US Congressmen advise East Timor assembly to extend constitutional debate

“From our end, we want to assure you that we would like the Constituent Assembly to have as much time as it needs to write the best possible Constitution for East Timor. In this regard, we propose that you consider further extending the session, perhaps by two months beyond [the 25 January] date,” the letter said. The letter, dated 10 January, was signed by Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Lane Evans (D-Ill.) and Sam Farr (D-Calif.). “Your Constitution would still be finished well before formal independence [and] the extra time would enable more thorough discussions and additional consultation within the Constituent Assembly and throughout East Timor,” the letter added. Upon receipt of the letter, the assembly members discussed the contents of the letter and subsequently agreed to formulate a response based on input from each of the political parties represented in the 88-member body. No decision was taken, however, regarding a shift in the deadline.