24 October 2017

Timorese opposition expects Government to present new version of the program in 30 days

WARNING MACHINE TRANSLATION OF ORIGINAL PORTUGUESE TEXT 24 DE OUTUBRO DE 2017 09:08 Lusa  The Timorese opposition said today that it expects the government to present its new program "in 30 days", rejecting that the document be presented with the rectifying budget, as the executive announced he intends to do.

"Time is limited to 30 days and it is up to the Government to resubmit the program to parliament," said Arão Amaral, head of the National Congress of East Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT).

Fidelis Magalhães, a leader of the People's Liberation Party (PLP), insisted that at all times "one should respect the constitution".

"Regarding the 30 days we have our interpretation, we understand very well what the constitution says and we are sure that the constitution is clear and gives the way according to our interpretation," said Magalhães, in a statement echoed by Luis Roberto da Silva , head of the Kmanek Haburas National Unit Timor Oan (KHUNTO).

The three forces, which control 35 of the 65 MPs, have formed a Parliamentary Majority Alliance (AMP) that wants to be a government alternative.

The constitution and regiment of the National Parliament confirm that two motions of rejection are necessary in order to defeat the program, with the consequent fall of the Government, but none of the texts defines what happens between one and another motion, that is, aspects such as deadlines and presentation of the program by the executive.
Legal sources heard by Lusa differ on what can be inferred or interpreted from the legislation, with some suggesting that in cases like this the process could follow the procedures of the first presentation, debate and vote, that is, it would have a further 30 days.

In spite of this, the Government announced in a statement that it is reviewing the program that it intends to present, together with the Budget for 2017, "until the end of the year", that is, with a deadline that exceeds 30 days.

At a joint press conference today, the three opposition factions also questioned the fact that the prime minister told parliament that after the opposition's lead he intended to "refer" to the executive's program with the population, arguing that the head of the government has no to convene a referendum.

Aaron Amaral said that the Government "can make inquiries" about the program but that it can not intend to organize a referendum since this goes against the constitution.

Fidelis Magalhães, for his part, reiterated the need for "leaders of government parties to continue political concertation efforts to find a constitutional solution to the challenges facing the country."

The leaders of the three counties refused to "speculate" on what they would do if the government took more than 30 days to present the program and recalled that the decision on what to do in the event of a fall of government - early elections or formation of a new government out of the current parliament - "belongs exclusively to the President of the Republic".

After the press conference, the AMP distributed a joint press release reiterating the position of the three groups in the discussion of the Government's program, which took place between October 16 and 19.

The text recalls that the parliamentary seats have the "duty and competence" to enjoy the program, consider that the text fails because it does not meet the requirements in terms of substance and question the way the prime minister responded to the opposition.

"Instead of answering the questions put, the prime minister used his time for political speeches, occasionally attacking the deputies of the opposition groups campaigning and taking advantage of the direct transmission through the national media channels," the text said.

The statement reiterates the foundations of AMP's position that the Government does not have majority support in parliament, that this may create unsustainability for the period of governance and that the future of Timor-Leste can not be conditioned to a situation of " a Government of the minority over the majority ".

A minority government, which is "weak, fragile and unstable, generates great uncertainties that do not guarantee the confidence of markets, foreign investors, public and private, and the development of the economy in general."

The AMP calls on its militants and supporters to act in a "civic and responsible" way, welcomes the "peaceful and calm" way the debate of the program was accompanied by the population.

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