Subject: LUSA: Campaign Debate for Female Candidates

07 Aug 01 20:43 East Timor: Campaign Debate for Female Candidates

A group of 16 women who are candidates for East Timor's August 30 Constituent Assembly elections took part Tuesday in a three-hour debate broadcast live by the territory's official radio and television stations.

Ten of the participants were candidates for registered political parties, three were independents running for nationwide seats and three independents for district-level seats.

The debate also counted the involvement of journalists from various media outlets and focused on the issues of domestic violence, judicial reform, education and family planning.

It was the first campaign debate exclusively for women, taking place two weeks after a debate for representatives of the 16 political parties contesting the ballot. Since then, members of 12 of the parties have met with domestic and foreign media to discuss campaign issues.

The meetings with the press and debates are part of the expanded election coverage promoted by the territorial administration. For the past three weeks, the political parties and independent candidates have also made use of their allotted radio and television 'antenna time'.

Voters in East Timor will on August 30 elect the 88 members of an assembly whose main task will be to draw up the future national constitution. Seventy-five of the seats are apportioned on a nationwide basis and 13 on a district basis, one for each of the territory's administrative districts.

The official campaign period began on July 15.

The half-island, which had been occupied by Indonesia for 24 years, has since 1999 been governed by a UN administration charged with overseeing the transition to full independence, now expected early next year.

JBC -Lusa-

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