Friday, 15 February 2002
During the weekly press conference most of the questions concentrated on the public consultations that will start on Monday 25 February 2002. Arlindo Marçal, the vice-President of the Constituent Assembly, told journalists the CA-members are not just heading to the districts to explain the constitution. ‘Our main task is to listen to the people.’ Answering a question on how the CA-members were dealing with criticism on their work, he said: ‘We are always open to other opinions and criticism provided the criticism is constructive, based on facts and not destructive or just for the sake of criticizing.’
Also the issue of the impact of the public consultation was raised. ‘It will not make a difference if just one person is objecting to a provision in the constitution. But if the same issue would be raised in all districts, then the CA-members will take note of that point and discuss it later during the plenary session after returning to Dili,’ the vice-president said.
In response to a question that copies of the constitution have not arrived yet in the districts, Arlindo Marçal said that it takes time to make sure the translations from Portuguese into Indonesian, Tetum and English are correct. Only when the translations are correct the draft constitution can be reproduced in other languages and distributed. He said the starting of the distribution is scheduled for 19 January. One journalist noted that in the Lautem district not all people understand either Tetum, Indonesian or Portuguese. But vice-president Marçal said that literate East Timorese do understand at least one of these languages. For people who are illiterate the CA-district-members will explain the constitution, he said.
Another question referred to the competencies
of the president as described in the constitution. In an interview the
East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao, who is expected to run for president,
said the president is just allowed to eat and sleep, but has no powers.
In response Arlindo Marçal summed up the tasks of the president
as provided for in the constitution. ‘The constitution provides for
a semi-presidential system in which there is a balance between the powers
of the organs of sovereignty. We have a different system than the USA or
Indonesia. But the East Timorese president will also be powerful, and won’t
have just a ceremonial function.’
The CA-district representatives met today
with the District Administrators to discuss the logistics of the public
The Specialized Legislative Commission received today the UNTAET regulation on Electoral Offenses for the Presidential Elections.
The Tetum translation of the constitution will be ready this weekend and the English one later today.
BD: Constitutional Process / Konsulta iha Konstituisaun - A collection of recent media releases, reports, articles and news
BD: Peoples' Participation / Partisipasaun Politika / Partisipasi Politik / Participação Dos Povos - A collection of recent media releases, reports and articles