Last week Dili's Bishop Carlos Belo told reporters that neither he nor Bishop Basilio do Nascimento, apostolic administrator of Baucau, asked the government to move the date of the independence ballot forward one day.
    Bishop Belo said he was shocked when reading the news of a Jakarta-based daily that he and Bishop do Nascimento have asked the government not to hold the ballot on Sunday 8 August to respect local Catholics and Protestants.
    "Holding the direct ballot on Sunday is not a problem for us because Christians can go to ballot booths after attending Sunday service in the morning," Bishop Belo said.
    "If certain persons or groups have proposed it to the government on behalf of the Church, they have lied for certain political goals," he said.
    Meanwhile, Clementino C. Branco, an activist of the pro-integration Forum Persatuan Demokrasi dan Keadilan (forum for democracy, unity, and peace) admitted that his forum has asked Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Alatas to move the date one day forward. The new date would not interfere with local Christian religious activities in churches, Branco said.
    UCAN 11:29am 31/5/99


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