Subject: Speech by Lasama Araujo, president of national parliament

[From scanned text - John/ETAN]

POLITICAL SPEECH

PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL PARLIAMENT 2007 - 2012

FERNANDO LASAMA DE ARAUJO [1]

Ladies and Gentlemen,

President of the Republic, President of the Court of Appeal, Members of Parliament, Chief of UNMIT, Bishops, The Commander of F-FDTL and the Commander General of PNTL, Ambassadors and representatives of diplomatic corps, Representatives of national and international agencies, The media and Other honorable guests,

Firstly, I bow down in deep respect for the almighty god and express my gratitude for the blessing he has bestowed on us all to enable us to gather here together in this Parliament of Timor Leste, for this historical moment.

I also thank the Timorese community, who are living in difficult times, but still managed to participate en masse in the recent parliamentary elections, to enable this National Parliament to form a new government and commence the execution of its duties for the next five years.

I also thank the President of the Republic, the Government, UNMIT, UNPOL and the International Stabilization Forces, CNE, STAB, F-FDTL/PNTL, the Catholic Church, other religious denominations, the media and other national and international agencies.

Everyone worked really hard to make the recent elections a success and to ensure the smooth implementation of democracy in this nation.

I have not forgotten to thank the former President of the National Parliament, members of the chair and members of the National Parliament who during a truly difficult period were able to perform their duties and successfully fulfill their mandate.

Members of parliament and other honorable guests,

As prescribed in the RDTL Constitution, the National Parliament is the organ of supreme sovereignty which has been entrusted to carry out the challenging and demanding task of establishing a legislative framework for the nation and monitoring the performance of the government.

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1 The inaugural speech of the president-elect of the National Parliament for the period of 2007 - 2012 made before the National Parliamentary Assembly in Dili on 30 July 2001,

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The National Parliament must ensure that this duty is carried out as a matter of utmost importance. In discharging this duty and developing the prosperity of this nation, the National Parliament shall act as a sovereign organ that represents the people, and shall not cater to a particular party or group,

For this reason, as the President of the National Parliament, I will do my utmost to guarantee that this duty is properly discharged. To guarantee the proper functioning of the National Parliament, I will continue the good work left behind by the former members of parliament. For matters yet to be addressed, or matters that have been dealt with inadequately, I shall make improvements by guaranteeing the following:

* The National Parliament shall be a truly dignified organ, which represents national interests over the interests of parties, groups or individuals. The National Parliament will not be the mouthpiece of the government.

* The National Parliament shall be a forum that represents plurality, democracy and respect for freedom of speech. Therefore, as President of the Parliament, I shall act as a fair and impartial moderator to ensure the smooth functioning of numerous parliamentary processes.

* I shall uphold the rights of opposition leaders and furnish them with adequate facilities to carry out their duties as members of the shadow administration to enable them to control the actions of the government.

* Uphold the authority bestowed upon members of parliament by the Constitution

* Create sound mechanisms that will enable members of parliament to maintain. permanent contact with the community. These conditions shall guarantee effective. interaction between the community and the National Parliament in order to place the interests of the community as a top priority that shall be given maximum attention.

* Guarantee the separation of powers between the sovereign organs to prevent them from interfering with one another, in order to uphold respect for the independence of state institutions.

Members of parliament and other honorable guests,

I hereby accept the role of Parliamentary President which has been bestowed upon me by the distinguished members of parliament, even though it constitutes a substantial and has lived amongst the community, I will not abandon this onerous duty. I accept this important responsibility as a privilege bestowed upon me by the people, and will act as a conduit for the people's aspirations towards this nation and the world as a whole.

As a member of the younger generation, I accept this responsibility because I understand that the people of Timor Leste really want the prosperity of this nation to change. The onerous responsibility. As I myself am one of the impoverished and ordinary people who people see the younger generation as a symbol of change.

Therefore, with God's blessing, fire and earth, and the spirits of our ancestors, together with my fellow parliamentarians I will do my utmost to encourage the new government to fulfill the aspirations of the people who desire to live in peace and harmony, To achieve this, we truly desire to bring change to this nation, a desire expressed by the voters, for example, to resolve the political, social and military crises which are currently shackling this nation.

However before we can fulfill the aspirations of the people, we first need to reform the following fundamental mechanisms to allow change to take place:

* Revise legislation that is not conducive to national development

* Ensure that the National Parliament produces legislation that will guarantee improvements in the life of the people. The establishment of a national legal framework that will protect the prosperity of the people must be achieved through an all encompassing process of mutual consensus.

* Support improvements to the justice system which is currently seen by the community as a big disappointment.

Members of parliament and other honorable guests,

All of these aspirations will remain unfulfilled if this nation continues to be plagued by political instability, or if' social and political entities continue to turn their backs on one another.

Therefore, the National Parliament will endeavor to create mechanisms that support . cooperation with other sovereign organs (President of the Republic, Government and the Court of Appeal) to ensure that problems confronting the nation and the community can be resolved quickly.

The National Parliament will do its utmost to support the government to improve cooperation with national and international agencies. In this way, development, which is the only path to free the people, will become a reality for the people.

This nation truly needs the active involvement of other institutions such as NGOs, the church etc. Thus, as the President of the National Parliament, I will guarantee good relationships between the National Parliament and NGOs, the media, the Catholic Church, other religious denominations, etc.

I would also like to mention the United Nations and International Stabilization Forces who have carried out a significant role in training, stabilization and development within Timor Leste, who have been doing so since the beginning up until this very day. Therefore I request the ongoing commitment of the United Nations to help guarantee stability in this nation and to help the development process.

As the President of the National Parliament who is a member of the younger generation, I will do my very best to implement the ideas of the President of the Parliament regarding the establishment of a Youth Parliament which is essential to the democratic life of this nation.

Members of parliament and other honorable guests, Before I end this speech, I wish to say one thing. Today, when the election of the Parliamentary President is concluded, my compatriot Aniceto Guterres, who is a Fretilin candidate, and I, will approach one another, shall take each others hand and will embrace one another.

As members of the younger generation, parliamentarian Aniceto Guterres and I will prove ourselves to be honorable adversaries, and not enemies. We want to send out a positive message that politics should not make enemies out of us, but rather we should continue to respect one another, even though we share different views.

Through such a gesture, I hope that parliament will be free from any such animosity.

Moreover, this is how we should all behave in the performance of our political duties outside of parliament and amongst the community. In this way, we will ensure peace, stability and development in Timor Leste.

My fellow brothers and sisters, we will only improve ourselves when we offer our hand to one another in peace even though we hold differing political opinions.

One foundation, one origin, one people.

One Timor.

Thank you.


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