Subject: LUSA: Fretilin dismisses joint oppostion call for 'national unity' gov't

07-04-2003 12:12:00. Notícia nº SIR-4890619...

East Timor: Fretilin dismisses joint oppostion call for 'national unity' gov't

Dili, April 7 (Lusa) - Most of East Timor's opposition parties signed a so-called "national unity platform" Monday, bitterly criticizing Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri's cabinet and demanding the formation of a broad coalition government.

The leadership of Alkatiri's ruling Fretilin party, which commands 55 of the legislature's 88 seats, dismissed the opposition's call, saying it would not turn government into a "mini-parliament".

The seven opposition parties and one group that had consistently backed the government, the Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT), jointly issued a blistering attack against Alkatiri's 10- month-old administration, accusing it of "dictatorship, radicalism, authoritarianism".

They called for the creation of a "democratic, competent and credible government of national unity".

The parties signing the document, dubbed "Political Platform for National Unity", took nearly 32 percent of the pre-independence vote last year, gaining a total of 28 parliamentary seats.

While there was no immediate reaction from the prime minister, Fretilin's deputy secretary-general, José Reis, told jounalists the ruling party, which took 57 percent of the vote, had no intention of opening the government's doors to the opposition.

"Fretilin...won the elections to serve the people and will not share power with any other party in the name of national unity", Reis said.

"We don't want a mini-parliament in the Council of Ministers", he said, adding that the opposition could make its political "contribution" in the legislature.

He read a Fretilin leadership statement, reaffirming the party's intention of fulfilling its five-year mandate.

ASP/SAS Lusa

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