Subject: Timor Election Campaign Praised by Carter Center

The Associated Press August 24, 2001

Timor Election Campaign Praised

DILI, East Timor (AP) - A U.S.-based election monitoring group said Friday it was satisfied with conditions for East Timor's first free elections next week, but expressed concern over cases of voter intimidation.

On Aug. 30, East Timor will elect an 88-member assembly to decide on the territory's first constitution ahead of full independence next year. Sixteen political parties and 16 independent candidates are contesting the vote.

``A number of parties cited these instances of intimidation as affecting their ability to campaign, causing them to scale back planned campaign activities,'' said a report from the Carter Center.

The last ballot, a U.N.-sponsored independence referendum in 1999, was preceded by massive violence by Indonesia's army and its militia proxies.

They went on a rampage after election results showed an overwhelming vote to end Indonesia's 24-year occupation.

Although political rallies in the current campaign have largely been peaceful, the leading party Fretilin used words such as ``traitors'' to describe its opponents, the Carter Center said in a report.

Luis Carrilho, a U.N. police spokesman, said 14 minor campaign offenses had been reported so far. Only one instance of intimidation was substantiated, he said.

The Atlanta-based Carter Center was established in 1982 by former President Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, to promote human rights and democracy. The organization has helped to monitor elections around the world.

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