Mundo a Minuto: Timor-Leste: José Ramos-Horta reaffirms willingness to dialogue after victory

Apr 21, 2022 | Press

José Ramos-Horta, who leads the presidential elections in Timor-Leste with a large advantage, said today that he was not surprised by the victory, which echoes the adhesion he had in recent months, reaffirming his willingness to dialogue when he takes office.

“I and my main supporters are not surprised by the result, given the atmosphere of adhesion to my campaign across the country and our own polls carried out in the months before, even at the village level”, he said in statements to Lusa.

Ramos-Horta said that it is still necessary to wait for the conclusion of the count by the Technical Secretariat for Electoral Administration (STAE) and then the rest of the confirmation of the results, which give him, with more than 70% of the votes counted, an advantage of 21 percentage points. about Francisco Guterres Lú-Olo.

One of the results that marks the vote is apparently the defeat for the first time of Fretilin, which supports the candidacy of Lú-Olo, in the municipality of Lospalos, something that according to Ramos-Horta should lead the party to reflect.

“Yes, the loss of Lospalos is obviously an unprecedented event and it sends a clear message to the Fretilin leadership to rethink its entire policy, its image, because the electorate has changed a lot in the last 20 years,” he said.

“By the way, we should all do an exercise in appreciating the result”, he considered.

Ramos-Horta considered that in addition to a ‘lead’ to the current head of state, the result also represents a ‘lead’ from the Government and the three parties that form it, which supported Lú-Olo in the second round.

“I believe that the President, being closely associated with the Government and the parties that are in the Government, was also penalized. In addition to the facts that were much debated for two years, violations of the President’s powers in terms of our Constitution and the way in which engendered the so-called eighth government”, said Ramos-Horta.

“The Government has not been able to overcome the economic crisis that is largely the result of covid-19. With the oil fund at its disposal, the economic, social and humanitarian crisis could have been much more resolved than it was”, he said.

Ramos-Horta considered that the Timorese people “made a judgment” about this Government action, which failed to respond to the crisis.

Now there are several unknowns, namely whether or not Ramos-Horta will proceed with the dissolution of parliament, as demanded by the CNRT, led by Xanana Gusmão, the largest party to support his candidacy.

The CNRT questions the legality of the president of parliament, Aniceto Guterres Lopes, and the current government.

“I take office before parliament, in a ceremony scheduled by the president of parliament before the nation and through parliament. No scenario is excluded”, he said, asked if he will take office with the parliament still led by the current president.

Regarding changes in the majority, Ramos-Horta said that “democracy in general is extremely dynamic” and that Timor-Leste’s “is much more so”.

“What matters to me is dialogue with all the parties with a seat in parliament to try to create a new climate of cooperation that is healthier for the parliament’s own image in the eyes of the electorate,” he said.

“Each party based in parliament has this interest, when seeing the result of the elections. I will not hesitate to talk to the benches, in groups, one by one, to find a solution to the political impasse that the country has been experiencing since 2017”, he considered.

Ramos-Horta, who takes office on May 20, said that parliament itself “is sovereign, regardless of occasional arrangements that last longer or shorter”, and that majorities cease to be so to form others, as happened with the current one.

“But even with the current majority, dialogue is possible to find a solution to avoid any worsening of the political situation and the economic crisis, because the world economic situation is severe”, he said.

Referring to the situation in Ukraine and the impact of confinements in China on the global supply network, Ramos-Horta said that Timor-Leste has to be prepared to respond to a worsening economic situation, with rising prices and loss of power to purchase.

Ramos-Horta said that after the electoral result is confirmed, dialogue will begin with the parties, inside and outside parliament, that supported his candidacy, to hear “sensitivities and priorities”, considering that the preference would be for the parties in parliament ” start a dialogue with each other”.

“And I am available to speak with the President, Francisco Guterres Lú-Olo, for whom I continue to have a lot of respect, with the Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak, and with Mari Alkatiri, despite saying that he does not need me. general secretary of the largest party and I will talk to him if he changes his mind,” he said.

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