East Timor: Social Democrats say no to government alliance

Dili, 19 July (AKI) - In the wake of East Timor's inconclusive elections, the Social Democratic Party (PSD) has said it has no interest in joining a coalition government. "We will not enter a government with Fretilin," the party's president Mario Carrascalao told Adnkronos International (AKI). "Our aims are too different and it would not make sense."

His comments appear to counter the recent declaration from President Jose Ramos-Horta, who said "all the parties have reached agreement on forming a united national government".

"From my point of view, a united national government cannot work and if (former president) Xanana Gusmao wants to include Fretilin, then my party will withdraw from the alliance," said Carrascalao, considered a potential prime minister.

The PSD is now part of the four-party alliance included in Gusmao's Committee for the Reconstruction of East Timor.

Gusmao, hero of the country's resistance, announced the alliance in early July and has asked for a mandate to govern the country for the next five years.

The coalition won 51 per cent of the vote in the recent parliamentary elections and is expected to hold 37 of the 65 seats in the parliament.

But the government has become caught up in different interpretations of the constitution which could give Fretilin the possibility of forming the next government.

Fretilin, which is expected to hold 21 seats, claims it can govern as a minority party under the constitution.

The idea of a national united government has forced Ramos-Horta to deal with political divisions in the country in a bid to find a solution.

The parliamentary elections came after a year of political tension and violence, sparked by the government's sacking of 600 rebellious soldiers.


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