Subject: LUSA: Gov't Praises 'Peaceful and Orderly' East Timorese Elections

30 Aug 01 13:08 Portugal: Gov't Praises 'Peaceful and Orderly' East Timorese Elections

The Portuguese government praised Thursday the "peaceful and orderly" Constituent Assembly elections in East Timor, in which the territory's population demonstrated a "high degree of maturity, civic sense and political awareness".

The Foreign Ministry communique sent to Lusa also highlighted the fact that the Thursday ballot was "free and transparent" and noted the high level of voter turnout.

Provisional figures released by East Timor's Independent Electoral Commission indicated voter affluence of around 93 percent.

Separately, Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio praised Thursday the "exemplary" elections in East Timor, saying he had already transmitted his satisfaction to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and East Timorese independence leader Xanana Gusmao. He also spoke to the chief UN transition administrator in East Timor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and the territory's top diplomat, Jose Ramos Horta.

Voters in East Timor went to the polls Thursdsay [sic] to choose the 88 members of an assembly whose main task will be to draw up the national constitution before full independence, which is expected in the first half of next year.

East Timor, a former Portuguese colony occupied by Indonesia from 1975 to 1999, is currently governed by a UN Transition Administration (UNTAET) mandated to oversee the transition to independence.

JBC -Lusa-

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