April 20 - New president of East Timor faces challenges in keeping campaign promises of economic growth and employment stability. Sarah Wali reports.
Newly elected president Jose Maria Vasconcelos has made big promises to the people of East Timor that analysts say he may have a hard time keeping. Vasconcelos, who is also known as Taur Matan Ruak, which means two sharp eyes, based his campaign on his 24 years as a rebel leader. He campaigned for veterans' benefits, mandatory military service to combat unemployment and economic reforms. But, with little power given to the president, much will depend on which parties are able to gain seats in the July parliamentary elections. (SOUNDBITE)(Bahasa Indonesia) POLITICAL ANALYST, LEANDRO ISAAC SAYING: "Taur Matan Ruak must have a lot of praying to do so that the next government elected is from the CNRT party or from the incumbent Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, so he can deliver all his promises to voters." For the people of East Timor, the hope is that Vasconcelos will lead them to economic stability. Despite East Timor's revenue from offshore oil and gas reserves, 41 percent of the country continues to live on less the 88 cents a day. Sarah Wali, Reuters