Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 21 July 2005

UNOTIL

Daily Press Review

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review

Thursday, 21 July 2005

Municipalities Will Lessen Bureaucracy: Torrezão

The National Director of the territory administration Lino Torrezão said a technical team from the government is currently studying how to lessen the bureaucracy through the establishing of municipalities within the country. Torrezão said the study would focus on the reduction of 65 sub-districts into 35 municipalities. He added that some sub-districts would be integrated into municipalities. According to Diario Tempo the government is currently having difficulties implementing the decentralization of administrative power. The Council of Ministers decided the on the decentralization of power in October 2004. (TP, DP)

Dili Election a Challenge to STAE: Martins

STAE Vice-Director Edgar Sequeira Martins said the upcoming Village Chief [and Village Council] elections in September in Dili would be a big challenge for STAE because it would be different from the last elections. Martins pointed out that the elections in Dili will be attended by a larger number of voters as well more observers and STAE would be putting all efforts to ensure that the work is carried out properly. (TP)

Preparations to Welcome Especial Autonomy

The population in Oecussi have formed an Organising Committee to welcome the especial autonomy status from the government, reported Timor Post Thursday. According to Timor Post Prime Minister Alkatiri and his entourage are scheduled to arrive in Oecussi on Friday with the aim of handing over the region. Deputy Administrator of the enclave Francisco Bano said the local government will invite neighboring friends from Indonesia like Kefamenanu, Soe and Kupang to participate in the event. (TP, DP)

New Police Recruits For Immigration Department

The Head of the Immigration Police, Carlos Jeronimo said his department is recruiting 19 officers to cover areas currently without immigration officer. Jeronimo pointed to areas such as Oecussi, Ataúro and Com that presently do not have immigration police.

Training for Better Child Protection

The Government's Division for Solidarity Work held a two day workshop with district components such as chief of villages, heads of government departments, schools, local businessmen and NGOs about the protection of children as well as measures to prevent children entering into conflict with the laws. (TP)

Visit to Bayu Udan Oil Field

Commission C of the National Parliament would pay a visit to Bayu Udan area on July 24. According to the Secretary of State for Tourism and Investment and Environment, Jose Teixeira, the visit will allow Members of Parliament to personally see the operations and investments currently in Bayu Undan. Teixeira said the trip will cost lots of money but it is Philips Conoco company that it's paying for it to enable the parliamentarians as representatives of the people to get more information on Timor oil. (TP, DT, DN)

East Timor politics: Government struggles to remain popular

FROM THE ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT

On May 20th East Timor celebrated its third anniversary of independence. However, the anniversary was a relatively sombre affair compared with the celebrations that marked the granting of independence in 2002. In a national speech the president, José Alexandre "Xanana" Gusmão, stated that the future was "fraught with many challenges" and referred to the "sacrifices" that needed to make as the nation developed.

Coinciding with the anniversary celebrations, the ruling party, the Frente Revolucionária do Timor-Leste Independente (Fretilin, Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor), led by the Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri, celebrated its 31st anniversary, with around 57,000 supporters reportedly travelling to the capital, Dili, to mark the occasion. In a speech to his supporters Mr Alkatiri called for political tolerance, and he used the occasion to refute suggestions that his party was losing grassroots support.

Since taking office, the public's support for the Alkatiri administration has slowly been eroded, in part because of the administration's failure to live up to the electorate's high expectations, but also because of growing accusations of corruption and nepotism within the ranks of the ruling party. In the recently held local elections (which commenced in late 2004 and have been staggered across districts) Fretilin's performance was relatively poor compared with the results of the Constituent Assembly elections in 2002.

The government has also come into conflict with the country's popular and powerful Catholic Church. Peaceful demonstrations were held in Dili in late April and early May by members of the church in protest against the government's proposal to make religion an optional subject in government schools rather than compulsory. The episode developed into general anti- government demonstrations with protestors (at times numbering around 5,000, according to press reports) calling for Mr Alkatiri to step down. Although an agreement was reached to settle the dispute in early May, the incident highlighted the growing sense of public antipathy towards Mr Alkatiri's administration. (EIU ViewsWire)


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