Subject: LUSA: Xavier do Amaral Decides Not to Run for Presidency

05 Sep 01 18:02 East Timor: Xavier do Amaral Decides Not to Run for Presidency

The leader of East Timor's ASDT party, Fransico Xavier do Amaral, told Lusa Wednesday in Dili that he would not be a future candidate for president.

Xavier do Amaral, whose party's strong performance in last week's Constituent Assembly elections surprised many observers, said his decision was due to a lack of adequate funds and support.

Interviewed by Lusa, he said he had considered running "during the last few days" but subsequently decided to "give up the idea".

"I am not going run for president. The ASDT is bankrupt and we can't run risks in these matters", he added.

The ASDT leader had said last week that he would consider running for the presidency of East Timor, which is expected to achieve independence early next year. The announcement of a possible candidacy came in the wake of former resistance leader Xanana Gusmao's about- face decision to stand for the presidency in the future election, whose date has yet to be determined.

Gusmao "continues to have a lot of popular support" but even so "he can't become president indirectly", the ASDT leader said.

"There will have to be direct elections. The president has to be chosen directly by the people, if not he will be rejected by the ASDT", he added.

The ASDT chief told Lusa he had already congratulated the Fretilin leadership on their success in last Thursday's elections. He specified that, "given the shared ideologies", the ASDT was prepared to "offer its services" in the process of ratifying the legal foundations of the future independent nation of East Timor.

Xavier do Amaral was among the 1974 founders of the ASDT, which in a subsequent transformation became Fretilin. On November 28, 1975, he presided over the flag-raising ceremony marking Fretilin's unilateral declaration of independence. Indonesia launched a massive invasion a week later, and occupied the now UN-run territory until 1999.

He subsequently broke with the Fretilin leadership and spent most of the occupation period in Indonesia, returning recently to relaunch the ASDT.

Unofficial final results of last Thursday's elections in East Timor showed Fretilin winning 55 of the 88 seats in the Constituent Assembly, followed by the PD (Democratic Party) with seven seats, and the PSD (Social Democratic Party) and ASDT with six seats each, with the remainder split between eight minor parties and one independent candidate.

CJB/JBC -Lusa-

© 1997 Lusa Comentários e Sugestões para Agência Lusa

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