Subject: LUSA: Retread Govt 'part of problem, not solution', say opposition chiefs

14-07-2006 13:28:00. Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-8172501 Temas:

East Timor: Retread Govt 'part of problem, not solution', say opposition chiefs

Dili, July 14 (Lusa) - The leaders of East Timor's two largest opposition parties Friday forecast failure for the new government, saying many of Prime Minister José Ramos Horta's ministers were "part of the problem" in the strife-torn country.

Fernando Araújo of the Democratic Party (PD) and Mário Carrascalão of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), who together hold 13 of parliament's 88 seats, expressed their disappointment to Lusa shortly after the new cabinet took office, a ceremony both opposition leaders pointedly did not attend.

"The government has no credibility", Araújo said. "The chosen team, mostly carryovers from the outgoing government, will not resolve the problem of the crisis because they are part of the problem".

"The credibility of a government is the most important thing, and, before the people, they have lost it all", he added.

The PD leader made an exception, however, in the case of the new foreign minister, former ambassador to Washington and the UN José Luís Guterres, saying he was "welcome" but would be frustrated because Dili's pivotal problems were "not external, but internal".

Echoing a similar outlook, Carrascalão of the PSD said the new cabinet "shows the same faces from the past and will execute policies at the behest of Mari Alkatiri", the discredited outgoing prime minister who continues to lead the dominant FRETILIN party.

"It's a government for the status quo that will present, through the FRETILIN deputies, the (proposed) electoral laws and budget of the former government", predicted Carrascalão.

Together, all opposition forces represent a little more than one- third of parliament, where FRETILIN occupies 55 seats.



East Timor: Ramos Horta Govt gets 'benefit of doubt' - dissident army officer

Dili, July 14 (Lusa) - A dissident army officer retracted Friday threats to refill Dili with demonstrators if early elections were not called, saying he would give the newly installed East Timorese government "the benefit of the doubt".

"We've given up on launching new demonstrations for the time being", Maj. Alves Tara told Lusa by telephone, "but, if need be, we'll return to Dili if (former Prime Minister) Mari Alkatiri doesn't go before the courts".

Maj. Tara said he and his National Front for Justice and Peace, which organized days of anti-Alkatiri protests in the capital late last month, had decided to give Prime Minister José Ramos Horta a chance to resolve the months-long crisis of violence and political dissention.

"I liked the words of the prime minister in Liquiça and for this reason I'll give this government the benefit of the doubt", he said, referring to Ramos Horta's comments Tuesday at a ceremony outside Dili where a self-styled "death squad" chief handed over weapons and accused Alkatiri of having ordered the elimination of political opponents.

While Ramos Horta has urged all sides in the conflict to seek reconciliation, he has said that those responsible for criminal actions must face the courts.

On leading several thousand protesters out of Dili late last month, making way for pro-Alkatiri demonstrations, Tara threatened to return in 30 days if President Xanana Gusmão did not dissolve parliament and set early elections in the wake of Alkatiri's resignation on June 26.

Alkatiri, who has denied the arms allegations, is scheduled to be questioned by investigating magistrates on July 20 in the case that has already led to the indictment of his former interior minister, Rogério Lobato.



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