[Easttimorstudies] East Timor - The Constitutional Procedure for the Dismissal of the Government

Jennifer Drysdale jenster at cres10.anu.edu.au
Wed May 31 09:18:20 EST 2006

Via ETAN list

>From: "w w" <wlw2005 at hotmail.com> (by way of John M Miller <fbp at igc.org>)
>Subject: East Timor - The Constitutional Procedure for the Dismissal 
>of the Government
>There follows a brief overview of the provisions of the Constitution 
>of East Timor that govern the dismissal of the Government.
>Article 112 of the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of East 
>Timor provides that the dismissal of the Government shall occur when:
>a) A new legislative term begins;
>b) The President of the Republic accepts the resignation of the 
>Prime Minister;
>c) The Prime Minister dies or is suffering from a permanent physical 
>d) Its programme is rejected for the second consecutive time;
>e) A vote of confidence is not passed;
>f) A vote of no confidence is passed by an absolute majority of the 
>Members in full exercise of their functions.
>The Constitution also provides that it is incumbent upon the 
>President, with regard to other organs, to "dismiss the Government 
>and remove the Prime Minister from office after the National 
>Parliament has rejected his or her programme for two consecutive times."
>Article 86(g) This article further provides that the President of 
>the Republic shall only dismiss the Prime Minister in accordance 
>with the cases provided for in the previous item and when it is 
>deemed necessary "to ensure the regular functioning of the 
>democratic institutions, after consultation with the Council of State".
>One interpetation issue that arises here is that it might not be 
>sufficient, for example, for the government party to exercise 
>inherent powers to remove and replace its designated Prime Minister. 
>If the Prime Minister were to resist even his party's efforts to 
>replace him, it seems that there must also be the failure of a 
>motion of confidence or a successful motion of no-confidence in the 
>Parliament (or one of the other bases for dismissal arises).
>Even if there is such a motion, the dismissal must also be "deemed 
>necessary to ensure the functioning of democratic institutions" and 
>it is not clear how this deeming procedure is to be implemented.
>Further, the President must, it seems, even if there is such a 
>motion and a "deeming", consult with the Council of State before he 
>may exercise any dismissal powers that have been initiated by the Parliament.
>The Council of State is the political advisory body of the President 
>of the Republic and is headed by him or herself. It is comprised of:
>a) Former Presidents of the Republic who were not removed from office;
>b) The Speaker of the National Parliament;
>c) The Prime Minister;
>d) Five citizens elected by the National Parliament in accordance 
>with the principle of proportional representation and for the period 
>corresponding to the legislative term, provided that they are not 
>members of the organs of sovereignty;
>  e) Five citizens designated by the President of the Republic for 
> the period corresponding to the term of office of the President, 
> provided that they are not members of the organs of sovereignty. 
> [Article 90 Constitution]
>Article 91 states that it is incumbent upon the Council of State to 
>express its opinion on:
>a) the dissolution of the National Parliament;
>b) the dismissal of the Government;
>c) the declaration of war and the making of peace;
>d) any other cases set out in the Constitution and advise the 
>President of the Republic in the exercise of his or her functions, 
>as requested by the President.
>Meetings of the Council of State shall not be open to the public. 
>[Article 91(2) Constitution]
>This is a brief summary of the constitutional regime that governs 
>the dismissal of the Government in East Timor.
>One thing that is clear from these provisions is that the President 
>has no unilateral powers of dismissal and that both the Parliament 
>and the Coucil of State must also be involved in the process.
>W. Wright
><http://www.eastimorlawjournal.org>East Timor Law Journal

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