Subject: AN: Former militias form party to contest first East Timor election

Former militias form party to contest first East Timor election

Antara 10 May 2000

Kupang: The Timorese People's Party (PPT) intends to soon register itself with UNTAET [UN Transitional Authority in East Timor ] and become one of the political parties to contest the first East Timor elections, expected to be held at the beginning of 2001.

"We don't know the exact timetable for the elections yet, but we are making preparations to be one of the parties contesting those elections," Herminio da Silva da Costa [former deputy commander of the pro-Indonesian PPI, Integration Fighters Force], now general chairman of the PPT, told reporters in Kupang on Wednesday [10th May]. PPT would send a delegation to East Timor in June to register the party with UNTAET and also to form local party branches in all the districts, Herminio said...

Herminio said he was optimistic that the party would be able to win seats in the [new] parliament in East Timor because he had more than 300,000 [as received] supporters there. These supporters, he said, were people previously loyal to Indonesia and young people under their guidance while they were living in East Timor , who were ready to campaign for the party throughout East Timor .

He said that the UN would not be opening any polling booths outside East Timor so he would be discussing the matter with UNTAET and the UN peacekeeping force, to seek guarantees for the security of East Timorese living in NTT [neighbouring Indonesian territory] wishing to return to East Timor to exercise their right to vote.

Herminio said that, if his party was able to get a majority of the votes and take power in East Timor , they would give three choices to the East Timorese through which to determine their future. The choices were: to become an independent country and work day and night [to repay the national debt], to become "half independent" and cooperate with neighbouring countries, or to revert to being part of the Republic of Indonesia...

The PPT, whose symbols are red and white [as in the Indonesian flag], was declared in Kupang on 7th May 2000.

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