The Guardian 25 April, 2007

Government’s plan for East Timor

The East Timorese Electoral Commission has at last declared a result from the first round of voting in the election for a new President to replace Xanana Gusmao, who had decided not to run again for a second term.

In the early stages of the vote count the Australian media rushed to declare a victory for Ramos Horta and that the Fretilin candidate had suffered a "crushing defeat". With more counting, the Fretilin candidate was found to be in the lead. With this development the crowing of victory was replaced by accusations of missing ballot papers, charges of intimidation of voters by Fretilin and a general atmosphere of distrust of the ballot.

The ballot was accompanied by irregularities in that the head of the Electoral Commission openly sided with candidates opposed to Fretilin. "We have the surprise that Mr Lu-Olo [the Fretilin candidate] came as the winner for the time being", declared Fr Martinho Gusmao.

Fr Gusmao has made known his personal support for Mr Araujo, one of the candidates. Electoral Commissioners are supposed to be neutral. However, Fr Gusmao is a good son of the Catholic church which played a prominent part in the election campaign and has campaigned, needless to say, against Fretilin.

An article in the Australian Financial Review (FR) (5-9/4/07) laid bare the interests of the Australian government in the East Timor elections.

Journalist John Kerin writes: "What the Howard government fears most is that Fretilin will triumph in the presidential poll, making it all the more likely that the politically prickly Mari Alkatiri … will stage a comeback in the parliamentary elections."

The FR openly pinned its hopes on Ramos-Horta winning the residential election and Xanana Gusmao becoming the next Prime Minister. "He and Ramos Horta are considered supportive of continuing Australian involvement in East Timor … encouraging stability and attracting investment … Ramos Horta has promised a ‘free trade state’ with no tariffs, sales tax or excise except on items that pose a health risk. Income and corporate tax rates would be set at flat rates of five percent and 10 percent.

Alan Dupont who is the director of the Centre for International Security Studies at Sydney University is quoted by the FR as saying that whichever grouping wins will have to guarantee political stability before physical security, oil income and modest foreign investment will follow. "There’s a lot at stake for Australia …"

With troops on the ground, Horta as President and Xanana Gusmao as Prime Minister, the Australian government would be in a strong position to exercise colonial domination of the long-suffering people of East Timor. This is the real objective of the long-running coup that openly commenced with the pre-emptive strike made by Australia last year when it succeeded by false propaganda, violence on the streets and pressure to have Mari Alkatiri removed as Prime Minister and replaced by Australia’s undisputed stooge — Ramos Horta.

There is no expectation that the policies being pursued in the South Pacific by the Howard government will be changed by an ALP government. ALP leaders have already made it clear that they support Howard and Downer’s policies and actions in this region.

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