Subject: East Timor's president calls for unity government

East Timor's president calls for unity government

Friday June 22, 02:40 PM

By Tito Belo

DILI (Reuters) - East Timor's President Jose Ramos-Horta on Friday urged the winner of next week's parliamentary elections to form a unity government in a bid to heal divisions in the tiny state.

East Timorese will go to the polls for a third time this year on June 30 in legislative elections whose results will be crucial for the country's stability after last year's deadly violence.

Former president and independence hero Xanana Gusmao's CNRT party is among 14 political parties contesting the elections. The CNRT wants to oust the left-leaning Fretilin party and install Gusmao as prime minister.

"My appeal to all political parties is that please form a national unity government that will accommodate all parties' resources, individuals that have the capacity, experience and credibility ... to work together to take this country to a bright future," Ramos-Horta told reporters.

He said experience in East Timor showed a government dominated by one party had not done very well.

Some Fretilin leaders have been blamed for the factional struggles that have divided the impoverished country of one million people.

Ramos-Horta, a Nobel peace prize winner who spent years abroad as a spokesman for East Timor's struggle for independence from Indonesian occupation, was installed as president last month.

His victory has raised hopes of greater stability in a nation still struggling to heal divisions five years after it won formal independence from Indonesia.

Separately, acting Prime Minister Estanislau da Silva said the make-up of a new government should be up to the winning party.

"I think in this era of democracy we cannot expect any party to follow one person's opinion. The elected party will form a government based on the platform of the party," he told reporters.

But he said "the elected government should use all human resources in order to develop the nation".

East Timor voted to break away from 24 years of often harsh Indonesian rule in a U.N.-sponsored vote in 1999. It became fully independent in 2002 after a period of U.N. administration.

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