Subject: LUSA: National Council Votes Down Law on Transition Administration

18 Jun 01 22:18 East Timor: National Council Votes Down Law on Transition Administration

East Timor's National Council rejected Monday a decree-law that would have legalized the territory's Transition Administration (ATTL).

The ATTL has gradually been established by the UN Transition Administration (UNTAET) as the basis for East Timor's future public administration. If approved by Council, the law would have allowed members of the transition cabinet to sign contracts in the name of the ATTL, without recourse to the head of UNTAET, Brazilian UN diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello. Legal status for the ATTL would also enable UNTAET to "delegate authority to independent institutions".

The National Council acts as East Timor's parliament during the transition to independence.

The number two in the UNTAET hierarchy, Jean-Christian Cady, said Monday the law would have enhanced the "Timorization" process, by which East Timorese take increasing control of public administration. He also recognized the frustration of some Council members, who recalled that the measure had taken too long to be submitted and that the ATTL had functioned thus far without legal status.

East Timor, which had been occupied by Indonesia for 24 years, voted for independence in 1999 and has since been governed by UNTAET, which has a mandate to prepare the territory for full independence, expected within the next year.

JBC -Lusa-

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