gusmão, holding the letter from KHUNTO (Image/Egas Cristóvão)

DILI, 30 April 2020 (TATOLI)—Xanana Gusmão said he’s “not mad” at KHUNTO Party for abandoning his coalition, and costing his parliamentary majority.

“We’re not mad at them; that’s democracy,” he told reporters this afternoon.

Mr Gusmão’s six-party coalition was reduced to five yesterday when the junior party declared in a letter that it would leave the bloc “in the interest of the people”.

Related news: KHUNTO Leaves Gusmão’s Majority “Alternative Government”

But the CNRT Party President and former Prime Minister said KHUNTO had approached its decision the wrong way.

“[They should] just give some thought that this isn’t over. That is, they must hold an extraordinary conference to announce [that] they’re leaving,” he said.

Related news: Leaders of Alternative Government Meet President Lú-Olo for First Time

Similar party conventions led to a major conflict earlier this year between Mr Gusmão and President Francisco Guterres Lú-Olo. After the new coalition was announced on February 22, President Lú-Olo argued the parties couldn’t form a new coalition until each one had approved the measure in an official congress.

However, once each party had completed the requirement, the president still did not install Mr Gusmão’s coalition in power.

Mr Gusmão, 73, met this afternoon with two of Timor-Leste’s most senior lawyers. He said the remaining coalition partners intend to submit a petition to the Court of Appeal to “ask about the constitutionality” of the decision.

“This morning we entered an institutional crisis… [so] we will send a petition to the court so we can see the legalities and [whether] this follows the constitution,” he said, arguing that  under article 86, line F, parliament should be dissolved under such a “crisis”.

Mr Gusmão said the coalition would send the petition to the court next Monday, May 4th.

Meanwhile, Mr Gusmão said the CNRT party would convene its National Political Commission (CPN) to decide whether its members currently serving with the government’s executive will continue in their positions.

“I’m not the one who decides… the decision is up to the party,” he said.

Read our Tetum coverage here: Xanana Husu KHUNTO Halo Konferénsia Estraordinária Hodi Deklara Sai Hosi AMP

Journalist: Evaristo Soares Martins

Editors: Robert Baird, Cancio Ximenes

Translation: Robert Baird

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