24 November 2017

Government may fall four months after elections

East Timor Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri
!WARNING! MACHINE TRANSLATION ORIGINAL PORTUGUESE TEXT LUSA November 20, 2017, 12:00 - The possible adoption of the motion of censure by the opposition, which is in the majority in Parliament, necessarily implies the fall of the executive, according to the Constitution and the regimen in force.

The Timorese opposition, majority in parliament, on Monday presented a motion of censure to the government in opposition to the fact that the executive has not yet presented, for the second time, the program that was hit last October 19.

"The Government did not present the Government's program for the second time and MPs from the Parliamentary Majority Alliance (MPA), based on Article 111 of the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and Article 140 of the National Parliament's regiment , presented a motion of censure to the 7th constitutional government, "said Patrocinio dos Reis, deputy of the National Congress of East Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT), the second Timorese party.

In a political statement on behalf of the three opposition parties - CNRT, People's Liberation Party (PLP) and Kmanek Haburas National Unity Timor Oan (KHUNTO) - AMP contests the fact that the executive has submitted to Parliament a proposal for an amending budget without first having presented the Government's program for the second time.

It should be recalled that on 19 October, the 35 opposition MPs (in the 65-seat Parliament) approved a motion to reject the Government's program insisting that by the "parallel interpretation" and analogous of the law in force, the executive had 30 days to re-submit the program.

The possible approval of the motion of censure to the Government presented this Monday by the majority opposition in the Timorese Parliament necessarily implies the fall of the executive, according to the Constitution and the regiment in force.

Fretilin's head of the Timorese minority government, Francisco Branco, criticized the "bad faith policy" and the opposition's "assault on power" attempt on Monday. Speaking at the plenary, Francisco Branco said the opposition is ignoring the "clear message" of the population at the polls last July 22 that wanted "a change of status quo ."

In reaction, Arão Noé Amaral, head of the bench of the second most voted party, the National Congress of Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT), rejected that the opposition is making any assault on power. "This is not a power assault because the power, and competence, is of the President of the Republic who has to decide what to do after that," he said.

The motion to censure a plenary session, which was already expected to be difficult because of the debate on the amending budget, further heightened tensions, with members of the government and opposition groups exchanging criticisms and shouts.

Speaking at the session, Adriano do Nascimento, Minister of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, said that the amending budget "is urgent for the State and for the country" with problems "that have to be solved now", with debts accumulated by various projects and that if they are not resolved by the end of the year they can have "big budgetary impact".

Regarding the opposition's criticism that the Government did not meet the deadline for presenting the program for the second time, Adriano do Nascimento said that the 30 days were "only an interpretation of the law" and the final decision on the constitutional interpretation " Resource".

The debate on the government's censure motion has now to be scheduled by the leaders' conference, which could be held this week.

The Government's amending budget proposal foresees an increase in public accounts from $ 1.34 billion to $ 1.6 billion (around € 1.36 billion) and includes, among other things, some $ 12 million for the eventual holding of early elections, an option that can be chosen by the head of state if the government falls.

During the debate this Monday, Merício Juvenal dos Reis, MP of the Popular Liberation Party (PLP), insisted that much information was lacking to the Government, including to support the reasons presented for both the need for the Amending Budget and for its processing with urgency.

Fernanda Lay, a member of the National Congress of the Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT), said that "it is clear that the amendment is important," but added that there was a lack of information on the Executive's proposal, including essential information regarding the Government's justifications.

The overall position of the opposition on the Government's draft amending budget was detailed in the political statement read by the CNRT on behalf of the Parliamentary Majority Alliance (AMP) bloc.

"In view of the proposed amending budget law, the MPA members decide that Parliament can not discuss or debate the proposed law," said the statement read out at the start of the session.

The Timorese President recalled Monday the opening of a seminar on human rights and the mission of the Timor-Leste Defense Forces (F-FDTL), the union that led to the victory of resistance to the Indonesian occupation to criticize, in a speech before the defense forces, those who "overthrow siblings" to occupy seats of power.

"We did not look for chairs, we did not bring brothers to occupy seats. At that time, we who served the country and the people knew that the reward could be the prison or the loss of life," said Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo.

The Supreme Commander of the Defense Forces also said that F-FDTL should develop and deepen "their operational capabilities to assist the country's developmental needs and to deepen their contributions to the country's harmonious integration into the community international, regional and global level ".

Nine political parties form a coalition with an eye on future elections in Timor-Leste

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