Apr 27, 2007
East Timor – 27th April 2007 – Yesterday Presidential candidate Dr José Ramos-Horta and leader of the Partido Democratico (PD) Fernando Lasama de Araújo held a joint press conference to formally announce PD’s backing for Ramos-Horta in the upcoming second round presidential elections set to take place on 9th May 2007.
This announcement means that Ramos-Horta now has the backing of all major candidates that didn’t make it from the first round elections, demonstrating a clear dissatisfaction with the current Fretilin regime and its conduct during the first round ballot.
At today’s press conference Lasama stated, “Fretilin have demonstrated a total disregard for the people of our country, thinking that they can buy peoples votes as if it was a possession. A vote is more than that, it is a civil right and is not for sale. A free and fair election is the right of our people, one earnt through many years of suffering and conflict and must be protected.
Today brave people from the village of Watulari protested in person to parliament about Fretilin intimidation forcing them to sell their voting cards.
“This is unacceptable,” Lasama continued, “therefore, with our focus on the future, we recognise the need to instigate change through democratic means, and give our full backing to José Ramos-Horta as our Presidential candidate of choice.
“Mindful of the failures of the Fretilin government over the last five years, failure to put the interests of the people before themselves, failure to work with all aspects of Timorese society, failure to work with opposition parties in the national interest, we must endorse Ramos-Horta to avoid an unending conflict for the country.”
Ramos-Horta stated in the press conference, “I am proud to stand here today next to Fernando Lasama de Araújo in a call for free and fair elections in East Timor. I have voiced my concerns about conduct in the first round publicly, and also in private talks with foreign ambassadors. I have called upon them to assist in the elimination of intimidation, in vote tampering, in the acts of government ministers abusing the free access cards they are given to polling stations.
“I once again call for the establishment of a free society where people are free to execute their democratic rights of voting free from intimidation and corruption. I will work with all people, all parties to build a better future for our people. I will work to hold to account those that abuse the democratic system to build a country where all are free from the chains of poverty and suppression. Where all have the right to an education, to a roof over their heads, to food and clothing, and most importantly a country built on peace and co-operation.”