Dili, 13 October 2009 - The National Parliament debated the first ever Motion of No Confidence. The Motion was tabled by Fretilin and KOTA to express their opposition to the release of Maternus Bere, a former militia leader in Suai District.
The day-long debate, which was aired on national radio and television and saw the participation of the Prime Minister, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, marked a positive step towards ensuring that critical issues of national interest are addressed through institutional channels, notably the National Parliament. The Motion was defeated by a vote of 39 to 25.
Roundtable in Maubisse
On 17 October, the National Parliament of Timor-Leste in cooperation with several UNDP partners organized a round table in Maubisse that included Members of the Parliament, technical Secretariat staff, as well as representatives of political parties and the media. The roundtable began with a broadcast of a video entitled "Parlamentu ba Povu" (Parliament for the People), followed by an extensive discussion on the role and functions of the National Parliament. Participating MPs included Manuel Tilman (Kota), Gertrudes Moniz (PD), Fernanda Lay (CNRT), Arao Noe (CNRT), Joaquim dos Santos (Fretilin), Joaquim Amaral (Fretilin), Augusto Tara (PSD), and Vice-President Vicente Guterres, who represented the Mesa. Both MPs and participants expressed their appreciation for the event and emphasized the importance of organizing similar roundtables in all districts.
Parliament approves Resolution No 32/II regarding President Horta's departure to New York and Indonesia
After an initial rejection, on 19 October Parliament approved Resolution n.32/II regarding the departure of H.E. Dr. José Ramos Horta to the UN General Assembly Meeting in New York and to Indonesia. In Indonesia, President Horta will take part in the swearing-in ceremony for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who was recently reelected.
State Budget for 2010 submitted to Parliament
On 19 October, the General State Budget for 2010 (Draft Law n. 29/II) was admitted to Parliament and referred to the 9 Parliamentary Standing Committees for consideration. Starting October 26th, the Committees have initiated a series of public hearings with Ministers, Secretaries of State, and representatives of civil society. The hearings will continue through November 6th. Following the hearings, each parliamentary Committee will prepare a report and opinion regarding the Ministry in its respective area of jurisdiction; these reports will serve as a basis for the comprehensive report on the State Budget to be prepared by the Committee for Economy, Finance and Anti-Corruption (Committee C) , which will be submitted to Plenary for approval.
National Parliament approves Revised Standing Orders
On 20 October, Parliament approved Resolution n. 33/II on the Revision of its Standing Orders with 27 votes in favor, 8 against and 3 abstentions. A working group comprised of representatives from all party benches was formed in October 2008 to study the Standing Orders and explore possibilities for improvement. More than 40 meetings took place, during which almost all articles were revised by consensus. Three articles on which consensus could not be reached - art. 13. (on Independent Deputies), Art. 43 (on Quorum Requirements), and Art. 102. (on the Compulsory Nature of Discussion and Voting in Plenary) - were debated in plenary.
Committee C workshop on the establishment of a Central Bank, Government Borrowing and Lending, and the State Budget for 2010
On 21-22 October, the Committee for Economy, Finance and Anti-Corruption (Committee C) organized a workshop on the establishment of a Central Bank, government borrowing and lending, and the State Budget for 2010. The workshop was opened by H.E. Vice-President Vicente da Silva Guterres, who underlined the importance of bringing together parliamentarians and representatives of civil society to discuss subjects of national interest. Issues such as the role of the banking authority, the investment management of the Petroleum Fund, debt management, the National Priorities for 2010, as well as poverty reduction and the MDGs and gender responsive budgeting were topics addressed during the two-day seminar.
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory of Australia visits Timor-Leste
On 26-27 October, the Speaker of the Parliament of the Northern Territory of Australia visited Timor-Leste. Her Excellency met with the Chairs of the Standing Parliamentary Committees and the leaders of the parliamentary party benches. During her stay, the Speaker and her delegation also met with the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister. According to Mrs.Robyn Smith, one of the members of the delegation, "The Members were thrilled and have become very enthused about the future of Timor-Leste. As a Parliament, we will be undertaking some initiatives to assist your Parliament, and we're working through the appropriate channels now."
Committee E visits India
The parliamentary Committee on Poverty Reduction, Rural and Regional Development and Gender Equality (Committee E) conducted a study visit to India from 6-14 September 2009. The objective of the visit was to learn from India's experience in poverty reduction and rural development within the context of gender equality and women's empowerment. The visit was also aimed at strengthening the partnership and cooperation between the National Parliament of Timor-Leste and the Parliament of India, as well as the government and women's organizations. The Timorese delegation met with the Speaker of Lok Sabha (Lower House) and with Vice President of India, who is also the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House), as well as with the Ministers of Rural Development and Women and Child Development, the Chief Minister of Delhi, and various women's organizations. Subsequently, the delegation visited the State of Goa, where it met with the Governor of the State, the Chief Minister and Minister for Home Affairs.
Public Hearings on Draft Law n. 29/II
During the week of November 2-6, the Parliamentary Standing Committees will continue the Public Hearings on the State Budget for 2010 (Draft Law n. 29/II).
Please Remember to Tune In:
Parlamentaria - the radio program of the National Parliament produced in cooperation and coordination with RTL. Parlamentaria is a 30-minute program in Tetum with news about the National Parliament and interviews with its Members. The program is broadcast every Sunday at 6h30 pm on RTL.