President Francisco Guterres (standing beneath portrait) has sworn in six new ministers and two existing ministers into new positions, in a ceremony at the Presidential Palace (Image/Julião Fernandes –PR Media)

DILI, 29 May 2020 (TATOLI) – President Francisco Guterres Lú-Olo has sworn in eight new ministers, in a ceremony at the Presidential Palace complete with social distancing and face masks.

Amanda Berta dos Santos, of KHUNTO, was sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister. She will hold the office in conjunction with her role as Minister for Social Solidarity and Inclusion.

Another current Minister, Fidelis Magalhães (PLP party) was sworn in as President of the Council of Ministers.

The head of state also inaugurated Júlio Sarmento da Costa ‘Meta Mali’ (Democratic Party – PD), as Minister for National Liberation Combatants, or Veterans’ Affairs, and Pedro Reis as Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. The remaining four ministries were filled by FRETILIN members.

See the full list of new ministers here.

“Accepting duties as members of the government, means also accepting a big responsibility,” President Lú-Olo said, during the ceremony in Bairro Pite, Dili.

“I hope the members… will sacrifice themselves and attract other people to work hard during this difficult time, to know how to be humble and understand our citizen’s needs, especially those who are powerless,” he said.


The nominees were put forward by the Taur Matan Ruak government, which is enjoying a new majority in parliament. The members from PLP, FRETILIN, KHUNTO and PD hold 41 of the 65 seats.

Related news: Foreign Minister Dionísio Soares Among Five MPs to Resign From Cabinet 

However, the make-up of the ministries is not yet complete: key ministries remain empty after CNRT members either resigned or were dismissed earlier this month.

Lú-Olo: Parliament has “Legitimised” the Government

The gravity of power has shifted away from Xanana Gusmão’s CNRT party over recent weeks. After forming a majority coalition of minor parties in February, CNRT has seen two parties – KHUNTO and the Democratic Party – shift support back to the government.

Last week – despite a physical altercation during the vote, in which police officers intervened – speaker Arão Noé Amaral, of CNRT, was replaced by FRETILIN’s Aniceto Guterres.

Read more: Police Called After Chaotic Scenes in Parliament, as New Leader Elected 

CNRT Parliamentary leader Duarte Nuñes described the election of Mr Guterres as “illegal”, and the party has refused to participate in debates under his command.

However the Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed CNRT’s petition, concluding the election was a “political act”.

Court of Appeal President, Deolindo dos Santos (Image/Antonio Gonçalves)

“These decisions cannot be appealed to the courts,” judges Deolindo dos Santos, Duarte Tilman Soares and António José Fonseca de Jesus wrote their a decision, accessed by TATOLI. “The petition must be rejected outright.”

In his speech today, President Francisco Guterres – without mentioning the new speaker or the complaints of CNRT – said the National Parliament had “legitimised” the PLP-led government.

“This government has constitutional legitimacy and power here through the National Parliament. A new majority [has] appeared and currently gives support to the government.”

“The eighth [constitutional] government already finds support from a majority of parliament, and can govern until the end of [its] mandate,” President Lú-Olo said.

First published on May 29 in Tetum: VIII Governu iha Lejitimidade Konstitusionál hosi PNXefe Estadu Husu Membru Governu Foun Komprende Kbiit Laek Sira-Nia Hakarak

Journalist: Cipriano Colo

Editors: Robert Baird, Cancio Ximenes

Translation: Nelia Borges

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