quinta-feira, 2 de agosto de 2007
Timor-Leste: Alkatiri despedido por Xanana quer ser Primeiro Ministro
August 1, 2007 Wednesday 9:22 AM GMT
East Timor's ousted prime minister wants his job back
By GUIDO GOULART, Associated Press Writer
DILI East Timor
Ousted Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri announced Wednesday that he was running for his old job, a move likely to increase tensions in East Timor as its divided political elite haggle over the makeup of the new government.
The tiny nation has been in political limbo since clashes between security forces spiraled into gang warfare one year ago, leaving dozens dead and sending 150,000 fleeing their homes before the young government collapsed.
Parliamentary elections in June failed to produce a clear winner and, with rival parties unable to agree on who should govern, President Jose Ramos-Horta threatened to make a unilateral decision on Friday, as is his constitutional right.
There are fears that the selection of prime minister and other top government posts could spark fresh violence, and the announcement by Alkatiri, who was ousted at the height of last year's unrest, added to tensions.
After earlier claiming he did not want to be prime minister, Alkatiri said Wednesday he would be the candidate for his former ruling Fretilin party, which won the parliamentary polls but without the majority needed to govern alone.
A coalition of parties headed by former president Xanana Gusmao commands more seats, and says it should head the next government.
"I am ready to come back," said Alkatiri, who has many enemies within the ruling elite. "If a person like Xanana Gusmao is ready to be prime minister ... why not a person like me?
"As president, he failed to guarantee national unity and national reconciliation."
East Timor, which broke free from decades of often brutal Indonesian rule in 1999 following a U.N.-sponsored ballot, is facing major security, humanitarian and economic challenges just five years after it officially became Asia's newest state.
Unemployment in the nation of fewer than 1 million people hovers at 50 percent, gang battles continue to break out in the capital, and aid agencies have warned that a fifth of the population is threatened by food shortages after crop failures.
The lingering political deadlock has added to people's worries.
Ramos-Horta has repeatedly called for a unity government.
He has threatened several times to name the new leadership himself, only to push back the deadline at the last minute. He did so again Wednesday, saying that after daylong talks with rival parties, he felt it necessary to give them more time.
"They want to talk to each other. They want to ... find an alternative, a solution that can ensure peace and stability in the country," he said. "I cannot close the door when the disputing parties want dialogue."