Subject: LUSA: Citizens Have Say on Draft Constitution

25 Feb 02 23:31 East Timor: Citizens Have Say on Draft Constitution

A week-long public consultation on East Timor`s Constitution began Monday with members of the Constituent Assembly touring the territory`s thirteen districts.

At a consultation meeting in the town of Manatuto, about 35 kms east of Dili, a number of people criticized the consultation process as being too short, restricted to the conclusion of the drafting process and aimed at local leaders, instead of the public at large.

There were also some calls for more constitutional reference to the Catholic Church - the Constitution calls for separation of church and state. Some also objected to the draft Constitution`s bias towards the majority FRETILIN party.

The public consultation ends March 2 with the thirteen groups (one for each district) drawing up reports to be presented to the Assembly for final debate before promulgation of the Constitution on March 16.

CJB/ASP -Lusa-

© 1997 Lusa Comentários e Sugestões para Agência Lusa

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