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Monday, 18 April 2011

Dom Basilio; “TL Needs a Figure of National Consensus as President of the Republic”

JORNAL NACIONAL DIARIO - Dili, 18 April 2011 - Translation

The Bishop of the Diocese of Baucau Dom Basilio de Nascimento said that Timor-Leste needs a figure as President of the Republic who can bring about national consensus.

According to Bishop Dom Basilio, the position of President of the Republic has to be someone who has the capacity to sit together and hold dialogue, to act in the national interest, to do those things that are fundamental for the life of this country.

“As far as I am concerned what we need mostly right now is national consensus, meaning that despite us having different views, what we have to do is to look at what is in the national interest of the nation for the next 15 to 20 years, so that our efforts are not divided, but that all Timorese fulfill their obligation to assist one another,” said the Bishop of Baucau Dom Basilio to journalists recently, whilst responding to questions on his views as to who may be a suitable candidate for the upcoming elections for the President of the Republic.

Bishop Dom Basilio clarified that whoever becomes President of the Republic, he or she must focus on harnessing national consensus.

“National consensus in the sense that they each select their people, to represent them in the institutions of state for a period of time, bringing each of their ideas and their policies,” Bishop Dom Basilio told journalists at his office in Baucau recently.

The leader of the Diocese of Baucau also argued that in future perhaps it would al so be a good idea if the President could be an independent candidate, instead of being from a political party.

“Personally I believe that if Dr Alkatiri is willing he could be a candidate from FRETILIN, and yes he is a friend of mine and although he may get upset with me, I think that if Dr Alkatiri is willing to stand for President of the Republic, I think that he fulfills the category of being a candidate of national consensus. Whether we like it or not, the point is that FRETILIN is and will be without a doubt a powerful political party in Timor-Leste’s next elections,” Dom Basilio said.

The Bishop thought that should Dr Mari Bim Amude Alkatiri, the current secretary general of FRETILIN, be willing, he should be a candidate for the 2012 Presidential elections. The reason the Bishop of the Diocese of Baucau is of this view is that he believes Mari Alkatiri has what it takes to harness national consensus, and that he is a figure who is capable and widely acknowledged as someone who can represent the Timorese people.

“He is my friend, and he may get upset with me, but I think that if Dr Alkatiri is available to be a candidate for President of the Republic, it would be good, because he could harness national consensus. I think that it is this that he can do mostly,” said Dom Basilio, The Bishop of the Baucau Diocese.

The Bishop of Baucau added that what was needed at the next Presidential elections was a figure from the current opposition. “The historic leaders right now include the Prime Minister who has made history as the leader of the government, Mr. Ramos Horta has also made history as a member of government. So I think the time has also come to give Dr Alkatiri time to become someone who will also make history,” Bishop Dom Basilio pointed out.

The leader of the Baucau Diocese said that from his point of view Mari Alkatiri’s candidacy would be based on consensus. “My view is not that simply because it is a FRETILIN figure that would result in consensus, but because FRETILIN would also see that one of their own figures occupied a position in a state institution,” Dom Basilio said.

Bishop of Baucau explained further that, “this issue of reaching consensus is the best and most needed path for us to follow at this moment. This is what national unity is, because national unity does not mean that we all think the same, but that above all else we will all seek to defend Timor-Leste’s interests from the attempts by those who are clandestinely trying to take advantage of the lack of unity to destroy our very foundations as a nation. More so, when the majority is not united, it is very easy for others to quickly dominate us and take advantage of our current situation,” Dom Basilio highlighted.

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