Subject: LUSA: Separate legislative, presidential elex in 2007 - PM Alkatiri

East Timor: Separate legislative, presidential elex in 2007 - PM Alkatiri

Lisbon, Feb. 16 (Lusa) - Legislative and presidential polls will be held separately next year in East Timor, rather than on the same day as recommended by the United Nations, Prime Minister Mari Alaktiri said Thursday.

In comments to Lusa in Lisbon, Alkatiri criticized the UN's public announcement in January of its proposal for parallel polls on May 20, 2007 as a cost-cutting measure in the impoverished new nation.

Dili will hold both ballots next year, said Alaktiri, but wants parliamentary polls to take place ahead of presidential ones.

As Timor is still in a "post-conflict" situation, he argued, and next year's elections will be the first solely organized by the Dili authorities, "holding them simultaneously could cause some political instability".

With the president, government and political parties all campaigning at the same time, "who will run the country?" asked the Timorese leader.

"The president must remain detached from legislative elections so that he can help to maintain stability", argued Alkatiri, on a working visit to Portugal for meetings scheduled with senior Lisbon officials and other prominent figures.



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