|Subject: LUSA: Elections Neither Free nor
Democratic, says UDT Leader
28 Aug 01 15:59 East Timor: Elections Neither Free nor Democratic, says UDT Leader
The upcoming Constituent Assembly elections in East Timor serve "only to comply with the calendar and are neither free nor fair", the leader of the historic UDT party, Joao Carrascalao, said on Tuesday.
"The people are neither prepared nor informed enough to vote. They have also been victims of constant threats and aggression before the passivity of UNTAET (UN Transition Administration in East Timor)", Joao Carrascalao told media before a gathering of party members in Dili.
East Timorese voters will on Thursday elect the 88 members of the assembly charged with drawing up the future national constitution.
Joao Carrascalao said his party was not informed of Xanana Gusmao's decision to be a future presidential candidate, announced Saturday during a debate attended by all parties except the UDT (Timorese Democratic Union).
"If we'd been advised of the announcement we'd have gone to the session", the UDT leader said, reaffirming that Gusmao, the historic leader of the independence struggle, was the "best candidate for East Timor".
He also reiterated that his party would hold to its presidentialist [sic] concept of government, which it hopes to see inscribed in the future national constitution, and support formation of a national unity government after the next elections.
Both positions are contrary to those defended by the Fretilin party, widely tipped to win the Thursday elections, which has called for a semi-presidential system and the formation of a national inclusion government, without negotiations with other parties.
"The proposal for a national inclusion government only shows Fretilin's arrogance", Joao Carrascalao said. He was referring to Tuesday comments by the Fretilin secretary general, Mari Alkatiri, who said a future government could include "valid members of other parties[.]"
"We are not willing to accept. The UDT doesn`s [sic] accept handouts", Joao Carrascalao said.
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