|Subject: East Timor press
East Timor press headlines/ 30 March 2001
1. Xanana Resigns As National Council President (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page headline)
Xanana Gusmao has officially resigned as the president of the National Council. In his resignation letter to the Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello, dated 28 March, Xanana said he had been accused of being undemocratic. Also he said there were frequent differences between several National Council members and himself.
Xanana also cited in his resignation letter that the Fretilin party had made accusations that he was promoting “political manipulation”.
On Tuesday the National Council voted against setting up a mechanism that would have allowed the East Timorese people to provide input to the drafting of the country’s first constitution. The regulation, however, was defeated with five votes in favor, seven against and eight abstentions.
After the vote, Xanana told Lusa news agency that his “blood was boiling” with regard to the accusations, and what upset him was that it came from Fretilin which accused him of trying to manipulate politics.
“Actually I haven’t really experienced democracy. I’m still learning about democracy. I know many of the Fretilin cadres had lived overseas and so had learnt what democracy was all about,” he said when hitting out at Fretilin.
“I feel that as President of the National Council all my efforts have been wasted because there is little intention among the NC members to advance the political process,” he added.
Xanana’s resignation came a day before a heated debate in the National Council about establishing a national constitutional commission to seek the consensus of East Timorese in the drafting of the constitution. At that debate Xanana was accused of “manipulating politics.”
2. Four Hundred and Thirty Six Primary School Teachers In Baucau Ask To Leave Timor Lorosae (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page second lead)
Four hundred and thirty six teachers, who were told they failed an entry test, are now threatening to leave Timor Lorosae and settle in five countries if their fate is not looked into by the East Timor Transitional Administration (ETTA).
“Collectively we want to migrate to five countries if our demands are not considered by ETTA,” said Candido Ximenes, the spokesperson for the 436 primary school teachers.
The countries that the 436 are trying to migrate to are: Australia, Indonesia, Portugal, Japan and Thailand.
According to Candido the primary school teachers had protested many times in Baucau for their predicament to be looked into by ETTA. They had also written to the Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello. Copies of that letter, according to Candido, had been circulated to the UN Secretary-General, the CNRT President, the Bishops of Dili and Baucau and the FDTL Commander.
Candido said there was evidence of nepotism in the selection of teachers and the whole selection process was not transparent.
“We had already contacted the Education Commission of Baucau District and informed them of their shortcomings,” said Candido.
3. RDTL’s Antonio Aitahan Matak Wants Proof (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page side-bar)
The General Co-ordinator of CPD-RDTL Antonio Aitahan Matak wants proof that his party, CPD-RDTL, is linked to certain dark elements in Indonesia who intend to use the organization to create unrest in Timor Lorosae.
“We are not accepting the accusations made against us by Ramos Horta, Mari Alkatari and Lu-Olo that we are linked with the TNI. Prove it! If they can’t prove the allegations then we will take them to court both nationally and internationally,” said Aithan Matak.
According to the CPD-RDTL activist, the party does not have any links with Indonesia. For that reason, he said, he wanted Ramos Horta, Xanana Gusmao and Sergio de Mello who had good ties with Indonesia to invite Indonesian President Gus Dur to visit Timor Lorsae to answer these allegations.
“I want Ramos Horta and Mari Alkatari to withdraw their allegations [against CPD-RDTL] and issue an apology in both the print and electronic media,” said Aitahan Matak.
CPD-RDTL also urged Xanana Gusmao, Mari Alkatari and Sergio de Mello to disband all political parties in the country.
“Develop the country first and then later we can establish political parties,” said Aithan Matak.
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