East Timor PM to run for president

Jose Ramos Horta tells Al Jazeera he has the support of bishops and the president.

    Jose Ramos Horta won the Nobel peace prize for his efforts to win independence for East Timor [AP]

    "Many people have come to me; barefoot, illiterate from around the country, some without even my agreement began collecting signatures for me."
     
    'Reluctant politician'
     
    Ramos Horta said he had already consulted leading East Timorese politicians and religious leaders and won their backing.
     
    "I have consulted with my president, Xanana Gusmao, consulted with the bishops and I have decided to accept the burden."
     
    However, he also said that he would not be upset if he was rejected by East Timor's voters.

    East Timor was invaded by neighbouring
    Indonesia in 1975

    "If the people, in their centuries old wisdom, decide to vote for someone else, there are plenty of candidates right now. It is positive [that] there are so many candidates.
     
    "If the people, in their centuries old wisdom, decide to vote for any of them other than me I will probably be the only candidate in the world for any job who will celebrate my electoral demise."
     
    Popular candidate

    Ramos Horta has long been a leading political figure in East Timor. His political career started when he was an activist against the Portuguese colonial government in the 1970s.

    After East Timor gained independence and was then invaded by Indonesia in 1975, he was East Timor's representative to the UN, travelling around the world to plead his country's case.
     
    In December 1996, he shared the Nobel peace prize with Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo for their efforts to win independence for East Timor.
     
    Since East Timor became independent in 2002, he has served as foreign minister and minister of defence, before becoming prime minister in July 2006.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.