Subject: AFP: Horta Says Not Seeking Timor Presidency

Agence France-Presse

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Horta Says Not Seeking Timor Presidency

East Timor Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta said he would not run for the presidency later this year unless there were no other candidates.

"I do not want to (stand in elections) for the parliament, the government or the presidency," Ramos-Horta told AFP.

The Nobel peace laureate said he had informed President Xanana Gusmao, who has said he would not run, and the political parties of his decision.

"If there are no other people (as candidates), if everyone thinks that I have to accept the responsibility because the state needs it, then I will think it over again," Ramos-Horta said at a book launch Tuesday.

However, he said he believed there were already several candidates aiming for the presidential slot in the elections slated for April.

"There are currently already a number of candidates for the presidency and they are all good," he said.

Ramos-Horta was named prime minister in July last year, replacing Mari Alkatiri who stepped down in the wake of unrest which forced the deployment of thousands of international peacekeepers.

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