Subject: East Timor press headlines/27 Feb 2001

Bahasa Indonesia Headlines ­ Tuesday February 27, 2001

  1. July 15, 2001 NC Will Be Dissloved, Sept 15 Constituent Assembly Will Be Formed
  2. The Election Process Not As Difficult As Popular Consultation
  3. Civil Registration Starts in Early March
  4. Democracy And Party Politics

1. July 15, 2001 NC Will Be Dissloved, Sept 15 Constituent Assembly Will Be Formed (Suara Timor Lorosae, front page headline)

The National Council agreed to dissolve itself on 15 July. Two months later, on 15 September the Constituent Assembly will be formed based on the results of the general election.

But certain NC members felt, the National Council itself was creating confusion by these dates.

NC member Clementino Dos Reil Amaral said the two month vacuum could give opportunities to “certain people” to make other laws to their “own satisfaction”.

“The vacuum period of two months could give opportunities to certain people to make more than 10 laws,” said Clementino.

According to Clementino, the NC must remain intact and be only dissolved when the Constituent Assembly is formed.

“When the Constituent Assembly is there, only then can we do away with the NC,” added the National Council member.

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2. The Election Process Not As Difficult As Popular Consultation (Suara Timor Lorosae, front page side-bar)

The forthcoming 30 August election will not be as difficult as the popular consultation on 30 August 1999.

This was stated by National Council member Clementino Dos Reis Amaral when he met journalists at the NC Hall.

Clementino was responding to Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello’s comments that the 30 August election would be more difficult than the popular consultation.

According to Clementino, the 1999 popular consultation was more difficult because East Timorese living overseas had to register and vote overseas, too.

“The coming election will not be difficult because the election will be held in Timor Lorosae,” he said.

Added Clementino: “At the 1999 referendum, only two questions were asked ­ autonomy or independence. But now the people have wider choices with many political parties to choose from.”

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3. Civil Registration Starts in Early March (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page third lead)

In the preparatory framework to give East Timorese a voice in the forthcoming election in August, the head of the Civil Registration Unit, Peter Remmele, has dispatched some of his staff to Atauro Island to carry out a pilot registration program for a week.

STL spoke to him and the following are excerpts of the interview:

STL: When will the actual civil registration process begin?

Peter Remmele (PR): At the end of February, ETTA’s Civil Registration Unit will begin to register all residents of Timor Lorosae. This process will also, at the same time, collect information that is needed to compile a voters’ registration list. The pilot is in Atauro and in the beginning of March it will be carried out in all the districts in Timor Lorosae.

The civil registration data will be passed on to the new government, after the election, and the data could be used for various purposes like planning health programs, socio-economic development programs etc…

STL: What is civil registration?

PR: Civil registration is the process where data is collected from each person who resides in Timor Lorosae. This data will be maintained in a database at the Civil Registration Unit in Dili. This data, then, will be updated if there are deaths, marriages or births.

STL: Who must register?

PR: Registration is compulsory for all residents in Timor Lorosae. The process encompasses all, including babies, children and old people.

STL: Are all those registered in the civil registration process eligible to vote?

PR: No. Only those who are 17 and above have the right to vote.

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4. Democracy And Party Politics (Suara Timor Lorosae, editorial Page 5)

Building democracy is expensive. But if we opt not to go on the democratic path we will destroy ourselves.

Indeed, there are many in this country who are not patient enough. But for a new country like ours, we have to begin to flow with the democratic current. Only in that way can we live freely in the country we love.

Timor Lorosae, at this moment, has 13 political parties. There are many amongst us who are wary and scared of this fact. Our fear is justified. There are lessons to be learnt from history and a civil war, in the end, destroyed all that we had at that moment.

In order to prevent a repeat of the past, we urge all parties to immediately have a concrete program of action for the people. In the eyes of the public, politics stinks. They perceive politicians as people thinking of themselves only ­ no different from gangsters using foul and brutal tactics against their opponents.

We would not have democracy if political parties adhere to their past behaviour. Money politics must stop because it would not help develop the political aspirations of the people.

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