Fundasaun Mahein (FM), February 23rd 2016
The Nomination Process: Controversy between the President of the Republic and the Government
Conflict is currently growing around President Taur Matan Ruak’s “exoneration” and nomination of the Chief of State (CEMGFA) and Vice-Chief of State (VCEMGFA) of the F-FDTL. At present the public is largely in the dark on the matter, as various interpretations and rumors on the issues have begun to spread. The president’s “exoneration” (used, in this legal sense, as the relief from responsibilities) of the standing Chief of State, Major General Lere Anan Timur, and his subsequent nomination of the Vice-Chief, Brigadier General Filomeno Paixão de Jesus, for promotion, have been protested by members of the National Parliament, and the government itself is in doubt over the constitutionality and legality of these proceedings.
So far, the government has maintained a proposal for renewing the terms for these posts of Major General and Vice-Major General of the F-FDTL, while the President stands by his decisions to exonerate the former Chief of State and submit a proposal for promotion and nomination of the former Vice-Chief.
At the moment the government and military are locked in an interim holding pattern until the matter is resolved. The President serves as the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces and must make decisions to ensure the institutional functionality of the F-FDTL. As he sees it, the mandate for the CEMGFA and Vice-CEMGFA of the F-FDTL ended on October 6th, 2015.
Prior to the end of that mandate, the government submitted a proposal in which it supported the renewal of the mandates for Major General Lere Anan Timur and General Filomeno Paixão de Jesus. The President responded by rejecting this proposal on the grounds that it ignored that the mandate for the CEMGFA positions of the F-FDTL must legally conclude after two years and may not be renewed outside of the extent of the law. The President’s response noted that the mandate for CEMFA Colonel Falur Rate Laek had lasted two terms (October 6th, 2011 to October 6th, 2013, and October 7th, 2013 to October 6th, 2015) and in October it concluded, as per the statutes of Timorese law governing the positional appointment (Article 75 No. 2, Law Decree No. 7/2014 of the Military Statutes for the Order of the F-FDTL), and so a new nomination must be required for the position.
This is not to say that renewals cannot be made for the mandates for the offices of the Chief of State and Vice-Chief of State, held by Major General Lere Anan Timur and Filomeno da Paixão de Jesus, respectively. However, the renewal for an extended mandate can be made only to extend it to a total of four years. According to Law Decree No.7/2014, Military Statutes of the F-FDTL, Article 74, the mandates for the offices of the Chief and Vice-Chief of State have a maximum duration of four years and may only be renewed once. The mandate for Major General Timur began on October 6th, 2011, and ended on October 6th, 2015.
The President is under no obligation to accept proposals by the government. The government has the capacity to make proposals, but the power of nominations and exonerations is held by the President of the Republic. (See the Constitution of RDTL, Article 86 line M; Organic Law of the F-FDTL, Articles 8-9; and Law Decree No.7/2014 EM F-FDTL, Article 74).
1. FM recommends the President and the government need to establish working communications on this issue, and clarify to the public the status of the conflict and its ongoing discussions, so as to mitigate worries and concerns on the issue that have sprung up in civil society around the topic of angry conflict and disagreement within the military—a siren call for domestic chaos in Timor-Leste in the past.
2. FM recommends the President and Government resolve this conflict as soon as possible and reestablish a working institutional authority for the F-FDTL.
3. FM recommends the President, National Parliament and Government utilize a legal path for resolution of this issue by asking for consideration from a court of appeals on the decision made by the President, rather than debating in the media and sparking various rumors and concerns among the public.
For more details, please contact:
Executive Director of FM
Phone 78316075 no 77561184