Fretilin Congress

In general, I don’t do politics for fear of being accused of taking sides and simply that I do not have close day-to-day contact with this stuff.

But one of my relatives asked me to fill them in on what has happened at the congress. As far as I know, it went like this :

  • The Prime Minister (Mr. Alkitiri) pushed for a show of hands rather than a secret ballot, when it came the time of voting for a new Fretilin leader.
  • I think anyone with any political nouse would know that this meant that Mr. Alkitiri knew he had the numbers.
  • The challenger (Mr. Guterres) withdrew at this point.
  • At nomination time, Mr.Alkitiri was the only candidate and received 550 nominations. There were 5 against and 11 abstentions.
  • I don’t think anyone believes this vote count truly represents the balance between Mr.Alkatiri supporters and others.

    During the Saturday afternoon, there was a fleet of Alkitiri supporters driving around town – about 200 vehicles. It was like a proper election but at the end of the day, this was just an internal party election for its leader.

    Saturday was also Independence Day. Apart from a concert outside the main government buildings (Palacio do Governu), I saw no other events. The day was much quieter than it has been over the last few days.

    By the end of the week, we should know if the passing of both the Fretilin congress and Independence Day (without any trouble) will encourage the return of the many thousands who have left Dili.