Xanana Gusmao is a heroic political leader. http://chriswhiteonline.org/2010/01/xanana/
Update: The challenge for the new Government and new PM Rui
Araujo is when the oil runs dry. Xanana Gusmao has successfully chosen his successor but falling oil prices weigh heavily on the state’s outlook, writes Tom Allard.
Members of the incoming Sixth Constitutional Government meet.
EAST Timor’s outgoing prime minister Xanana Gusmao has dumped poor performers and introduced youthful talent to a ministry that bolsters national unity. by Paul Cleary, Australian.
While Mr Gusmao will remain in the slimmed-down ministry with a role in planning and investment, he has chosen the capable Rui Araujo, 50, as his replacement, among other credible appointments.
Dr Araujo studied medicine in Indonesia and New Zealand and looked after resistance fighters in the mountains during the Indonesian occupation.
In 2002 he became the country’s first health minister in the Fretilin government and soon emerged as one of its best performers. Fretilin lost power amid violent upheaval in 2006, but Dr Araujo was promoted to the role of deputy prime minister.
Fluent in English, Indonesian and Portuguese, Dr Araujo left politics in 2007 when Fretilin lost the election and has worked as an adviser in the Finance Ministry. He is also understood to have his own business interests.
It remains to be seen whether Dr Araujo can avoid being tarred with some of the disastrous spending decisions made by this ministry in recent years.
Mr Gusmao axed finance minister Emila Pires, who will be replaced by her youthful deputy, Santina Cardoso. Ms Pires approved the building of a $28 million office for the ministry that has 20,000sq m of floor space. She also approved the building of a $2.5m waterfront residence originally designed as her official home.
But another member of the Pires clan, Alfredo, remains as minister of petroleum. Mr Pires has been the driver of plans to spend more than $1 billion on oil and gas infrastructure, including a four-lane highway, on the remote south coast.
Speaking briefly to journalists in the national language, Tetum, Dr Araujo said the new ministry “represents national unity, represents political consensus”.
Another impressive appointee is the new foreign minister, Hernani Coelho, a former ambassador to Australia. He will have responsibility for dealing with the sensitive maritime boundary issues with Australia.
East Timor accused Australia of spying during oil and gas negotiations a decade ago and had taken action in the International Court of Justice to declare a 2006 treaty invalid.
Contrary to a report last year in the Fairfax media, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed that Australia and East Timor had not recommenced negotiations over a maritime boundary.
“We are engaged in consultations with Timor-Leste to seek an amicable settlement of the Timor Sea Treaty arbitration and the case before the International Court of Justice and these consultations are ongoing,” Ms Bishop said.
Ms Bishop rejected the need for Australia to return to the ICJ’s jurisdiction for resolving maritime boundary disputes.
Michael Leach on the generational change http://insidestory.org.au/generational-change-in-timor-leste
Now Timor Leste is changing leadership in most difficult times.
Damien Kingsbury argues East Timor is still finding its way along a difficult post-independence path. Xanana Gusmao, a cult-like figure, will remain close to power even after his resignation.
He won’t allow his departure to ruin that The first likely outcome of this cabinet shake-up is that, after having been cast into the political wilderness in 2008, senior members of leftist political party Fretilin will likely be included in a new “government of national unity”.
The most likely successor to Gusmao as prime minister is the popular former Fretilin deputy-prime minister and health minister
Although aged 50, Araujo is seen as one of the “young generation” of political leaders. He is popular with most East Timorese, is regarded as having considerable personal capacity, and is seen as a potential consensus prime minister. His appointment would then go a long way to ensuring the country’s continued stability.
Gusamo has said that he will remain in the political background, possibly as senior minister, to ensure that the succession goes smoothly. If there is a serious threat of the country returning to chaos he, and president Taur Matan Ruak, would be prepared to step back in.’
The resignation from office by East Timor’s prime minister, Xanana Gusmao, was not unexpected. He had flagged his intentions over the past year. But it has sent shock waves throughout East Timor, where many believe his departure will create an unfillable political void.
East Timor’s domestic and foreign policy after the resignation of Gusmao.
Paul Mason has a different analysis: Peace in East Timor at cost of economic dignity.
Readers of this blog see my support for Fretilin, so this development is worth looking at.
TL’s new PM is still challenging the Australian corporate and political elite. Read the background here and support the
Timor Sea Justice campaign.
Laohamutuk It takes more than money for TL development
Lesson 4: Achieve sovereignty and diversification.
An economy cannot stand on one leg. Petroleum will not be replaced by one single sector, but many.
Eco-tourism, small industries, agriculture and food processing can provide jobs, income and basic needs.
People have to eat before they can spend, and farming should prioritize local nutrition over export crops. Food and economic sovereignty are as important as political sovereignty.
Local production should substitute for imports, which provides competitive advantages as well as survival when imports are unaffordable. Reducing imports by 20% has the same effect on the trade deficit as increasing non-oil exports by 600%, and is a lot easier.
Tariffs or subsidies may be needed to help develop local production, just as they were in industrialized countries.
The most important infrastructure is not glamorous. Rural roads, neighborhood primary schools, decentralized renewable electricity, health clinics and local water supply and sanitation will improve people’s lives much more than costly megaprojects.
Lesson 5: Prioritize human resources.
The state is responsible to ensure everyone’s rights to education, housing, health care, and sanitation.
Universal quality primary education is essential for developing and improving people’s quality of life, as well as for future employment and economic development.
Inadequate nutrition and health care can permanently limit a child’s future.
It’s easier to buy an overseas scholarship than to create a university, or to send a sick politician abroad for treatment than to create a good hospital, but quality local facilities will educate and treat far more people.
Background: Australia steals TL oil
More to come.