Timorese President to review proposed cabinet members before inauguration

The Timorese President said today that he will study the list of members proposed to the 8th Government by the nominated Prime Minister, Taur Matan Ruak, to ensure that the executive has figures with "capacity and authority".

"I am here, as President, to appreciate the list that the prime minister Taur Matan Ruak presented to me today, and to verify the entire governmental list, to guarantee the cohesion, the dignity of the State and, particularly, of the Government, " said Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo to the journalists.

"Everyone wants the Government to be a Government with people with capacity and at least some authority to act as members of the Government. "I am aware of this", he said, responding to questions about whether he is going to make inquiries on the executive's inclusion of elements involved in cases with Timorese justice.

Lu-Olo recalled that it is the competence of the President to nominate the members of the Government presented by the Prime Minister and, as such, has the "prerogative to say a word about these people that will constitute" the government team.

"The PR has no personal reasons in this issue about 'A' or 'B'. "The President wants to ensure the unity of the State and the regular functioning of public institutions", he stressed.

Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo spoke to journalists at the Presidential Palace hours after formally naming his predecessor, Taur Matan Ruak, as the next prime minister, who takes office with the rest of the executive on Friday.

The Timorese head of state explained that the list has "about 39 members", among them "a dozen" ministers and 11 deputy ministers. "I'm going to study the list and tomorrow [Thursday] I'll inform the designated prime minister whether it's all right."

Today, Lu-Olo has named Taur Matan Ruak as the new prime minister of Timor-Leste.

"Mr. Taur Matan Ruak is appointed Prime Minister, with effect from June 22nd, 2018" states Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo's short decree of three paragraphs, published in the Jornal da República.

The text recalls that the Constitution attributes to the head of state the "jurisdiction to designate the prime minister, after hearing the political parties represented in the National Parliament."

The next government is made up of members of the three parties that make up the Alliance of Change for Progress (AMP), which won the early legislative elections with absolute majority.

Although the executive's list has not been released, AMP sources have confirmed that "number two" will be Xanana Gusmão, leader of the coalition and president of the National Congress of Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT).

The executive takes office next Friday at a ceremony at the Lahane Palace, outside the Timorese capital.