Vatican offered to mediate political crisis in Timor-Leste, but Xanana Gusmão refused – News


The Timorese Foreign Affairs Minister, Dionísio Babo, confirmed to Lusa the offer of mediation, in a letter from the Holy See that appointed the apostolic nuncio in Dili to lead this process of dialogue with the country’s main leaders.

“I received this communication, which I forwarded to national leaders,” he told Lusa Dionísio Babo, refusing to comment further on the content of the letter or on the leaders to whom the missive was forwarded.

One of the leaders contacted was Xanana Gusmão, president of the National Congress of East Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT), the country’s second party, which, according to the answer that Lusa had access to, rejected the offer, considering that the country’s problem is not of an individual nature , but of successive constitutional “tramples”.

In the letter, addressed to the apostolic nuncio in Dili, Marco Sprizzi, Xanana Gusmão responds to the “availability of mediation” expressed in the letter from the Holy See, dated May 21, arguing that the best solution for Timor-Leste “can only come from elections anticipated ”.

“I apologize immensely, venerating nuncio, but I am not in a position, both political and psychological, to participate in dialogues of this kind, because I will not accept being too weak to make compromises, contrary to the principles and objectives of my party, for the uncompromising defense of the State democratic right ”, he writes.

Xanana Gusmão expresses “surprise” by the mediation offer and says he is “moved” by Pope Francis’ desire to appoint Sprizzi for “this difficult, but noble mission”.

However, he maintains, the crisis is not due to individual discrepancies, but to what he classifies as violations of the Constitution by the current head of state, Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo, and to “overruns” in the management of the current prime minister, Taur Matan Ruak .

“It may seem that the problem that exists has its roots in individual disagreements and, therefore, I would like to clarify your reverence that it would have been very easy to‘ resolve this conflict ’had the bases been those”, writes Xanana Gusmão.

The “imbroglio” of the current problem, he writes, “is more than that”, being a “clear and persistent manifestation since 2018 of violation of the Constitution and laws by the head of state, which is just an object used by his political party itself, in order to impose a party dictatorship in this young state ”.

“On the other hand, by the head of the Government [Taur Matan Ruak] an uncontrollable desire to constantly run over constitutional and legal norms regarding the financial management system of State assets ”, he writes.

Timor-Leste has been experiencing a protracted political crisis since 2017 that has involved the Presidency of the Republic, two Governments, the National Parliament and political parties, with fluctuating political alliances creating several parliamentary majorities.

The crisis begins after the formation of the minority government led by Fretilin, which won by a minimum margin in the 2017 elections, with the lead of the government program by a majority in the opposition – CNRT, PLP and KHUNTO – leading to the dissolution of parliament and elections anticipated in 2018.

The advances were won with an absolute majority by the Alliance for Change for Progress (AMP), a coalition of these three parties, but the President of the Republic, Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo – who is also the president of Fretilin – did not take over about one ten members nominated by the Government, the majority of the CNRT.

This caused tension within the coalition, which grew until the lead of the proposed General State Budget (OGE) for 2020, earlier this year, with abstentions and votes against CNRT deputies.

This led the Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak, to resign from office, without the President having spoken for two months on the request, then accepting the withdrawal of the head of Government’s request made due to the crisis of the pandemic crisis. Covid-19.

At the same time, the President of the Republic initiated a round of dialogues, among others, with the political parties, after which a new majority alliance of six parties was born, led by the CNRT, to which the head of state never responded.

On the other side, Fretilin, the largest party in parliament, announced a platform of understanding with the PLP, to support the Government to which it joined, then KHUNTO, which abandoned its alliance with the CNRT.

The CNRT announced the formal departure of the members nominated by the party and who are still in the government, with new members proposed by Fretilin being nominated to fill some of the vacant positions.

Political tensions broke out this week in the national parliament with the new majority (Fretilin, PLP and KHUNTO) holding a plenary session to oust the president of parliament, Arão Noé Amaral (CNRT) and to elect his successor, Aniceto Guterres Lopes (Fretilin) .

The votes, which the CNRT considers to be illegal, came after unprecedented incidents in parliament with shoving, shouting, protests and even aggression, with the two party blocs bringing complaints to the Public Ministry and petitions to the Court of Appeal.

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