MESSAGE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC H.E. FRANCISCO GUTERRES LU OLO TO THE PARTICIPANTS OF THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE On DEMOCRACY IN TIMOR-LESTE: ACHIEVEMENTS AND CHALLENGES PROMOTED BY THE NATIONAL ELECTION COMMISSION
My warm greetings to the President of the National Commission of Elections, the Commissioners, the CNE’s STAFF and all those who, through their activity, contribute daily to the achievements of this body which has among its missions to work for ensure the electoral neutrality of the administration and the State.
I greet the speakers and all participants in this National Conference on Democracy in East Timor: Achievements and Challenges.
The National Electoral Commission has been continuously developing initiatives to promote enlightenment and training on the relationship between democratic rights, the duties of citizens and the functioning of the electoral system. I take this opportunity to commend this attention and initiatives of the National Election Commission.
Clarification and debate on citizenship are indispensable for the functioning of the democratic system and the promotion of the active participation of citizens in political life and in the social and economic development of the country.
I want to convey to on CNE and you all that the theme chosen for this National Conference is most opportune at this moment for the country.
The people’s victory and the Restoration of Independence brought us for the first time democracy and respect for the dignity of our citizens.
What we have built in the almost 16 years since the Restoration of Independence on May 20, 2002, is the result of the exercise of democracy.
Through democracy we rebuilt our devastated land and made our country.
The achievements of our people in these almost 16 years deserve to be praised, studied and analysed, so that we can learn important lessons for the future.
The achievements of democracy in Timor-Leste are many and very important.
But our democracy, and our whole society, also face challenges.
The greatest democratic challenge is undoubtedly our ability to develop society, the economy and improve people’s living conditions.
This challenge is the most important Timorese society has faced since the end of the war and the victory of our people.
With humility and determination, we must find the way to transform democracy and the active participation of citizens, in instruments to develop our economy and our society – and transform our country into a better Nation.
When I think of the challenges of democracy in Timor-Leste, I think first and foremost of this challenge: to develop the country, to create a better life for all in our beloved land.
The functioning of democracy, the participation of citizens, has in my opinion the ultimate goal of transforming the dignity of citizens into a tool for social development.
We have been going through a period of political uncertainty in recent months.
This is a good time to ask ourselves: how can we – each of us, every citizen and every son and daughter of East Timor – help democracy and the political system achieve the results of national development that we crave?
This is my daily concern.
I appeal to all Timorese to have this concern at heart so that we can finally achieve the better country we have dreamed of since the time of struggle and the Resistance.
While we fought for freedom, we have always dreamed of being able to govern with our own hands to finally make a better country for all.
We won our struggle. We won the peace. But we have not yet realized this dream of ending poverty and making Timor-Leste a more developed country enjoying more well-being.
We must persist in this goal. We cannot give it up.
I finish this brief message with my vows of good debate and proceedings to all the participants of this National Conference.
I hope that your work and the debate you are having can contribute to helping the country and all of us to transform democracy into a citizens instrument to achieve our national goal of over the next ten years transforming Timor-Leste into a middle income country, without poverty where all Timorese may enjoy better wellbeing.
Let us work together to strengthen democracy, and produce the results that the people expect and desire.
Long live the Timorese people. Long live East Timor.
Hotel Timor, Dili
January 26, 2018