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Major General of Timor-Leste Defence Force, Lere Anan Timur. Major General of Timor-Leste Defence Force, Lere Anan Timur.

Defence Chief Calls On Veterans to Support Political Leaders Featured

DILI: The Major General of Timor-Leste Defence Force, Lere Anan Timur,  has called on the nation’s veterans to stand behind its leaders, saying any political rift could stoke discrimination between supporters from different parties.

Talking to reporters, Timur suggests veterans could play an important role encouraging party leaders to “sit together and solve the political uncertainty.”

“I am asking all veterans in Timor-Leste to not separate national leaders,” he said, in reference to the governing coalition spill between Xanana Gusmao’s National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) and Mari Alkatiri’s Fretilin party.

 “Veterans must work to unite our leaders again,” he said.

On Saturday, Gusmao announced CNRT would not continue as a member of the coalition government, instead returning to opposition.

Following the announcement five senior Members of Parliament from CNRT, including Foreign Minister Dioniso Soares, resigned from cabinet on Monday.  No new appointments have been made.

The declaration provides a greenlight for a new governing bloc of Fretilin, Khunto and the People’s Liberation Party (PLP) to govern until 2023.

CNRT entered government in coalition with PLP and KHUNTO in 2018, and were appointed several key ministries.

However a split over the rejected 2020 General State Budget led to CNRT leaving the party, and forming its own alliance of opposition parties.

Lere said he understood that people were concerned about ongoing political uncertainty, but cautioned that political leaders can have different ideologies and a shared passion for the country.

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