Subject: LUSA: PM Alkatiri opposes UN proposals for parallel elex in 2007

East Timor: PM Alkatiri opposes UN proposals for parallel elex in 2007

Dili, Jan. 13 (Lusa) - Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said Friday that he opposes proposals made this week by the United Nations that parallel parliamentary and legislative polls should be held in 2007 as a cost-cutting measure.

Two UN election specialists visited Timor last year and issued a report this week suggesting that the two polls should occur simultaneously on May 20 for "financial and administrative" reasons.

Alaktiri, speaking in Dili after returning from Australia where he signed a historic accord to share hydrocarbon revenues from a disputed area of the Timor Sea, said he had read the UN's proposal for the timing of his country's next elections.

He said he "totally disagreed" with the proposed side-by-side polls, which would confuse voters and impair their ability to decide who to vote for.

Timor's maiden presidential polls took place April 14, 2002 and were won by President Xanana Gusmão without the need for a second- round vote.

Dili's Constituent Assembly was elected eight months earlier and automatically became Timor's parliament after independence on May 20, 2002.

The UN report on Timor's next elections concluded that both the presidential and parliamentary mandates will finish May 19, 2007.

EL/CJB.

Lusa

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