Socdem Asia is extremely delighted by the auspicious developments in East Timor, as long-time pro-democracy activist and former health and deputy-prime minister Rui Araujo prepares to become the country’s prime minister. Mr. Araujo, who hails from opposition Fretilin party and has long been seen as a favorite to become the country’s next leader, is set to replace independence hero Xanana Gusmao, who recently submitted his resignation to pave the way for the establishment of a unity government in the Southeast Asian country.
We believe the nomination of Mr. Araujo, which was widely supported by the two leading parties in East Timor’s parliament and enjoys the confidence and trust of the people of East Timor, represents a decisive and highly symbolic step towards establishing a unified government as well as institutionalizing the democratization process in the country, which gained its independence in 2002 following decades of struggles against Indonesian occupation.
The nomination of progressively-minded leaders such as Prime Minister-elect Rui Araujo, who hails from a younger generation of leaders in the country, reflects the growing desire among Asian peoples for more responsive, accountable, and nimble leaders, who understand the complex prerogatives and challenges of democratic governance in the 21st century. We fervently hope that the Mr. Araujo’s leadership will inspire a whole generation of social democrats and progressive leaders in East Timor and across Asia to continue to provide socially just, dedicated, participatory and effective public service to their constituents.