A new government – could still take a few weeks

It looks like that a coalition of CNRT, ASDT/PSD and PD may have been successfully formed.  This coalition has more than 50% of the seats in parliament and therefore can pass legislation.

Fretilin have claimed that as the party with the most votes, they are entitled to receive the first invitation from the president to form a government.  They have said they have 60 days (or was it 90 ?) to act on this.  It is unclear if a signed agreement from the coalition takes precedence over the 60 days.

Jose Teixeira from Fretilin (via Radio OZ) has said that the constitution permits Fretilin to form a minority government.  He makes a clear distinction between a pre-election coalition and post-election coalition, basically asserting that a post-election coalition has no other additional rights apart from the ability to vote on a majority basis.  I am not sure just how a minority government can get any legislation passed.  I understand that if the budget is rejected twice, then the president has grounds to dissolve parliament and call for fresh elections.

So on the one hand, it is possible that once the final elections results have been released within the next week, that a coalition could be invited to form a government.  On the other hand, it could take 2 months before Fretilin finally concede that they can not form a majority government.  They could go for the minority government option which may eventually lead to a fresh election.

Take your pick or anything in between.

3 thoughts on “A new government – could still take a few weeks

  1. Yeap its a tricky situation and political system. Post-election coalitions are usually weaker than pre-election coalitions, though the former do not always work either. And discontent can arise among FRETILIN supporters if they are not given the lead of the government despite having gained more votes. On the other hand, the formed coalition has a strong leader – Xanana and may actually function. First big challenge for the PR Ramos-Horta, for the people and for the political leadership in general. To be seen whether peace and stability will return over the next few months, or, let’s hope not, if things will remain uncertain.
    On a different topic: I heard that the PR José RH added to his load of work – leading a very fragile State – a PhD in Political Science at the University of Minho (north of Portugal). It was reported that his dissertation topic will be the UN Reform et al. Er, a focus on UN peacebuilding in Timor might be a good idea too….

  2. What does Jose Teixeira know anyway? He is just a mere lawyer without any expertise on constitutional matters. He is a member of Fretilin and it would be most unlikely for him to provide a view against his party plus he couldn’t care less about ruining his professional reputation since being a Fretilin minister pays ‘better’.

    On the other hand most other legal people including a renowned Portuguese constitutional lawyer who assisted in the drafting of the Timorese Constitution back in UNTAET days have argued convincingly to the contrary proving that Teixeira’s (and Sahe da Silva, the PM’s son) arguments are absolutely absurd and groundless.

    Fretilin is trying desperately to hang on to power at all costs make use of any arguments their imagination allows them. However one fundamental principle of democracy is majority rule and there is no argument possible that could shift reason in Fretilin’s favour.

    Fretilin should just stop its unreasonable demands, proceed to the opposition bench and allow the nation to move forward.

    Yes they won the election but have no majority and would have the right to form a government if there was not an ‘alliance with parliamentary majority’.

    But since there is one such alliance Fretilin cannot impose their minority will on the majority. It is just undemocratic!

  3. I have been waiting all week (but not holding the breath) for there to be a fundamental breakthrough but not to be … yet.

    The things people will do to retain the baubles of power.

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