Subject: East Timor press Headlines/3April 2001

Bahasa Indonesia Headlines -- Tuesday 3 April 2001

1. Xanana Resigns, National Council Confused 
2. Horta, Aniceto, Manuel, Amaral and Avelino named as NC Presidential candidates 
3. “The Replacement Of The President Is A Political Process” 
4. The Cabinet Is Not A Foe

1. Xanana Resigns, National Council Confused (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page headline)

The resignation of Xanana Gusmao as President of the National Council last Thursday has confused many NC members. Meantime the nomination of Jose Ramos Horta by UN Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello, as a replacement for Xanana Gusmao, was received coldly by the National Council.

Xanana’s resignation was discussed in detail at the National Council yesterday. The Council had yet to reach a decision about his replacement and postponed further discussions till 9 April.

National Council member Aniceto Guterres said a leader could not just leave the National Council and then let the NC agree on his resignation.

Aniceto stressed that Ramos Horta was just one candidate for the NC Presidency to replace Xanana. The final decision, said Aniceto, still was with the National Council.

“The National Council is the body that elects the President from its members,” he added.

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2. Horta, Aniceto, Manuel, Amaral and Avelino named as NC Presidential candidates (Timor Post, Front Page headline)

Several prominent political leaders have been named as possible candidates for the National Council presidency ­ in the interim period leading up to the elections.

The names have originated from the National Council itself.

In the meantime Dr Jose Ramos Horta who was nominated by UN Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello to replace Xanana, will also be given an opportunity for the presidency.

The National Council members who have been named are Aniceto Guterres (director of Yayasan Hak), Manuel Viegas Carrascalao (a businessman), Clementino dos Reis Amaral (from KOTA Party) and Avelino Coelho (from the Socialist Party).

The NC debate yesterday was heated. Some NC members wanted Xanana to give an explanation to the chamber on his resignation.

“I don’t accept his [Xanana’s] resignation. This is serious and it has occurred at a crucial moment when we are in difficulty,” said Angela Freitas from the Travalhista Party.

But other NC members stressed that the NC should not reject Xanana’s resignation.

“That is his right [to resign] and we have to respect that right. If we reject Xanana’s resignation, he will be a bad president for us and the international community,” said Aniceto Guterres.

Sergio de Mello’s nomination of Ramos Horta was also questioned.

“It’s not enough that it was done [on Saturday] through a press conference. It has to be clarified officially at the National Council,” said an NC member.

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3. The Replacement Of The President Is A Political Process” (Timor Post, Page 2 headline)

The resignation of Xanana Gusmao and the National Council President must be treated as a normal process in a democratic society, though it might have positive or negative implications for the country.

This was stated yesterday by the dean of the Sociopolitical Faculty Tolentino de Araujo.

The university dean said he agreed that Jose Ramos Horta was the best choice to replace Xanana Gusmao at the National Council and stressed that Horta was the preferred candidate by the international community.

He said this was inevitable because Timor Lorosae was still tied with in with foreign countries.

“But it is not a problem of who becomes the NC President, it is a matter, however, of whether that person has the vision and commitment to take this country forward,” said Tolentino.

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4. The Cabinet Is Not A Foe (Suara Timor Lorosae, editorial Page 5)

The National Council must always consider itself as an organ that has an inspiration to work for the country, functions on a consensus basis and has good working colleagues. There must be consensus within the NC members. Good working colleagues, in turn, are found in the Transitional Cabinet and UNTAET and for that reason the National Council must not function as an opposition organization.

The National Council itself has to be seen as a progressive organ. Every NC member has to realize that their main function is not to fight with one another or oppose the executive. The success or failure of the National Council very much depends on the efforts of individual National Council members.

The responsibility of taking this country into the future not only lies with the transitional administration but also lies with the National Council. All decisions that are made have to be based on consensus and not made for the sake of group or private interests.

It has to be acknowledged that NC members have been confused over the announcement of Xanana’s resignation as National Council President. Is his resignation merely as NC President or also as a NC member? These things are still not clear.

With regard to these questions, we hope some clarification will be made soon. Xanana’s resignation must be seen as a serious matter. All NC members must also be serious in their debate on the reasons for Xanana’s resignation. Let us not consider that Xanana’s resignation is “normal” and he was merely exercising his right. The real reasons have to be known to all NC members.

Whatever the reasons are, NC members must never lose hope and never feel disappointed. The people have placed their hopes on the National Council and we hope the NC, as a body, will take Timor Lorosae forward in the future.

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