Blog on language policy in East Timor/Timor Leste

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Apr 6 14:18:08 UTC 2007

The 8 Candidates (starting with 3)

With this dynamics in Timorese Politics constantly changing here is my
summary of the Presidential hopefuls I will add more tomorrow;

Lu Olo

First on the voting card is Francisco Lu Olo Guterres FRETILINs candidate,
is the only candidate with a guerrilla background having spent 25 years in
the mountainous terrain of Timor Leste. Not to be underestimated Lu Olus
leadership qualities are tested with a background of being a successful
senior member of FALINTIL and FRETILIN.  In 1999 Lu Olo was the most
senior leader inside Timor Leste. Holding the position as President of the
Timorese Parliament Lu Olo again showed that he is able to comply with the
rigours of a position bestowed upon him.

As FRETILINs candidate he is supported by the most organised political
organisation in Timor Leste with extensive networks within the grassroots
level. Its strength is its history and the ability to mobilise support
through its extensive structure and engage with people on a personal
level. Lu Olos campaign has been the strongest of all candidates
enthusiastically participated by a large number of people, easily
outnumbering other candidates in all parts of Timor Leste. The campaign is
an indicator that Lu Olo will be one of, if not the strongest candidate. A
win for Lu Olo will also signal a victory for FRETILIN. It is surprising
that LuOlos speeches have highlighted a greater understanding of the role
of the President, many other candidates interestingly including Jose Ramos
Horta seem to confuse the role with the Prime Ministers inherent in some
of their promises made to the people.

Avelino Coelho

The leader of PST a radical left winged political party is its
Presidential candidate. From a family well engaged in Timorese Politics
most of his family are sympathisers or militants of FRETILIN. Although
acknowledging that FRETILIN has done much in their 4 years in government
he has criticised some of FRETILINs policies especially with the use of
Portuguese. Avelino is more supportive of a language regime whereby Tetun
is official and main working language and emphasising the importance of
Bahasa Indonesia. Avelino has also criticised some laws enacted by
FRETILIN which he feels unjust and promised changes to be made to them.
Again it has to be asked as to what the competencies of the President in
terms of changing the language policy.

PST being a relative small Party in comparison with most others Avelino
Coelho will find it difficult to conduct an effective campaign.

Francisco Xavier do Amaral

Considering Xavier do Amaral was the only political candidate to Xanana,
in fact he did well polling around 18% of the vote. If there were more
candidates in 2001 it is questionable that Xanana would have obtained the
result he had and Xavier would not have been so convincingly beaten.

Xavier do Amaral proclaimed Independence on the 28 November 1975 to which
today he has made it his prime focus to be recognised for this act. He has
entrusted himself the title of the Proclaimer somewhat creating an ongoing
feud with FRETILIN because FRETILIN claims that Xavier was given this role
because of his age and the duty to announce FRETILINs proclamation of
Independence. In simple terms FRETILIN considers him as the designated
announcer and not the initiator of the unilateral proclamation of

Xavier is also the candidate for ASDT a political party with historical
ties to FRETILIN. Into his 70s his age is a significant issue for the
Timorese voters but will still get votes from Mambais speaking people, one
of the largest language groups in TImor Leste.


N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal.


More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list