Subject: AFP: ETimor president consults bishops on new government

ETimor president consults bishops on new government

DILI, July 7 (AFP) -- East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta met with Dili and Baucau bishops Saturday to discuss the newly formed government, a day after the country announced a coalition government.

"I met with Bishop Alberto Ricardo and Bishop Basilio do Nascimento to consult the new government formation and listen to their opinions to help me with my decisions," Ramos-Horta told AFP after the meeting.

He said that he will continue the consultations on Sunday.

"Hopefully by next week we will have the formation," said the Nobel laureate.

Independence leader Xanana Gusmao's party announced an alliance with smaller groups Friday to achieve the majority needed to rule the impoverished half-island nation, which gained independence from Indonesia in 2002.

The alliance, if approved, would open a new chapter in the young nation's turbulent history and leave the former ruling party, Fretilin, in opposition, even though it won the largest share of the vote in the poll.

Bishop do Nascimento said: "In church, the people's voice is God's voice, so if the people want change, I think (that means) everyone wants change," adding that although the president has the prerogative to chose who leads the country he should consider many aspects.

Bishop do Nascimento said he believed that "opposition has a place in a democracy... it is needed to control the government."

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