Subject: Lusa: Gusmao Questions Politicians' Readiness for Democracy, Independence

East Timor: Gusmao Questions Politicians' Readiness for Democracy, Independence 2 Aug-13:42

In a blistering attack against partisan power ambitions, East Timorese independence leader Xanana Gusmao Wednesday challenged the Territory's emerging political groups to match cheap criticism by "showing what you're worth."

Referring to mounting rumors of corruption within the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT) and its "loss of credibility," Gusmao said the umbrella organization's Aug. 21-30 congress would serve "to diminish the stain."

Speaking at a poorly attended congress organizing meeting in Dili, he condemned the apparent "lack of interest," charging that many groups were more concerned about future government posts than in contributing to building democracy.

"The political parties want to be in government but the problem is that we two [sic] rooms for five guests, not 10 rooms for two guests."

Fingering the groups by name, including the historic pro- independence Fretilin, which he once led, Gusmao charged they had yet to determine whom and what they represented and wanted for East Timor.

"Criticizing is very easy, while doing things is quite difficult," he said, adding that the political forces were neither "ready to live a good democracy" nor "prepared, alone, to lead East Timor to independence."

The congress of the CNRT, which is headed by Gusmao, is expected to open the way for implementing a multiparty political system, after which the umbrella group, which led the common fight against Indonesian occupation, plans to dissolve.

SAS -Lusa


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