East Timor founding father Francisco Xavier do Amaral dies
March 07, 201212:00AM
TENSIONS are mounting in Dili after the death of one of the founding fathers of East Timor's independence, who was also a candidate in the presidential election.
Proclamation of Independence 28 November 1975
in Dili, Timor-Leste. Doc: AMRT
Francisco Xavier do Amaral, who died on Tuesday morning from ill-health in hospital in Dili, was the first president of East Timor and declared independence in 1975 before the Indonesian invasion.
Mr Amaral, 75, was also a candidate for the March 17 presidential election for the Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT).
Nelson Belo, director of security monitoring organisation Fundasan Mahein, said the East Timorese people were concerned that no law had been passed to recognise Mr Amaral as the proclaimer of independence.
''My observation is that if the state will not recognise him, people will protest,'' Mr Belo said.
A police convoy escorted Mr Amaral's body through the streets of Dili on Tuesday afternoon, but neither the incumbent CNRT party nor the office of President Jose Ramos-Horta could confirm where the body would be taken for the wake.
CNRT state secretary Dionisio Babo-Soares said the party was deeply saddened by the passing of Mr Amaral.
Mr Amaral was one of the founders of the political party Fretlin, but registered as a candidate for the ASDT for the March 17 election.
Jose Teixeira, spokesman for opposition party Fretlin, described Mr Amaral as a strategic partner and said many of his supporters would turn to Fretlin at the polls.
In the 2007 parliamentary election, the ASDT formed an alliance with the Social Democratic Party to win 17.5 per cent of the vote.
Mr Amaral's funeral is expected to be held on Thursday.