Ramos-Horta seeks Catholic nod for Timor presidency

After consulting with East Timor's Catholic bishops and with incumbent president Xanana Gusmao, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Prime Minister, Jose Ramos-Horta has announced that he will be a candidate for the country's presidency in April elections.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Mr Ramos-Horta, who took over as Prime Minister amid violent upheaval last year, will campaign against up to eight other presidential candidates, including Francisco "Lu-Olo" Guterres, the president of the ruling Fretilin party, which has the country's largest supporter base.

Mr Ramos-Horta, who formally announced his candidature yesterday, told Al Jazeera television he had reluctantly decided to stand.

"Many people have come to me barefoot, illiterate from around the country. Some without even my agreement began collecting signatures for me," he said. But if people "decide in their centuries-old wisdom to vote for someone else � I will probably be the only candidate in the world for any job who will celebrate my electoral demise".

Mr Ramos-Horta said he had consulted the incumbent President, Xanana Gusmao, and Catholic bishops before deciding to stand for the largely symbolic but influential position.

East Timor is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic.

Mr Gusmao, the charismatic former guerilla leader, has told opposition leaders in Dili that he plans to form his own party and contest the general elections likely to be held mid-year.

Mr Ramos-Horta and Mr Gusmao will try to convince voters that as president and prime minister they offer the country's best chance to heal divisions and entrench political stability after last year's chaos and violence.

Others who have announced they are contesting the 9 April presidential election include: Fernando de Araujo, a former political prisoner and student leader; Lucia Lobato, a lawyer; and the opposition figure Joao Carrascalao.

Ramos-Horta set to stand for president (Sydney Morning Herald, 24/2/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Jose Ramos Horta (Wikipedia)

Indonesia-Timor commission promotes reconciliation (CathNews, 8/2/07)
First graduates from ACU Timor teachers course (CathNews, 23/11/06)
Former Timor PM blames Church over ouster (CathNews, 10/11/06)
East Timor situation calm for All Saints (CathNews, 3/11/06)
Nobel prize Bishop meets Timor rebels and ex-PM (CathNews, 27/10/06)
Men killed outside Dili Church as Timor's PM leaves to see Pope (CathNews, 24/10/06)
Timor bishop in bid to prevent new violence (CathNews, 13/10/06)
Timor highlanders back fugitive rebel with prayers (CathNews, 11/9/06)
'Big people' must reconcile, say displaced Timorese (CathNews 15/8/06)
Priest says coffee growers big losers in Timor unrest (CathNews 21/7/06)
Ramos-Horta wants Vatican embassy for Timor (CathNews 11/7/06)
Timor Church accused of plotting coup (CathNews 29/6/06)
Timor Church to pursue truth and dialogue (CathNews 28/6/06)
Diocese prepares to aid fleeing East Timor refugees (CathNews 11/5/06)
East Timor Catholic leaders appeal for calm after riot (CathNews 5/5/06)
Thousands shelter in Catholic centres after East Timor riots (CathNews 3/5/06)
West Timor bishop tells Govt it's time to act on refugees (CathNews 13/3/03)

26 Feb 2007

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