President Ramos-Horta enjoying the street life of New York city during the 2008 meeting of the United Nations General Assembly September 2008. Joined by Lisa Reefke of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Affairs.
President Jose Ramos-Horta has threatened to resigned from his post after yesterday' vote in the National Parliament of Timor-leste which barred him from official travel to New York.
Yesterday 10 MPs voted against and 16 for his request to travel while 3 abstained. President Ramos-Horta responded by threatening to resign within 24 hours. He gave them a deadline of 1700 today for the MPs to change their votes. At 1727 today Parliament acted as a rubber stamp
and voted for him to travel 31 for, 10 against and 5 abstentions.
President Ramos-Horta met with foreign representatives in his palace to inform of them his intentions.
"Seeing as yesterday Parliament over stepped their consitutional competencies and have intefered in the working of the Presidency I will take a stand." said President Ramos-Horta in a press conference this evening.
He is now satisfied with the vote and after the Parliament reviewed its position. But the debate in Parliament was very hot. FRETILIN MPs were split on the issue while AMP MPS voted en masse to rubber stamp the process.
PUN Leader and MP Fernanda Borges said right now timor leste is facing an institutional crisis. "we in this Parliament have established a bad precedent for the future and we are not being mindful of the people's aspirations to have truth and justice."
Ms. Borges was in Suai yesterday to participate in the tenth anniversary of the Suai Church massacre for which there has yet been no justice - despite the fact one the perpeprators was captured and then released.
"However Mr. President and Prime Minister violated the constitution to released people from prison on their instructions despite the fact they do not have the Consitutional right to do it.
This is the reason this parliament voted the way it did yesterday. This is a protest vote to open our eyes." she continued that, "if we are truly a democratic state and not a disctatorship of Mr. Ramos Horta or Mr. Gusmao means we must demand the resignation of the two. And not that the President should threaten to resign."
Horta says that under the consitution he is responsible to the Prime Minister and not to the Parliament. He claimed that Parliament should have called upon the Prime Minister to explain Government policy rather than playing politics with the Presidency.