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National Parliament approves, in general terms, a law proposal to amend the legal-administrative status of Ataúro Island

Tue. 24 of Outubro of 2023, 18:25h
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On October 24th, 2023, the Minister of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Agio Pereira, representing the Prime Minister, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, presented a Law Proposal to the National Parliament aimed at making the fourth amendment to Law no. 11/2009, of October 7th, which approves the Administrative Division of the Territory.

Minister Agio Pereira was accompanied during the debate in the National Parliament by the Minister of State Administration, Tomás do Rosário Cabral, the Vice-Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Adérito Hugo da Costa, and the Vice-Minister of Finance, Felicia Claudinanda da Cruz Carvalho.

The law proposal was approved in general terms with 37 votes in favour, 18 against and 5 abstentions from the members of the National Parliament.

As provided for in the program of the 9th Constitutional Government, this amendment aims to extinguish the municipality of Ataúro and create a new first-level administrative division, called “Ataúro”, following the definition in Article 5 of the Constitution of the Republic, which states that Ataúro enjoys special administrative and economic treatment.

At the opening of the debate, the Minister of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers explained that the previous amendment, in 2021, which elevated the island of Atauro to the status of a municipality, “proved to be unrealistic and inadequate to meet the daily needs of the population of Atauro or the development requirements of that territory”.

“For this reason, the Government is proposing to the National Parliament that the legal-administrative classification of Ataúro be changed, paving the way for the redefinition of a territorial administration model that, under the Government’s supervision, can trigger the development process of that territory, with a participation of local communities and leaving no-one behind”, he said.

Minister Agio assured that “the solution proposed here is not a step backwards or a downgrading of the territory of Ataúro Island, which will continue to be first-level administrative division” and assured that with the approval of this law by the National Parliament, the Government will be able “to lay the foundations for a new model of organisation and functioning of Ataúro’ s local administration, which will have the means and the appropriate and necessary legal framework to boost the process of infrastructure on that territory, ensure the provision of basic goods and services to local communities and trigger economic growth and the well-being of the population in Ataúro”.

Following the approval in general terms, the law proposal will soon be subject to detailed discussion and a final overall vote.