Ramos-Horta seeks Catholic nod for Timor presidency
After consulting with East Timor's Catholic bishops and with incumbent president Xanana Gusmao, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Prime Minister, Jose Ramos-Horta has announced that he will be a candidate for the country's presidency in April elections.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Mr Ramos-Horta, who took over as Prime Minister amid violent upheaval last year, will campaign against up to eight other presidential candidates, including Francisco "Lu-Olo" Guterres, the president of the ruling Fretilin party, which has the country's largest supporter base.
Mr Ramos-Horta, who formally announced his candidature yesterday, told Al Jazeera television he had reluctantly decided to stand.
"Many people have come to me barefoot, illiterate from around the country. Some without even my agreement began collecting signatures for me," he said. But if people "decide in their centuries-old wisdom to vote for someone else � I will probably be the only candidate in the world for any job who will celebrate my electoral demise".
Mr Ramos-Horta said he had consulted the incumbent President, Xanana Gusmao, and Catholic bishops before deciding to stand for the largely symbolic but influential position.
East Timor is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic.
Mr Gusmao, the charismatic former guerilla leader, has told opposition leaders in Dili that he plans to form his own party and contest the general elections likely to be held mid-year.
Mr Ramos-Horta and Mr Gusmao will try to convince voters that as president and prime minister they offer the country's best chance to heal divisions and entrench political stability after last year's chaos and violence.
Others who have announced they are contesting the 9 April presidential election include: Fernando de Araujo, a former political prisoner and student leader; Lucia Lobato, a lawyer; and the opposition figure Joao Carrascalao.
Ramos-Horta set to stand for president (Sydney Morning Herald, 24/2/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Jose Ramos Horta (Wikipedia)
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26 Feb 2007