Subject: Timor PM Ramos-Horta prepares for election campaign

also East Timor presidential candidates unhappy about Portuguese UN adviser

Agence France Presse -- English

March 21, 2007 Wednesday 10:36 AM GMT

Timor PM Ramos-Horta prepares for election campaign

DILI, March 21 2007

East Timorese Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta said Wednesday that he would take two weeks' leave from his job to campaign for the presidential election.

"I will take two weeks off from my work starting March 23," Ramos-Horta told reporters after meeting with President Xanana Gusmao, who will not be standing for re-election in the April 9 poll.

Ramos-Horta, seen as the favourite to win, said his deputy Estanislau da Silva would "govern and fill in my position as minister of defence."

The presidential poll will be the first since the former Portuguese colony achieved independence in 2002 after 24 years of Indonesian rule.

But there are fears that unrest could mar the vote in one of the world's poorest nations.


Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring

March 21, 2007 Wednesday

East Timor presidential candidates unhappy about Portuguese UN adviser

Excerpt from report by Portuguese newspaper Publico website on 21 March

Some of East Timor's presidential candidates are unhappy with the appointment of Sonia Neto, who is Portuguese, as adviser to the UN's special representative in Dili, Atul Khare, a source in Democratic Union of Timor (UDT) leader Joao Viegas Carrascalao's campaign told Publico yesterday. The candidates Lucia Lobato, of the Social Democratic Party, and Francisco Xavier do Amaral, of the Timorese Association of Social Democrats, are among those who do not agree with the choice of Sonia Neto for the most senior post held by a Portuguese person in the international structure which will monitor the electoral process in East Timor.

The unease is due to the fact that Sonia Neto was chief of the office of the former foreign minister and current president, Jose Ramos-Horta, from 2001 to 2006. As Ramos Horta is now one of the presidential candidates, the other candidates do not think that Sonia Neto will be sufficiently impartial.

Currently Sonia Neto is an adviser in the office of political advisers to the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Durao Barroso. Her appointment in Dili was intended to reduce the tension ahead of the election campaign, which is due to start on Friday. [passage omitted]

Source: Publico website, Lisbon, in Portuguese 21 Mar 07

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