Subject: RDP: Timorese leader rejects fresh general elections after independence

East Timorese leader rejects fresh general elections after independence BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Oct 27, 2001

Text of report by Portuguese radio on 27 October

[Presenter] The commemoration of East Timor's newly-gained independence has been scheduled for 20 May [2002], however, the chief minister of the provisional government, Mari Alkatiri, said the UN is till needed in the territory. In an interview with RDP [state radio], Mari Alkatiri reiterated that he is not predicting general elections to take place in the immediate future. He has also admitted this stance would put him at loggerheads with former resistance leader and presidential candidate Xanana Gusmao:

[Alkatiri] I can assure you that we will not have general elections. I am saying this on behalf of the party which holds the majority in the constituent assembly.

[Reporter] I believe this puts you at loggerheads with Xanana Gusmao?

[Alkatiri] Xanana Gusmao is a citizen like any other. He has the right to express his opinion. I am a member of the constituent assembly, an elected and sovereign body, and it will be the assembly that shall decide this.

[Reporter] Timor will be independent from 20 May [2002]. Are you planning to keep the provisional government?

[Alkatiri] Only until 20 May.

[Reporter] What will happen after 20 May?

[Alkatiri] Then it will become a government in its own right. It will be a government born of -

[Reporter, interrupting] Will you not have to hold elections for that?

[Alkatiri] No. The elections for the constituent assembly [changes thought] - when we laid down the electoral law, and when we discussed these elections, discussions that also took place at the CNRT [the National Council of the Timorese Resistance, now defunct], it was decided that the constituent assembly would become a legislative and parliamentary assembly.

[Reporter] In that case, when will the next general elections take place?

[Alkatiri] We will discuss that in the constituent assembly to assert whether we will hold elections within two years, three or four. That is another issue. As regards holding legislative elections I can tell you that I do not wish to discuss issues of a technical or financial order. For me, this is a question of principle. If we feel we need to have an election, we will have it under the new electoral system. If we decided to adopt a new electoral system, it would not be the present one, or else the smaller parties would not be represented in parliament.

Source: RDP Antena 1 radio, Lisbon, in Portuguese 1400 gmt 27 Oct 01

/BBC Monitoring/ © BBC.

Back to November menu

World Leaders Contact List
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu

Note: For those who would like to fax "the powers that be" - CallCenter is a Native 32-bit Voice Telephony software application integrated with fax and data communications... and it's free of charge! Download from