Thursday, 9 September 2010

Breaking News - Political Drama in Timor-Leste: Mario Resigns.

Mario Carrascalao

In a dramatic political move Vice Prime Minister (VPM) Mario Carrascalao has resigned from office, putting pressure on the Parliamentary Majority Alliance as it could possibly cause VPM Carrascalao's political party PSD, of which he was formerly President, to pull out of the coalition.  Tempo Semanal sources suggest this could cause a political earthquake in Dili.

Tempo Semanal has obtained a copy of a multi-page letter of resignation dated 6 September 2010 in which VPM Carrascalao gives up his post as Vice Prime Minister in the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.

This comes a s result of recent attacks on him made by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.  These attacks have seen the Prime Minister refer to his deputy as stupid and incompetent in many public settings, including via national television on 2 September.  Notably the former VPM Carrascalao has not publicly responded to the attacks.  His response has been to resign, effective 6 September as documented in a letter Tempo Semanal has obtained in the last 30 minutes.

Foreign Minister Zacarias da Costa, currently President of PSD was also attacked by Prime Minister Xanana recently for his threats to resign from his post earlier this year - via SMS.  Da Costa was subjected to public scrutiny via his questioning by the Prime Minister in a nationally televised Council of Ministers meeting earlier this year.

Mario Carrascalao was formerly Governor of the Indonesian province of Timor Timor, having elected to stand side by side with the Indonesian occupation of Timor-Leste.  It was during his tenure in the 1980s that a short cease fire was brokered with Xanana and FALINTIL, many students began to be sent to university in Indonesia, and many public works projects were done as Indonesia extended its roads, school system and state apparatus into the mountains of Timor-Leste.  Carrascalao has had prominent business interests in Timor-Leste and is the patriarch of a large and powerful family.

Mario Carrascalo was appointed Vice Prime Minister by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao in January 2009.  His mandate was to improve government machinery, eradicate corruption and strengthen the administration.

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