Subject: Lusa: East Timor: Ruling party might rush urgent legislative action - PM Alkat

East Timor: Ruling party might rush urgent legislative action - PM Alkatiri

20-06-2002 12:27:00 GMT


Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, charging opposition legislators were hobbling action by East Timor's government, warned Thursday he might use his broad Fretilin party majority to rush through urgent legislation.

"We think government bills sent to parliament should be debated", Alkatiri told Lusa in Dili, adding that the opposition legislators should "cooperate" with his cabinet, rather than wasting time in futile discussions over whether "there are eggs or chickens in the market.

"Naturally if we, the majority bench, so desire, we can approve all these bills rapidly", he stressed.

Alkatiri's ruling Fretilin won 55 of the 88 seats in the legislature, which was elected first as a Constituent Assembly in pre- independence balloting last August.

On the government's roster of pressing legislative action are approval of the cabinet's program and 2002-03 budget proposal, as well as a new tariff and tax system, which Alkatiri wants approved before the new fiscal year begins July 1.

The prime minister's criticism of parliament echoed comments made by President Xanana Gusmao last week.

In a message to the country, Gusmao urged parliament to realize "the car was stalled" because lawmakers were failing to appear in parliament or because they lacked sufficient "commitment to their work.

"We are beginning a democratic system in our country", Gusmao said, underlining that democracy is based on "the commitment of all to making society flourish".

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