Subject: Gusmao party forms coalition for E.Timor government

Also AKI:

GUSMAO ANNOUNCES GOVERNMENT ALLIANCE; AFP:

Gusmao led Coalition seeks E Timor Govt

Gusmao party forms coalition for E.Timor government

Fri Jul 6, 2007 10:10AM BST

(Adds Fretilin comment, background)

By Tito Belo

DILI, July 6 (Reuters) - A party set up by former East Timor president Xanana Gusmao has lined up partners to form a coalition government in the wake of last week's parliamentary elections, party leaders said on Friday.

"We have decided to make an alliance for the stability of the country. We will work to establish terms of reference ...," Gusmao told a news conference.

Gusmao's CNRT party, which the resistance hero established this year as a vehicle to become prime minister, formed an alliance with the Association of Timorese Democrats-Social Democratic Party (ASDT-PSD) and the Democratic Party.

The coalition has a combined 51 percent of the vote and is expected to hold 37 seats in the 65-chamber parliament.

With vote counting completed in all districts, the former ruling party Fretilin headed the field with 29 percent support. CNRT was second with 24 percent.

The coalition will have to seek permission from President Jose Ramos-Horta, a close ally of Gusmao, to form a government.

"We declare that we have decided to coalesce with CNRT and ASDT/PSD to implement our programmes," Democratic Party president Fernando de Araujo told the conference.

PSD president Mario Viegas Carrascalao said the coalition was still discussing who would be named prime minister.

Both Fretilin and CNRT had ruled out forming a unity government, an idea floated by Ramos-Horta.

FRETILIN SAYS HAS RIGHT TO GOVERN

Fretilin Secretary General Mari Alkatiri said leaving his party out in the cold was "a mistake".

"We have the right to govern but we need the involvement of other parties in the cabinet," Alkatiri told a news conference. "We ask them to think about the country's progress and security." Alkatiri told Reuters on Thursday that Fretilin, which has ruled for the past five years, was ready to form an alliance with any party, except the CNRT.

Fretilin, which led the 24-year struggle against Indonesia, remains popular, especially in the east of the country, but its candidate fared badly in the recent presidential election.

Gusmao, who ended his term as president in May, appears to have become increasingly frustrated by the pace of progress under Fretilin and the factional infighting that has been blamed for contributing to the chaos and bloodshed of 2006.

After his appointment in March as leader of CNRT, he pledged to lead the country on a new path. The role of prime minister is much more hands-on than the more ceremonial presidency.

Factional bloodshed broke out in East Timor last year, triggered by the Fretilin government's sacking of 600 rebellious soldiers. In the ensuing mayhem 37 people were killed and 150,000 driven from their homes.

Foreign troops led by Australia intervened to restore order, but sporadic violence and unrest have continued.

East Timor voted to break away from Indonesian rule in 1999 and, after a period of United Nations administration, it became independent in 2002.

The former Portuguese colony is one of the world's poorest countries, but has rich energy resources that are only starting to be developed.

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EAST TIMOR: GUSMAO ANNOUNCES GOVERNMENT ALLIANCE

Dili, 6 July (AKI) - East Timor's former president Xanana Gusmao told a press conference in Dili on Friday that his new party CNRT has formed a coalition in the wake of last week's parliamentary elections and asked for a mandate to govern in the next five years. The country's powerful ruling party Fretilin has however made the same demand over which president Jose Ramos Horta will need to decide. "We have decided to make an alliance for the stability of the country," Gusmao told a press conference at the capital's Dili Hotel. "We hope this coalition will be able to guarantee a strong and durable majority."

The new CNRT party, which Gusmao, a hero of the country's resistance, created last year with the aim of becoming prime minister, formed an alliance with the Association of Timorese Democrats-Social Democratic Party (ASDT-PSD) and the Democratic Party.

The coalition has a combined 51 percent of the vote and is expected to hold 37 of the 65-seat parliament.

With vote counting completed in all districts, the former ruling party Fretilin came in first with 29 percent support followed by CNRT with 24 percent.

The coalition will have to seek permission from President Jose Ramos-Horta, a close ally of Gusmao, to form a government.

Fretilin - which is expected to hold 21 seats - claims that under the country's electoral law coalitions must be formed ahead of the vote and claims it can govern as a minority party under the Constitution.

Fretilin, which led the 24-year indipendence fight against Indonesia, is still popular but fared badly in the April-May presidential election.

The presidential and parliamentary elections come after a year of political tension and violence, sparked by the Fretilin government's sacking of 600 rebellious soldiers, in which 37 people were killed and 150,000 displaced.

East Timor voted to break away from Indonesian rule in 1999 and, after a period of United Nations administration, became independent in 2002.

(Fsc/Aki)

Jul-06-07 11:55

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Gusmao led Coalition seeks E Timor Govt

Posted 5 hours 52 minutes ago

Minority parties in East Timor headed by a party set up by independence leader Xanana Gusmao announced they had formed a Coalition and would seek to form a government after recent polls.

Mr Gusmao's National Congress of East Timor's Reconstruction (CNRT) will ally with the Association of Timorese Democrats-Social Democrat Party and the Democrat Party, the parties said.

"We hope this alliance is able to guarantee a strong and lasting majority," they said in a statement read to a press briefing.

"This Coalition which will constitute a majority in Parliament has accepted the call for governance," it said.

"The details of the agreement will be decided later and presented to you."

Together the Coalition parties gathered 51 per cent of the overall vote in Parliamentary elections.

The former ruling party of Fretilin won the highest number of votes among the 14 parties contesting the poll but not the necessary majority required to form a government in the 65-seat parliament.

It won 29 per cent of votes cast, but saw its popularity plummet by almost half. The CNRT won 24 per cent of the vote.

- AFP


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