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March 2007

On April 9 East Timor will have its second Presidential elections, elections which will precede parliamentary elections soon afterwards. The East Timorese political system combines a President, who is commander-in-chief of the army and who has veto powers over legislation, with an executive cabinet, headed by a Prime Minister, elected by the parliament. In the coming Presidential elections there are 9 candidates, compared to two at the last elections, The nine candidates are Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo from FRETILIN , Avelinho Maria Coelho for the Socialist Party of Timor (PST), Francisco Xavier do Amaral, Manuel Tilman , Lucia Maria Brandao Freitas Lobato, Jose Ramos Horta, Joao Viegas Carascalao and Fernando de Araujo Lasama.

In recent polls issued by the Dili newspaper, Suara Timor Loro Sae, Jose Ramos Horta, the current Prime Minister has been topping the poll and PST Secertary-General Avelinho Coelho, also known as Avelino da Silva, has been coming in second. Max Lane has been talking to Avelino Coelho about his campaign and political conditions in East Timor.

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(For additional news reports to complementthe interview below see: http://www.asia-pacific-action.org/southeastasia/indonesia/indoleft/2007/acehkita_pratoholdfirstcongress_220207.htm. Also see http://www.greenleft.org.au/2007/701/36428)

The left-wing Acehnese Peoples Party (PRA) will be holding its founding congress in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh at the end of February. Sydney University Southeast Asian Studies lecturer Max Lane spoke to Thamrin Ananda, chairperson of the Preparatory Committee of the PRA.

There have recently been elections for governor and district heads in Aceh. The governorship and vice-governorship were won by figures from the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) and from the pro-referendum movement. Has the political struggle that characterised the situation in Aceh in the 1980s and 1990s ended?

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Notes, reports and speculations by Max Lane on Indonesia, East Timor and politics. All analysis here are my personal views and are not the views of any university, institution or organisation with which I am affiliated.

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All analysis here are my personal views and are not the views of any university, institution or organisation with which I am affiliated.

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