|Subject: LUSA: PM Alkatiri announces
East Timor: PM Alkatiri announces revamped gov't
Dili, July 27 (Lusa) - Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri unveiled an enlarged government Wednesday in East Timor as part of his drive to improve the performance of the Dili executive and decentralize power in the world's newest nation.
The new government, to be sworn in Thursday by President Xanana Gusmão, has 17 ministers, 15 deputy-ministers and 11 state secretaries giving it a dozen more members than its predecessor, which took office on independence in May 2002.
The main innovations in the new executive are the creation of five state secretaries for each of Timor's future administrative regions and the elevation of defense from a state secretary portfolio to a ministerial one.
The five regional state secretaries will report directly in the new government to Alkatiri, as well as the state secretaries for the council of ministers; youth and sport; and environmental coordination, territorial organization and physical development.
Alkatiri originally outlined plans for Dili`s revamped Executive in May, saying the shakeup was part of his government's efforts to decentralize power and streamline the administration of the new nation to meet targets for its National Development Plan.
The five new state secretaries for each of Timor's regions will coordinate grass-roots development, particularly investment programs to be regionally implemented.
Alkatiri himself now combines roles as government chief with duties as minister of natural resources, minerals and energy policy.
Two deputy ministers and a pair of state secretaries have still to be nominated by Alkatiri for his revamped government.
It had been expected that the Timorese leader would announce the first rotation of Dili's overseas diplomatic corps at the same time he made his first cabinet rejig.
However, after giving details of his new government, Alkatiri noted that "it is easier to find ministers and deputy ministers than ambassadors", adding the new diplomatic posting would be announced at a later date.