The National Council yesterday elected Manuel Viegas Carrascalao as the new president, replacing Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao who resigned on 29 March.
The former member of the People’s Assembly of Timor Timur, under Indonesian rule, was chosen to be president in a National Council sitting chaired by Milena Pires.
Before the voting began, the NC heard opinions
from its members. There were differing opinions. Some felt that the election
should be postponed till UN Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de
Mello was back in the country. Others felt the voting should go ahead.
NC member Maria Odete moved a motion calling for the elections to be postponed for two or three weeks in order for Sergio de Mello to clarify matters with regard to his nomination of Jose Ramos Horta. NC member Avelino Coelho in supporting the motion said that a clarification was needed. He added that Sergio’s nomination of Ramos Horta, to replace Xanana as president, was not made in consultation with the National Council.
Later, a large number of NC members rejected
the motion and asked the session’s chairperson to carry on with the voting.
Chairperson Milena Pires than put the issue to the vote. Eleven members were in favor of postponing the vote and 13 wanted the election of the NC president to go on, with two absentations.
The National Council then proceeded to elect the president.
Thirteen votes were for Manuel Carrascalao and 13 others were for Jose Ramos Horta, with one abstaining vote.
The floor then asked chairperson Milena Pires, to break for ten minutes, for a second vote to be conducted. When the second vote was being conducted, Ramos Horta stood up and said he was withdrawing from the presidency.
Because of being the sole candidate remaining, Manuel Carrascalao was made the new president of the NC, replacing Xanana Gusmao.
Apr 10 STL: Manuel Carrascalao, The New NC President News from ETimor added Apr 15
9 AP: Veteran Pro-Independence Leader To Head E Timor Assembly
News added Apr 10
"Manuel Carrascalao, a veteran of East Timor’s 24-year struggle for freedom, was elected to head the territory’s transitional legislature following last month’s surprise resignation of independence leader Xanana Gusmao. He was named speaker of the National Council after rival candidate, Nobel Peace laureate Jose Ramos Horta, withdrew from the ballot. ... The 36-member council is wholly appointed by the territory’s 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, which is administering the territory during preparations for independence." Associated Press
2 LUSA: Gusmao Explains Resignation from National Council
“I believe that priority work, with debate and explanations beyond the urban center of Dili, should be carried out among the population. This requires attention and availability that my overlapping positions did not allow me to fulfill” Xanana Gusmao
2 AP: East Timor Council Blocks Ramos Horta's Bid For Top Post
"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
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. I have spoken with Sergio Vieira de Mello head of UNTAET, with Xanana Gusmao and with practically every political party, and also with Mari Alkatiri Economic Affairs Minister and Ana Pessoa Internal Administration Minister, and they all thought that it would be important for the National Council to continue its work, and to, how should I put it, to avoid a breaking point, and that it would be important to send a message of continuity, seriousness and tranquility to the whole of the population, and naturally to the international community as well." Jose Ramos Horta, vice-president, National Council of the Timorese Resistance
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
29 RA: Allies back Gusmao's decision to quit East Timor assembly
"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
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