Timor-Leste: Chegou a hora de Rui Araújo?
East Timor's independence hero and former guerrilla fighter Xanana Gusmao has told colleagues he will resign as Prime Minister in the next fortnight. Mr Gusmao gathered most of his 53-member government a meeting on Wednesday night in the capital Dili where he outlined plans to step back in favour of a unity administration under a new leader. It is understood former health minister and opposition Fretilin party member Rui Araujo is most likely to win the top job, with February 6 the date for a change-over. Mr Gusmao - who became East Timor's first president in 2002 after decades of brutal Indonesian occupation - has been a towering figure in the tiny nation's struggle for independence. He spent more than a decade in the resistance to the 1975 invasion before being captured by Indonesian troops in 1992 and imprisoned. Indonesian-sponsored militias then sought to violently intimidate the Timorese from voting for independence in 1999, with Australia eventually leading a United Nations military intervention after the ballot. But Mr Gusmao, who has said he would prefer to live in the hills and write poetry, has also played a major role in the country's at times fragile years of independence. He was elected prime minister in 2007 after riots in the capital the year before and a bitter political stand-off with then Fretilin prime minister Mari Alkatiri. He was also the target of gunfire in 2008 by supporters of a rebel military officer, barely an hour after then-president and Nobel laureate Jose Ramos-Horta was shot in the stomach. Mr Gusmao, 68, had flagged last year he intended to step down but has worked over recent months on a government restructure. He told his colleagues as many as 20 ministers, vice ministers and secretaries of state would see their jobs pared back under the restructure, with new blood also introduced. Minister of State Agio Pereira confirmed in a media statement government members had been given letters outlining the restructure. He said an official announcement on the make-up of the government will be made early next week. Portuguese-language media in East Timor has reported two ministers confirmed Mr Gusmao made clear his intention to step down. Fairfax Media has also independently confirmed the comments. It is understood Mr Gusmao intends to continue to have a role in government. But Mr Gusmao's only public statement has been to say he will first talk to East Timor's President, Taur Matan Ruak. Sydney Morning Herald