Subject: Lusa: Vieira de Mello Announces Members of National Council

East Timor: Vieira de Mello Announces Members of National Council 20 Oct-21:56

East Timor's chief UN administrator, Sergio Vieira de Mello, announced Friday the list of members of the territory's new National Council, whose task will be to review legislation recommended by the transition cabinet.

Vieira de Mello made the announcement in Dili, during a short ceremony following the last meeting of the outgoing legislative body. The National Consultative Council had met only to approve an increase in the number of members in its successor body from 33 to 36.

Members are expected to officially take office on Monday.

The new Council will count 13 members, not 10 as originally planned, drawn from the territory's political parties. East Timor's 13 districts will also be represented by one member each. Civil society will be represented by seven members and religious communities by three.

Vieira de Mello told media that the Council's composition also reflected efforts to increase the role of women in administrative and government positions. Thirteen women will sit on the new Council.

Another significant aspect is that many of the Council members are from the interior, countering the fact that the nine East Timorese 'ministers' in the transition cabinet are all drawn from the diaspora.

Among the Council members are several well-known figures, although the names put forward by the territory's two main pro- independence groups, the UDT and Fretilin, are relatively unknown: Maria Lacruna and Cipriana Pereira.

Other pro-independence members are Agio Pereira of the Social Democratic Party, Avelino Coelho of the Timorese Socialist Party, Alexandre Magno Ximenes of the Christian Democratic Union, Laurentino Domingos Luis Gusmao of APODETI and Maria Angela Freitas of the Labor Party.

Four of the party representatives are from pro-integration (pro- Indonesia) groups, although one of them, Clementino dos Reis Amaral, was chosen to represent the monarchist party Kota. The other 'integrationist' members are Salvador Ximenes Soares of the BRTT, Aliança Araujo of the Timorese Nationalist Party and Jose Estevao, an independent. Another seat reserved for the 'integrationists' remains to be filled.

Regarding the religious communities: Jose Antonio da Costa will represent the Catholic Church, Imam Muslim the Muslim community and Maria de Fatima Gomes the Protestant community.

The civil society representatives include Manuel Carrascalao for the business community, Gregorio da Cunha Saldanha for the students and Aniceto Guterres, founder of the Yayasan HAK rights organization. Milena Pires will represent women`s organizations, Maria Teresinha Viegas farmers and Eusebio Guterres workers. Professional organizations will be represented by a member still to be chosen.

Vieira de Mello said that while members of the Council had not been elected, the selection process had been "the most expansive, most consulted, most open and most democratic possible." All East Timorese citizens were eligible to nominate candidates for the Council.

Members of the new body are on Monday expected to elect independence leader Xanana Gusmao to the post of Council chairman.

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