Subject: LUSA: Next PM 'must have FRETILIN's confidence' - Alkatiri

30-06-2006 12:19:00. Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-8130700 Temas:

East Timor: Next PM 'must have FRETILIN's confidence' - Alkatiri

Lisbon, June 30 (Lusa) - East Timor's next premier "must have the confidence" of the dominant FRETILIN party, outgoing Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said in an interview published Friday.

Lisbon's daily Público also cited Alkatiri as saying the party's senior National Commission would meet in Dili Friday to select his replacement for President Xanana Gusmão's approval.

"It's not essential" the nominee be a party member, Alkatiri said. "But, at the minimum, it must be someone who has FRETILIN's confidence".

The party's choice, he added, should be "someone who dominates the dossiers, has participated in this government for the last few years to know what government is, and have global, but not too specific, training", he said.

Alkatiri, who resigned Monday, stressed that to date there had been "no contact" between the president and FRETILIN's leadership on formation of a new cabinet.

Gusmão said Wednesday he had begun contacts "with urgency" to set up a new cabinet, warning that if he failed parliament would be dissolved and early elections called.

In the interview, Alkatiri said East Timor had "no conditions" for an early return to the polls.

"If we can hold them (regularly scheduled elections) in April/May (of next year), which I hope, we'll be very lucky", he said.

Alkatiri told Público he had stepped down, as demanded by Gusmão, "as the lesser evil", because if the president had resigned, as threatened in an ultimatum, early presidential election would have been inevitable, something Alkatiri said he wanted to avoid at all costs.

"I don't mind personal defeats as long as there are victories for the people and for the State", he said, adding that he did not "feel defeated" and was certain of FRETILIN's victory at the polls next year.

An official source told Lusa earlier in the week that Gusmão had indeed begun contacts for the formation of a new government, having met with FRETILIN's chairman, Parliament Speaker Francisco Guterres, on Tuesday.

Party officials, on the other hand, have said they have waited for days for the president to receive an official FRETILIN delegation to discuss Alkatiri's replacement.

In reaffirming his demand last week for Alkatiri to step down, Gusmão said he did not recognize the "legitimacy" of the dominant party's current leadership as it had been re-elected by an "illegal" show-of-hands vote at FRETILIN's congress in May.

The president then demanded FRETILIN, which holds 55 of parliament's 88 seats, call an extraordinary congress "immediately" to reconsider its leadership.



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