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East Timor's former president Jose Ramos-Horta won't contest upcoming election

ABC Radio Australia - January 27, 2017

Sara Everingham East Timor's former president Jose Ramos-Horta says after spending months considering whether to run in the country's next presidential election, he has decided to sit it out and make way for new leaders.

East Timor's former president Jose Ramos-Horta says he has decided he will not contest the country's presidential election, due in March. Dr Ramos-Horta, who was East Timor's president from 2007-2012, said he has spent months considering whether to run but has decided against it.

"I have received a lot of support, appeals from across the country, political leaders, the church, led to me reflect on that but I decided not to seek another term," Dr Ramos-Horta said.

Recently East Timor's former prime minister, Xanana Gusmao, threw his support behind the Fretilin party candidate, Lu'Olo, but Dr Ramos-Horta said that was not the reason he decided not to run. "Not at all, because I never discussed with Xanana Gusmao or anyone whether they should support me or not," he said.

Dr Ramos-Horta said the powers of the president in East Timor were limited and he said he would be able to make a contribution in other ways.

He said it was time to make way for new leaders, and that he would remain available to help those elected in the presidential and parliamentary elections this year.

"I will remain available to work with the new president and to look at how I can help the new government," he said. Dr Ramos-Horta said the next five years would be crucial for East Timor.

"We will have to address serious issues to further stabilise the country, further consolidate peace, further improve our democratic institutions, eliminate corruption from the face of Timor-Leste," he said, referring to the country by its official name.

The issue of economic development is tipped to feature heavily in the country's elections this year. East Timor's economy is reliant on oil and gas revenue but the Bayu Undan gas field, which is East Timor's main source of revenue, is nearing the end of its life.

The country's petroleum fund could run out in a decade and there's concern the country's current development strategies are not doing enough to develop alternative sources of revenue.

East Timor's President, Taur Matan Ruak, is not expected to run for a second term. Instead, he is expected to run for prime minister for the new Peoples Liberation Party in elections later this year.

Source: http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2017-01-27/east-timors-former-president-jose-ramoshorta-wont-contest-upcoming-election/1647108.

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