quarta-feira, 18 de novembro de 2015

Timor Leste President Taur Matan Ruak urged to resign


By Ted McDonnell - Copyright The Australian - November 18, 2015 - Reproduced with permission of Ted McDonnell

A constitutional crisis is brewing in Timor Leste, with calls for President Taur Matan Ruak to step down over claims he is involved in a new political party.

The role of President in Timor Leste is largely ceremonial and the incumbent cannot be involved in a political party, constitutional law experts say.

However, sources have confirmed to The Australian that Mr Ruak will run for prime minister in 2017, fronting the newly formed Peoples Liberation Party, which will challenge the tiny nation’s most established political parties, CNRT and Fretilin.

Causing further furore is talk that Mr Ruak, known as TMR, could run on a joint ticket in 2017 with the army chief, General “Lere” Anan Timur, who will run for president. In recent days, however, the TMR-Lere ticket has been yelled down by Fretilin leaders, with the general forced to state his allegiance to their party.

Outspoken Fretilin Minister of Parliament Manuel Castro said Mr Ruak could not actively “campaign” for prime minister or be involved with PLP while he was President, calling for him to resign immediately.

Mr Castro has been supported by a number of figures from both sides of politics, including a well-known CNRT minister, who did not want to be named but said the President was walking a fine line constitutionally. “It’s open knowledge that TMR is already campaigning as leader the of PLP and for the 2017 prime ministership. That’s illegal,” the minister said.

PLP was only recently registered by former corruption commissioner Aderito Soares, who is party president. Mr Ruak’s name does not appear on the official register of the new party.

Another group causing concern for the traditional contenders is BUP, a coalition of five smaller parties that represented about 10 per cent of the vote in the 2012 election.

PLP and BUP are both focusing on fighting corruption and nepotism, as well as creating jobs for educated youth. PLP and BUP may also form a coalition block against Fretilin and CNRT.

The new parties highlight that Fretilin and CNRT no longer represent the people, said 2012 presidential candidate Angelita Pires. She is the former partner of Alfredo Reinado, who was killed during the 2008 assassination attempt on Jose Ramos Horta. She has always disputed Rein­ado’s role in the shooting and the way the former guerilla fighter met his death, claiming Reinado was set up by “others”.

Ms Pires, who is finishing a law degree in Darwin, intends to play a leading role in the 2017 elections either by running for the ­presidency again or by joining BUP or PLP as a candidate for a potential ministerial role in a new government.

Ms Pires said the time of the old guerillas-turned-politicians is over and Timor Leste politics ­urgently needed new blood.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars have been wasted. There is nothing to show for it. Where has it all gone? The Timorese have ridden so many emotional waves but now we need real change and 2017 could be the last opportunity for this country to find its feet. Five more years of mismanagement and waste would be a disaster for Timor,” Ms Pires told The Australian.

“We cannot rely on our oil and gas forever — we need to build new industries for the educated youth coming out of Timor’s universities. We need to set up technical training schools to ensure we don’t need foreign workers.

“Too many of our young ­people are leaving the country for Australia, Europe and the United Kingdom to find work and start new futures.

“The politicians have done nothing to address this crisis. We need to keep our young and give them the jobs and futures they need.”

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