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East Timor's Bishop Belo rules out politics

Bishop Carlos Belo has ruled out running for president of East Timor in 2007, after current President Xanana Gusmao stands down.

"I have decided to leave politics to politicians," he said in comments broadcast on Portuguese state television RTP.

Bishp Belo, who retired in November 2002 citing poor health, said in February that he would consider a presidential bid if he had strong popular support for the move.

But he said at the time he would only run if the Vatican did not oppose his bid and if Xanana Gusmao, the former guerrilla leader who became East Timor's first president in April 2002, decided to step down after completing his five-year term.

A poll carried out last year in East Timor found that more than 80% of the population would like to see Belo run for president.

He told Portuguese state radio RDP in February he had been encouraged to make a bid for the presidency by a number of political parties in East Timor. He did not name the parties.

E Timor bishop rules out politics (The Courier Mail 4/5/04)

Bishop Belo could stand for President of East Timor (CathNews 18/3/04)
Pope appoints successor to East Timor's Bishop Belo (CathNews 8/3/04)
Bishop Belo steps down for health reasons (CathNews 27/11/02)
Bishop Belo undergoes prostate surgery (CathNews 18/7/03)
Lonely struggle for peace and justice in E Timor (Catholic Leader 19/1/03)

Belo scuttles Gusmao 'forgive and forget' bid to woo Indonesia (CathNews 11/9/03)
Belo seeks war crimes justice for East Timor (SMH/ETAN 28/8/01)
Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, S.D.B. (

5 May 2004