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Cablegate: East Timor: Xanana Gusmao Wins Presidency;

O 180136Z APR 02
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7012
INFO ASEAN COLLECTIVE
UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY CANBERRA
AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON
AMEMBASSY LISBON
USMISSION GENEVA
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
SECDEF WASHDC//USDP/ISA/AP//
USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI//FPA//
CG III MEF
NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 001407

2002 DILI OFFICER REPORT 24

REF: JAKARTA 1296

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV UN
SUBJECT: EAST TIMOR: XANANA GUSMAO WINS PRESIDENCY;
PLEDGES TO WORK TO FULFILL GOALS

1. SUMMARY. NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE HERO XANANA GUSMAO
HAS WON A RESOUNDING VICTORY TO BECOME THE FIRST-EVER
ELECTED PRESIDENT OF EAST TIMOR. XANANA WON 83
PERCENT OF ALL VALID VOTES CAST. XANANA, WHILE
MINDFUL OF THE PRESIDENT'S CONSTITUTIONAL
LIMITATIONS, INTENDS TO PLAY A LEADERSHIP ROLE IN
MOBILIZING CITIZENS TO IDENTIFY NATIONAL PRIORITIES
AND RECOMMEND SOLUTIONS. AS HE TRIES TO LEAD, HE
MUST MOVE CAREFULLY TO AVOID GIVING THE IMPRESSION
THAT HE IS TRYING TO USURP POWERS, WHICH LEGITIMATELY
BELONG TO THE PARLIAMENT AND CABINET. XANANA
INDICATED HE WOULD TRY TO TEMPER PUBLIC EXPECTATIONS
OF GOVERNMENT. END SUMMARY.

LANDSLIDE VICTORY
-----------------

2. NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE HERO XANANA GUSMAO HAS WON
A RESOUNDING VICTORY TO BECOME THE FIRST-EVER,
ELECTED PRESIDENT OF EAST TIMOR. XANANA WON 83
PERCENT OF ALL VALID VOTES TO BEST HIS ONLY OPPONENT,
FRANCISCO XAVIER DO AMARAL. EIGHTY-SIX PERCENT OF
ELIGIBLE VOTERS CAST BALLOTS. XANANA SHOWED BROAD
APPEAL. HE WON EVERY DISTRICT EXCEPT FOR XAVIER'S
HOME REGION. STILL, CONSIDERING XAVIER'S LIMITED
RESOURCES AND HIS ILLNESS DURING THE FIRST PART OF
THE CAMPAIGN, HE MADE A RESPECTABLE SHOWING AGAINST
THE POPULAR, CHARISMATIC GUSMAO.

3. XANANA SERVED NOTICE IN HIS VICTORY STATEMENT
THAT HE WOULD WORK TOWARD HIS GOALS OF AN OPEN
PRESIDENCY, RECONCILIATION, JOB GROWTH AND FRIENDSHIP
WITH BIG NEIGHBORS (AUSTRALIA AND INDONESIA). HE
WILL WORK TO DIRECT THE GOVERNMENT'S PROGRAMS TOWARD
PEOPLES' MOST BASIC NEEDS, AND AT THE SAME TIME
EXPLAIN GOVERNMENT'S LIMITATIONS TO THE PEOPLE IN THE
FACE OF THEIR "HUGE EXPECTATIONS."

CAUTIOUS ON RELATIONS WITH FRETILIN
-----------------------------------

4. XANANA WAS CAUTIOUS IN ANSWERING REPORTERS'
QUERIES ABOUT FRICTION BETWEEN HIM AND THE MAJORITY
FRETILIN PARTY, WHICH WILL DOMINATE THE CABINET AND
PARLIAMENT. HE ACKNOWLEDGED DIFFERENCES WITH
FRETILIN, BUT TRIED TO DOWNPLAY CONFLICT, UNDERLINING
THAT EVEN IN THE INDEPENDENCE FIGHT, THERE HAD BEEN
DIFFERENCES OVER TACTICS.

5. XANANA WILL CONSULT AND MOBILIZE THE PEOPLE AND
"CIVIL SOCIETY" IN ORDER TO DETERMINE NATIONAL
PRIORITIES. XANANA WAS CAREFUL TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE
LIMITED ROLE OF THE PRESIDENT UNDER THE CONSTITUTION,
BUT NOTED THAT HE WOULD WORK TO HELP THE CABINET
("THE GOVERNMENT") IMPLEMENT ITS PROGRAMS. IN AREAS
WHERE THE GOVERNMENT FELL SHORT OF SOLVING PROBLEMS,
HE WOULD TRY TO GUIDE THE GOVERNMENT TOWARD
SOLUTIONS.

6. XANANA'S VICTORY POSES A CHALLENGE TO THE
MAJORITY FRETILIN PARTY AND ITS LEADER, MARI
ALKATIRI. XANANA'S 83 PERCENT TOPS THE 62 PERCENT
POLLED BY FRETILIN IN THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY. IT
IS CLEAR THAT DROVES OF RANK-AND-FILE FRETILIN VOTERS
ALSO CAST BALLOTS FOR XANANA. EARLIER IN THE DAY,
ALKATIRI PUBLICLY CONGRATULATED XANANA'S VICTORY, BUT
HE DECLINED TO SAY HE WOULD FORM OR BE PART OF A
"GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY." HE REMINDED
REPORTERS THAT THE CONSTITUTION EMPOWERS THE MAJORITY
PARTY IN THE ASSEMBLY TO NAME THE PRIME MINISTER, WHO
THEN APPOINTS MEMBERS TO THE CABINET. HOWEVER, IN A
LATER APPEARANCE IN FRONT OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS,
ALKATIRI PLEDGED THAT "PARLIAMENT, CABINET AND THE
PRESIDENT" WOULD WORK TOGETHER.

COMMENT
-------

7. XANANA'S VICTORY STATEMENT SHOWS HE HAS EVERY
INTENTION OF PLAYING A LEADERSHIP ROLE IN EAST TIMOR,
WHILE RECOGNIZING THE LIMITS THAT THE CONSTITUTION
PLACES ON PRESIDENTIAL POWER. AS HE TRIES TO LEAD,
HE MUST MOVE CAREFULLY TO AVOID GIVING THE IMPRESSION
THAT HE IS TRYING TO USURP POWERS, WHICH LEGITIMATELY
BELONG TO THE PARLIAMENT AND CABINET. AT THE SAME
TIME, XANANA, MORE THAN ANY OTHER TIMORESE, CAN DO
THE MOST TO TEMPER THE PUBLIC'S EXPECTATIONS OF A
GOVERNMENT WHICH HAS SCARCE RESOURCES TO MEET A
SERIES OF PRESSING NEEDS.

BOYCE

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