Arão Noé Amaral has been voted out as Parliament President (Image/Antonio Gonçalves)

DILI, May 19, 2020 (TATOLI) – The former President of the National Parliament (PN), Arão Noé Amaral is refusing to recognise the result of today’s vote, which saw his dismissed from his post.

In chaotic scenes today, the PN voted to replace Mr Amaral with Aniceto Guterres, of FRETILIN, by a majority of 40 votes.

But Mr Amaral said he would challenge the result in the Court of Appeal.

“I don’t recognise the election of the parliamentary bench, because they did not have a [planned] agenda, and the approval from party leaders to hold this morning’s plenary,” he told reporters this afternoon.

Related news: Police Called After Chaotic Scenes in Parliament, as New Leader Elected

Arão Amaral apologised to the Timor-Leste people for the events in parliament over the last two days.

“They carried out the vote without any registration, without recording, and without anyone taking notes on the results. Nobody watched the counting of valid votes and everything. It was not a democratically-verified act,” he said.

Aniceto Guterres, who was also president – or speaker – from 2017-18, dismissed Mr Amaral’s concerns, telling TATOLI the vote was legal and legitimised “by the support of the majority”.

After the intervention of members of Mr Amaral’s CNRT party, who broke the speaker’s table and tried to drown out any debate with shouts and drumming, Vice-President Maria Angelina Sarmento managed to organise a vote using a portable microphone and speaker.

Ms Sarmento said, following the vote, that it was not an attempt to “snatch” parliament’s presidency away from rival CNRT.

“I want to reiterate that we have not snatched the president’s place; what we intend is to ensure the normal functioning of the National Parliament,” she said.

Related news: CNRT to Issue Fresh Appeal After Court Dismisses Challenge to President Lú-Olo 

Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak is yet to respond to the dismissal of Mr Amaral, and the resulting chaos in parliament. But in a statement yesterday, following his regular meeting with President Francisco Guterres Lú-Olo, the prime minister suggested anyone “destabilising” the country would earn little sympathy.

“Anyone who thinks like that [in destabilising] will have problems with the Timorese people, because we intend to develop our country. We must strive,” he said on Monday.

“We have joined forces so that, in addition to fighting [COVID-19], we can recover the economy that is destroying our families and have prosperity in our country.”

Read the original Tetum coverage here: Arão Noé Sei Hato’o Rekursu Ba Tribunál RekursuDeputada Maria Angelina Rejeita Hadau Kadeira PPN no Lamenta Polísia Nia Prezensa

Journalist: Cipriano Colo; Florencio Miranda Ximenes

Editors: Robert Baird; Cancio Ximenes; Julia Chatarina

Translation: Nelia Borges

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