Be Critical when Faced with any of the Candidates

Be Critical when Faced with any of the Candidates post thumbnail image

Diretur Ezekutivu Fundasaun Mahein (FM), Nelson Belo

The upcoming presidential elections will present the Timorese electorate with the opportunity to select their head of state and supreme commander of the F-FDTL. Although the role is largely symbolic, the president has significant clout over the conduct of politics and ensuring national stability and unity.

Being in a post-conflict environment, tensions run high and the slightest of incidents have the potential to spiral out of control. This is why Timor-Leste requires strong leadership, committed to ensuring national stability and security.
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Our leadership needs to value those democratic values set out in our constitution.
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They must ensure that every citizen in this country will be able to perform their civic duty on Election Day in full freedom and security. They must ensure that no citizens come under any external threat or pressure and that their vote is cast in the most secure and free manner.

When voting, citizens should seek to cast away any political or family pressures and elect the candidate they deem to present the best action plan to provide security for Timor-Leste. The upcoming elections are a real test for this country. Timor-Leste has come a long way since the 2006 crisis, however with the departure of UNMIT and a growing sense of donor fatigue, we need to show to ourselves and to the rest of the world, that we are able to run smooth elections and stand on our own two feet. The stakes are high. A repeat of 2006 will have enormous negative repercussions on the development of the country. We will bring upon ourselves more suffering and shame. To the rest of the world, we will fail to attract the foreign investment and tourism, that we desperately seek to diversify our economy.
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To sum up, Fundasaun Mahein calls out to the people of Timor-Leste not to be duped by the smooth words and promises of most politicians. Be critical and when faced with any of the candidates, don’t be shy to ask them tough questions and share your grievances. When choosing your candidate, take into account the candidate, who seems to have the most genuine understanding of your concerns, the most willing to listen to you and the most competent in guaranteeing national stability and unity. (NB)

6 thoughts on “Be Critical when Faced with any of the Candidates”

  1. Good thoughts, Nelson. I wish most US political commentators were as wise as you.

    I’d just add to the last sentence that national stability and unity are only part of what a President and government are responsible for — economic and social justice, especially for the most vulnerable, are also important. Stability and unity can be enforced at the point of a gun (as Suharto did in Indonesia for much of his 32 years), but democracy should respect and advance people’s rights as well as those of the state. The President can be an important symbol of inclusiveness, tolerance, and looking out for the interests of children, women, rural farmers, unemployed and other people who are often excluded from decision-making.

    Timor-Leste cannot rely on foreigners’ money — be it “aid,” tourism or foreign investment — to advance its sovereignty and economic development. With Ukun Rasik A’an comes responsibility and power, and this country should look to its own resources — primarily its people — to develop the nation.

    1. Thanks Charlie and I especially appreciate the valuable comments you added. You are right when you argue that the President is also responsible for economic and social justice and especially for the most vulnerable. Ensuring security and unity will only be possible if we can ensure economic and social justice. The two go hands in hands.
      Although I feel that Tourism and foreign investment do have their role to play in the development of this country, you do raise a valuable point in arguing that Timor’s greatest resource is its people. Therefore, there should be greater investment made in education and health. Current levels are insufficient. (NB)

      1. Great to see such substantive comment and advice to the electorate. The place (and importance) of policy in Timor’s election campaign was raised in Melbourne recently at a VLGA election observers briefing and led to a couple of us drafting some key policy issues that voters might put to candidates to test their competence and electability, either as President or as MP. The draft is rushed and far from complete but I am sending it to FM (via Caetano Alves) and LH (via Charlie) for further work and use if you judge it helpful. Over to you. Even if you don’t agree with its contents, the idea might be useful as a model for something generated in Timor.

  2. I will also forward the directory of TL political parties and groupings done by Dr Dennis Shoesmith for the Australian Labor Party International in case you haven’t seen it. It gives some attention to policy and is a much needed update on the directory I did way back in 2001. Note they are looking for a translator to Tetum.

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