Tuesday, February 28, 2012

And they're off...

Yesterday. eve of the presidential campaign. Candidates attended a ceremony where they signed an agreement to run a peaceful campaign. This was followed by a debate. Not really a debate though, more of a Q and A of each of the candidates.

PM Xanana Gusmao

Lia Nain sira ne'e

During the signing of the peace pact, thirteen Lia Nain (keepers of the word - my translation might be wrong) observed this event. These men hold a very important traditional role in conflict resolution and maintaining balance in society.

Highlights included the power going out, which didn't stop the candidate giving his speech from ranting on. Manuel Tilman is a bit of a character and proved a constant source of entertainment throughout.

President Jose Ramos Horta

The man in uniform is the Commander of the F-FDTL, Major General Lere Anan Timur,  the man in the suit is Jose Luis Guterres

Jose Luis Guterres (LuGu) loves beetlenut evidently. Each candidate would arise and sign the peace pact, then chew on some beetlenut. Not JLG. He just went straight for the beetlenut and forgot to sign the pact. They got him back to sign it eventually. Either this guy had no intention of running a clean campaign or he loves beetlenut.

Manuel Tilman
Each candidate was introduced to the crowd, with the MC giving a short (read 5 min) bio. At least two of the candidates were in disagreement with what was being said. Better check you facts before you introduce presidential candiates. The cameras were projecting on tvs all around the centre so people at the back could see what was happening. The candidates who were unhappy with their bios were visibly shaking their heads.

The debate. From left to right: Rogerio Lobato, Angelita Pires, Jose Ramos Horta, Francisco Gomes, and Jose Luis Guterres
 These tvs proved a further source of entertainment later on when candidates were giving their little speeches. On several occasions prominent members were caught out lookig completely disinterested or bored, including the PM, while listening to certain candidates speeches. Hilarious.

I might write some more notes reflecting on some of the substantive issues that arose during this event soon. Gotta get to the rally I went to Wednesday morning.

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