Secretariat appoints new Heads of Division - The Law on the Organization and Functioning of Parliamentary Administration (LOFAP) adopted in December 2008 provides for a restructuring of the Secretariat and a dramatic increase in the number of staff. In accordance with LOFAP, the Secretariat is headed by a Secretary General who is politically appointed and is structured around 3 Directorates:
* the Directorate for Administration (includes 3 divisions)
* the Directorate for Parliamentary Support Services (includes 4 divisions)
* the Directorate of Research and Information (includes 3 divisions)
In addition, two further divisions - ICT and International Relations, Protocol and Security - are directly attached to the Office of the Secretary General. Following a transparent and rigorous recruitment process, 7 Heads of Division were selected and formally appointed by the Secretary General in January 2010, with a further 3 positions to be filled later this year .
MPs approve Sports Law - On February 2, Parliament approved the Sports Law (“Lei de Base do Desporto”) with 37 votes in favor, 0 against and 7 abstentions. The approval followed a series of Public Hearings organized last August by the Committee for Youth, Sports, Labour and Professional Education (Committee H). The Sports Law is the first legislative initiative in Timor Leste to regulate the area of sports and define the system, structure, conditions and opportunities to practice sports as a fundamental activity in the development of youth and for the strengthening of national identity.
Anti-corruption Commissioner sworn in - On February 22, Timor-Leste’s first Anti-Corruption Commissioner, Mr. Aderito de Jesus Soares, was sworn in. The parliamentary ceremony was broadcast live on television. Parliament approved Law n. 15/II establishing the Anti-Corruption Commission on 29 June 2009, which provides for the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate cases of corruption; advise all civil service bodies on the prevention of corruption; and promote and educate the public on good governance and on how to support the fight against corruption. Mr. Soares was confirmed by Parliament on February 1, with an absolute majority of 40 votes.
MPs approve law on International Treaties - On February 23, Parliament passed a law establishing the process and procedures for approving and ratifying international treaties with 46 votes in favor and 2 abstentions. After the final wording, the law will be sent to the President of the Republic for its promulgation. The draft bill was discussed and approved ‘in specialty’ by the Committee for Foreign Affairs and Defense (Committee B). The discussion ‘in specialty’ at Committee level is significant and reflects the recently revised Standing Orders, enhancing the quality of the debate and accelerating the discussion/approval process.
Defence laws approved ‘in generality’- On February 23, the National Parliament approved ‘in generality’ Government Bill n. 25/II “Lei de Segurança Interna” (Law on Internal Security) with 39 votes in favor, 1 against and 8 abstentions, as well as Government Bill n. 26/II “Lei de Segurança Nacional” (Law on National Security) with 42 votes in favor, 0 against and 6 abstentions. The two draft laws put forth an integrated national security policy and define a strategy of integrated action among the Armed Forces, Police and Civil Protection. Government Bill n. 27/II “Lei de Defesa Nacional” (Law on National Defense) that establishes and regulates the country’s security framework, as provided by the Constitution of Timor-Leste and in line with the provisions of the United Nations Charter, was also approved ‘in generality’ with 44 votes in favor, 0 against and 8 abstentions. The three bills were then referred to the Committee for Foreign Affairs and Defense (Committee B) for discussion and approval ‘in specialty,’ which will be followed by a final vote of approval in Plenary.
Committee A discusses CAVR recommendations - Resolution n. 35/2009 approved on 14 December 2009 expresses Parliament’s commitment to creating an entity within the legal framework of Timor-Leste that will implement recommendations from the CAVR report that are still outstanding. In line with this Resolution, the Committee for Constitutional Affairs, Judiciary, Public Administration, and Local Government (Committee A) has held a series of working meetings with representatives of relevant stakeholders and is working on a legislative draft document to be later presented to Parliament for discussion and approval.
NP’s Budget Execution report drafted - The Budget Execution report of the National Parliament’s has been drafted by the Secretariat and is awaiting discussion by the Council of Administration. Following approval by the Council, the Budget Execution report along with the audit report prepared by an external audit team will be referred to Plenary for discussion and approval.
Project Steering Committee Meeting - On February 24, the Steering Committee of the new Parliament Project held its first meeting to discuss the implementation of the project and 2010 work plan.
MPs approve Resolution on Support to Party Benches - On February 9, Parliament approved Resolution n. 36/II introduced by the Council of Administration regarding the rules for the annual budget allocation to Political Party Benches with 29 votes in favor, 2 against and 7 abstentions,. According to the revised rules, the total budget of $ 75,000 out of the total Parliament budget of $ 12 million will be allocated as follows:
* 30% will be allocated equally among all benches;
* 70% will be allocated proportionally according to the size of the party bench
Council of Administration approves training program for Secretariat leadership - On February 4, the Council of Administration approved a training program for the Secretariat leadership. The Secretary General, all Directors and newly appointed Heads of Division will take part in this program, which will start in the second half of March and will concentrate on parliamentary administration and parliamentary services.
Draft Law on Domestic Violence - The Committee for Constitutional Affairs, Judiciary, Public Administration, and Local Government (Committee A) is working on preparing of a draft law on domestic violence. To ensure an informed and consultative drafting process, the Committee organized the following events:
- a series of Public Hearings in Dili, Suai and Baucau with local residents and members of all Suco Councils;
- a round table to discuss the draft law with representative of Ministerio Público, PNTL (National Police), Defensoria Pública and Fokupers;
- a workshop, held on February 3, with representatives of UNDP, UNIFEM, UNMIT, women MPs and women’s organizations.
The draft law will aim to identify and provide for the implementation of measures to prevent domestic violence and to promote and protect the rights of victims according to international standards.