East Timor government suffers defeat in parliamentary vote

East Timor's new government suffered a defeat in parliament on Thursday when a coalition of opposition parties vetoed its policy program.

Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said the defeat in the parliamentary vote was "poison to his government."

Alkatiri's Fretilin party formed a minority government after parliamentary elections in July failed to give any party a majority of seats.

His opponents argued that the minority government was unconstitutional and that his policy program didn't address the fledgling country's problems.

New elections are a possibility because Alkatiri's coalition may not be able to pass a budget.

East Timor, a former colony of Portugal, was occupied by Indonesia for a quarter century and gained independence after a U.N.-sponsored referendum in 1999.