Subject: AKI: A New Generation Of Leaders Is Necessary, Says Chief Of New Party


Dili, 25 June (AKI) - The president of the new East Timorese party Partido Unidade Nacional (PUN), Fernanda Borges, 38, has no hesitation about attacking the established and seasoned political leaders of East Timor and is calling for more space for an emerging political class in the tiny Southeast Asian nation. "All of the main politicians should be held accountable for what has happened," said Borges in an interview with Adnkronos International (AKI).

"We have experienced a lot of difficulties; these have been compounded by their incapacities to transform the country democratically," she told AKI. "We require new people with technical skills that go beyond politicking," she said.

East Timor, known also as Timor-Leste, achieved independence in 2002 after centuries of colonial rule by the Portuguese, 24 years of occupation by Indonesia and two years under the administration of the United Nations.

The country, which was partly destroyed by militants associated with the Indonesian army in 1999, has had to deal with new tensions. It was veering towards civil war in the second half on 2006 when disagreements within the armed forces led to an open political battle between the former prime minister Mari Alkatiri and the former president Xanana Gusmao, supported by Jose Ramos-Horta the then foreign minister and currently the country's new president.

The crisis led to the disintegration of the police, fractures within the army, the resignation of Alkatiri and social tensions along ethnic lines. More than 130 people were killed and 60,000 people remain in refugee camps.

"Horta, Gusmao and Alkatiri, all share in the responsibility in their capacity to destroy the country by not upholding the valued of our nation," said Borges, who was a member of the first East Timorese government formed under the UN administration, but eventually resigned accusing it of not being transparent enough.

Among the essential values that are required, Borges said that there is a need for justice, respect for the law, a sustainable economy and leadership based on values and not on personal interests.

"It would be a success to make people understand that the current leadership is no longer what East Timor needs to progress," said Borges referring to the parliamentary elections that will be held on 30 June.

Borges believes that his party, PUN, will do well in the elections. The party was formed in January 2005 and appears to enjoy the support of a section of the Catholic church. The law currently requires a party to pass a threshold of at least three percent of the vote to be admitted in parliament.

Borges, who has worked for international financial organisation and lived as a refugee during the resistance against Indonesian rule, has excluded the possibility of entering in an alliance with other parties to govern.

"We will wait for the results," said Borges.

"If we get sufficient seats to form government we will do so. Otherwise we would prefer to stay in parliament only as we do not believe that our principles and values will be upheld in a coalition with the parties running," she said.


Jun-26-07 14:36

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