BACK DOOR Newsletter on East Timor      home   April news

Background:
Apr 1 RDP: Horta on national council  Interview
"I think it was my duty, my moral duty, to accept this challenge [presidency of ETimor’s National Council interim parliament]. There has been a lot of disorientation, sadness, consternation and general concern among the population, the youth and the members of the National Council." Jose Ramos Horta, vice-president, National Council of the Timorese Resistance

Mar 28 BBC: Gusmao resigns as East Timor leader  News
"I feel, as president of the National Council, that any attempt to overcome the deadlock is in vain due to the lack of willingness [of Council] members, ... As I refuse to be part of a politically irresponsible process, I hereby tender my resignation,” East Timor independence leader Jose “Xanana” Gusmao


"Political squabbling in East Timor intensified Monday when its transitional assembly blocked, at least temporarily, a bid by Nobel Peace laureate Jose Ramos Horta to become its new chief following the surprise resignation of popular independence leader Xanana Gusmao." Associated Press

Associated Press

April 2, 2001

East Timor Council Blocks Ramos Horta’s Bid For Top Post

DILI, East Timor (AP)--Political squabbling in East Timor intensified Monday when its transitional assembly blocked, at least temporarily, a bid by Nobel Peace laureate Jose Ramos Horta to become its new chief following the surprise resignation of popular independence leader Xanana Gusmao.

Gusmao, who had been chief of the National Council, quit the grouping last week, citing infighting among its 36 members.

Saturday, the territory’s U.N. administration announced that it had appointed Ramos Horta to fill Gusmao’s council seat. Several officials later confidently predicted that the council would elect Ramos Horta as its new leader.

However, in what became a heated session Monday, a majority of council members said they had not been properly advised of Gusmao’s resignation and voted to postpone debate on his replacement and the leadership until April 9.

Some members also demanded that the council draft a list of several candidates for the position rather than automatically accept Ramos Horta’s nomination.

Ramos Horta was not present at Monday’s council session and was not immediately available for comment.

U.N. officials also did not comment.

The National Council is wholly appointed by the U.N. administration and is regarded as a dress rehearsal body for eventual East Timorese self-rule.

It has no direct powers, but debates and comments on regulations drafted by the United Nations.

The council is to be dissolved in June ahead of August elections for a new body that will draw up a national constitution to be in place before independence is granted and a head of state is chosen, probably early next year.

Until now, Gusmao had been the clear front-runner for the position of East Timor’s first president.

However, his departure amid infighting among East Timor’s various political factions makes it unclear who will get the top job.
Ramos Horta and Roman Catholic Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo received the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize for their international diplomatic fight against 24 years of Indonesian rule.

After Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975, Ramos Horta remained in self-imposed exile to lobby foreign governments to support freedom for his homeland.

East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence in a U.N.-sponsored referendum in 1999. The result of the ballot triggered a wave of violence by pro-Indonesian militias.



Apr 1 RDP: Horta on national council  Interview
"I think it was my duty, my moral duty, to accept this challenge [presidency of ETimor’s National Council interim parliament]. There has been a lot of disorientation, sadness, consternation and general concern among the population, the youth and the members of the National Council." Jose Ramos Horta, vice-president, National Council of the Timorese Resistance

Mar 31 Reut: Ramos-Horta replaces Gusmao as Timor leader  News
"Nobel peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta, foreign minister of U.N.-run East Timor, will take over as head of the territory’s de facto parliament, the United Nations said on Saturday. He replaces independence leader Xanana Gusmao, who quit last week over internal squabbling which he said was hampering the tiny territory’s push for independence." Reuters

Mar 29 RA: Allies back Gusmao's decision to quit East Timor assembly  News
"The civil society needs more his time and work rather than the national council. So he wants to continue to bring the people together to really reflect on the constitution so that it can be a legitimate one, reflects the peoples’ wishes, spirit and soul as he puts it, so his time is better used elsewhere rather than in the national council." Agio Pereira

Mar 28 BBC: Gusmao resigns as East Timor leader  News
"I feel, as president of the National Council, that any attempt to overcome the deadlock is in vain due to the lack of willingness [of Council] members, ... As I refuse to be part of a politically irresponsible process, I hereby tender my resignation,” East Timor independence leader Jose “Xanana” Gusmao


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