Subject: LUSA: Gusmao Turns Down One Commission - Accepts Another

20 Sep 01 14:06 East Timor: Gusmao Turns Down One Commission - Accepts Another

East Timorese resistance leader Xanana Gusmao has turned down the post of chairman of the Planning Commission, a body created by the new government sworn in Thursday.

Gusmao had been invited in August to preside over the new commission, created to draw up medium-term development plans for presentation at a December donor conference in Oslo.

However, after much speculation on his availability for the post, in which he would have reported directly to chief cabinet minister Mari Alkatiri, Gusmao announced he would opt instead to head the Consultative Commission for Development, which acts as an intermediary between the planning commission and the East Timorese people.

Gusmao stated Thursday that he considered it more important to chair the development commission as "democracy essentially signified the participation, not only of parties but civil society and above all our people in all aspects of national life".

Xanana Gusmao is widely-expected to be East Timor`s first president on independence next year.

CJB -Lusa-

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