East Timorese PM finds required coalition partners | News | DW | 15.07.2012
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East Timorese PM finds required coalition partners

East Timor's prime minister has vowed to form a coalition government with two minor parties. If a government can be formed without incident, UN troops will be withdrawn by the end of the year.

East Timorese Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao said on Sunday that his center-left party will form a coalition government, keeping the main opposition party Freitilin out of office for the next five years.

The National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) will be joined by the Democratic Party and the Frente Reform party to form government, he added.

Gusmao's party won 30 seats in parliament in the July 7 polls, three short of the 33 needed to form government, the party's secretary-general Dionisio Babo Soares told reporters after the announcement was made.

Angered Freitilin supporters threw stones at cars parked in front of their party headquarters after the announcement; but there were no reports of casualties, and the situation appeared under control, a witness told the Reuters news agency.

"We have made our decision. CNRT believes the next coalition will be better than the coalition government five years ago," Gusmao told a conference of the ruling party.

The country's Supreme Court will announce the poll's official result on Tuesday, but preliminary results indicate the CNRT party won 36 percent of the vote in the July 7 election, Fretilin took 29 percent, and the Democratic Party placed third on 10 percent.

"The secretary general of Fretilin called Mr Gusmao and said the door is open to negotiations but they won the election so they have decided," said Fretilin's spokesperson Estanislau da Silva.

The United Nations sees the polls as the last big hurdle that will decide whether the remaining 1,300 peacekeepers and security personnel can withdraw from the country.

If a government is able to be formed without any major violence, the UN peacekeeping mission will withdraw its troops by the end of the year.

East Timor gained independence from Indonesia in 2002 and is Asia's newest and poorest nation.

jlw/msh (Reuters, AP)