COUNCIL OF STATE RECOMMENDS SUBMITTING A REQUEST FOR AUTHORISATION TO NATIONAL PARLIAMENT TO DECLARE THE EXTENSION OF THE STATE OF EMERGENCY

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Nicolau Lobato Presidential Palace, Dili, 31 August 2020

The Council of State recommended submitting a request for authorisation to the National Parliament to declare the extension of the state of emergency.

In a meeting held today at the Presidential Palace, the members of the Council of State recommended that the President of the Republic should submit a request for authorisation to National Parliament to declare the extension of the state of emergency.

‘The Council of State advised the Head of State to send a message to the National Parliament requesting authorisation to declare the renewal of the state of emergency,’ the Chief of the Civil House, Francisco Maria de Vasconcelos, said.

The government has suggested renewing the state of emergency in the light of the growing number of people infected with the SARS-CoV-2, according to the situation report published by the World Health Organization as of 25 August 2020. More than 23 million have been diagnosed with COVID-19 around the world and more than 800 thousand fatalities were registered since the beginning of the pandemic.

The number of positive cases in Timor-Leste’s neighbouring countries – Indonesia and Australia – continues to grow. According to the WHO situation report, 155,412 people have been infected in Indonesia, with whom Timor-Leste shares a land border, and 24,916 people in Australia. The renewal of the state of emergency in Timor-Leste is a measure to prevent and control COVID-19 in order to avoid a public calamity.

In addition to the Council of State, the President of the Republic will hold a meeting with the Superior Council of Defence and Security (SCDS), thus exercising his competence established by article 85 (g) of the Constitution of the RDTL.

The meeting with the members of the SCDS will take place tomorrow, 1 September, at 9.30 a.m. at the Nicolau Lobato Presidential Palace.

The government suggests renewing the state of emergency, which was declared on 5 August, for another 30 days. The current period is due to expire on 4 September.

Declaring a state of emergency means taking measures that limit or suspend the exercise of fundamental rights, freedoms and guarantees, as provided for by the Constitution. The government believes that the declaration of a state of emergency will make it possible to fight and curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in Timor-Leste.

Following consultation with the members of the SCDS and the Council of State, if they agree on declaring a state of emergency, the President of the Republic will submit a request for authorisation to National Parliament. If authorised, it is up to the President of the Republic to declare the renewal of the state of emergency by presidential decree.

The Council of State is currently comprised of the following members: President Francisco Guterres Lú Olo, former President of the Republic Xanana Gusmão, former President of the Republic José Ramos-Horta, former President of the Republic and current Prime Minister General Taur Matan Ruak and the president of National Parliament Aniceto Longuinhos Guterres Lopes. The list of members includes also Oscar Lima, Alcino de Araújo Barris, Maria Dadi Soares Magno, Laura Soares Abrantes and Faustino da Costa, appointed by the President of the Republic, and Eduardo de Deus Dusae, Aurora Ximenes, José Cornelio Guterres, Árcangelo de Jesus Gouveia Leite and José dos Santos Naimori Bucar, appointed by National Parliament.

The Superior Council of Defence and Security is comprised of the President of the Republic Francisco Guterres, Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Taur Matan Ruak, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Maria Adalzija Magno, the Minister of Defence, Filomeno Paixão, the Minister of Justice, Manuel Cárceres, and the director general of the National Intelligence Service, Manuel Serrano. The Council also includes Aderito Hugo da Costa, David Dias Ximenes and Abel Pires da Silva, appointed by the National Parliament, and José Manuel Fernandes Nakfilak and Cristina da Silva General, appointed by the President of the Republic.

PR MEDIA.