Visiting Lasama Reveals Timor Presidential Bid
Visiting president of East Timor’s National Parliament, Fernando de Araujo has confirmed his intention to run in 2012 presidential race in his country.
“I am going to participate in East Timor’s democracy by running as a presidential candidate in the 2012 presidential election in March,” De Araujo, who is also known as Lasama told the Jakarta Globe during a brief stopover in Jakarta on Saturday.
In the 2007 presidential election, Lasama took third place with 19.18 percent of the vote. He later pledged the votes he had received to eventual winner Jose Ramos-Horta.
This time, he said, he already had support from the Democratic Party, which he chairs. “This decision was made because I want to participate in the country’s development,” he said.
Lasama, who was jailed for six years in the 1990s while East Timor was still part of Indonesia, said there was no need to look back and be bitter about the past.
He said it was important that ties between the two neighbors improve.
“Although 12 years ago we used to be part of Indonesia, we do not have to look to the past. We look forward to the future. The improvement of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and East Timor is really needed, especially in the economic, education and national defense fields,” he said.
He said there were about 6,000 Timorese currently studying in Indonesia because East Timor was not yet able to provide them with a good education system.
“We are currently establishing the curriculum. I have to admit that the establishment of the curriculum is still deadlocked because we still lack a standardized language,” he said.
Tetun, an official language, is an oral language and has no standardized written form. Lasama said East Timor still relied on outside assistance.
“As a new country, East Timor still needs UN assistance, at least until the next presidential election because there is some administration revamping which needs to be done.”
However, he said the new country had already come a long way.
“East Timor has produced some regulations such as the criminal code, and we have ratified some international conventions, which many countries have not yet done,” he said.
In the Timorese presidential elections, if no candidate initially receives an outright majority, a second round of elections will be held pitting the two leading candidates against one another a few weeks after the first round.
Incumbent Ramos-Horta has indicated he may not stand for re-election, but a final decision has not yet been made.
Another likely candidate is Fretilin’s Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres.