The term of the state of emergency in Timor-Leste is coming to an end, without the parliament having yet decided on whether or not it intends to extend it. There are 22 cases of Covid-19 in the country.

The state of emergency decreed by the Timorese President of the Republic to respond to the covid-19 pandemic ends this Sunday at 11:59 pm local time (4:59 pm in Lisbon) without a decision on its renewal having been made.

And with the end of the state of emergency, and without the parliament having yet decided whether or not to prolong it, several crucial government diplomas expire with the measures that were in force to contain the disease.

In force since March 28, the state of emergency has allowed the Government to enforce several restrictions, including the closure of borders and the suspension of public transport, measures that are now officially in force.

A request for its extension for another 30 days was approved by the Government last Monday, was sent to the President of the Republic the next day and on Wednesday it had the positive endorsement of the State Council and the Superior Council for Defense and Security .

The head of state, Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo, sent the request for authorization for the extension to parliament on Wednesday, but the leaders’ conference to schedule it only took place on Friday and the debate was only scheduled for Monday. .

This implies that several diplomas approved by the Government in the framework of the state of emergency are no longer in force.

With the end of the state of emergency, the Government decree of 28 March expires, which details all the “measures for the execution of the declaration of the state of emergency”.

“The present diploma expires with the end of the state of emergency”, refers to in the text signed by the Prime Minister.

Another of the diplomas that has expired is the text of March 31 that creates the Situation Room for the covid-19 of the Integrated Crisis Management Center (CIGC), which officially extinguishes with the end of the state of emergency.

In fact, the CIGC regulation itself – which has been in operation for several weeks – was only approved by the Government on March 22 and has not yet been published in the Jornal da República.

One of the essential diplomas that has lapsed is that of the interim Interior Minister, Filomeno Paixão, who totally closes the borders at the entrance of any citizen.

Officially, as of 00.00 on Monday, this closure will cease to have effect.

The state of emergency also ends without the main socio-economic measures designed by the Government having entered into force and which until this Sunday have not yet been sent for promulgation by the President of the Republic.

This is the case with a remuneration supplement for medical staff, security forces and other sectors who are involved in the front line of the fight against covid-19, also approved on March 22, but which has not yet been sent to the head of State.

On the same day, the Government approved another decree-law with several measures to support companies and workers and on the 23rd another on the payment of a 100 dollar subsidy to each Timorese family (in which there are no members who earn more than 500 dollars) monthly), none of which has yet been sent to the President.

Some jurists heard by Lusa also question whether or not it is possible to approve a request to renew the state of emergency when it has officially expired.

The Constitution notes that the possible suspension of rights in the declaration of the state of siege “cannot extend for more than thirty days, without preventing any reasoned renewal for equal periods of time, when absolutely necessary”.

Some jurists argue that “legally, it is not possible to renew what has already expired” and that, therefore, renewing the state of emergency is not possible even after the period of exception has ended.

The final decision rests with the parliament, which has one day to debate the President’s request.

If authorization is given, the President will have to decree the renewal, and the Government can then decide on what measures to apply in the new 30-day emergency period.

Timor-Leste currently has 22 active cases of covid-19.

Source: Observador